I have been somewhat panicked after last Friday's gem show with Jilly, when so many of you texted and rang in to tell us how organised you are with your Christmas present buying! The fact that I was still sunbathing in October has lulled me into a false sense of security and, as I admitted on the night, I have only just begun to break the back of my shopping list!
I don't think Jilly was much further forward than me, although she rather fancied the boots I was wearing on the night and caught me unawares just before we went on air (see photo left)! So now you know what goes on underneath the table – Jilly was in a sleeping bag! :)
Actually truth be told we always have a bit of an issue with the air conditioning in that Studio – it's either freezing cold or boiling hot, but as long as my feet are warm I'm OK.
My Christmas shopping list
I was still thinking of Christmas when I got into the car to drive home and began to try and make a note what I'd planned to get the children this year. Lucy is always easy to buy for bless her, she likes most things. This year though, she and her man Rich are moving from the flat into their first little home together so she's already asked for Slankets and other practical things. She loves jewellery and bath products so I will squirrel a few of those away too.
Sam wants money to do his car up with, and Jack's already had money towards a BMX bike. I know it's all part of growing up but I miss the days when the element of surprise was what made it special.
Christmases gone by
Sam's little face when he got the his Scalextric was not to be missed, Lucy had a carousel complete with music and horses that moved up and down – it even had lights! She kept it until she went to University… Jack was never out of his Crazy Coupe car, although he always travelled backwards in it for some reason… they were some of the happiest Christmases.
Of course we all try to bring back what we had as children, and I still remember sitting with my sister Jenny looking out of the window waiting for Father Christmas to come… we never did see him bring the stockings in.
My favourite present when I was little
One year Dad decided that as well as the presents from Father Christmas, he would make something for Jenny and I, and he spent hours hammering and sawing in the shed at the end of the garden. I was DESPERATE to find out what he was making and so about a week before Christmas I got up just as it was light and found the key to the shed!
The first thing I saw was a perfect wooden cot complete with a mattress and it actually rocked! I wasn't sure who it was for, so I squeezed past it to the back of the shed and saw a large square shape covered in a candlewick bedspread. I pulled the bedspread back. Standing there in the half light was the most beautiful doll's house.
The front door was green and the entire front of the house opened down the middle to show the rooms, wallpapered and carpeted complete with ceiling lights. I was sure it was for me and can still remember how I felt… unbelievably happy yet really sad that I'd spoiled the surprise. I never let on though, and on Christmas morning when I'd unwrapped it and we'd set it up with wooden furniture that my Grandad had made, and Dad had shown me how to turn the lights on, I told him it was the best present ever… and I meant it.
I kept it for years, moving it from house to house, and it wasn't until I moved back down South in the '90s that I gave it to the local church along with the pram, high chair, playpen and umpteen other things that were no longer needed and we didn't have room for. Funnily enough Lucy was never really interested in it – she had her Sylvanian bunny house – but for me it symbolised everything special about Christmas and my childhood. I wonder if you've kept anything that's special to you from years back? I bet you do.
One things for certain though, I'll have to get the chimney swept before December 24th… Willows had a good look up there last night and it was very sooty 🙂
Have a great week,
Love Ali xx