Thursday, December 19, 2013

Here comes my favourite time of the year!

And this is my favourite way to lead into it.  I'm about 5,000 words off finishing a first draft and tomorrow, Friday, I'll be writing THE END, spell-checking it, search-and-destroying my old friends "oft he" 'is aid" and "butt he" then printing it out and dancing around the room.

Then it's Christmas.

We'll go and cut down a Christmas tree - in a place where they let you do that - decorate it, fill the house with food and drink and then comes one of my most beloved Christmas traditions.  Shopping!  But with a twist.

When Neil and I were penniless students - back in the early Mesolithic age - we had jobs on the Christmas post.  We got paid on Christmas Eve (it was eighty pounds each one year) and then went to buy presents, paper and ribbon for our parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and one or two little nephews and nieces. 

Then we counted up what was left, split it and went to buy a present for each other.

These days we have no grandparents anymore but we've got sixteen nephews and nieces, some quite big, and a great-nephew and -niece too.  Yikes.  Great-aunt Catriona. 

And because life has been kind we don't need to count the remaining change before we buy a present for each other.  We don't need to but we carry on anyway.  Sentimental tradition or Scottish stinginess?  Who can say.

We save change in a pot all year, count it on the 23rd of December, exchange it for notes, split them and hit the streets.  The rules are that you can't overspend by a penny and you've got get something from an ironmongers (hardware store), something from a charity shop (Thrift Store) something useful and at least one complete surprise. 

I might buy a CA Megamillions lottery ticket tonight.  The rollover is up to 400M and think of the good you could do with all that.  But even if I'm a billionaire on the 23rd of December this year, I'll be skulking around the hardware store in Davis, looking for bargains, not wafting about Tiffany's in San Francisco commissioning cufflinks.  And I'll still spray my Thanksgiving pumpkins gold and make them work through another holiday too. 

Merry Christmas, everyone, and a Happy  New Year when it comes. 


Barry Knister said...

Your approach to gift-giving strikes me as both sane and generous. I think you must keep Christmas very well!

Catriona McPherson said...

Thank you, Barry. I do enjoy it. The feasting and carousing and the old pagan traditions.

Debi Huff said...

What fun!! A great tradition. Happy Holidays to you and Neil.
Debi Huff

Susan C Shea said...

I love this story and the traditions you and Neil have started. Do your far-flung relatives mind getting presents in the middle of January? Merry Christmas, and may a touch of your writerly energy touch me today...

Lisa Alber said...

I love this tradition! It's romantic when there's so little romance to gift-giving these days.

Terry Shames said...

I loved your post. Made me smile, thinking of you ferreting out gems from unlikely places.

Catriona McPherson said...

Susan - the family presents are long gone; the spare change is *all* for Neil and me. And it was $30 each last year. Now I feel like one of those Rich Kids on Instagram.

Unknown said...

What a great tradition!