The various Christmas presents that I've ordered online have started arriving. This is good for several reasons. First, I'm sure I come across as being awfully important/popular/lucky to be receiving so many exciting brown paper packages and stuffed envelopes. Although who I'm supposedly impressing I'm not sure unless I have neighbours with twitchy curtains (quite possible) and the postman himself, although he probably finds parcels dull given the volume he sees in any given day.
Actually, come to think of it, I wonder if postmen do get bored of parcels? Maybe they deliver a stack of bills and junk mail to house A with a heavy heart and then skip over to house B to deliver some brightly coloured handwritten letters and a package. Surely he must get more of a buzz out of the latter? And do you think postmen wonder what's inside them, coming up with make believe fantasies in their heads about who the letters are from? Possibly secret love trysts? Or long lost families being reunited? Or a mafia boss sending a chopped off finger to someone he doesn't particularly like? I would wonder these things if I was a postie. But then again, maybe that's just me.
Moving swiftly back to my original point about the joys of my internet purchases arriving. Secondly, I feel virtuous as I can start to tick off 'my list of things to buy', smug in the knowledge that I haven't had to battle through crowds of the great unwashed all coughing their November germs on me to get them. I did it all from the comfort of my sofa. And lastly, it makes me feel just a teensy tiny part excited about the fact that Christmas is coming. Particularly as my apple cider and calvados pudding arrived today. Not convinced it's going to last till December 25.
On the downside, shopping online has its problems. For example, the beautiful heart shaped fabric keyring with little buttons sewn all over it (which really is more lovely than it sounds) turns out to be a LOT smaller than what the picture led me to believe and is really not worth the £6 I paid for it. Then again, some very patient, long suffering fool, obviously sat there stitching the buttons on for hours (well it would have taken me hours and it would have looked like shit) so perhaps £6 for their efforts isn't too bad.
Then there's the condiment gift selection which arrived and looks ok, but just a bit, well, fake. I could have given away my home made chutney and jam but I undercooked the first and overcooked the second and although my family is forced to eat the stuff, I can't really foist it on other people. Except perhaps my neighbour who wants me to cut down our hedge. But the bought stuff just looks a little bit mass produced, particularly its ye olde worlde packaging that's supposed to make it look home-made. It doesn't.
Then there's the small issue of having to post much of this stuff out again to far flung family. That involves trying to find suitable packaging materials, a trip to the post office (home to the world's grumpiest post master), spending a month's housekeeping money on postage, a drama about why my children can't have sweets/magazines/crisps in the shop and having to restack all the greetings cards once my children have pulled them all out.
All of these things make me less excited by the volume of goodies arriving daily at my door. And it also serves to remind me that I have about two weeks to write and post my international Christmas cards. This involves finding the correct addresses too, so it's more onerous than it might appear at first glance. And it involves a trip into the post office again (to visit my favourite post master) because all the stamps required are different and he's such a cantankerous old fart that I will have to weigh each card despite them all being the exact same size and weight.
I'm beginning to suspect that Christmas is actually a cunning marketing ploy created by Royal Mail to boost annual revenues.
I must away to bath small beasts and to wrap small gifts thereafter.