Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Grit's guide to Christmas for mean parents (2): Presents

Stop right there.

Do not go out that door with a purse filled with tenners and a heart overflowing with despair.

Listen to Grit. I know your pain. You are already beaten and wearied with high street shopping; hoping against hope that you will find a genuine 22 carat gold necklace for granny with a budget of £7.99 from Ratners. You know in your heart of hearts that she will end up with a pair of slippers off the market and a bottle of Tesco sherry like last year.

Grit has years of experience, although grandma is dead. But take my wisdom now. Or while there is still time to backtrack and get down the shops on Christmas Eve.

To Shark, Squirrel and Tiger I will say you have taught me this wisdom I can now impart.

I notice the change in you all when I come back from scrapstore, when you pick yourselves up from the front room carpet where you have been beating the living daylights out of each other. I see the way you all run to the pile of trash I have brought in large sacks from the car. How you straight away rummage in those sacks of crap like the bin raiders you truly are.

After five minutes you will be screaming in joy because look at all the lovely perfect stuff that you made.*

And I know at this point it is my role to assure you this is indeed the most beautiful item I have ever seen, even though I suspect you are out of your minds on acid.

After I make that declaration of perfection you will suggest that you make some more of this fantastic item to give to all our friends and relations.

This generosity possibly explains why we no longer have any friends or relations, because over the Christmas years we have inundated them with crap made out of corks and toilet rolls when they were really hoping for a little something from Tiffany.

But once you have taken on this amazing job of personalised gift making, joyously regarding this as your special responsibility, there is no stopping you.

I may as well take advantage of it.

Because I reason, as I look down at my darling children, what I am really looking at is free labour.

Think about it. Give them the mechanics of the production line, like junk mail, scissors, flour, straws, tissue paper, ribbon, and they will not only work for free, they claim no employment rights whatsoever. And if you are in the fortunate position of choosing otherwise from school, you know what we can call this afternoon of toil!

Even better, if I plan the exploitation in advance I can already have stolen a book from the library on making salt dough figures or presentation boxes or cross stitch bookmarks, and then we will swing into full scale production.

Then the kids will not only compose that heap of trash into a selection of beautiful handmade items, they will even gift wrap the whole lot. They will be truly excited about this. They will be asking every second of every day whether it is time to give the present they made to grandma. It will have been made with their love and delight and their knowledge that making stuff is a revelation of their purpose and intent to the world, and through your child's eyes that gift for grandma is perfection itself.

Then you too can give that present to Grandma with pride, and a full purse. And because the children made it, and wrapped that gift themselves, lovingly, with old newspaper and last night's chip paper, believe me, YOU WILL GET AWAY WITH IT.

On Christmas day, after both grandpops have handed over presents to the tune of £3,000 to their grandchild, and then you return to them these treasured, hand-made gift items from your five year old, you know both grandpops will take those delicate items from their grandchildren in their frail papery hands, and they will truly have tears in their eyes.

They will know that this is not just a casual piece of present making. No. These hand crafted items are fragments of a child's soul. They will treasure them, forever.

* A polystyrene cat with a pearl collar and a little coat. Named pussy. Read that and weep.


Pig in the Kitchen said...

oh. my. god. It's true, you are the font of all knowledge, wisdom and truth. I'm making you a junk-modelled jewellery box as we speak. Happy Christmas!

sharon said...

Frantically knitting and stitching and cutting and gluing as I type. I say 'I' because my slave labour left home some years ago, ungrateful swine!

MadameSmokinGun said...

My No.1 labourer has been nose to the grindstone for days now - cards, presents, activities for 'the little ones' at our next Hall Meeting (that sounds weird - no chicken sacrificing involved) - and lots of wrapping - undoing - rewrapping....Fantastic. And the best bit is I haven't got a bloody clue what any of it is - so I can be truly surprised and delighted (and not held responsible) with it all come The Day. As for spreading out my good will to my extended family ha ha ha ha ha ........ Grown-ups you get nothing - grow up. And small things you get sweets -you've all got enough bloody toys so there. As for my own darlings - I just can't help it! There has to be little piles of pretty shapes! But it's usually cope-with-able. It's when we come back from extended family's houses that I want to dig a big hole and sink the titanic heap of STUFF. The charity shops do awfully well in January. I just hate it when the black sacks of 'oh nothing - just some of my old clothes' start singing Old MacDonald...

kellyi said...


I am so glad you posted this - we are doing the same thing this year and I am pretending to join the noble realm of crafting bloggers who make beautiful, sellable things but really all I want to do is NOT SPEND MONEY!!!

I love scrapstore.

Maire said...

this just makes me smile.

Rachel M. said...

I think the cat has a bag over it's head!

This sounds like great advise for the next few years. For now we are making due with sending photos to the grandparents but I can see in the years to come it will advance to hand made presents. Fantastic!

Michelle said...

Time. I have very little.

Energy. I have very little.

Creativity. I have very little.

Money. I have vey little.

On the plus side, I am helping to pull this country out of the financial crisis it finds itself in. When I'm living on the street and crawling under the market stalls for the discarded fruit and veg to make the family meal, I hope you'll remember my contribution and thank me.

Grit said...

hello people, and thank you for your comments! i shall be touring round shortly to all lovely blogs. and sharon, it's about time you got one going so we can see sunshine at christmas.


LOL. I love this and am so glad that you submitted it to the Recycled Christmas Carnival...so thank you :-)

It's now published, so if you want to have a peek at what else is there, pop over to http://therubbishdiet.blogspot.com/2009/12/recycled-christmas-carnival.html

The kids finish school this Friday so I promise to get them on the assembly line and crafting away in tip top fashion :-)

Grit said...

thank you, not-at-all mrs average!

Rae said...

:D great stuff. I had my little assembly line making herbal tea bags, bath bombs and bath soaks yesterday; and you're right - they are packed beautifully too!

Thanks for the laugh this morning

Mrs Green from myzerowaste.com