Memorable gifts through the years

Merry Christmas peeps! By the time you read this you will probably be in a Turkey coma, watching films, fielding arguments between family members, starting on the chocolates and twiglets, because y'know "Christmas" and doing allllll the things you do between Christmas and New Year. So did you have a brilliant day yesterday? Even though, as I type this, the big day itself is still a few days away I'm hoping it was everything you wanted it to be and at least one thing you found under the tree was memorable for all the right reasons. Yes, I know, it's not about the presents, it's about the pigs in blankets and drinking champagne at 10am, right?

So I thought I'd do a little run down of the gifts that have stuck in my mind over the years for a selection of reasons. Some good, some bad, some positively odd but here we go. Straight in at number one with -

1. The gift I loved as a kid. A Paddington Bear art desk. Yes, you read that correctly. Paddington was huge when I was a kid, but being the eighties, everything was just a little more simple and obviously less techy (because I am that old) and this absolute beauty was my favourite thing ever. A small yellow plastic box basically, with a wooden blackboard lid and Paddington on the front holding his little suitcase and jar of marmalade. Inside were crayons, a paint set, felt tips, pencils, pens, chalks and Paddington stationery. I'm still excited at the thought of this now as my love for stationery has basically never left me, perhaps this is where it all began?

2. The gift I hated as a kid. A Flower Fairies colouring book. I was fifteen. I feel I don't need to go into any more detail.

3. The gift I adored and almost ruined. I was eight years old and adored music. My Dad would often catch me trying to copy the dance routines from Top of the Pops, at which point I would immediately sit down as you would in musical statues and pretend nothing had happened. I was desperate for my own music as I had exhausted my parents record collection so was completely overjoyed at receiving a Sony Walkman. Oh yes, my own music literally at my fingertips, accompanied by a brand new shiny copy of the double cassette Now 6. I'm pretty sure we're on Now 38765 so yes, this was a while ago. This tape contained all my favourites - Nik Kershaw, Kate Bush and the making-up-dances-in-your-bedroom classic "Body Rock" by Maria Vidal. (I just YouTubed this as not heard it in years and can proudly confirm I still know all the words and may or may not have just thrown a few of the moves. Still got it.) Oh and how did I almost ruin it? Well, eight year old me didn't realise that to turn the cassette round you had to press stop and THEN open the Walkman. Failing to do so would result in one mangled cassette with tape knotted in the player accompanied by a wailing eight year old girl. Still hurts now.

4. The gift that turned into a hobby. In my twenties my parents bought me a camera. I'd had disposable ones, the ones that you had to put the film in and then wait for approximately 47 years to get developed only to find 18 out of the 24 were blurred, four were of the floor and the remaining two (to use the film up) were of your dog. But this one was different. This was a digital camera and I just thought it was incredible. It started my love of taking pictures. I'm still not great at it and nowadays have progressed to my iPhone camera which still blows my mind although I do have this one on my wish list.

5. The gift that made me start writing. A few years ago a friend of mine bought me an online course - "Writing books for children." She knew it was something I'd wanted to do for a really long time and decide to give me that little push I needed. This turned into plans of a children's book, a novel and the beginnings of this very blog that you read now. If you're reading this Sharon, thank you, I will get it out there one day and your name will be in the acknowledgements!

6. The gift that told me it was over. I'm not even going to go into what the gift was (it was actually quite nice) but it was bought with absolutely the least amount of thought, not even bought by him and this spelt it out to me that this was someone I didn't need to be with anymore. Bye bye ex boyfriend, that gift did me the massive favour of moving on with my life.

7. Which brings me perfectly to.... The gift that changed everything. Christmas Day 2006. A lovely chap I'd been seeing for a year or so asked me to marry him. I said yes. Best Christmas ever. (Also the Boxing Day that I had the worst hangover ever.)

8. The gift that involved a lot of thought. When you go shopping with your other half in June, see a bag you love, don't even mention it but evidently must have stood stroking it with cartoon love heart eyes for some time and he clocks it, goes back without you, wraps it and has it under the tree in December, it's pretty special. Extra points that year.

9. And finally.........The gift I most loved giving. Because the true meaning of Christmas etc etc. For my son's first Christmas, we gave him a teddy bear that sings lullabies. Could be annoying, yes. Actually very cute? Yes. He's almost seven and (sssh, lets not ruin his street cred) he still loves it and occasionally "presses the button by accident" to listen to it when he goes to sleep. Too cute for words.

I'll wrap this up (ha, geddit?) by saying I hope everyone reading this gets or gives something that just makes them warm, Christmassy and feeling the love. Preferably not anything from numbers 2 or 6. Now, get yourself back to the turkey leftovers. xx

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