Monday, 6 December 2010

Christmas shopping

My GP thinks I have high blood pressure. I know that with considerably lower blood pressure my mother would be flat on her back in bed, and I am still running around. I have received a blood pressure tester from my surgery to take blood pressure morning and night for a week. It is, however, pointless to take blood pressure during Christmas season. It's bound to be superhigh.

I have just spent FOUR HOURS shopping Christmas gifts online. I had this revelation yesterday: rather than asking Anton to carry presents for his nephews and nieces on a Ryanair flight, and rather than going shopping in a mall and then taking the whole lot to a post office, I would shop online and get it all neatly dispatched. This, however, does not solve the big problem. Our grandchildren have everything. They have more toys than they can play with, and they have all the gadgets imaginable. I hate giving presents that will be admired for five minutes and forgotten among a pile of other stuff, I like giving an experience, like going to a movie or a theatre or a museum. But it is hard to explain to a four-year-old on Christmas Eve that she will get her present when granny is in Stockholm in three months' time. So it has to be a little something under the tree.

Last year we loaded Julia's suitcase with presents when she visited in the beginning of December, and the kids received them for Easter. It wasn't Julia's fault: they are all just too busy to meet up. Perhaps it was just as well; they got too much for Christmas anyway.

This year we will be clever and send the gifts from an online shop, dispatched to three addresses in Sweden... Do you see my blood pressure go up? First to find ten different reasonable gifts for five boys and five girls aged between two and fourteen. Checking with the parents that they haven't already got it. That the small girls still love glittery stuff and the middle boys still love building models. Sorting the carefully, lovingly chosen gifts into three bunches. Searching my non-existent electronic address book for postcodes. Filling in the addresses, only to receive the message: "We are sorry, we cannot accept your address". Bother! All over again. Shall I give up, take the car, go to the centre, wait an hour in line to park the car, negotiate crowds, browse five different shops - no! Back to the screen. Counting frantically, adding labels (once upon a time, when we sent gifts from California, Amazon mixed up all labels, so a two-year-old got a biography over the Pope and her mother Raymond Briggs' Snowman). No, I don't have a gift card. No, I don't have a promotion code. Yes, I want to use my very special unique Christmas discount for this particular order. Yes, I am quite sure that I want to send to these addresses. Oh, I see, I cannot use this card for these addresses. All over again? No, I don't want to send all these items to the same address. I have clicked "multiple addresses". Yes, I am quite sure...

Click "Place your order". Take a deep breath. Sorry, kids, if you get wrong gifts. By Easter, you may have time to meet and exchange them.

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