CLUE: It Won't Cost You a Cent!
(Well, maybe a packet of shortbreads...)
Coming up with the perfect Chrissie gift for your elderly family member can be quite the headache - especially once you throw in the guilt factor associated with long-overdue visits or forgotten phone calls because you just couldn't spare the time.
So to compensate, we take the easy way out and fob off dear old Mum, great aunt Millie, or beloved grand-pappy Bart with yet another expensive ornamental crystal Thingamajig, a posh pair of pewter Whatchamacallits or a ridiculously-scented, pre-packaged set of Eau de Toiletries (that they'll never use because it will most likely aggravate the nasty skin rash they can't seem to shake).
How about this year, we think outside the pretentious Silly Season square by bestowing our elders with the one true present they REALLY crave?
A 'toast' to the WORST gift ever!
Let's face it, an ageing parent or grandparent already has more 'stuff' than you can shake a stick of proverbial misteltoe at. Their China cabinets are chockers with a lifetimes worth of ornaments, mementos, nifty collectibles and knick-knacks - all of varying worth and many of them representing significant family milestones or celebration of somebody's achievements.
Yet, because we want the very best for our housebound loved one, we insist on fronting up on Christmas day with still more meaningless paraphernalia - another pricey piece of superbly-wrapped Royal Doulton or a fancy schmancy glass figurine (in a nice box) to add to the already cluttered glass-front showcase.
Splashing out extravgantly on their pressie surely proves how much we love them though, doesn't it?
Well, I'm sorry... BUT IT'S NOT REALLY TRYING!
Waiting in the queue at the post office recently, I managed to listen in on two older ladies chatting in front of me. Dolled-up beautifully in their red and green 'festive finest', it was an insightful convo; one that has given me a whole new angle on my gift-giving dangle this Christmas.
Ho-Ho-Hopefully, it might do the same for you!
"... and if they give me one more China plate on a stand - I'll scream!"
"Well, from my lot, it's flamin' beauty products! For goodness sake, my bathroom cupboard is loaded with stinky soaps, bath salts and lotions galore. If I lived to 150, I'd never use it all!"
"Oh, I knowwwww. Course, it's the daughter-in-law I blame. Feel like telling her, if you're gonna give me another pretty vase - at least come round and look at the dam thing with me!"
"And bring a big bunch of fresh gladdies to stick in it, while you're at it!."
"Yes, all very well dishing out the expensive crockery. All I want is a bit of company, a game of cards or just a good chin wag over a cuppa. You know, something to break up the day?"
"Oh, yes... something to look forward to."
"My legs aren't going to hold out much longer... wish they'd get a wriggle on. Typical post office."
"I thought your son was going to come and give you a hand?"
"Oh, I don't like to pester him. He's so busy with the kids this time of year... and they've got a lot on. I feel such a bother asking him to run me round."
"Nothing like being taken out in the car though, is there? Honestly, going on a nice long drive would do me for Christmas - I'd be a pig in flamin' mud!"
"Oooo yes, stop off on the way... get afternoon tea somewhere..."
"Mmm fish 'n' chips on the beach?"
Giz a chip, mate?
"You know, Maureen's daughter takes her to the pictures every Tuesday. Half price, apparently. Still, at least she gets an outing. I'd swap that for one flamin' day of Christmas, in a flash!"
"Oh, I knowwww. I'd love to go to that 'Carols in the Domain' thing this year. You know, the sing-song in the park?"
"Oooo yes, love a good sing-a-long."
"But I can't do it on my own - I'm too wobbly! I need Cheryl to take me but they've gone away up the lake for the holidays."
"Just give me a couple of bags of cat food... now that would save me a few bob. I'd be fine with that. Lucky and me could skip flamin' Christmas altogether then!"
"And you wouldn't have to find more space for another bunch of useless knick-knacks!"
"You know what we should do? We should set up down the market... sell off all our prezzies to all the other flamin' suckers."
"Oooo yes! Get Wilma to bring along the silver napkin rings and salt'n'pepper sets her family keep shoving on her..."
"... and Celia can wheel out all her ugly ceramic ducks - WE'D MAKE A FLAMIN' FORTUNE!"
|Quackity, Quack? |
...OH, PLEASE SEND ME BACK!
By this stage the line had started to move and the girls had trundled out of range. It was amusing to hear their candid thoughts on the crappy materialistic gifts of Christmas Past. But also a reality check, that maybe we could all put a bit more consideration into what we offer our ageing loved ones in the future.
Appreciating the little things, showing how much we enjoy their company.
Simply sharing a meal, or even just a good natter and a laugh over some boozy eggnog and a warm mince tart.
Bringing the kids round to decorate grandad's tree, or watching a funny movie together while you help write out great-aunt Betty's 2,387 Christmas cards.
Better still, turn the telly off and throw yourselves into a hearty game of Scrabble or Monopoly (if they can bear the arguments that is!)
Remind yourself that your treasured elder won't be around forever; better to spend the time you have creating experiences and making sweet or silly memories you can all cherish.
Something money will never buy.
Yes indeedy, 'tis the season to say "Bah, humbug!" to spending big dollars on superfluous dust-collecting frippery for your elderly relatives this festive season!
Because it couldn't be more easy flamin' peasy.
<Sing it to us, Mariah!>
All your dear ol' Mum ever wants for Christmas is...YOU!
(But you knew that already, didn't you?)
Finally... the GREATEST gift ever!