Christmas Day 2012 – The Gifts

Now that we’re in that lull between Christmas and New Year where shops (and my gym) think it’s totally OK to dick me about and open whenever the hell they want, I have a lot of time to myself.  Translation: I’ll probably be updating this frequently.

Christmas day saw us (me and Ian) wake up around 8, and then make the adult decision to go back to sleep for as long as possible.  This only lasted until 9:30 am, when we dragged ourselves through to the living room and had breakfast.  I indulged in toast with brandy butter.  If you have never had brandy butter, your Christmas is lacking.  Then we moved onto presents.

Now, I am not usually inundated with gifts.  My family lives thousands of miles away (in Texas, and Australia, and Italy), and we don’t really bother sending birthday/Christmas presents.  Instead, I get spoiled during my annual visits, which suits everyone because things aren’t overpriced and there are less crowds.  But being the only person in my family in the country isn’t all bad, because I occasionally get pity presents.

Case in point: my colleagues pretty much all have children/family to buy stuff for and get stressed about.  I have Ian.  I felt kind of bad, so bought them relatively inexpensive (but thoughtful) gifts and put them into their pigeonholes at work with a card saying ‘from Santa’.  While they eventually figured out who ‘Santa’ was (one of the gifts was a lanyard from the Natural History museum in Houston, where I had been in October), I never confirmed my role in the gift giving.  Anyway, on the last day of term, I arrived to see a sack (a John Lewis carrier bag) with four gifts and a card saying’ Merry Christmas, from ‘The Elves’.  I know I have a soul, because I got a little emotional at that.

Anyway, 4 gifts from work, 2 from Ian, one from my Fetch Secret Santa, two from Grant (we usually agree beforehand whether to buy gifts for each other and a budget), as well as a gift from Ian’s mum.  I had scored this year! I did also get a secret Santa present from work, but it was so disappointing that my friend actually bought it off me for £1 when I let him use my washing machine, so that will not be mentioned again.



Pictured: Ryan Gosling colouring book (Grant), coasters (Grant), CW-X Revolution tights (Ian), tea-towel, marshmallows, hot chocolate packets, Shakespeare sticky notes (the ‘Elves’), lap counter/timer (Ian), and Australian money (in card from Australian grandparents).

Not pictured: Mango liquorice (‘Elves’ – eaten), Ian’s mum’s gift (worthy of its own post that will feature further on), ‘Liell’s present’ (more on this to come as well) and Fetch Secret Santa gift (ditto).

I was exceptionally happy with Ian’s gifts, and took the tights out for an 8 mile Christmas run.  The air was crisp.  The sun was shining (though the Scottish winter sun is low/blinding).  The drunks were still out from the night before, but otherwise the streets were abandoned. The photo below was taken several hours after my run, but it’s pretty, so it stays.

IMG_20121225_173938What I did not realize about the tights (translation: I was blinded by all the pretty colours and did not fully read the product description because I assumed they’d be like my other CW-X tights), is that they have been designed to be thin.  Very thin.  14% lighter than your average tight, apparently.  I squeezed into them and admired the aforementioned pretty colours:

IMG_20121225_111510And then I did the obligatory ‘how does my ass look in these’ pose in the bathroom mirror to conclude that the answer was ‘visible’:

IMG_20121225_111640Yes, that’s my right butt-cheek, adorned with festive red and white underwear, and a particularly sheer panel in the running tights.  A quick search online let me know that I was not the only one to think parts of these tights were verging on ‘indecent’, but whatever, RAINBOWS!  Reasoning that hardly anyone would be out on Christmas day, I opted not to go commando/change into nude underwear, and to just go for a run.  Of course I ran into a small group of kids I teach about half a mile from home.  Of course I did.

Back home and showered, I gave my attention to my Fetch secret Santa gift.  When I opened it, I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it.  At first, I thought it was a scarf, but I realized it was just a loop.  It was too big to be a buff, but too small to be a snood.  It was very cosy, and a very nice colour though:

IMG_20121225_135757With some experimentation, I figured out a way to wear it that was comfortable, and flattering.  I am still not sure if this is how it was intended to be worn, but this is how it’s going to happen for me:

IMG_20121225_173734Sidenote: my hair is actually curly, but I choose to straighten the crap out of it because it is also very fine, and goes limp very quickly.  Essentially, I look a bit scrappy.

And now we move onto Liell’s present.  Liell is a friend of ours who has featured a few times so far in this blog.  He is an interesting character, and highly entertaining, but also eternally puzzling.  Anyway, Liell decided that it would be ‘hilarious’ to ‘wrap’ our Christmas present in Plaster of Paris instead of traditional wrapping paper.  Maybe this has something to do with him being a Jew (a sort of anti-Christmas silent protest, if you will).  I would bet it has more to do with the fact that he thought it would be a fun thing to do.  At the time.  On Christmas Eve, we were presented with this:

IMG_20121225_141959And on Christmas day, Ian and I had no choice but to open the present like this:

IMG_20121226_185459Despite getting plaster dust all over the packaging (and somewhat destroying the packaging in the process of unwrapping), we emerged victorious:

IMG_20121226_185523A children’s puzzle toy.  Definitely worth the effort, Liell.  Thank you.

And finally, we move onto my gift from Ian’s mum.  I did not get too excited about this gift for two reasons:

  1. Ian repeatedly told me, “Don’t get too excited about it.”
  2. Ian repeatedly reminded me that he had the receipt.

Last week, Ian ran out of fresh boxers and asked to borrow a pair of underwear to last him until he could get home and wash some clothes.  Obviously, I gave him a sensible pair of white briefs that came as part of a set with a cute bra, and that I have worn a grand total of zero times.  His mother, seeing the delicate item in amongst his washing, somehow got it stuck in her head that this is the type of underwear that I wear all the time, and that I could do with some more.  Which I guess it kind of sweet, but mostly a bit weird.  Like, it’s weird if my own mother buys me underwear because it’s something that touches my vagina, and my vagina is something used for sex.  Sex and mothers DO NOT MIX.  Nevertheless, my final Christmas present was a pack of these racy numbers (and a gift receipt):

IMG_20121226_190059Also, please ignore the Bambi pyjama bottoms.  They were cheap and the fabric is unbelievably soft.

All in all, a very successful year, gift-wise, even though Santa, the lazy git, never put anything in my stocking.  Not even coal.  How about you guys?  Did you get any amazing presents?  Or better yet, any seriously bad ones?  Seriously, you can vent about it here.  I will definitely not take a screenshot of your complaints, stalk you and your relatives aggressively, and send the gift-giver a copy of your complaint.  I will definitely not do that.

More Festivity, or Festive Cheer Part 2! (working title)

Megan recently posted a ’25 Days of Christmas’ thing, which is essentially one of those e-mail surveys that everyone loves filling out in the hopes that other people will read their answers and think ‘what a cool/hilarious/kindhearted/badass/quirky [delete as applicable] person s/he is, gosh darn it!’, except people just delete your answers and waste 30 minutes thinking of their own super meaningful responses.  Yeah, it’s like those.  Except it comes in picture form.  And has a Christmas theme, would you believe it?

Anyway, because I’m not out drinking with workmates I hardly know in gale force winds and horizontal rain, I’m looking for something rock n’ roll to do on my Friday night, so whilst I haven’t answered every question (you’re welcome), I have chosen to indulge myself a bit.  Enjoy.

Favourite Christmas movie

Being a teacher, my answer at this precise moment in time is: None at all, I would not be upset at all if every Christmas film ever made went up in flames right this minute.  But, if you asked my 9-year-old self this question, the answer would have been ‘Home Alone’, because I had a major crush on Macauley Culkin (I know).  I even rented ‘The Pagemaster’ from Blockbuster when it came out.  I’d like to think my taste in men has improved, but you can be the judge:


2012 Christmas wish list:

These tights.  Because who doesn’t love rainbows?!
A Kindle Paperwhite.
A lap counter for my rekindled love of swimming.
An all-inclusive vacation to Hawaii/anywhere hot and with beaches.
Nothing that has to be used in a bathtub (I only have a shower).

Favourite Christmas song:

It’s a toss up between ‘Fairytale of New York’ and whatever The Darkness’s festive tune was. (I’m obviously not a Christmas song buff).

Best gift:

Easily the Sony Dream Machine Radio/Alarm/Cassette player that I received when I was about 11 and lived in Ponca City, OK.  So futuristic.  I loved that thing.

Sony Dream Machine

Sony Dream Machine

Favourite Christmas decoration:

Could it be any other?  I bought this baby the day before I ran the Loch Ness Marathon:

IMG_20120930_230247 A Picture of Christmas décor:

Well, I’ve already posted a picture of my tree (3 feet tall as my apartment is miniscule and cannot accommodate anything larger), so I’ll post my ‘card window’.  I don’t have enough surfaces to leave cars about on (and I find it too cluttery), so I slot my Christmas cards into my wooden blinds in my living room.  It’s not like having them closed blocks out any light, since I’m in Scotland, and I literally cannot remember how many days ago I last saw the sun.  Maybe Sunday?

IMG_20121221_212152 Favourite Christmas tradition:

When I was young my dad would make popcorn and we would use a needle and thread to transform it into tinsel for the tree (and eat the leftovers).  I think that may have been the only ‘tradition’ my family had, considering we never lived in the same country for more than a couple of years.  I have started a new tradition with Ian, though: good food for Christmas.  Last year was fajitas, this year is shaping up to be a spicy mustard chicken dish.

Wrapping paper or gift bags:

Wrapping paper.  Don’t be so fucking lazy.

Hardest person to buy for:

My dad.  Seriously.  This is a conversation we had before Christmas one year:

Me: Dad, what do you want for Christmas?

Dad: Nothing.

Me: Daaa-aaaaaaaaad.  Seriously!

Dad: I wouldn’t mind a Porsche.

Me: [dramatic sigh and eye roll] Dad!!!!

Dad: I don’t know, get me a copy of The Economist.

On Christmas day, under the tree, a few mysterious parcels would appear labelled: To John, From John.

My dad’s name is John, by the way.

Post a picture of an old Christmas card:


This one is from my grandma (on my dad’s side).  Her birthday was on Christmas day, but she died in 2010.  This card would have been from a few years before her death when she still remembered/was able to write back to me.  I used to write her letters throughout the year, and sometimes I get the urge to write to her, and then remember that I can’t.  Anyway, this makes me glad that I’m a hoarder of personal stuff.

It’s also pretty hilarious to come across a bunch of old love letters from my ex with such gems as “you are the centre of my universe” and “I love you with every fibre of my being”.  Seriously.


 When do you open gifts?

Christmas morning, after some champagne (or whatever cold, alcoholic fizzy stuff that comes in a green bottle happens to be in my fridge).  When I still lived at home my brother and I could open one gift on Christmas Eve, but these days I don’t really get enough gifts to make that viable.

Do you travel over the holidays?

Yes, if possible.  I’ve managed to escape Scotland’s harsh weather for the last two years, going to Houston for X-mas 2010, and Australia in 2011 (which featured a ‘delightful’ Christmas dinner courtesy of Qantas).  This year, however, I’m stuck here, which is not ideal, but it does mean I get to spend time with Ian and friends while they all have some time off work.  Plans are already underway, however, for a Texas Christmas in 2013.


New Year’s Day 2012 – Australia

So how about you guys?  What do you want for Christmas?  What traditions do you have?  What has been your favourite present of all time?  Does Christmas music make you angry?  If you receive a gift with ugly wrapping paper, do you hide it behind gifts that you have wrapped for others just so you can’t see its ugliness?  Or is that just me?  Do you always get a shitty secret Santa present?  One year, the person who got my name made a mistake and thought they were buying for someone else.  I can’t say battleships was the best gift I ever got.