All Kerry Thomson wants for Christmas is…

“So, are you all set?” There is only one type of person who asks this question. And they are usually equipped with the sort of unbridled enthusiasm normally only seen in game shows quite far down the channel list. I am not that person. I’m not even set for Monday – never mind the festive visit from the big guy, these days closely preceded by his new and nimble shelf-dwelling-skinny-legged-third-cousin. Now don’t get me wrong, I love this time of year. I look forward to it in fact. And yet still somehow every Christmas, it sort of is December quite suddenly. The rhyme should go “30 days has September, April, June and November, has about three”.

So, while I was pondering about what to buy for everyone else, it got me thinking about the five gifts I’ve enjoyed this year, the sort you buy for yourself – because I really have been very, very good…

  1. A Cleaner

Yes, I do that thing of ‘cleaning for the cleaner coming’. The ironing is not lost. It is in fact tucked in the drawer under the bed.

In seriousness, having a cleaner has changed my life. It started as a luxury, but is now something I now count as a necessity when working full time and living with a great big hairy creature (a retriever not my husband). Add that to the mix of school, work, homework, commuting, making chocolate reindeers out of cereal boxes at 11pm… But do I still feel like I have to justify it? Yes!

In my family if you say you are even considering getting someone in to do some painting for example, every relative I know will instantly arrive at the front door, slightly irate, equipped with roller brushes. But for now, in this stage of our lives, the cleaner is staying. Now that we have a cleaner in the equation, I am delighted to report we can resume our romantic texts about the important things – like who’s bringing milk home and what’s for tea.

Such a simple thing, but a nice salad bowl – WITH A BUILT-IN SPORK – brings me more joy than I could have ever imagined.

  1. Proper Tupperware

I turned 40 this year. It felt like the right time to make some significant life changes and to stop bringing my salad into work in a Carte D’or ice cream tub. Little did I realise the myriad choice of lunch and snack receptacles out there!  Such a simple thing, but a nice salad bowl – WITH A BUILT-IN SPORK – brings me more joy than I could have ever imagined.

  1. One of those big sturdy things that holds Sellotape

Now, stick with me on this one. This humble device is one of those, “Why on earth did I not buy this sooner!” items. I have school-aged children. Both in large classes. Now, I am no mathematician, but at a very rough estimation, I

have spent 28,392 hours at birthday parties and in soft play centres this year. There have been quite a few gifts to wrap, and every time, until recently, I can’t find the Sellotape until usually about seven minutes before we are due to arrive at said party and I am trying to deconstruct something to get Sellotape from it. Then I hurt my teeth trying to rip it off. Never mind penicillin or the iPhone – whoever invented this bad boy should be knighted.

  1. Loungewear

I think that may be the first time I have actually typed that word. It even looks indulgent written down. Until this year, there was a running joke in our house that I have two dress codes, I either look like I’m going to court or to the Caribbean. There was no in-between. Enter loungewear. Ten years ago, I was all about going ‘Out, Out!’ I am now all about staying ‘In, In’. A cheap but nice velour hoodie (a little footballers’ wives circa early 2000s but I figure it’s now so long ago it must be retro chic-ish) and some nice leggings/pyjama bottoms. I now have the freedom to answer the door, receive the Tesco delivery with confidence, even pop the rubbish out to the main bin – all while looking grown-up, respectable and comfortable. Or to sit on the settee, drink wine and eat crisps.

  1. A really good tin opener

I feel I could be opening a can of worms with this one. Metaphorically not literally (although the grip is so amazing on this thing, I think it could handle even the slipperiest of contents). Think how many tins you open in a year – tuna, dog food, beans. Every time I see this lovely little device glide around the edges in one smooth direction, with no mess, no jagged-edges and no fuss it makes me happy. I need to get out more, agreed. See above.

“The best gift I received this year was perspective.”

I said five gifts. But that’s the thing with gifts for yourself, it’s a bit too easy to add an extra one to the list. And this one is a serious one. The best gift I received this year was perspective. It didn’t come wrapped up with a bow, but with some hard times attached and the loss of someone I loved very much. But it reminded me about what, and who, is important. So, this year, amongst the pre-Christmas cleaning, the list making, the wrapping, the lounging and the eating – hold on tight to the people you love, for whatever time you have them. Enjoy their presence more than their presents. And when they bug the absolute life out of you – google Barbantia® tin opener and add to basket…

Nadia Duncan

Author: Nadia Duncan

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