Thursday 18 November 2010

The List

Every year the same thing happened.
At the beginning of November she made up her mind that this time,
for once, she would get her Christmas shopping done early.
She went as far as writing out a list - and there,
for several weeks, the matter rested.
At intervals she tried to pretend that Christmas Day 
fell on the 5th of December,
or, alternatively, that all her friends
and relations lived in South Africa
and that she had to catch an early mail;
but it was no use.
The feeling of temporal urgency cannot be artificially  reproduced,
any more than the feeling of financial distress...
Mrs Miniver knew perfectly well that Christmas 
was not until the 25th December,
and that all the people on her list lived in England.

From Mrs Miniver by Jan Struther

I remember when a Christmas list looked like this:

 bath salts
pipe cleaners
 Black Magic chocolates
Princess Annual
*felt comb case*
*knit scarf*
 talcum powder

Everything could be bought on one exciting 
 dark, wet, shopping expedition
to Boots, W.H. Smith and Woolworth's 
and nothing had to be posted anywhere,
it just had to be well hidden in your bedroom,
(moved and hidden again,)
ready for wrapping on Christmas Eve.

How late do you leave it?


  1. I want to be Sue! Haven't yet started but may attempt The List tomorrow now you have prompted me!

  2. And which of those items on your Christmas list was for il fratello? The pipe-cleaners or bath salts?

  3. I'm laughing out loud, I'm like Mrs Miniver, can't cheat myself.
    Thank you for commenting on my blog, I have been reading yours for quite a while now, and it's always worth a visit. :)

  4. Heavens, that Cussons talc brought back memories! (My felt comb cases would never have been finished in time.)
    Two days before is ample! Panic focuses the mind.

  5. My Christmas parcels to the States need to be sent surface mail by mid-October, so I start early. I love planning my Christmas shopping, and tend to do quite a bit of it either on summer trips and also from catalogues. But I usually make a few things too. When I think of Christmasses in my younger years, I used to make so much more of the presents I gave...

  6. The more time I have the longer it takes and the more I end up spending.
    Love Cedric Chater's illustrations for Cussons.

  7. Mornay's Sandalwood , Bronnley Lemons , Terry's Chocolate Orange ...
    And what was that talcum powder in a red tin . White Fire ? That was dizzily sophisticated !!