Christmas I’ve had the usual quiet festive period. Christmas in particular was everything I hoped for, and my Mum hasn’t lost her capacity to make me cry (even after the Flat Iron Building incident of last year). A couple of weeks before Christmas, I was talking to her about how Christmas doesn’t feel the way it used to. Some of this was because I’m older, but a lot of it has to do with not actually doing as many things in the run up to the day. In yore, there would by carol concerts at school, Christmas Fairs, trips to see Father Christmas. I particular mentioned the hampers we used to get. The ones which Mum would save 52 weeks for and would arrive in mid-December laden with goodies, and how I loved the surprise of not knowing what would be inside. We stopped getting them because there was too much in them and we would frequently have stuff so long we’d end up donating it to the harvest festival.

On Christmas morning on top the printer I knew I was getting, was another equally large box. I was told to open that last. At the end of the gift swapping my mum passed me a note with ‘Hamper for Stuart Ian Burns’ written. I’d entirely forgotten about the conversation above so my interest was peaked. I unpicked the brown paper, opened it up. Inside, there were a mass of new presents all individually wrapped in tissue paper. I began to unwrap them – packet of disposable razors, box of mini-hula hoops, White Chocolate Coins. I started to cry. Not just the odd the tear. Full blown, eyes stinging, throat sore tears. I hadn’t done that in a while. I’d remembered. Damn I’m thinking about it now and I’m filling up.

To be honest I still don’t know why I cried. Maybe it was lost youth. Nostalgia. The same stuff as last year. Part of it I know, is that these family Christmases are going to become rarer and I suppose I just want to keep them going as long as I can. I’m welling up now just thinking about that. Some of it was because I hadn’t had time this year to think too hard about presents and here was something which was entirely about thought. Either way it was the best present I got this year.

But you see that’s a split decision. Because on Boxing Day my Auntie and Uncle came. My Auntie handed over a package which felt like a jumper or some sort of coat. But when I opened it. A Bagpuss rug. Home made. It had taken her three months to make and frankly it’s a work of art. My Auntie at one point unpicked and re-tied a section of it because she had the wrong shade of pink. Even has the mice from the mouse organ at his feet. It’s took good to walk on, so I’ve a feeling I’m just going to have to move house soon so that I can give it wall space. It funny, fascinating and the other best present I got this year.

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