So you didn’t quite get around to making that plum and apple chutney in June ready to lovingly give your friends and family. Girl, neither. In fact I’ve been so caught up with other stuff this year that I’ve barely started preparing for Christmas. Which wouldn’t be the end of the world if I didn’t have two children and all the pressure of “creating memories” to contend with. So 2018 is officially the year of absolute Christmas panic.
One of the greatest traps of adulthood is the stress of Christmas. If I’d known what went on behind the scenes and just how much effort my amazing mum put into making each of my childhood Christmases so special I would have Peter Pan’d this growing up thing and be living on a house boat on Regent’s Canal with nine cats and a Fox Terrier called George. However, it’s too late for that now so I’m out here trying to pull it together as best I can.
One of the major deals of Christmas is the presents. Nothing sends me into a full blown crisis like the amount of people crowing about being done and wrapped, with their family’s gifts ready under the tree. That and the “X amount of sleeps until Christmas ya’ll” complete with three smug face emojis. So, in order to try and alleviate this madness, here are some quick present ideas you can fling together double time while you mutter about definitely, cross my heart and hope to die, doing it earlier next year.
Before we start, forget buying online. There’s no time left and you don’t need the extra stress of obsessively checking the mailbox or waiting around to chase the courier down the drive. You need to tackle this old school.
- Make sweets. Don’t be scared, things like peppermint creams and fudge are so easy. If you’re a real kitchen novice buy pre-rolled sheets of sweet shortcrust pastry, sprinkle with brown sugar and mixed spice, cut into christmassy shapes and bake. Insta biscuits (thanks fresh.co.nz for that hot tip)
- Booze. Walk to liquor shop. Buy a bottle of spirits or wine in a pretty bottle. Buy yourself one while you’re at it. Tie a ribbon round it. Job done.
- A plant or baby tree. If they have a garden this one is a real winner. It totally looks like you spent time and effort thinking up something amazing. Garden centres are plentiful and they usually have a decent amount of parking meaning you’ll get one even this close to Christmas.
- Vouchers. They’re great because your cherished loved ones can get themselves what they want and you avoid taking the annual “taste of others” exam. They’re readily available at supermarkets and big box stores so you can pick them up once you’re finished wrestling Glenda for the last jar of potato salad dressing.
- A hamper. Take a basket or decorative box (that’s a cardboard box covered in Christmas paper) and fill it up with regular things like chocolate, hand soap, and whatever else. Then add cellophane and bows. Somehow it transforms from a literal grocery basket to a wonderful and touching gift. I’m not sure how this works, perhaps plastic wrap is witchcraft, but it does and we shouldn’t question the magic of Christmas.
I hope this helps you and as a heartfelt Christmas message from me to you – Please buy the middle aged ladies gin. We are not OK.