After almost 15 years together, My husband James and I might be forgiven for finding it difficult to think of imaginative or special gifts to exchange on the 25th December.
Next year is already set out to be crazy, and dare I say costly. With a new baby arriving at the beginning of March and the continuation of our home improvements, our bank balance is beginning to look decidedly uninspiring. We’ve already agreed that we are not going to spend a lot on each other this Christmas, and instead invest our spare pennies on memorable experiences and small thoughtful token gestures.
As you read this I will be on my way to Ireland, James’s company investors have invited us to their home for a festive dinner which just so happens to be in….Dublin. We’ve decided to make a few days out of it and come back Friday evening. It feels very glamorous to be essentially catching a flight simply to eat lovely food and pull crackers. We’ll ignore the fact I am over 6 months pregnant and have NOTHING to wear but even still, this kind of memory making is my jam, far more than any tangible item could ever be.
We are extending our annual leave by taking off next Monday and Tuesday, we’re taking Mabel away for a night to the Cotswolds to one of our favourite hotels and plan on admiring all of the pretty decorations, eat chocolate until we can’t possibly consume anymore and finish off by enjoying turkey complete with maximum trimmings as a family of three. With all of the hosting, travelling and general frivolity with friends planned over the next few weeks it will be nice to take some time out, if only for 48 hours.
With these pre-Christmas adventures in mind, it leaves little scope for Santa to whip up something cheerful on the cheap. However, one of the most thoughtful set of presents James ever bought for me was when we gave each other a budget of about thirty quid some years ago. I received an excellent book (he had asked in Waterstones what would be a good choice based on some authors he knew I already liked) a beautiful necklace from COS and a limited edition nail polish from Chanel. James is not an expert in cosmetics (!) – he had gone to the counter, asked what was “new” and had the recommendation gift wrapped in luxe gold ribbon and monochrome joy.
I am sure there have been other very covetable offerings, but these are clearly the ones I remember.
So far I’ve bought Mabel and James a few “joint” gifts that I think they will enjoy together. Mabel is obsessed with our globe and where places are in the world so I thought she and Daddy might appreciate the Maps Of The World calendar by Rifle paper Co.
Hopefully she will be significantly better at geography than her mother.
Over the past year I’ve tried to take photos whenever I remember, although I must admit to much preferring to living in the moment rather than through a lens – but that is probably a discussion for another day. For family I’m having some of these images framed, I’m sure James will appreciate a “grumpy Mabel” being added to our gallery wall that I have ready and waiting for him under the tree. Wilko do great value grey frames by the way – they are about £7 each for the larger sizes.
What is the most thoughtful gift you have ever received? I would love to hear about them in the comments box below.