I have learned that I am one of those bothersome people who manages to get their Christmas shopping done early. The real discovery is that I like to boast about it.
It's kind of like being able to say the alphabet backwards or knowing the capital cities of every country in the world ... it serves no real purpose, other than to irritate people.
Christmas shopping for me now starts at the sales straight after Christmas – you can get some incredible bargains, and some incredibly pushy people … and yes I am talking to the woman in the queue behind me who seemed to think that the extra padding I have around my middle was a barricade for her to bounce her trolley off.
What astounds me about some of the people I know is that two days before Christmas they have yet to start their shopping. Often times they're the same ones who want to cry on my shoulder later about the crowds, the swearing, the pushing, shoving, and downright rudeness, and that's just while they've got their families in the car with them before they even enter the shops.
Large crowds bother me. I like my own personal space, so to deliberately launch oneself into such a situation seems a little crazy to me.
I like to take my time choosing the gifts for my friends and family. For years I chose sensible and useful gifts like towels and vouchers and ear-plugs for those with young families. Since turning 40 though, I have been making an effort to find unusual and vaguely useful gifts. One Christmas I purchased a fake crocodile head for my older brother knowing that he would enjoy scaring the daylights out of visitors who spotted it poking out of the bushes near his front stairs. I convinced myself that it could possibly be useful in chasing off a would-be burglar.
Possibly one of the better gifts that I have chosen was the book on cats that I gave to a good friend of mine, who is a lover of cats. In the usefulness category, it made an attractive coffee table book that was sure to get a conversation started. But, this was no cutesy pussy-cat book full of pretty kitty pictures. This was a book of painted cats, and I refer to literally painted cats. It was filled with photos of cats with actual paint on their fur and each was an individual work of art.
A rather unusual genre in the art-world, this select group of people use feline fur friendly paints to create temporary pieces of artwork on their moggies. The resulting photos were incredible, although I found it disturbing that the occasional artist felt the need to paint themselves so they looked similar to their cat.
Unfortunately the book was so incredibly unique that the friend who received it declared that nothing will ever surpass its originality. Obviously my gift-choosing ability has passed its peak, and nothing will ever live up to that standard again.
I kindly point out to my friend that when it comes to kooky, she'll always have me. ©