The Present Conundrum

The Present Conundrum

by Robert Veitch

Is the tension and torment of purchasing presents an annual purgatory to be endured with the thinnest of smiles? Or are you organised and planning for Christmas 2018?

Are you the type of person who has thought of, purchased, wrapped and gift-tagged all the Christmas gifts you’ll be giving this year while the trees were still green, Cliff was recording his festive single and your neighbours were maxing out their barbecue under Indian summer skies?

If you are, then congratulations for you are quite clearly a ‘Jolly Holly.’ You should read no further, unless you enjoy witnessing the purgatory that the rest of us fearfully trudge through with leaden feet on an annual basis.

The rest of us, that’s you and I dear reader, we are the silent majority. We are those who know the task of finding Christmas gifts for our nearest, our dearest, our extended family and favoured friends to be something of a soul shattering process, almost emotional persecution.

Just what to get for him, for her, for them, for those, for the others, and how much to tip the paperboy are fretful questions. Increasing tension and torment that seem to lead, as Christmas gets closer, down an ever-narrowing, mostly harrowing pathway, to a last minute dash on Christmas Eve.

Will my recipient like what I purchase? Will they pretend to like it if they don’t? Will it be useful? Will it ever be used? Will it disappear from festive sight into the black hole of Blue Monday come January? So many issues, so much to think about, so much anxiety to endure.

Vouchers seem an easy way out. Apparently it’s ‘the gift of choice’ although to me it’s a gift of limited choice. Cash is the real gift of choice, but cash is also the gift of no imagination whatsoever. Gift me a meal in a pub or restaurant for Christmas and I am smiling like the Cheshire Cat by a warm winter fire. It’s a wonderful gift if you’ve never thought of giving it.

I finally saw the light last year; it may have been a bright star moving east on a cloudless night. It was shining down on the street, illuminating a copy of our magazine, lying open on the ground, resting on some straw, outside a shop. There it was, open at ‘The Christmas Gift Guide’ and my problems were solved… well most of them were. Not quite ‘Jolly Holly’ I admit, but an improvement on previous times. Knowing all I need to do this year is study the contents page, there’s even a whiff of inner peace in the air.

And with that, with the clock running down, I better do a little shopping myself or my nearest and dearest will become a little less close and a little more expensive to please in future!