Lights are on the tree, the songs are on the radio again and the Coca Cola advert is on! Christmas is back! Obviously this means friends and family, all coming together for PRESENTS! As terribly selfish and materialistic as it may be, a major part of everyone’s Christmas is gift giving: spreading joy and giving thanks to our nearest and dearest, putting
a smile on everyone’s faces. You shake and feel them, filled with anticipation, wanting to know what these mysterious packages contain and ruin the surprise! So my gift to you: here is a lift of the presents you will get this year, whether you want them or not!
The one with the Label on
What with the billions of gifts being bought, wrapped and given each year, there’s bound to be some errors; most typically, the tag is left on. This tag holds all the information for judging how much they care: price, shop, discounts, everything is all on this tiny bit of paper. There is the awkward moment when you find out that Santa’s elves do not hammer blocks of wood into toys, Xboxes and clothes, but that he in fact shops at Tesco and Boots. Even worse is the price tag! The uncomfortable feeling when you realise that your aunt had no intention of spending much money on you at all, or when your friend arrogantly parades his wealth: guilt trips fly around left, right and centre all because of that stupid label!!
The Practical, but Crappy one
Winter’s here, school has started and you’re growing up, just a few of the reasons for these, let’s face it, awful presents. Who wants to rip open the paper, only to find a new pencil case or some underwear? It’s a true sign of growing up when your parents smile as you hold up your brand new, extremely efficient and “clearly wanted” pair of socks. What’s worse is that they are always from Santa, so if you show the tiniest ounce of ungratefulness, Santa may just not visit next year. How dare you be unappreciative about your new highlighters!
The one with No Effort
Often the result of a secret Santa, this gift was clearly the first thing picked up. There is no thought, no sentiment, just nothing. Typically, it is already prepared and found under a big sign saying “Perfect gifts for him/her”. I know we aren’t best buddies, but surely there is more to me than a Lynx Africa toiletry set.
The Last Minute one
You have known about Christmas for months now. It has happened once a year, every year since way before you were born. Adverts and shops have been force-feeding it to us since August and yet you still could not be bothered to go shopping until yesterday! Honestly, did you really think you would find even a satisfactory gift in ASDA at the last possible minute? Even better is when you randomly pick something from your room and wrap it up. Without doubt, someone will get you one of these often random gifts, which have a dramatic backstory that you feel bad about forgetting. “Don’t you remember that time we went to that place and you said that thing and it was the funniest thing ever? Well that’s why I got this tin of beans for you.” Seriously? You’d have preferred the money.
Blatantly a present they received and did not want. What better way is there to give a present and get rid of some junk, all whilst putting in minimal effort and paying nothing! Obviously, you’ve always wanted a box of cognac chocolates which has been discontinued since 1972! Still you put on your biggest smile while you plan who you’re going to palm it off onto.
The one that’s sort of what you wanted
You see the present: it’s the right shape, the right size, even the right weight! You excitedly tear apart the paper, about to squeal and the smile fades. This is not what you wanted at all! Obviously you say thank you, but you aren’t very happy about it. Plus, it’s normally grandparents who get it wrong and you can’t blame them, but you would much rather they gave you the money instead.
The “You really don’t know me” one
You remember that distant relative who always sends you a birthday card two months too late? The one who still thinks you’re a girl? The one who thinks you’re still a child or maybe now going into your thirties? You don’t even remember meeting them, but apparently they know you; they really do not know you! No 16 year old wants clothes for a six year old, especially not with Barbie on it.
Do you smell? Every year, without fail, you get toiletries. Obviously you can appreciate some are lovely, but why are shops obsessed with toiletry sets? You already have deodorant and shampoo! Just don’t make the joke that you must smell really bad, an awkward silence will follow; you will feel bad.
The Christmas one
Christmas stuff is great! You’re feeling festive, singing the songs and even wearing novelty socks, so naturally, when you get a Christmas jumper or Rudolph slippers, it’s great! But what do you do less than a week later when Christmas is finishing? There are 364 (or 365 in a leap year) other days that aren’t Christmas. You can’t walk through town in your Santa gloves in August – unless you want to be branded a hipster! And it isn’t just clothes: pens, mugs even DVDs are pointless for most of the year if they have a massive Christmas tree on them! And then when next Christmas arrives, you get a new thing and the process starts again. No wonder Christmas starts earlier and earlier each year; you need to get the most out of your snowman jumper!
The one you wanted but never got
There is that horrible feeling when you look under the tree, right round the back, desperately searching for the present that’s the right shape. You wanted this, it was on your list, you’ve mentioned it many times, but all that’s left is a suspiciously Terry’s Chocolate Orange shaped box, which is definitely not that game you wanted. Oh well, there is always “the money thingy gave you” to buy it yourself. The cheek of it!
The Offensive joke one
You love gag gifts, they are hilarious, but this might be crossing the line. Everyone around feels the tension as you try to laugh it off, but it’s written on everyone’s face: that just isn’t funny. The jester who gave it to you is laughing their head off and you nervously join in, but deep down, in the bottom of your heart, a little part of you is dying.
The joke one that you secretly love
Sex for Dummies, an ironic pair of socks or a kid’s toy because you’re so childish, all examples of jokey gifts you’re expected to laugh at and then palm off or bin, but secretly, you adore them! You’re not meant to, but you like them anyway and in some cases, they are possibly the best present you’ve ever had. In the words of Ross Geller after utilising his Sex for Dummies book: “Who’s laughing now?”
The Crappy Clothes one
Did they really see you wearing this? What possessed them when they bought this? Do they hate you? Do they want to embarrass you? How fat do you think I am? As much as you dislike it, you know you have to try it on, and you have to make it seem like you love it. You have to put it on and make out that it completes your wardrobe! If that’s not bad enough, you can’t just bin it, you have to wear it at least twice in front of them or face a bombardment about when you are going to wear it. There is no easy response to “I’ve got the receipt it you don’t like it?”
Chocolate coins, advent calendars, indulgent chocolate desserts, selection boxes, classic tins, chocolate oranges, chocolate baubles, chocolate cookies, chocolate bars, chocolate mints, chocolate themed dinner games; practically every chocolate brand has a new Christmas variation, which is virtually the same thing, but with snazzy new packaging. There is so much chocolate everywhere, you cannot escape; but who would want to?
The Home-made one
Sometimes this is the most thoughtful and wonderful gift, filled with heart and sentiment and shows they put a lot of effort into it. However, it can go severely wrong and you could end up with a hastily made, extremely cheesy or frankly terrible thing! There is a large difference between a beautifully made scarf and am Art Attack inspired mess of glue and googly eyes. Failing that, there is always the mix tape.
It’s not all doom and disappointment! If you have been good and if you wish really really hard, then maybe Santa may make your wish come true! A whole year of battling to stay on the nice list will pay off as you enjoy the thing you wanted most…until you get bored of it.
So there you have it! It may not be perfect, might not be what you wanted, but it is all part of Christmas. Santa may fill your stocking with joy or your uncle may embarrass you, your best friend may prove they care or your secret Santa might ruin your day, but whatever you get this year, remember: it’s the thought that counts. Presents are a tiny percentage of the fun, happiness and memories created at Christmas, so good or bad, have an amazing Christmas and I hope Santa gets you something you want.