Yesterday I decided to start my Christmas shopping, possibly a record headstart for me, as I am usually the one swearing and haring around the high street on the 23rd and 24th, cursing myself for not starting it sooner. This year, I promised myself I would be organised.
And as ever, thank goodness for Oxfam and Wilkinson, and the ability to do most of my Christmas shopping with a few fivers and a handful of change. Old habits die hard, I guess.
First was Oxfam, and the princely sum of £10.65 for an astronomy book for my Small Boy, a stuffed hippo for a nearly-newborn, a shirt for my little brother, a cowboy hat, a sparkly scarf for my teenage sister, assorted crockery, a bag of marbles, a book of pointless things, a set of wooden scrabble magnets and a Mason Cash mixing bowl that may end up being a present to myself. (Obviously nobody who will benefit from the items pictured, is on my social media. In fact most of the recipients of the above are under 10!)
Next was Wilkinson, and a few craft sets starting from 70p, and a fibre optic minion lamp for my little brother.
I find I shop more thoughtfully when I have less to choose from, with the recipient in mind rather than a panicked smash and grab in a department store. I may wander in to the British Heart Foundation shop before Christmas Eve, but I think with the haul above, I’m pretty much done.
Someone asked me if that was ‘really all I was getting’ for my Small Boy – and yes, it is. A book on astronomy, a cowboy hat, a bag of marbles, a craft kit or two, and a set of Scrabble magnets. He always gets a pencil case of new colouring pencils and a few small toy animals at the end of his bed, and my family will also give him gifts, and to be honest we spent the first 3 Christmases shit-poor, so he doesn’t expect the earth, and long may that continue.
I’m knocking up a batch of camomile gin tonight, and some other food gifts, and all will be wrapped in the best bits of newspaper I can find, and tied with string. Bonus points if I can get a (rare) good headline to exactly fit the gift:
It’s the simple things. May it always be the simple things.
Jack Monroe. I’m on Twitter & Instagram & Tumblr @MxJackMonroe