Now that Christmas is closing for another year, and 2014 is on the horizon - I was allowed to step foot inside my local church on Christmas Eve - my ban was lifted. That by far, was a fine Christmas present this year; being able to be present in front of God and worship the almighty God and the son of God, Jesus Christ, openly, inside a place of worship was the highlight of my Christmas. On par with that, I've had a digital image of my two-front-toothless seven year old Niece singing carols - attired in a cotton-wool sheep outfit; very 'holey' - a wonderful Christmas present which warmed the soul; something to treasure and keep on my handset for always, it doesn't matter the 'JPEG' wasn't interactively wrapped. I'm no, Baah, Humbug.
My most memorable Christmas present by far summed up my emotive year, left by a double stroke victim and has subsequently been doubled up in pain in hospital courtesy of the NHS, due to having not pooped for two weeks, now back in his flat he painfully typed out on his iPad and played the computer-vocal message: "Your Christmas present is on the chair." It was a wet man's nappy, weighty with wee and unwrapped - by removing the nappy from his person and putting it on a chair beside him took him 30 minutes; the messy ordeal exhausted him; this is due to thirty years of alcohol abuse, namely; 'the festive spirit of Courvoisier.' He was known as 'Uncle Christmas' for his generosity, a real action man when it comes to handing out children's gifts. All that is left is a wry glint in the eye. Suddenly his face would go grey and deep concentration is etched all over it as he attempts to deliver a number two. Another Christmas parcel beckons, after failing to do a special deliver, his only solace is a cigarette. One Christmas drink may kill him but a fag is deemed to be the lesser of the two evils. His Christmas dinner was steak and kidney pie, indeed - a treat, although petit. He didn't get any Christmas presents as such, just gestures of kindness, a smile or a handshake. He usually gives me his biggest handshake he can muster up - when leaving him I do my utmost to not be too relieved, because there is nothing that hits home harder than seeing a suited dignified man's sorry plight. He sends me a simple text... "Thanks." For someone who never says thanks, that was a very touching Christmas present. The motor-neuronal process probably took him fifteen minutes; more time if you popped into 'Superdrug' for a fragrant box of 'Baylis and Harding.'
'The planning and thought behind the gift, supersedes the actual gift,' yet across the Christian world the preaching of exchanging gifts was at pandemic levels. Every year the word of Christ our saviour is misconstrued, it isn't nefarious to state that our preachers are enshrined in capitalistic values. They call it modernizing doctrines, i.e. (the Christmas message), so they feel they have to ad-lib to appeal to a younger generation - forsaking Christian dogma. Children and gift buying feature greatly in modern CrÄ«stesmæsse interpretation, designed to aid economies, this has nothing to do with Christianity - although, our divine scholars loosely connect 'The Three Wise Men' who cometh baring gifts for the 'babe in a manger' as a plausible reason for gift sharing. You would then think it'll be right that 'three kings' should be at the centre of the gift sharing considering they came 'bearing gifts they traverse afar' - alas not - "Santa Claus" a mythical figure from Germanic paganism has that honour; again, this concept doesn't feature with Christ and Mass. Much of what is now apparent during this festive time has little baring on Christianity itself, the symbolism we all associate with 'Christ Mass' - the coniferous tree, bunting, lights, (fires), joviality and traditional culinary delights are all part of the winter solstice, which means 'winter vacation.' This annual event goes as far back as 95,000 years ago, way beyond the birth of Jesus Christ in (2 - 7 AD) in a stable, somewhere in the Bethlehem region. The winter solstice purely was designed to cull the suicide rates during the dead of winter - it worked - albeit, something had to be done with the marketing for the long term - hence, a divine saviour was born during the most barbaric eras of our history and against all odds too - this was the greatest gift for mankind.
As superfluous as it sounds, at the same age as my Niece today, I still recall the electricity of excitement that ran through my little body when I quietly sat on my brand new red 'Raleigh Tomahawk' bike at 2.08 am on a Christmas morn and again at 2.22 am. Those magical moments remain with you. No-one has the right to diminish those precious times - Oliver Cromwell did cancel Christmas celebrations for a time. However, the good in people successfully protested for its return. You can forgive them in believing in a pregnant virgin's arduous journey on a back of a donkey, it is a remarkable story. A good excuse for a celebration, even the well-known atheist Richard Dawkins grasps the concept of celebrating the good of mankind. By which annoys the ardent Christians; who incessantly breach their leader's word, by acting on and portraying non-Christian values. A case where the good of human-kind's spirit flips to unrelated 2,000 year old deity mantra - in their reality, the winter solstice is a mere hindrance to their pious preaching; where divine rhetoric smears factual content.
Sadly, commercialism is the people's religion now, and Christmas presents are the main focus - for me? My 'Special Uncle' mug came with a hug.
Baby CrazyEgg has been fed by nasogastric tube her entire life, 18 months thereabouts. She was very premature, and had mixed success with drinking from bottles. (And no success with drinking from the breast I might add, but I had been using a breast pump for about five months by that point, and Baby CrazyEgg's technique was just not the same as the Medela Symphony, with its adjustable speeds and strengths of 'suck'.). When she had a bit of a choking episode there were fears that she might aspirate, or inhale the milk, which would be very dangerous. So we moved to tube feeds only, and we learned how to insert a nasogastric tube, test its position and deliver a feed through bolus set and later with a pump. When we were competent, and oxygen installed at home because she still needed this too, we all went home.
We had fantastic support feeding wise, from a dietician and a speech therapist. We have also been lucky to live in an area where all the equipment for tube feeds can be delivered to our home on a monthly basis. So each month we get a delivery of 140 500ml bottles; 140 feeding kits that attach the bottles to the pump; syringes (lots);nasogastric tubes (they last seven days in theory, but Baby CrazyEgg can make short work of them); pH testing strips, for checking that the end of the tube is in the stomach; duoderm and tegaderm, the sticky tapes that keep the tube attached to Baby's cheek, and of course the formula, tins and tins of it. Storage has been an issue. So has recyling. We had to request a larger bin from the council, and recycle cans and glass separately to ensure there is space for the rest of the stuff. The bottles are single use only you see. The last delivery came when we were back in hospital and our neighbours took the whole lot in for us: so kind.
Anyway, we have practiced this eating and drinking business all year. At first we had to dip our fingers in milk and let Baby CrazyEgg taste it before and during the feed so that she made a connection between a nice taste in her mouth and a full tum. Then to purée off a finger, and then a spoon. Weeks later, liquid from a cup. Then a weaning product was ordered, a high calorie powder to mix in her food and boost her intake. The 3am feed was dropped and later the 11 pm feed, and as Baby began to eat a little her formula was reduced to encourage hunger. The hunger encouraged eating and she began to be eating half jars of purée. Then she was ill and everything went backwards, with her being fed solely by tube again, and needing to put on weight as a priority.
But now she is better, and her eating as good as it has ever been.
On Monday after discussion with the dietician, we had a plan to take out the tube later this week and see whether this would give Baby CrazyEgg the push she needs to eat and drink more. (She has now convinced everyone that she is safe in her eating and drinking). But at 5am yesterday there was a small squeak and a cough that I heard over the monitor that told me the tube was out. I went in to Baby CrazyEgg's room and with a huge gummy-and-slightly-toothy grin she handed me one nasogastric tube and a piece of mangled, chewed tegaderm. (Never did find the duoderm- yikes!). I took them off her in a bleary-eyed haze, and she did the double leg thrust of triumph. The no-tube experiment started early.
Day one was ok. She clearly had a lower intake than normal, but this was to be expected. Today she has done well, but her sleeping and eating patterns are all over the place as her body adjusts to this new regime. We are going to try a third day and reassess based on all the relevant factors: plenty of wet nappies? Poo? Baby's colour ok? Anything weird happening? And of course, is she actually eating and drinking?
Tube feeds for us take about an hour to an hour and a half. We have had so much time these past couple of days to do other things. It has been great. It is a weirdly joyous happening, but I find I am now very anxious that she is eating and drinking enough. We know that weight is usually lost during the tube to no tube transition and that is hard. It's really not easy. But we are so lucky to have got to this stage, when many others never do. We might have to have several trials like this if Baby CrazyEgg does not click that she has to get all her calories and nutrients herself.
But if and when she manages it, it will be the best Christmas present ever.
If you can, please send some positive vibes Baby CrazyEgg's way. x
If you are a staunch believer in Father Christmas, you may wish to look away now...
For me, the answer to what was 'My Best Christmas Present Ever'? came when I was about five years old, and the gift itself didn't actually arrive on Christmas Day. It began very early one Christmas morning, when I was still lying wide awake - at about 2am, I think. My bedroom door opened slowly and quietly, and I could hear my parents whispering in the hall outside: 'Is she asleep yet?' I perkily replied that no I wasn't, and was it Christmas yet?
A little while after Christmas, it dawned on me that it hadn't been Santa Claus trying to ascertain whether I was safely asleep or not, but my parents. I knew then that Father Christmas/Santa Claus was just a myth, and I was thrilled to bits! Knowing that it was my loving and much loved parents who were the source of Christmas delights was such a wonderful thought, and it made me very happy.
I got official confirmation of this fact by asking my mother whether my suspicions were correct, and she told me that yes, Father Christmas was just a lovely story, and that she and my dad were the providers of my Christmas treasures. She warned me sternly not to tell my brother, as he was only three and was still a devout believer in the Santa myth. But I was so excited that I went straight into the next room and told him all about my joyful discovery. I thought he'd be as happy about it as I was. He wasn't. It was my poor teddy bear who suffered the consequences, as he very quickly had one of his arms pulled off in a gesture of fairly understandable revenge.
In spite of my brother's reaction, this has always remained a very positive and happy memory for me - knowing that my parents were the source of Christmas Day joy - and for me, that sums up what my family means to me, and how special it is to share Christmas with them. My parents will be spending Christmas Day with myself and my husband, and I already have a lovely stash of gifts for them both. I spoke to them earlier this afternoon to discuss what time they should arrive, and we finally settled on 11.30 - even though I think my Dad wanted to be here at 9am!
(A slightly different version of this review is on Ciao, under the same user name.)
I love Christmas, the one where everybody is happy and more eager than ever to do good deeds. Where material concerns are not important, a gift is a gift no matter what it cost and everybody loves each other.
This is the Christmas I've always tried to create for my family, and my parents despite not being overly well off did their best to create for my sister and I. We never really had the sibling rivalry thing about presents partly because there is a 7 year gap between us and we had very different interests too, so the comparison of pressies never really meant anything. I would have been delighted if my 'pile' consisted only of books, weird little boxes, stationery and anything to do with animals. Whereas little sister would squeal over dollies, toiletries and clothes.
As I'm sure you've guessed my best present comes from my childhood, this is in part because once we passed the age of 16 our parents stopped giving Christmas presents as such, and my husband and I only had one Christmas together before our eldest daughter was born. So since then we haven't really exchanged many Christmas presents other than the occasional token gifts which were lovely but not of a memorable nature. We don't mind this as it gives us great great pleasure to see our girls glowing.
The best present I ever received was when I was about 8 years old. However the preceding year I had received what I remember as my least suitable. It was a gorgeous toy pram and a tiny tears to fit into it, the pram was a sturdy toy and an almost perfectly formed replica of a full size version. I should have loved it it was a beautiful present. . . but for someone else. Sadly it really didn't mean anything to me at all other than the 'love' it represented of course. I simply had no inclination to play with dolls and didn't really 'get' what you were supposed to do with it.
My mother recalls watching me through the window one day in the spring wheeling the pram loaded up with dollies down the garden and feeling happy that I seemed to have realised what to do with it. She became slightly concerned as I dragged the pram and its contents backwards up the steep wooded bank at the bottom end of our garden. Struggling to heave the heavy weight over the semi wild landscape of ruts, tufts of thick tufts of grass and saplings. Just as she came into the garden I levelled up the pram and seemed to be sizing up a route back down. I gave it an almighty push and watched it careering down the hill throwing dolls out as it went. It hit the big oak tree at the bottom of the bank with a satisfying thunk. All became clear when I spent the rest of the afternoon happily playing doctor fixing up the dolls 'injured' in the accident in the living room. With biro to mimic blood, plasters and bandages to hold damaged bits together. I noticed 'Tiny Tears' had one eye spun back into her head, I felt a bit guilty about damaging it permanently, but was happy to find some cotton wool pads, and an eye patch (I've no idea why we had one in the medicine cabinet) to cover it up. I felt it gave her personality and a rakish air.
This was when I was 7 years old and was clearly not my best Christmas present, it actually ranks amongst the worst judged I could have received.
Next year a little more thought was put into the present, and rather than pander to gender stereotypes my parents actually thought about what I liked not what little girls 'should' like.
I snuck down to the living room at 4a.m. on Christmas morning excited as always to see what Santa had left and what I saw took my breath away. A beautiful child/adolescent sized wooden desk, the old fashioned type with a slanted surface and lift up lid. It was painted a lovely sky blue with a big transfer of a soft fluffy bunny in the centre. There was a me sized wooden chair to match and not only were these perfect in themselves, but when I opened the lid I really did squeal with pure delight. It was filled literally to the brim with paper of all sorts, plain white, coloured paper and card, scrap books, note pads, hard backed writing books, pretty letter stationery. Not only that but there were selections of pens, biros in all sorts of colours, those pens with multicoloured inks in one pen, a fountain pen, coloured felt tips, and paints, even plasticine. I was completely overwhelmed and beside myself with glee.
I found out many years later that my grandfather had made the desk and chair for me himself, he was a carpenter and was very very good. I still remember the smell of the wooden unpainted interior of the desk, also the scent of the paper, the smell of pine or stationery still takes me right back to that moment.
All it cost was the price of the paint, transfers and contents (the wood was taken from scraps at the yard at which my grandfather worked with the owners blessing) and it was a present I cherished. Sadly when I hit my late teens my mother passed my desk on to a younger cousin without asking me. I feel mean saying this as I like to share and am normally happy to pass things on but this was one present that I would never have parted with given the choice. As is often the case the memory is bitter sweet as I no longer have the desk, but it still brings a smile to my face none the less.
My Best Christmas Present ever:
What makes a good Christmas present? I don't think it is to do with money, I don't think it has to do with size it all comes down to the thought and the feeling behind the present. Growing up it was all about things being fair, did my parents spend as much on me as they did on my siblings and did I get bigger presents and more impressive presents that everyone else. I once got a Power Rangers Megazord that at the time I thought there was no way it could be beaten.
Anyway over the years I have of course come to realise that there are much more important things than the Power Rangers, even if there aren't that many. So last year I really had no clue what to get from my parents, they are normally good at getting things and know me really well so know what I like. So last year I had been to lots and lots of cricket games, I love cricket and so does my partner, so last Christmas they ended up getting us membership for our local cricket team. This was a fantastic present that kept on giving, we went to so many games I really haven't kept count, we went to lots of the shorter format games (for those who don't know 20 and 40 over games) and looking back on the year some of these games and moment in these games are a real highlight and I really enjoyed going. It actually culminated in us going to a quarter final match of my team against the mother in laws team and whilst the game went the wrong way we introduced my mother in law, who is a huge fan of cricket, to live cricket and she loved the experience. At said quarter final we were being good and supporting both the home and away teams and so when the away team hit a 6 and we were waving our banners we ended up live on Sky Sports and this was recorded by my parents and is now in my possession and is going into my partners present that I will write about later as I think it is going to be the best present I have ever given.
The above present however is probably the second best present I have ever had, the best one I have ever got was given to me also last year but by my partner. This time last year we were sort of living together, I had moved most of my stuff in and it was only really a matter of time before it was finalised and well at Christmas she gave me keys to her flat (I was living with my parents so we were only ever going to move into her place). This of course meant a lot, true we were already talking about getting engaged after only 3 months of dating (we were good friends before this) and did get engaged after 6 months and living together really cemented things in place. So yeah my best present ever was keys to the flat and moving in with my partner.
The best present I have ever given though is hopefully going to be the one that I am giving to my partner this year. We are quite poor off at the moment, well poor may be not the right word but money is tight when you are saving for a wedding. So this year we set a cap on how much we can spend on each other (£25) and I had to ponder what I was going to do. My partner is a really sentimental person and so I wanted to make something that would be special to her and that she can keep forever. I ended up coming up with the idea of making her a scrap book type thing. In this I have stuck lots of memories from the build-up of our time together as friends and then since we have started going out and up until now. I have put in lots of text messages, e-mails, pictures and facebook status updates from friends and family that I thought she would like to see. I however thought that this was not enough and might be too simple, so I have decided to make her a DVD. The main focus off this DVD is our cat, she is nuts and so I have plenty of great footage but I have also added in personal mementos such as the above mentioned video at the cricket and photos from our 1 year anniversary weekend away in London and what I hope will be the icing on the cake is personal messages from friends and family. I have asked people from literally all around the world including America and Brazil to make personal messages to my partner so that I can put them in my DVD.
Anyway this is the story of my favourite Christmas presents and of what I hope to be my favourite gift to have given.
I love Christmas, I am not a greedy or spoilt person, but there's something about getting nice indulgent gifts one day a year that really floats my boat!
As kids we never had a lot, we were quite skint, more so than these days and we didn't ever have the latest trainers, and the latest computer games. Having said that we never went without - just maybe an alternative. I remember my Mam making us costumes for school rather than buying them, or getting hand me down uniforms and shoes rather than new (this is still something I love now!), we would get 2nd hand toys at Christmas, and instead of having money and material things thrown at us we were absolutely (and still are) showered in love. I remember our record player being repossessed and my Mam crying when they took her U2 LPs and I remember my Dad doing bootsales every week and working what seemed like 24/7 as a Taxi driver. He even used to work Christmas day, so really I guess the 4 of us being together on Christmas day was a pretty great gift in itself.
The best and most memorable Christmas was the year I got a book and a bike pump. We got up early, excited, to a morning full of promise (me and my sister were about 10 and 7). We woke our Mam and Dad up and all ran downstairs to be greeted by two presents each. I'd had a flat on my bike for ages and Dad had kept promising to fix it, so a little disappointed, me and my sister opened our bike pump (between the two of us), and our book. Mine was a copy of How do they do that? It told you all about how they do weird and wonderful things, like make stamps adhesive or get toothpaste in to tubes. Really great. My parents said to us 'we are too broke this year to get you much and Santa said you had been such good girls we had to get you a book each, because that's all we can afford, now lets go and make some toast for breakfast' we were both a little gutted, but grateful for what we had and desperate not to show our disappointment to our Mam and Dad as we loved them so much and they always did their best for us... I can remember thinking we must be really poor, this has never happened, we always have no money, but we always have had presents for birthdays and Christmas.
We went in to the kitchen, and there, in all their glory were two pink and white bikes. One each! I have never been happier, it was brilliant, I went straight out on it, riding all over, calling on my friends! It was the best Christmas ever. Looking back they were only 2nd hand bikes and mine was a racer bike and I couldn't really ride it very well as it was a bit big, but we (me and my sis) were never happier. It was an amazing present and it was a great Christmas.
There have since been many, much more expensive and much loved gifts, but this remains my favourite.
My mother, ten children, girlfriends, boyfriends, uncles, aunts, cousins... with the surreptitious arrival of Christmas Eve so did the guests arrive - in droves - and with them platters of food, bottles of wine, beer and whiskey, musical instruments (everyone in my family knew how to play at least one instrument), and a veritable mountain of fur coats strewn over every bed in the house, coats that I would crawl under when Christmas finally managed to sap my youthful energy, and I would hug close to me, petting the soft minks until my eyes closed and I fell asleep under a pile of soft fur coats that carried the scent of their owners' expensive perfumes.
Christmas back then meant not sleeping until Boxing Day, which was, incidentally, my birthday - unmarked because it was forgotten in the excitement of Christmas, but mostly because we were dirt poor and my mother could just barely manage to scrape enough money together to purchase Christmas gifts - but I didn't mind, it was Christmas and the guests who owned the expensive perfumes and fur coats always brought gifts for us... apart from a chaotic and sleepless two days during which time we sang, danced, played instruments and laughed until our stuffed bellies ached and tears cascaded down our cheeks, apart from the occasional outburst that only someone who was borne into a large family would understand, apart from that one single uncle who always drank too much and either tried to strip naked, talked too loudly or wept in a corner of the room, apart from the queue my mother made us stand in beside the telephone so that we could wish our father and his wealthy new wife a Merry Christmas - because, as we were constantly reminded, he was our father and we needed to show respect, especially during Christmas, and regardless that he hadn't sent us any gifts or sent my mother money - apart from everything that could go wrong and often did when fifty plus people were crammed into a three-bedroom flat located in a ramshackle building on the third floor that came without an elevator, my childhood Christmases were nothing if not... memorable.
The year I turned fifteen, unmarked as usual, was the very last Christmas I would ever celebrate in our chaotic family tradition. My mother would die the following October from cancer and Christmas did not make an appearance that year - the following year, without the family matriarch to remind us that we were family, we grew further apart... and then ten children went down to nine, eight, seven, six, five, four... and today we are three. One still living in Canada, me in England and the third... lost... I don't know where.
Christmas, for many years, was a time of bittersweet memories and desperate longings - life had changed, and I refused to acknowledge that Christmas could still be Christmas without a large family... my family.
Older, wiser, my heart still aches during the Christmas season when I am left alone with my memories, but the sadness isn't what it used to be, and I sometimes even catch myself smiling. Of course... it's been 32 years since I celebrated Christmas with my mother, my brothers and sisters, the aunts with their expensive and wonderfully soft and sweet-smelling mink coats, the uncles who sang boisterously, including that one uncle who drank too much and tried to strip naked, talked too loudly or wept in a corner of the room, the sporadic bickering as my sisters attempted to steal each others' boyfriends, or the long queue in the hallway beside the telephone as we waited to wish my father and his wealthy new wife a Merry Christmas... it's been 32 years, and I have watched a 'Christmas Carol' over a hundred times and wept during that scene when Scrooge is having fun during a Christmas party in his younger days because I too once experienced such a wonderful Christmas... it's been 32 years, and in all those 32 Christmases that have marked the passage of time, never have I managed to forget what once was... or to relive the Christmases of my youth.
Christmas is now marked by a lovely dinner prepared by my mother-in-law, lively chatter around the dinner table, the opening of gifts that have been placed beneath a beautifully decorated tree, Christmas songs playing on the radio in the background, and a warm atmosphere created by a strong and loving husband. The children don't always show up... priorities have changed... but Christmas, with or without its ghosts, remains a steadfast beacon in my life, marking the passage of time... and always filling me with hope.
What was my best Christmas present ever?
The memories I now carry with me always.
Whenever I think of my best christmas present, there is only one thing that comes straight into my mind with no doubt. Not only is it my best present ever but also one of my first memories.
- My Story -
I had just celebrated my 3rd birthday which also falls in December, a little over a week away from christmas.
My mum took me into our local toy shop. I remember going into the small shop and heading to the very back.
Studying the shelves I saw something that was perfect and just what I really wanted more than anything else!
That's all I remember, but obviously my mum paid for it and we took it home.
The few days leading up to christmas dragged so much and felt more like years.
But the big day finally arrived, Yay! And being the tender age of 3, waking up very early in the morning is always a must.
I remember rushing downstairs and asking my mum to find me that special present so I could open it first.
Sat down by the christmas tree with mountains of presents for me and my older sister I looked to see if I recognise the shape, sadly I didn't know which one it was.
My mum started handing out the presents and the excitement from me was mental!
I opened the first package, well more like ripped it open to see what I had been waiting for. But no, my mum decided it would be fun to not give me my special thing first!
Eventually a present was handed over to me which looked around the right size, I ripped the paper off to see my amazing .... dolly!
Yes, it was just a simple plastic headed dolly, with a tummy you can press to make her say 'Mama'.
She fits into early baby clothes so around the same size of a premature baby and has blue eyes with eye lids that blink.
But to me, a 3 year old at the time.. this dolly was perfect and the best christmas present ever!
- Now...? -
I still have my dolly, Bethanie. She's a little bit rugged around the edges due to the amount of times she has been cuddled, put into suitcases washed, thrown down the stairs etc.
And because she was thrown down the stairs in a strop, her tummy got a bit mangled. She had to have the part that made her talk taken out and a T-Shirt put in, in it's place.
But other than that she's almost as good as new! And sits proudly in my wardrobe. Not to mention a very well travelled piece of plastic!
My dolly is coming up to 16 years old and I still have the pink babygro she came in.
- Overall -
Overall, some people may think a dolly is a bit silly to have as a best present. But she is one of my first memories and my favourite toy through out my childhood.
Other than my dolly, my next best present would be my white gold necklace which I got last year.
I actually got it on my birthday, but my birthday is very close to christmas so I say it still counts!
Thanks For Reading.
Christmas is a time for giving and of course recieving, but for me the main satisfaction i get is giving a present to somebody and seeing the joy on peoples faces.
As for my best christmas present ever, i could be very materialistic and say that my wii fit and new digital camera that i recieved from Santa this year are my best presents ever, or i could say when i was 15 and my parents bought me a cello how that was the best present ever and not forgetting my roller skates when i was 7! Each year i recieve presents and each year there is something that is my best present ever as each year i have wanted something different, but the best presents are always the suprises.
On the none materialistic present and the one that really is the best present ever is my husband returning from Afghanistan safely this year and being able to share this christmas with him unlike last year, now that to me is a real present and i would like to think far from materialistic.
I was looking through the topics trying to decide what my next review would be about, I knew that I wanted to write about something different that really meant something to me, this title just jumped out at me and I knew exactly what I was going to write about...
So here goes the best ever Christmas present for me was on Christmas day 2007, I was really looking forward to Christmas, we had decided that as it would be our sons first Christmas and the previous years Christmases hadn't been the best or happiest for us we had to make this one really special (not that we thought that he would understand) for all the family.
We started the day late as this little man from a week old had not liked early mornings so it was about 10.30 when we finally managed to get him out of bed we took him downstairs to see what Santa had bought for him, we unwrapped all of our presents and I started dinner while the little one explored his toys.
The other halves parents came round for dinner I had done a big spread with three kinds of meat, 6 types of vegetables, roast potatoes, mash potatoes, Yorkshire puddings few bottles of wine etc, with my partners family being Italian the meal is the most important part of the day, we had a great dinner sat chatting drinking wine and watched the Jim Davidson DVD that we had bought for his dad ..this has since become some what of a tradition. The day had been great. At 6 my parents came round to see us, we had put on a couple of nibbles for us all not that any of us needed them; we relaxed chatting in the living room where the little one opened a few more Christmas presents with my mum and dad (we didn't mind this as he was too young to know about Santa bringing presents etc) we had been chatting and playing with Hayden for a little while when out of the blue he pulled himself up onto the poof without too much effort and started cautiously walking across the length of the living room to where I was sat. We all sat their stunned as this was a completely out of the blue, a complete shock as he hadn't really crawled or attempted to walk at all before let alone manage to make it all the way across the living room, He walked back and forth between myself and my dad a good few more times without stumbling, we were all sat there cheering and clapping telling him how he was such a clever boy for walking, he had the biggest smile across his face but so did the rest of us it was the most amazing thing for me and I felt like the proudest mum in the world, my little boy was walking it was a miracle and by far a better Christmas present than anyone could have bought for me. It was the talk in the family for quite a few months after and even to this day it still pops up in conversation so I think that this was by far the best Christmas present for us all
Having read others' reviews on their best Christmas present ever, I was trying to think of mine, and couldn't.........then I felt pretty yuk, because I reckon that if you don't have a best present ever, then you must just take everything for granted and be an ungrateful so and so......and I didn't want that to be me.
Then it came to me, quite easily - my best present was from my Mum and it was three years ago,
It was my first Christmas since my Dad had died, and as such I was really not bothered about the whole Christmas thing - I had warned people that I was going to be a miserable mare, and I just wanted Christmas to pass me by so that I could tick that box that said "First Christmas without Dad". And that is pretty much what happened - everyone tried really hard to chivvy me along, but in my own self centered little world, no-one could possibly do or say anything that would encourage me to have fun.
Because of my inability to choose to enjoy Christmas that year, opening my presents was a bit automatic - anyone who watched me open my presents that year would be well within their rights never to buy anything for me ever again - I really was not a pleasant person, (not intentional, just the way it all was) and for that I really do apologise.
So when I opened my gift from my Mum, I gave the same ungrateful grunt, and it was only several months later when I really looked at what I had and have loved it ever since.
My present was a beautiful lilac soft leather filofax. It is a delight to touch, is very practical and houses my very hectic lifestyle so ensures I don't miss any of the childrens activities, or extra work shifts etc etc etc, and I would be lost without it.
Now, many of you would say that any diary would do the same thing, and yes it would to a certain extent - but when my Mum saw that filofax, she saw that it was right for me - she knew it would not only be useful but would be lovely to have, rather than just a practical year diary that you discard at the end of the year.
My filofax accompanies me everywhere - it fits nicely into all my handbags, and although it took me a while to appreciate it, I am incredibly grateful for it, and for the thought that went behind it.
And I apologise for being so ungrateful about everything else.......I am a nice person really!
I often think about my best Christmas present ever even though it was a long time ago now. It was Christmas 1979 and things were a bit tight to say the least in our household. We were a family of 6, Mum, Dad and four kids, at that time aged between 7 and 17 plus 2 dogs.
For some reason that year things had been quite stretched economically, we had already noticed that we hadn't been on holiday that summer for the first time since I had been born. Our holidays had never been extravagant affairs consisting of six weeks spent camping in North Wales (Dad would come for the first two weeks and then would leave us there and come back at weekends). Dad was an engineer and Mum was a night sister, it turned out that there was an overtime ban at Dad's factory and so the parents were struggling a bit. A poorly timed gas bill had added to their woes.
In spite of this, like any parent they wanted to give us a good Christmas. So, unbeknownst to us preparations started early that year. At the hospital Mum worked at she was already part of one of those hamper schemes, where you pay on a monthly basis and get a hamper full of all kinds of wonderful food items just before Christmas, so that was part of the food taken care of. It was the presents that they had to be more creative about. My parents grew up during the war years so certainly had plenty of experience of creating something out of nothing.
During those few weeks leading up to Christmas for some reason that I couldn't fathom, the garage was out of bounds. I knew that Dad was out there most nights and there seem to be a lot of banging and the odd swear word from time to time.
Mum also seemed to be busy and could often be found hiding things away.
Being a child of 8, I didn't have too many suspicions and just assumed that they were busy. All became clear on Christmas morning. Unlike the children of today who have a more relaxed attitude to getting up on the best day of the year, in the seventies we still belonged to the group of kids who got up ridiculously early on that day eager to see if Santa had been and left something for good girls and boys. Along with my partner in crime, my younger brother, Don, we raced downstairs desperate to see what had been left.
I can still remember opening those presents. I cannot say that there were any less than usual because as a child I didn't notice things like that but when we opened our presents they were different from what we had had in previous years. My main present was two beautiful wooden beds made especially for my Sindy dolls. They were matching and had their own bedding (made by my my Auntie) and each one had an integral drawer in which I would be able to keep any clothes or shoes belonging to Sindy. So that is what Dad had been up to in the garage! Next, I opened some lovely knitted clothes for my dollies. Mum has always been a good knitter and had spent many an evening on night shift at the hospital knitting dresses, bonnets and cardigans in various colours. I also got a lovely tea-set which mum had picked up second-hand at a Christmas fayre. Even as a kid I was so incredibly touched that my parents had gone to so much trouble and taken so much time to ensure that we still had things to open on Christmas day. I was a very sensitive child and it really meant so much to me.
We had other years following that where things were much improved financially but they have faded in my memory and I will always remember that Christmas when it became clear to me that it is not how much money you spend but how much love you put into a present.
Since it's nearly Christmas, I thought I'd spread some Christmas cheer, hope you enjoy!
Adam spent most of the day writing his first letter to Santa, telling Santa that he had been a good boy all year and listing all the things that he wanted for Christmas. Not that he wanted much, just a few toys and a bike. Finally he was finished and his mum folded the letter and put it in an envelope.
"Mum, where does Santa live?" asked Adam.
"Nobody is really sure where he lives, only that it's a magical place, far, far away, where Santa and his bunch of merry helpers work throughout the year to make dreams come true for special little children like you" his mum answered.
"So how do you know what address to put on the envelope?" asked Adam, starting to worry Santa wouldn't get his letter and would bypass his house come Christmas Day.
"Easy, I'll just address it to 'Santa' and the postman will know exactly where it is to go, and as long as you keep being good, I'm sure Santa will bring you just what you want."
Adam's mum wrote 'Santa' on the front of the envelope and put a first class stamp on the front, telling Adam that she wanted to make sure Santa got the letter as early as possible so he could put his helpers to work making his presents. "Shall we go post your letter now?"
"Yes, yes, yes!!!" exclaimed Adam, rushing for his shoes and jacket.
A few minutes later they were on the way to the nearest post box, just a few streets away. Arriving at the post box, his mum lifted Adam up so that he could post the letter himself. Just as he was about to put the envelope in the slot, an amazing and magical thing happened - a door appeared in the post box and an elf popped his head out.
"Ah, Adam I presume, I've been waiting ages for you - Santa sent me to get you when he heard you'd started to write a letter to him. I've to take you and your mum to meet him, Santa wants to hear what you want in person. Now, Adam, take my right hand and take your left hand to hold onto your mum. Hold on tight now, we don't want to lose anyone along the way"
Adam was shocked, he'd never heard of this happening when you posted your letter to Santa. His mum though was even more shocked; so shocked that when Adam grabbed her hand and started following the elf into the post box so didn't have a chance to hesitate.
The three of them went into the post box, but surprisingly for Adam's mum, it wasn't cramped, but very, very spacious, full of bring lights, and corridors leading off in all directions.
"Oh every post box is like this inside" said the elf, noticing the look of bewilderment on their faces. "We use the tunnels to come to each and every post box around the world to collect all the letters for Santa. Santa moves around a lot so the postmen don't always know where to find us and we wouldn't want any letters getting lost would we? So we elves collect the letters, each and every day, and take them back to Santa. Now, follow me, quickly now, I need to get you to Santa before I start collecting letters."
And with that the elf was off, down one of the corridors. Adam, still holding his mums hand, followed quickly behind the elf, not wanting to get lost in the mass of corridors.
After only a few minutes walking, they ended up at a dead end, or so they thought. The elf told them to hold hands again, close their eyes, and, on the count of three, say "Santa!"
They were transported from a quiet, cold corridor to somewhere warm, and noisy. There was singing, hammering, and music, talking and sawing, all at the same time. Slowly Kate opened her eyes, and was amazed to be standing in front of Santa, in the middle of a massive factory, a colourful, bright factory like no other she had ever seen, where hundreds, thousands even, of elves happily sang and danced while they assembled toys.
"You can open your eyes now Adam, you've arrived" Santa said merrily.
Adam slowly opened his eyes, looking first at Santa, then at his mum, back at Santa, and then slowly looking all round, taking in the sight of all the different types of toys in wonderful colours, toys he had never seen nor imagined before.
"Mummy, where am I?" Adam asked,
"You're in my factory Adam" replied Santa. "We're somewhere in the middle of Lapland, I can't quite remember exactly where, we move around so often so that inquisitive little children like you can't find us. But every so often I hear of special boys and girls, who are good for their parents all year round, and you never ask for much, and I reward them with a special treat - I bring them here and my elves make them whatever they wish for Christmas. So, my dear child, why don't you tell me what you want? And remember, it doesn't need to be a real toy, my elves can design and make anything you want!"
Adam thought for a few seconds before finally deciding on a train set, a wooden train set with brightly coloured carriages, with stations with people, fields with sheep, and shops with real sweeties.
Santa laughed, "If that is your wish, my elves had better get to work. Now, follow me."
And with that, Santa turned and hurried off towards a door in the corner of the factory.
"Through this door, your dreams will come true"
The door opened automatically, and Adam's eyes lit up as he spotted the biggest train set he had ever seen. It stretched high up on hills, reaching up into the sky.
"Sorry, my elves are a bit slow today", Santa said as he spotted the elves still finishing off the hills.
"Now, Adam, climb on board the train and it'll take you home, and I'll have it boxed up for you on Christmas day".
Adam laughed, "But Santa, I'm far too big to fit on that train, it's just a -"
Santa cut him off. "It's not just a toy Adam. No, no, no. Remember, you're in a magical factory, where every dream comes true. If you try to get into the train, you will get on. Even your mother will get on. As long as you both believe"
With that, Adam and his mum opened the train door, and, amazingly, the train was big enough inside for them to fit inside. As soon as the door was closed, the train started to move along its tracks. After a few minutes of zooming through dark tunnels, the train started to slow down until it stopped at a red station. An announcement came over the tannoy "All off the train - end of the road - all of the train."
Adam and his mum stepped off the train, and quickly realised they were back in the post box. By that time, they had been gone for hours. Yet, strangely, nothing had changed. The same cars were stopped at the traffic lights; the same dog was sniffing around the tree next to the post box. Time had seemingly stood still whilst they were away.
Kate and Adam never told anyone about their adventure in the post box - Adam was too frightened that if he told anyone Santa would find out and he wouldn't get his special wish, and his mum never told anyone as she didn't think anyone would have believed her!
Was it a dream, or did they really travel to Lapland via the post box? No-body can ever be sure, but their story does explain one thing - how does a letter addressed simply to 'Santa' get to the correct destination...
Christmas is my favourite time of the year and I must admit to getting very excited in the run up to it. In fact I think I am almost as excited about it as my children!! It hasn't always been like that. As a child we didn't have very much (yes sob sob!) and in fact christmas seem to be a neverending circle of arguments. But then I met my now husband and everything changed. Over the years I have had 2 'best christmas presents ever' and neither were material based. My first was that my husband proposed to me at midnight on christmas eve. It was wonderful and romantic and I will never forget it. The second was several years later when our daughter was born on christmas eve!! That was rather a surprise as she was not due until the middle of January. The best bit about it was we had been told we couldn't have any children and had tried for several years before I got pregnant quite out of the blue!! It was wonderful and was made extra special because she was born on Christmas Eve. Of course now she is 10 she hates having her birthday at christmas, but we always tell her she is lucky and that she was a very special christmas present for us. I suppose in the short term she didn't cost much as a present but long term she's cost a fortune!
My favourite Christmas present was given to me two years ago, and was a tiffany heart necklace. It was given to me by my aunt, and thats why it is so important to me.
My aunt died just over 2 years ago. She had already bought my Christmas present and wrapped it up and everything... It was like she knew what was going to happen to her. When I recieved her present I cried so much. I don't think it would have meant so much to me if she had been alive, but the fact that it was as though it had come from the grave and she had thought of this before she had died.
I know, tiffany necklaces are expensive, but that is not the reason I appreciate it as much as I do. I loved my aunt so much and was so devestated when she died, and this necklace is just like a constant reminder of who she was. I didn't take it off for months after I got it, and now I've gotten back into the routine of wearing it constantly. I don't think anything I ever recieve will mean as much to me as that necklace. It makes me think of her and brave she was battling the cancer which killed her.
I'm sorry this turned into such a ramble about my aunt. But nothing is ever going to replace what an amazing present that necklace was.