The Wednesday Wondering – Christmas Gifts: Friends or Foes?

Seven more sleeps til Santa! What a lovely-sounding sentence. In celebration of the fact that it’s Christmas a week today and because we won’t be posting a Wondering on Christmas Day itself, I’ve gone for a Christmas-themed question and asked The Write Romantics:

What’s the best and worst Christmas presents you’ve ever received?

In typical style, I’ve posed the question without thinking of an answer and wasn’t surprised that The Write Romantics struggled a bit with this one either as I did too! I’d only had two responses by the time I left for work this morning so a polite nudge on Facebook got everyone to delve into their deepest memory banks and they all came up trumps. Sorry for nagging, guys!


Here’s the responses …



My best Christmas present each year comes from my parents who take my whole family (well, not my nephew yet because he’s too little but hopefully next year…) to the pantomime at the Theatre Royal in York. Now if your instant reaction to panto is thoughts of ageing soap stars shouting ‘oh no it isn’t!’ then you really need to experience the York panto. It is regularly in the list of the country’s top pantomimes and is a York institution. It’s so popular that my Mum bought the tickets in April this year! I honestly think I laugh more in those two and a half hours than I do in a week the rest of the year. 

My worst Christmas present comes from my parents too.  Each year my Mum buys me a new washing up brush.  I think she’s trying to tell me something!



Worst present- remember it well. My friend told me she’s seen my ‘then’ boyfriend looking in the jewellers one Christmas, and when he handed me a small box beautifully wrapped I honestly thought he’d bought me a ring. I unwrapped it and inside was a small packet of rolling tobacco! He thought it was funny and used the excuse that I was trying to stop smoking and rolling my own would be a good start! I actually felt like crying, not so much that I’d wanted a ring but, to me, it showed how little he cared. Don’t think I managed to hide it that well!


Best present, probably a lot more recently when my lovely husband bought me an iPad when they first came out. I really did cry then, because I’d been going on and on about wanting one, but a bit tongue in cheek because they were (and still are!) expensive. I didn’t think I’d get one and I cried because it showed how much he cared (and that against all odds he did actually listen to what I said- occasionally!)



My best present wasn’t a single thing, rather a few presents bundled into one. When I left the UK for Australia my mum continued the tradition of sending me a stocking and having that huge parcel delivered for my first Christmas in another country was super special. I know how much she loved putting it together too, but it was so long ago that I can’t remember what all the presents were. I just remember opening it with a big smile on my face.

I can’t think of a “Worst” present to be honest…I’m someone who wouldn’t even mind getting festive tea-towels or oven gloves for Christmas!



I think my worst ever Christmas present was a make-up set that my husband bought for me.  It smacked of last minute panic buying, particularly as I am not a big make-up wearer (although I probably should be).  It was the size of a small coffee table and contained eye-shadow in shades I barely knew existed.  There was even some orange eye-shadow… ORANGE!!! Who on earth wears eye-shadow in that shade?   I donated it to the drama group at my children’s school, so they could do the make up for everyone from the Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz to the Oompa Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – so, in the end, the orange eye-shadow came into its own after all! 😉



For me the best gifts have always been the ones the children made at primary school. Those days are long gone, but I still cherish the snowman and Santa ornaments they made. As for a worst gift, well I can’t actually recall one. So I guess I must have done pretty well over the years!

A Christmas gift I always wish for is a Christmas Day Calf. This is a busy time of the year for us on the farm as lots of cows are calving and each year I wait impatiently to see if we will have a new life born on Christmas Day. With the calving pens full and one cow with a due date of 25th December we may get lucky this year.



For my best Christmas present I’ve drifted back into the mists of time when I was given my first, and only, teddy bear which I imaginatively named ‘Teddy’ but pronounced ‘Tardy’. Well I was only little…  He was made of brown sheepskin with lovely orangey-brown glass eyes, and I loved him to bits, literally, as the legs and ears had to be sewn back on many times.  In the photo he seems to be wearing a pair of woollen knickers, which must have been a phase as normally I didn’t dress him.   I once left Teddy in a bus shelter which nobody realised until we’d got home and my poor Dad had to get the bus all the way back to wherever it was to retrieve him as I wouldn’t stop bawling.  Easy child, huh?

I’ve trawled more recent times for my worst present which has to be a full-length, bright red dressing gown my mother-in-law made me.  She was a dab hand with a needle – but only when she had a pattern to follow and on this occasion, for reasons best known to herself, she decided to do without.  As I’m tall she used my ex-police officer father-in-law to fit the thing on, and added a puff effect to the shoulders for extra style. I looked like a badly-dressed Santa Claus with arms hefty enough to drag his own sleigh without benefit of reindeer!


My best Christmas Present ever was probably the fruit and veg stall complete with all the plastic fruit and veg, till and plastic money when I was about seven. I played with that for hours and hours and I think it even snowed that year because I remember going to the park and it was covered with a sprinkling of snow – perfect.

My worst Christmas Present ever would have to be the circular, silver tray that Steve bought me a couple of years ago to serve his meals on!!! I honestly thought he was joking and he almost ended up wearing it over his head.



As a kid, I remember getting some great presents – a Walkman, a pair of roller boots (we’re talking the 80s here) and a bike to name a few (not all at the same Christmas I hasten to add!) I’m struggling to think of something more recent that I’d say was the best gift ever so I’m going cheesy and saying my daughter. She was born 7 years ago tomorrow but was very tiny at 4lb11oz so she was on the special care baby unit for a week. I had hoped and hoped she’d come home for Christmas but it was actually Boxing Day before she was released. Christmas didn’t really happen that year as I spent most of December in hospital then on the special care unit. Getting her home on Boxing Day was the best gift ever, though.


I don’t think I’ve had many bad presents so I’m going to talk about the one that was the biggest disappointment. My 1st serious boyfriend was incredibly romantic. He’d write long love letters in the university holidays when we were apart, buy me flowers and was generally really thoughtful so, when we’d been together nearly a year and celebrating our 1st Christmas, I expected something really thoughtful. He bigged it up telling me that he’d bumped into a mutual friend when buying my gift and she’d absolutely loved it. It was a hairdryer. Yes, I know! I already had a good hairdryer and had happened to say one day that I sometimes wished I had one with a diffuser. This was the early 90s with big permed hair so a diffuser would have been helpful but the reality is that I’m not someone who spends much time on my hair so was never really going to use one. Apparently the thing the friend had really liked was that it was one of those “spend £x and get our hideous xmas toy for a few quid” types of offer. I adore teddy bears and soft toys in general but this silk stocking with a soft mouse poking out over the top was not the nicest. Credit to him for remembering something I’d said … no credit for not thinking it through in relation to the type of person I am!


We’ll be taking a break on Christmas Day although I have posed the group a question for New Year’s Day so join us again then. In the meantime, let us know your best and worst gifts. We’d love to hear from you.

Merry Christmas

Julie xx


4 thoughts on “The Wednesday Wondering – Christmas Gifts: Friends or Foes?

  1. Julie, what a gorgeous Xmas outfit for your little one…and what an eventful Xmas. So glad she got to come home on Boxing Day.
    Wishing you all a very merry christmas and I hope the season brings much luck and happiness for everyone 🙂

    • Thank you Helen! Hubby had bought the outfit before she was born and it was so cute that I was determined she’d wear it, even if it did swamp her! Spending Christmas Eve and Christmas night sleeping on the ward was a little surreal but it was music to my ears when we got the news she could come home on Boxing Day! Merry Christmas to you too xxx

  2. Oh Julie, trust you to tug the old heartstrings! Wasn’t she sweet in her outfit! I was an almost-Christmas baby too as I was born on 17th December. Mums stayed in over a week back in those days but I think we got home for Christmas, although I always got the impression she’d rather have stayed in because apparently it was very festive on the ward with carol singing and a nativity play using a real baby (not me!). Now it’s pop them out and straight back home to the washing up!
    Merry Christmas all!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s