When our children were young, we often found that carefully chosen Christmas gifts were more or less discarded by Boxing Day – in favour of the packaging they came in.
We have many photos of our girls playing in big cardboard boxes; ‘recycled’ as imaginary cars, boats or houses. In the background, out of focus (and out of mind), a pile of toys, gratefully unwrapped but just not quite as attractive as a large, sturdy box.
And I suppose the same still happens; gifts bought after hours of careful consideration are put to one side, possibly never to be used or perhaps to be re-gifted or donated to a school fair or charity shop at a later date.
I’d hoped that the gifts I handed over this year were good enough not to suffer this fate, especially the ones for Mrs Turner. I’ve had my fingers burnt in the past, going ‘off piste’ and thinking I’m able to choose suitable gifts myself, so now I stick to making my selections from the list of many (heavily dropped) hints she makes during the year.
But I did get a slight feeling of déjà vu when Mrs Turner announced that, from all the lovely things that had been brought into the house over Christmas – food, drink, decorations, presents – her favourite item was the heavy duty Sellotape dispenser that she’d bought herself. Apparently, it’s the best thing since sliced bread and made all the difference when it came to the chore of wrapping.
Had I known that was her heart’s desire I could have saved myself quite a bit of cash!
However, I think for all of us the most wonderful festive moment – and one we wouldn’t swap for anything – came when our disabled son opened his presents. It’s a time of high anxiety for Rory (and for us, as getting him the wrong things can have long-lasting consequences), so the look of utter joy on his face when he realised he had his own tablet computer was really heart-warming.
And, on a selfish note, it also means he won’t keep pinching mine!