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It’s a bit too soon to think about Christmas but actually, this is my favourite part of the festive season. Just now, at the end of November, all is possible. Of course the house will be tidy in time for the big day. It will be no trouble getting the silver cleaned (there is more since my mother in law died last year) and I will properly decorate the house and not throw up random sprays of ivy at the last minute. No surface, wall or shelf will be without it’s set of fairy lights.
A big job, and one we’ve faced every year since my daughter was quite small, is think what sort of Christmas card we will produce. For years and years – long after she left home – Briony would draw a card – the idea coming from me – my husband would get it printed (very often on the wrong colour card – salmon pink is so Christmassy – not) and we would send it out to friends and family. My daughter in law drew it one year, my son in law another, but this year I’m absolutely stumped for an idea. Actually I have an idea but it would be incredibly difficult to do.
Also, it’s highly unlikely any of my usual draughtsmen would be willing, given we have two very new babies in the family. I am full of ideas but am hopeless at drawing. Though when my daughter was first doing it, I would add details.
I think this year might be the first one for years when we just buy cards. The combination of massive relief and massive guilt at the thought is rather overwhelming. Homemade is so ‘now’ – although when we first did it, homemade was so economical. I love handmade Christmas presents – Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas is my favourite programme. I actually made something from it last year. And before I became I writer I was quite crafty in an arty way. This means the things looked as if a small child yet to develop fine motor skills had made them but I really loved making them. I hang my home-made gold-marbled Christmas baubles every year and think how much fun I had dipping them in gold-paint topped water. (Also that I had bad flu at the time which was why I wasn’t desperately squashing mess into corners and was indulging my creative leanings instead.)
I also have strict rules about the presents I give. One of these is the person receiving the present must know where they keep this thing. Cutlery, for example – a bit eccentric but at least you’re not wandering round the house thinking, where can I put this? Cushions are the same, you just throw them on the sofa until dog hair means you have to throw them away.
If you like to give presents that have a place, there are some mugs and tea towels that fit the bill. If your aunt likes books with happy endings but just a book isn’t enough of a present, add a mug or a tea towel and it’s job done!
Love, Katie xxx