It is once again that merry time of year where I sound the alarm, tie heavy weights around my ankles, roll myself up in a Persian rug and throw myself off the local canal bridge at the very prospect of Christmas shopping. As I WILL have left it too late to buy any stuff online, the only other option is to brave Birmingham’s Bullring and risk being buried alive under the swarms of human ants jostling for position on the escalators and using their mandibles to tear flesh off their competition at the perfume counter in Boots- locked in combat over the last bottle of “Stunning”, by Katie Price.
My neck never fails to go all hot whenever I recall the low point of last year’s shopping trip, a futile attempt to make other people wee themselves with happiness via my spending of the final withering remains of my student loan. Endlessly circling the bottom floor of Selfridges looking for “trinkets”, I was sweating profusely in a fur coat that had seemed like a good idea at the time, but in reality made me look like a she-gorilla. It all got so much that I involuntarily emitted a low scream amongst the novelty kitchenware, and thought for a second that the statue of a bull made of jelly beans was talking to me.
|"GO HOME, EMILY. YOU ARE NOT SAFE HERE."|
The concept of giving Christmas presents, I have recently decided, is bloody weird. It’s no one’s birthday (with the exception of Jesus, and do you have his number in your phone? Thought not), and so you undertake the baffling task of buying stuff for everybody you love, all at once, simply for existing on this planet around Christmas time (and even people you don’t love, depending on how much resentment you harbour for the classmates/co-workers also partaking in the utter debacle that is ‘secret Santa’. I did get a bath set from a secret Santa once, but it clearly cost more than the chocolate snowman that I’d bought for someone else; I was wracked with guilt and so the entire experience just left me cold.)
However, as for unwanted gifts- I ask you to look deep inside yourself and ask: is that really a thing?! Having gratefully accepted the esteemed title of “Britain’s Most Shameless Cheapskate” for an impressive 21st year running, I have developed a mentality/defence mechanism where I am eternally appreciative of any old tat that gets chucked at me. Or even tat that doesn’t get chucked at me; it’s just dawning on me that searching through supermarket bins at night to try and find Christmas presents for myself might be a money-saver that only an idiot would miss out on. And I would actually be eternally appreciative if an elderly relative pulled a Mrs Weasley on me and knitted me an ‘embarrassing’ jumper, partially because I am that short on clothes, but mainly because the idea of having assisted in bringing to life a massive Christmas cliché would keep me more than entertained, well into the Queens’ Speech.
That said, I’m sitting here wondering if anyone has had the impertinence to buy me a present as unwanted as a ‘bath bomb’ this year. I don’t care if you bought it from Lush- it’s still a fizzing sphere of pure letdown and YOU’RE GOING DOWN, MAN.