Gift giving survival tips
When I was about seven years old I swear I actually saw Rudolph flying through the sky on Christmas Eve.
As an excited child who had left a can of beer and a carrot on the mantelpiece, catching some z's on Christmas Eve was harder than sharing your toys with your little sisters.
It came as no surprise that I woke up sometime in the middle of the night and peered out of the window. What was a surprise however was the tiny red dot I saw moving slowly across the night sky.
I was convinced the red glow was Rudolph's nose lighting the way for Santa to deliver me a giant soft toy of Smurfette.
The next morning when I opened my Santa sack and lo and behold there was no Smurfette, I was inconsolably upset.
My mother quite rightly pointed out I had not actually asked Santa for a Smurfette toy, but as a seven-year-old who changed her mind daily, that did not make me feel better.
"But Santa is a magic man! He should have known I wanted her more than I even wanted a pony," I wailed as I sat under the Christmas tree, crying for at least half an hour.
Yes, in retrospect I was an ungrateful child. It wasn't until years later when I found a receipt in my Mothers bag for the Spice Girls tape Santa had given me that I began to feel bad about my Smurfette episode.
For someone who loves shopping I am almost petrified of gift giving. Every time I see someone unwrap a gift I have given them, I'm secretly cringing. All I can imagine is their post present meltdown. A meltdown of Smurfette proportions.
That's why when it comes to giving presents to people I really care about there is no way I am wrapping up socks or giving out gift cards. Special people get homemade gifts from me.
I'm talking about something that often costs me no more than my time and probably, if history is anything to go by, resulted in me super gluing the tip of my tongue to my teeth.
Homemade gifts come from the heart and are sprinkled in thoughtfulness and creativity. Not only are they special but they are likely to last a lot longer than that $80 Buzz Lightyear from the Warehouse.
The best gifts I have ever received have been made with love and not by child labourers in China. These gifts, all of which I still have, really touched me.
There is a giant book filled with every possible Shakespeare thing you could imagine, a handmade quilt my nanna made me for my bed, a photo album documenting the wordly travels of my 'Baby Eifel' key ring, a picture painted by my four-year-old nephew, and a Survival Tin with a message written on a scroll.
Some of the things this Survival Tin included were:
* A 10c coin, so I can never say I'm broke
* Glitter, so there is always a little sparkle in my life
* A paper clip, to keep everything together
* A match, to light my fire when I feel burnt out
* A pin, to remind me to stay sharp
That gift was given to me 12 years ago, and I still have it. I'll keep it forever.
I've sent friends on a treasure hunt across Wellington, complete with pirate rhymes and a treasure chest. I've filled jars with cookie ingredients and tied a recipe to them, I've even turned gangster and recorded a rap for someone.
My favourite to date was for a 21st. My friend is a musician and I spent weeks finding the sheet music for his favourite songs. After collecting everything ranging from Chopin to Pink Floyd, not to mention one Britney Spears number, I got them all bound in a book called 'Twenty One Songs for Twenty One Years." A musicians dream.
If you are anything like me and you are yet to start your Christmas shopping, don't get pulled into thinking you will be living on noodles for the next few weeks.
The best gifts don't cost the earth, the best gifts are often homemade and from the heart. And hey, if they are not impressed with your ice block stick sculpture, at least they will appreciate the story about how you super glued your tongue to your teeth while trying to make it.
The silly season is upon us, but my dears there is no need to go silly with your credit card. Well, unless of course you are thinking of buying me a giant Smurfette toy.
Taranaki Daily News