OPINION | Gifts? Think outside the box

Christmas shopping is not my favourite activity.

I wish I was one of those people who could lovingly make detailed lists, dedicate hours to finding the exact items on them, and then wrap each gift with artistic flair.

But I'm more the kind of person who impulse-buys things on sale throughout the second half of the year in the name of "being organised", abandons most of them when I realise how crappy they are, orders replacements online that never come, forgets a family member and then runs out of wrapping paper on Christmas Eve.

Things have definitely become easier, though, now that my kids are older.

They still want things in their stockings - of course, children, that's Santa's department - but they've usually exhausted the Christmas funds well before the big day arrives, due to the purchase of much-longed-for, astronomically expensive and non-essential (in my opinion) sporting or musical equipment.

"That'll be your Christmas present!" I warn, for anything bought after about August.

This leaves just miscellaneous nieces, nephews and godchildren to buy for, since most of the adults in our family don't do presents anymore, or would rather give a nice goat to a villager in the developing world.

I guess you can tell that gift giving and receiving isn't really my "love language". I'd much rather a bit of quality time together, or for my kids to give the gift of housework (ie they do it for me).

So on the off-chance that anyone I'm related to reads this, here's a list of 'gifts' I'll definitely be giving this Christmas:

  • Seafood for the festive lunch (it's very expensive, you know)
  • Hours and hours of my time (unbilled) devoted to untangling the Christmas tree lights
  • A clean(ish) house that will not bring shame on our family
  • New underwear (you know you need it)
  • Finally, I'll give the gift of the good mood I'll be in from not having to do so much Christmas shopping, which means everyone will be a winner on the day.