The thing is, I quite like Christmas.
This seems strange given that I seem to hate everything about it. I hate the endless advertising (if I see that Argos alien one more bloody time -). I hate the conspicuous consumption. I hate all the God stuff (I'm on Team Richard Dawkins). I even hate the food, partly down to my vegetarianism (1) and partly down to the fact I can't stand mince pies and Christmas pudding (all those raisins). And don't get me started on Brussels sprouts. Those aren't vegetables. Those are some kind of American military black ops weapon masquerading as veg.
Mostly, though, I hate not being very good at the whole Christmas thing. I never send the cards on time (if I send them at all). And I'm rubbish at wrapping presents. In fact I suspect I'd be better at rapping than wrapping, and as a rapper I'm MC Hammer standard at best (2). Then again, that hardly matters since the presents I'm wrapping are usually such ill-chosen examples of the form that they are a disgrace to the word "gift".
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It's not that I'm doing my Christmas shopping in the local garage on Christmas Eve or anything. That would at least excuse my ineptitude in the gift-giving area. No, the problem is I just choose badly. I veer between the poorly judged and the disastrously judged. In my wife's wardrobe there are any number of coats, dresses and jackets she has never worn. Not once. OK, maybe once, but only because I've guilt-tripped her into wearing said item and even then she never actually leaves the house. There are bracelets that have never left their boxes, necklaces I've found down the back of the settee still in the plastic.
One year, in a bid to change my luck, I bought her a robot. I know. WTF and all that. But I was desperate. And I didn't give myself any time to think. I just bought it. A tiny little plastic thing that had some LEDs in its chest and made vaguely R2D2-ish noises. It also carried a tray. That was its main ability. Tray carrying. Not a very big tray. You could get a tiny cake and an espresso cup on there. And J doesn't like coffee.
On Christmas Day, she guided it round the room a couple of times until its tiny wheels got clogged in the shagpile of the carpet and that was the end of it. The robot was put away in the cupboard and we've never spoken about it again.
Or not until I reminded her this morning. "I liked the robot," she said. Which, I think, translates as "That was one of your better gifts".
Thankfully, I've learned my lesson now. When it comes to buying her a present I just ask her what she wants. Saves a lot of grief all round.
That and a veggie lasagne and I'm good to go for Christmas Day. Have a good one.
 Ever since Morrissey told me Meat Is Murder circa 1983, more or less.
 Actually I think even that's bragging. I suspect Mr Bean is probably a better rapper than I am. And he's mute.