Picture the scene: You’re in a shopping mall. Fake snowmen deck the halls. It’s 35 degrees outside.
It’s loud. It’s sweaty. You’d rather be anywhere but here.
Actually, you didn’t have to picture that scene. You were there on Saturday. Maybe you’re there today. My sympathies.
You’ve managed to unload the kids for a few short hours to Christmas Shop. Or, God forbid, you’re taking them along with you. Because you’re leaving it too late for online delivery times. And it’s cheaper in person. And you have a list.
The pertinent question is, just how many presents can you buy in two hours?
Because when it comes to presents, we’ve all got the non-negotiables – your kids, your partner, your parents, his parents (why are YOU doing all this shopping, again?). Your good friends. Their kids.
But when you’ve got kids of your own, it gets complicated. Because what about:
Their teachers/preschool teachers; Their swim/judo/cricket/dancing/judo/trapeze/Nepalese chanting instructors; Their babysitters; Their daycarers?
So. Many. Presents.
This is the dilemma parents face at this time of year, every year. And this is the dilemma teachers face at this time of year every year – what the hell do I do with 35 scented candles and 14 boxes of chocolates?
If you’re like me, then this week you’re spending a LOT of time encouraging your kid to make ‘lovely’ home-made cards – “So much more thoughtful than another box of chocolates” – and if you’re like me, you’re hoping that on Friday, you won’t be dodging dagger looks from the teachers who really, really wanted AN ACTUAL PRESENT.
So here, from my outrageously unqualified position of being a reasonably tight mother of two small children with plenty of people in their lives is the simple YES/NO/SCENTED CANDLE guide to who should get what this Christmas.
ASK YOURSELF: Does your kid like their teacher? Do you like their teacher? Will they have the same teacher next year?
YES? Buy them a car. Nothing is too good for an excellent teacher. Can’t afford the Saab? Give them a bottle of wine. They’ve had a tough year.