Mince pies are on the menu, the Mariah Carey album is on standby and if you’re anything like me, you’re probably planning this year’s great attempt to sneakily open your advent calendar windows ahead of time without your parents finding out.
That’s right you guys, Christmas is a-coming!
And although we know deep down that there’s way more to the magic of Christmas than that new pair of shoes you’ve got your eye on, presents are absolutely on the brain.
The thing is though, whether you’re one of those people who emails itemised gift lists to friends and family complete with web links, clothing sizes and colour preferences (no seriously, it happens), or someone who just quietly hopes that Father Christmas has been paying close attention to your Pinterest boards, there are certain gifts that you’re guaranteed to open each and every year. Whether you ask for them or not.
For some unknown reason, Christmas comes with the unspoken understanding that it’s totally ok to give presents you wouldn’t dream of giving at any other time. For example:
Either a pack of 5 plain /black/blue/grey ones, or a singular pair of ‘funny’ ones that swiftly lose their lol appeal after the first wear.
Impractical novelty games
In what reality are you ever going to use Sudoku toilet paper?
An itchy jumper
From the distant aunt who insists you put it on straight away so she can see that it fits, even though it looks and feels sandpaper and will clearly remove half your skin from your body if you actually dare wear it.
Guinness Book of World Records
In the entire history of the 90 and 00s, not one human ever received a Guinness Book of World Records as a present on any other day than 25th December. Fact. Probably.
A gift voucher from a store you never visit
Given by the uncle who should really know you better, but insists on giving all of you a nameless envelope containing an un-exchangeable gift card loaded with £20 of store credit. For Halfords. Or Gardening World.
A Cadbury’s Christmas selection box
For no other reason than it’s slim, rectangular and easy for your parents to wrap. They totally could’ve just picked you up a Curly Wurly and a Crunchie from the corner shop, though.
But alongside these yuletide treasures, I receive a bonus gift. A gift equally as predictable as the others, and just as odd to receive…
Yep, pants. Each year my nan will give me a multipack of very sensible underwear. Which, let’s be honest, doesn’t appear at the top of anyone’s Christmas list.
It’s the type of gift that only your grandma could get away with giving, isn’t it? I’m sure you’ll appreciate the horror of reaching your teens and still having to endure unwrapping three pairs of hot pink knickers with jolly gingerbread men dancing across the bum, in front of the whole family.
But as unexciting as they seemed in comparison to glittery lipsticks, brand new ballet shoes and favourite television boxsets, I could always kind of appreciate them as a practical gift. Especially when I look back to the primary school years, when we grew out of clothes in a heartbeat, and it didn’t matter what you actually received as long as your present tally was equal to or higher than your brother or sister’s.
And as I got older and passed the stage of having to find tactical ways of getting changing into my PE kit without flashing a pair of panda pants, I learned to love receiving my weird and wondering Christmas knickers. Sure, they weren’t the coolest present under the tree – but I’ve come to realise that granny pants are actually an important part of your knicker drawer. Honest.
I really love underwear. I have a bit of a thing. You’ll find every shape, fit and material possible in my bedroom and there’s rarely a day when I have to scramble for clean ones because I definitely have far too many. But there are some days when the absolute last thing you want to do is shimmy into a pair of very pretty, highly impractical, exceedingly uncomfortable knickers. Especially when you’re on your period. Nooo, thank you.
That’s where the efficiently bum-covering gingerbread man briefs come in. Laugh as you may, but if you surrender to them, there’s nothing quite as safe, secure and comfortable as a solid pair of granny pants. And that’s coming from a self-confessed knicker snob.
So this Christmas I’m kind of looking forward to receiving my obligatory parcel of pants. Safe to say that knowing what I’m going to get does wonders for the whole gift-anxiety thing. And let’s face it – who, other than your nan, will take it upon themselves to make sure you never, ever run out of comfy undies?
Image: Katie Edmunds