All I want for Christmas . . .

All I want for Christmas is…..nothing!! Seriously, the truth is most of us don’t need anything – we all buy ourselves what we need and Christmas presents are just a bonus. We spend our lives cleaning clutter out of our lives only for it to fill up like an avalanche pushing through the door at Christmas.

All I want for Christmas is…..nothing!! Seriously, the truth is most of us don’t need anything – we all buy ourselves what we need and Christmas presents are just a bonus. We spend our lives cleaning clutter out of our lives only for it to fill up like an avalanche pushing through the door at Christmas.

Also, whoever thinks to themselves – “Gosh, I wish I’d spent more this year on presents”, when they are counting the costs of their splurges in January. Aren’t we tired by now of just throwing money at it? Any dope can run into the stores on Christmas Eve and burn a hole through their credit card on the flashiest presents on offer – sorry guys, it’s just not impressive any more – it’s reckless shopping.

If we must give each other presents as adults, wouldn’t it be better to put a limit on it so you have to actually think outside the box a bit. Isn’t it the best feeling ever when someone gives you a gift that is completely ‘you’….especially when it is for under a tenner.

My heart went out to a lady in a shop the other day. She had four children with her, two of them in a twin buggy, and she kept repeating in a panicked tone to the eldest how she just couldn’t see anything for ‘her’. An elusive recipient that she was obviously distressed that she would dissapoint. I don’t mean to sound like the Grinch here but if it gets that stressful then it’s just not worth it. Surely, juggling four young children gets you off the hook somehow..

Stop wasting money to get yourself out of a hole! Don’t get me wrong..the children are important. Depending on if you have children yourself or are just hip to the groove, this can be plain sailing or your worst nightmare as you try to distinguish the difference between Barbies and Monster High Dolls. If you havn’t got something by now then just ask. The easiest thing to do is to get them to do a wish list of stuff that hasn’t been lodged with Santa already. Trust me, with all the buzz of Christmas in school they are sure to have picked up some new ideas that they hadn’t thought of before now. You also get the extra bonus of being the one to give them the most recently coveted toy, lots of brownie points.. If there is something on the pricy side then rally in some other last minute aunties/uncles to chip in. I guarantee, the children are not precious whether the card has one or three signatures on it. Be sensible about this…surely it’s better than yet another pyjamas…

Nobody need anything? Then why not arrange to meet up in January and everyone pay for themselves. Christmas is already exciting enough with the buzz of Santa coming and the turkey and the big festive movies. January is the tough one to get through. There will be lots of special offers (whether you decide to stay home or go out for dinner) and it will be something to look forward to when the Festive anti-climax kicks in. Hey, you may even get to wear your sparkles again..

If you are buying…for God’s sake….shop locally. I despair at those who travel to shop and come home empty handed. I can genuinely say that I have covered everything for Christmas from our own city of Kilkenny. You know it makes sense!

Make Christmas fun again, if you’re not flush with the dosh at the moment or just want to do something different then you need to use your noggin for some inspiration. Coupons are fantastic….but, only if you follow them up! It is pointless waiting for the recipient of a ‘babysitting’ coupon to actually ask you to pay up. You need to follow this up and keep reminding them that you’re available this weekend if they’d like to go out. Don’t make it any more awkward than it needs to be. This is especially important if doing coupons for children. Don’t be a dingbat – empty promises don’t go down too well and they’ll get you back when you’re not looking!

Most importantly, the value of a present is not about the cost. If you get an exquisite cashmere scarf on ‘special offer’ it is not cheap. This can be a stickler for sticklers! Feeling you havn’t spent enough on someone. I often try this experiment with shoppers – if I find what they’re looking for I ask them is it perfect. If the answer is yes then I can show them the price. Some things are worthy at any price…time to get real. If it works, it works.

I had a column prepared on some last minute gifts but my heart wasn’t in it. Honestly, the pulling together and comrade like behaviour before Christmas to get everyone ‘sorted’ means more than anything else – just press pause for a second and count your blessing if you are lucky enough to have those things. Lots…and I mean lots…of people (even that you think you know well) are struggling and stressed, financially or maybe even emotionally. The best de-stresser is to keep it simple and suck in all the joy you can.

Things that rock my boat at this time of year? A helping hand to get the house straightened out by my favourite girl. Especially as we have a giggle while rooting through the stuff and I remind her that I’m still saving for a housekeeper for her for her 21st.

A surprise “Hi, It’s Xmas!” card from an old friend who never sends cards warms the cockles.

An unexpected “well done” that makes you feel it was worth it and gives you the drive for next year.

A thoughtful ‘visit’ from my Dad who just happened to have some nails and a hammer with him to ‘take a look at that job’.

Mostly, I don’t want a gift that was stressful to buy or cost more than you could afford. I’d rather a card with a heartfelt message and a bit of craic on Christmas Day with the only deadline being who will whip the cream for trifle.

Just a collective sigh on Christmas Eve when we snuggle down for the night with butterflies jumping in little tummies at what magic the next morning holds. The traditional dinner with a mix of old family recipes and new generation twists. All counted for, well and happy at the table……let’s keep it simple…. Happy Christmas x

PS: If you’re looking to set the mood for Christmas then you and your’s would do well to check out the talented Ciara McCollam who is starring in “Being Edith Piaf” in the Set Theatre, Thursday 22nd December at 8pm. Tickets are €15. Ciara, a Kilkenny native, was only discovered recently at an impromptu session in the Hole in the Wall…definitely one to watch. A classic night to set the scene. Enjoy..