At the weekend, for the first time this year, the dreaded words ‘Christmas shopping’ were uttered in seriousness – enough to send a shiver down the spine of any man.
In our house – like most, I imagine – Christmas shopping starts off fairly low key at this time of the year and then gradually builds in momentum, reaching a crescendo in mid-December.
Mrs Turner is in charge of this particular segment of family life – I’m just there to carry the bags – and she has a tried and tested plan which always begins with ‘stocking bits’. Yes, our children range from 16-25 but they, along with my mother-in-law (a bit more than 25) who stays with us over Christmas, still expect to find a full stocking hanging on the end of their beds on December 25. They look forward to it more than any other festive moment.
This anticipation puts a certain amount of pressure on Mrs T and there’s always a bit of tension until the ‘stocking bits’ – necessarily inexpensive items that are humorous, edible or useful, preferably a combination of two or more of these – begin to mount up.
So Saturday saw us take up the challenge and set off in search of suitable items.
It’s not until you start looking that you realise how much ‘stuff’ there is out there – most of it totally useless to anyone.
I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that many things I’d rather not receive would be coveted by someone else, but you just know that most of these ‘stocking fillers’ will be gathering dust in a drawer by the time the last few lines of Auld Lang Syne Fade away.
Most of them can be prefixed with the word ‘novelty’, so as we began our trawl around the shops I started playing a little game in my head – spotting as many items as possible that could reasonably be termed ‘novelty’: mugs, pens, socks, jumpers, sweets, fridge magnets etc, etc. Of course, I gave up within seconds – I couldn’t keep up, plus Mrs T didn’t think I was being very helpful.
-- Thank you to those who responded to my recent piece on the traffic in St Andrew’s Street South. It’s clear I’m not the only person to have witnessed near misses or to be frustrated by the lack of a police presence on busy days.