at the local indie bookshop this year. Nobody in the family needed knitted items so I used my knitting time elsewhere. Books are a pleasure to buy and easy to wrap. Oh yes, I knew what I was doing there.
As a family we do not make a great fuss about Christmas. Oh, we get together and we give one another presents but we do not, like some households, go for the turkey and the trimmings and the tree or the decorations.
My father detests pre-Christmas parties where people stand around with a glass in one hand and unwanted "finger food" disintegrating in the other. He has never liked that sort of event and now that his hearing is deteriorating he likes them even less. He would rather an intimate gathering of no more than half a dozen family and friends. He will tolerate Christmas Day with my sister's Greek relatives because he recognises it is kind of them to insist on including us. I know he would be just as happy at home with a piece of chicken and salad for lunch.
Presents however are another matter. He prides himself on making those.
My father will wrap his presents, as always, on Christmas Eve. He will have made his presents in the shed. They will be the irregular shapes of bowls, boxes, pens, puzzles, toys or whatever else has challenged him this year. I know I will be called in to help - and I am prepared with extra wrapping paper, tape and ribbon.
As we go through the wrapping process he will mutter, "I don't know why I don't just give everyone a book - so much easier to wrap."
It has been the same each year for years now. I will just be sad when that changes - or when I can no longer find him a new book of jokes to share on Christmas Day.