My Bah Humbug Top 10

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In contrast to my last post, this week I’m unleashing my inner Scrooge and having a rant about the more annoying side of Christmas – namely, unwanted presents. So if you’re full of festive cheer, read no further – I don’t want to shatter your baubles. But if, like me, each year you receive gifts from well-meaning friends and rellies that you can’t wait to stick in a charity bag and evict from your household, read on. Here’s my Bah Humbug Top 10, in no particular order.

Mini bottle of liqueur with accompanying glass encased in vast quantities of unnecessary packaging

So you found yourself in BHS on 24th December with one hour to go before all the shops shut. And you decided upon this. Oh dear. What were you thinking? A £5 bottle of wine would’ve done me. No sickly liqueur, no tacky glass, no excess packaging. Charity bag!

Body lotion

Is it just me or is this the most over-bought, under-used product in the world? Someone, somewhere, is making money from old rope – or rather a plastic bottle, pretty label, some ‘parfum’ and 300ml of grease. Maybe one day when I start leaving a visible trail of dead skin flakes around the house, I might re-evaluate its worth, but until then, I will recycle it to my elderly neighbour Maureen, who recycles it to her granddaughter, who no doubt shoves it in a charity bag.

Reflexology socks

Just because I like reflexology and I always need socks, doesn’t mean that combining the two is a good idea. Do you think that if I put the reflexology socks on, Him Indoors will take the hint and give me a foot massage? Of course not! Also I feel slightly uncomfortable that you’ve given me a pair of socks with the word ‘genitals’ written on them. Don’t pretend you didn’t notice.

Chocolates

Are you deliberately trying to make me fat? Isn’t Christmas challenging enough on the calorie front without you giving me a box of saturated fat? And you know I’ll eat them because you know I can’t resist chocolate when I’m alone in the house with it. I take this as a personal affront, a declaration of war. You give me chocolates. I give you chocolates. Capisce?

Stand-alone picture frame

Seriously, where in my house did you spot a few inches of spare shelf space? It’s not that I don’t like the frame you’ve bought me per se, I just don’t like it enough. Space is limited. Car boot sale!

Sewing kits

You’ve known me all my life, so there’s no excuse for this. Moi, sew? I suppose you just fell for the pretty box it came in and were thinking I could put crap in it after I chuck the contents out. Right, so I’ll add it to the tower of spare pretty boxes in the loft. And then I’ll recycle it to you next year. Backatcha!

Dangly exfoliation thingies

Who invents this shit? The Dark Lord of Body Lotion, of course. I have another name for them: mildew magnets. Charity bag.

Panettone cake

Again you fell for the box it came in and the window display it hung in. Sucker. I have yet to taste a Panettone that didn’t need washing down with ten gallons of tea. Are you supposed to dunk it in dessert wine or something? Next time, just buy me the dessert wine. You can keep your dry-as-a-bone cake.

Toilet humour books

Thanks. Just what I always wanted. I’ll put it in the bathroom and guffaw at the hilarious jokes every time nature calls. And if I ever run out of loo paper, it will come in handier still.

Anything with the following done-to-death motto:

Keep Calm and Carry On. I’m doing just that, believe me.

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Is Santa real? A Christmas poem

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This festive poem was inspired by a conversation I had with my 8-year-old daughter recently. As her questions about Father Christmas grew ever more searching, I was finding it harder and harder to make up convincing explanations to keep the magic going. Luckily, after demanding the truth, she took the news quite well.

Now the truth is out I feel quite relieved! However, now I’m faced with another challenge – keeping the magic alive for my youngest daughter while persuading the eldest to keep schtum. My eldest is pretty smart, so it won’t be long till she works out I’m now in an easily blackmailable position: “You want me to keep your dirty secret? That’ll be an iPad please. AND a puppy.”

Anyway, without further ado, here’s my dubious poem about how that conversation could have gone…

Santa’s days are numbered
The truth’s as good as out
My daughter’s asking questions
And I’ve only fuelled her doubts

It started with the wrapping paper
Should’ve bought a variation
I said Santa had to borrow mine
Not the greatest explanation

“How does he fit down the chimney, Mum?
And what if our fire was lit?”
“Santa wears extra padding,” I said
“Beneath it, he’s actually quite fit.”

“Wouldn’t he burn his feet though?”
She asks, increasingly thoughtful
I said, “His boots are fire-proof
And anyway, he’s immortal.”

“But how can he get round the world
In just one little night?”
“Well, Santa’s reindeer are magical –
Faster than the speed of light.”

“So will Santa get me an iPad, then?
It’s top of my Christmas list.”
“Um, he may have just run out of those,
Best choose a back-up gift.”

“An X-box then, or a puppy – please?
I’ve made a good impression.”
So I tell her, Santa’s just like us
Struggling with the recession

Then one day she comes out with it
“Mum, I don’t think Santa exists
I was looking through your make-up draw,
And found my old Christmas lists

“I also found my baby teeth
Rattling inside a pot
I wasn’t sure about the tooth fairy
So that would explain a lot

“Tell me, Mum, I’m right, aren’t I?”
Tears well up in her eyes
I hesitate, what should I do?
I’m caught in a web of lies

I tell my daughter, “Yes you’re right,
But cheer up – it’s not tragic
There are lots of other things to enjoy
That are filled with Christmas magic

“Like opening your advent calendar
Singing carols by candlelight
Decorating the Christmas tree
A family snowball fight

“I’ll miss him though,” my daughter sobs
I regret my revelation
“We could…” I say, “pretend that we…
Never had this conversation?”

“Let’s pretend that I just banged my head
And now I’ve got concussion.”
My daughter grins and we conspire
To forget this whole discussion

“Is Santa real? Tell me, Mum!”
She repeats the momentous question
“Of course he is!” I squeeze her tight
“What a ridiculous suggestion.”