You know, as I get older I am starting to really loathe Christmas. When you're a university student Christmas is the tiny bit of breathing space you're given between 'essay season' and revision for exams.
My mood was not helped by events this morning. Anyone in the Glasgow area will know the weather is...well awful at the moment. However, I had decided today was my day for non-Internet Christmas shopping and that was that.
My first purchase involved being given a paper carrier bag. I'm all for paper carrier bags because they can be put into the recycling bin after use. But come on, marketing people. Don't you realise that Scotland only sees rain and gale force winds between September and June? Not the best weather to be handing out environmentally friendly bags. As a result the extremely large bag had become rather soggy and ripped to pieces before I had got halfway down the street.
Now, I do enjoy buying presents. Most of the time. Imagine wonderful, soft music playing behind this next section. It's lovely to see someone you care about tear open the wrapping paper and be overjoyed with a purchase you've made for them. You can choose to ignore the old woman you knocked over to get to it or the largest queue known to man you hand to stand in to buy the best thing since sliced bread. The little cute smile on their face is all the reward you need.
Or is it?
Whilst battling gale force winds and my paper bag, I received a text from a friend I'm meeting next week. The end of the text struck fear into my heart. "Have just bought your prezzie. Hope you like it!" Bugger. This person was not on my Christmas present list. Bugger, bugger, bugger. I know this situation is turned into a 'comical' tale to moan about at parties (see Bridget Jones - the aspirational model for 'strong' women in their 30s) but it's not bloody funny. It's not that you don't like the person in question (though I'm debating that at the moment) but they're not on the sacred present list. My mother's sacred list numbers in the hundreds. The spare bedroom looks like an outlet for Boots and Marks and Spencers. I can hardly talk, my present pile looks like a promo stand for Borders and Lush.
Christmas is getting wildly out of hand. The Mothership asked me a few months ago what I wanted for Christmas. To be honest, I'm in my twenties now and I know the only fat bearded man bringing me presents is my dad. I replied I didn't know which sent her into a meltdown. "How about a new Ipod?" The one I've got is fine. "How about a year's cinema pass?" I'm a third year student, my social life ended months ago. Why do you think I own so many DVDs?
This potential end to Christmas presents is an excellent idea. No longer will people have to pretend polka dot socks is exactly the garment they have been missing from their wardrobe. No longer will you have to stand in a queue on Boxing Day (actually, many stores have signs up saying they will not accept any returns before December 28th) to return clothing two sizes too small. Or have the humiliation of admitting that diet you've been following since January was broken on holiday three months ago.
I broke down to my mother's demands and have asked for a goat. Sadly I won't have it in my back garden but it shall be sent off somewhere via a developing world charity. However I have recently discovered my parents have invested in some sort of irrigation system instead. Apparently the goat is a 'nice idea' to us urban Westerners but is more trouble than it's worth. But if anyone asks, I'm getting a goat. It's more exciting than saying an irrigation system ;-)