It was a cold late December afternoon, with only 2 days till Christmas, as she skuttled hurriedly around the shops, panic buying. Hot and flustered she joined the queues, after trying to get to the goods on the shelves, that were being blocked by people chatting in the aisles.
Sometimes this turned into a little bit of barging, if her reapted ‘Excuse me,’ pleas were ignored. Don’t they realise she’s left it late again and she’s a gal on a mission trying to find presents. Presents for the people she liked, who would appreciate them and not just throw them in a drawer out of the way.
Like she did on many an occasion; after opening them up on Christmas morning and thinking ‘What the hell is this?’ thinking she’ll save this; and pray she remembers who bought it after a few glasses of Pinot.
She smiled at she thought of that drawer. With one side filled with what Nel had given her, and the other side with what Nel would get this year. The drawer that was already prepared for when that unexpected event turned up and she didn’t know them too well, or had to go ‘because they are family’. Then she would rummage through that bottom drawer and see what was suitable for that specific occasion.
Franticly hurrying, she was sure that time was not on her side and she wouldn’t be prepared for Christmas. It seemed every year that she was getting later and later with the shopping. She hated shopping at the best of times, but buying for others was the bane of her life.
She opened her handbag and reached for the prepared list of possible presents for family and friends, to check she had got everyone what they wanted.
- Mum – Handbag, Purse, Perfume, Scarf, Smellies
- Dad – Jigsaw Puzzle, Shaver, Smellies
- Philip – Anything cheap and cheerful… he hates Christmas as much as me.
- Sister Julie – Earrings, Perfume, Smellies,
- Friend Julie – Diary, Necklace, Smellies
- Aunt Flo – Socks Hankies, Smellies
- Uncle Bert – Socks, Hankies and Smellies
- Jean up the road – Jumper, Smellies
- Cousin Jean (Nel’s Daughter) – ?????? Smelly?????
- Nel – the miserable old cantankerous one… definitely something out the bottom drawer
- Sweet old Ethel – Ferrero Rocher and a bottle of Gin, and a nice luxury Bubble Bath.
As she read the list it seemed to go on and on… and without even realising it, everyone had Smellies.
She checked her items off and joined the mile long queue.
The queue went down surprisingly quick, to her amazement. And as she started to pay at the till for her basket full of smelly gifts, the checkout girl gave her a smile… and said, ‘Like me then, given ’em smellies if in doubt! Don’t you just love Christmas! I feel joy and excitement every year. I’m like a big kid at Christmas.’
‘Oh no they’re not Xmas gifts, my lot just stink!’ she said as a joke, whilst chuckling away, ‘I have a bottom drawer full of stuff for those I can’t stand but must give a present to.’
The cashier laughed at what she thought was her joke … as she handed over her change.
Stacked up with presents she head off home for the next Xmas task, The Great British Wrap-Up.
As Christmas drew nearer, deep down, she Carol ‘I hate Christmas’ Brown will be glad when the 27th arrives and her life can return to a semblance of normality, and she doesn’t have to put up with this charade of ‘a perfect family‘ Christmas.’
God, how she wished she could curl up in bed, until it was all over!