in this house are relatively simple. We usually buy each other a book we know the other person wants to read. It will be non-fiction of one sort or another.
I bought the Senior Cat a video cassette tape one year. It was non-fiction too, an instruction manual for woodwork. He used it a lot - before the tape player died and he passed the tape and the small machine in question on to someone else.
I still have some of the Christmas books I was given as a child. I might have kept all of them but my mother gave away many of our things during more than one move. It was less for her to pack and unpack. There must have been something about that process she loathed. It may have been something to do with the fact that she moved so many times in her unhappy childhood. The process probably reminded her of that. Some of my books disappeared along with my adored train set, the doll's pram we used to give the cats rides in and the doll's house my father made me which kept turning into the railway station for the train. No, I was not a child who played with dolls.
My mother gave us things we actually needed for Christmas - mostly clothes to replace those that were too small or had worn out. She made most of those herself - apart from the "business" shirts the Senior Cat wore.
Now we give one another the books or something we need. Middle Cat asked me not so long ago whether there was anything I needed. Yes, a new cover for the helmet I wear when pedalling out on the roads. The old one has a hole in it. I can be pretty certain that will appear as a present from her and my brother-in-law. It will be a "useful" thing.
I know there are people we know who look askance at this sort of gift giving. They think we should be more creative. After all, they say, "It's Christmas. It should be fun."
But Christmas is our acknowledgment of the birthday of someone else. The gifts we give each other are not for our birthdays but an acknowledgment of someone else's birthday. There is no need for them to be lavish. They should simply be a reminder that we care about each other.
After all what could a baby do with all that gold and frankincense and myrrh?