One of the perks of being someone who loves creating lists, is that when people ask me in December for present ideas, I already have a completed list ready to offer up. This year’s list was a year in the making. It was extensive, varied, and had something for every budget.
If I’m honest, I feel really disappointed when I ask people what they want for Christmas and they pull that I don’t know, it’s so hard to think of something face. Are we that spoiled that it has become a chore to think of something that we need or want? Then it occurred to me. It’s possible that our material needs are being met, and people don’t know how to ask for the other things – the things they really want. The things that cannot be bought.
When I revisited my own Christmas list, I realised that my wish-list was actually a page of clues that required translating. They were lies in a tidy format that wouldn’t challenge the modern notion of ‘gift’. To explain, here are seven things from this year’s list, translated.
- An above ground vegetable garden.
What I actually want is to get what I need for dinner from the backyard without dragging three kids to the shops. I want to feel less guilty about not feeding my kids organic food because it’s crazy expensive and hard to source where we live. I want to catch my children eating snow peas straight from the vine, so that when they refuse the vegetables on their dinner plate that night, I don’t have to fret about their health.
- A Kill Your Darlings subscription
This translates to ‘I want to be in the same league of writer as Hannah Kent and Rebecca Starford’. Here’s hoping that by reading a journal born of their brilliance, my IQ climbs, and their talent sticks.
- An electric bread knife.
I really just want my kids to not eat so much bread. Their bread consumption triggers a gluten-guilt response. I then decide to go gluten-free for a while. Then I feel guilty about giving them gluten-free products from the supermarket which are full of nasties. This triggers a processed-foods-guilt response, which leads to gluten-free bread making binges that ease the guilt but consume way too much of my time. And what happens when I spend too much time in the kitchen? It triggers a you’re-not-spending-enough-time-with-the-children-guilt response. Somehow an electric bread knife will help.
- A planner.
I spend my entire day planning in my head. And I have enough lists. I don’t need a planner – I need time to execute my plans. Someone take the kids out of the house for a few hours to do something fun, that does not involve an iPad, and return them to me fed. You can call it a combined Christmas/Birthday present. Call it whatever you like – just take the kids.
- An additional Thermomix bowl.
I acknowledge how lucky I am to have a Thermomix at all, I do. But I am a chronic multitasker, so doing one thing at a time in the kitchen is a slow death for me. Having two recipes on the go means less time spent in the kitchen with a whining two-year-old on my hip, which means less time and money spent at the chiropractor, and a higher chance of my sanity being intact at the end of the day. Translation: I want to cook from scratch without it leeching my soul.
- Yet another writing course.
What I actually want is to finish my novel. Give me time to write. Give me a deadline. Give me confidence. Remind me that a two percent chance of publication is reason enough to continue. Give me a kick up the arse – because I’ve got this.
- A clothes voucher.
I don’t need a clothes voucher. What I actually need is to be able to try clothes on – alone. For those that haven’t been clothes shopping with a six-year-old, four-year-old and two-year-old in tow, be warned – nothing looks good on you when you are crying.
What did you really want for Christmas?