Tag Archive: presents

December now.  Can’t avoid Christmas.

Staff at T K Maxx yesterday:

“I’m fucking sick of these wank Christmas songs, I want to kill myself”.

A hundred outlets called “XMAS £1 SHOP” already packed with people buying:

  • Extra thin wrapping paper
  • Degradable stockings made of pressed felt
  • As many tiny sparkly reindeer you can shake a candy cane at

The rest of us try to shoulder down the high street without getting press-ganged by righteous charity collectors or buskers.

Seriously, who plays an acoustic version of “Mad World” at Christmas?  It’s only the most depressing song of all time.

With the exception of everything written by David Gray in his entire career.

I don’t mind Christmas.  I like the trimmings and firelight reflected in tinsel and foil, the promise of snowfall and carollers and warm nights in when the nights are cold out.

It makes me think of school.  Baby school.  Normally you’re home by four o’clock at that age.  In winter it’s already getting dark.  A week before Christmas Day you’re with all your friends at school (during night time!?) putting together your costumes for the dress rehearsal of the Nativity play. 

It was strange, being in school when it was dark.  You see your own reflection in the window, behind which is the blackest night.  Inside the room, teachers are supervising the use of blunt scissors and PVA glue.  I remember glitter everywhere.  Did we have to make our own costumes? 

Miss I broke the elastic on my mask.

Miss I need a wee.

Miss Tommy just farted.

Miss I glued my nose shut.

Laughing.  Some nervous silences, sometimes.  A coincidence of sound when conversations come to a natural end but all at the same unnatural interval.  You remember why you’re there.  You’re going out on stage.

On the night it’s even worse.  Mums and Dads are there.  I vaguely recall not being able to find Daddy in the audience one year.  Fluffed my lines looking when I should have been concentrating.  Then as I walked off stage after the performance he was there in an isle seat, surprisingly me with a big moustachioed smile.

Some Dads still had moustaches then.

Usually in the plays I was a narrator.  You always knew what parts everybody would get.  There were outgoing, good-looking kids who would get the lead roles every year.  You learn at an early age what you really need to get ahead in life.  Usually it’s the same kids who spend half their playtimes in detention making an early start on their homework.  Where’s the fairness in that!?  Come on, teacher!

The bookish kid in the massive owlish glasses gets to be narrator every year.  I kind of liked it anyway. 

It’s funny that now, I work in a job that requires me to type up meeting minutes every now and again, as the main players go about the real work.

I’m still the fucking narrator!  But … I kind of like it anyway.


Christmas is about a great big tree with mismatching baubles and little chocolate ornaments that disappear after Day 2.  It’s about seeing members of your family you don’t get to talk to very often.  Bring out the comfy chair for grandma.  Tot of sherry?  It’s about people handing presents to each other in a melee of good will.  Arms crossing over, cups of tea going around.  Doesn’t matter if you had to ask what they wanted beforehand. 

It’s about Christmas fucking dinner.  You know it.  Oh god, we love Christmas dinner.  It’s Sunday Roast Plus.  It’s three types of meat AND those little sausages wrapped in bacon.  Cranberry sauce and stuffing.  Gravy smooth like caramel.  Christmas crackers banging all over the place.

Sleepy afternoons.  Gathering scraps of paper, plastic packaging, twisty ties off the carpet and stuffing them into carrier bags to throw out.  Boxing day with nothing to do.  Go for a watch.  Watch one of those new DVDs.  Eat hot leftovers. 

Maybe it’ll snow?

—db, 2nd December 2011


I am typing this with glitter-coated hands.

This as a result of wrapping birthday presents for a loved one.  It’s messy business.

I look like the catalogue model for Robert Pattinson’s new range of teen fingerwear.

The baffling thing is, the wrapping paper isn’t even glittery.  Nor are the ribbon, the bows, the tags or the gifts.

Why does this always happen when I wrap presents?  Christmas, bithdays, that February holiday – whatever.  Always the same.

Glittery hands.  Glitter in my clothes.  In my eyebrows.  Around my nose and mouth, as though I’ve developed a crystalline crack habit.

Maybe it’s just all the Clintons faff.  I only have to walk into one of those shops and I’m coated head to toe in sparkles.  There are really enthusiastic Elvis impersonators with less glitz than me, and I only went in to see if they sold those gift bags for booze.

It’s as though it hangs in the air, in those places.  It’s just floating there and I walk through it, oblivious that I’m about to emerge looking like a young Elton John.

Enough – I wash my hands of this stuff.