25 January 2012

Not Quite Normal

I was shopping for Secret Santa presents before Christmas. Desperately hunting around WHSmiths novelty gift section for something remotely funny, or something that even just slightly hit on the personality of the person that I had to buy for. He's a nice sort of chap; likes his football, a couple of beers in quirky pubs, good mates with my boyfriend and we'd been to university together... But there was nothing hilarious about him. Nothing that stood out as something I could pick on with a carefully (and evilly) chosen gift.

I was finding it a bit tricky. Everything I picked up from the shelves seemed a perfect present for me. The Simon's Cat 2012 calendar that I knew would look fantastic on my kitchen wall. The Rubik's cube - because I've always wanted one and could clearly never do it. A set of sticky moustaches, of all colours and styles - brilliant - (and perhaps useful?)

I wandered over to the magazine rack, thinking that there could be something hideously unsuitable to give him, like Bliss magazine for teenage girls. My eyes flicked fiendishly across the shelves. Men's Health...? He wasn't particularly known for eating too many pizzas, so perhaps that wasn't insulting enough. I knew he loved his football, and recalled the deep depressions he got into after Manchester United lost a goal, an opportunity, or - God forbid - the actual game.

"ah-HA!" I whispered to myself as my eyes scanned the Sport section and plucked the Chelsea FC Official Club Magazine off the shelf, knowing it would really piss him off - which would be quite funny for me. Then I threw in the sticky moustaches for good measure. Yes. Everyone loves a sticky moustache.

As I took my secret Santa gift over to the counter to pay, something being advertised on one of the stands at the front of the shop caught my eye. A mug - on sale. It made me stop to turn it over, chuckle to myself and look around to see if anyone had seen. It was THE most perfect secret Santa present - but for me. I loved it. I had to have this mug. I thought about buying it right there on the spot and pretending I'd got given it for Christmas. But maybe that was really sad, so I left it there on the top of a pile of other mugs, and thought that maybe, just maybe, my secret Santa might get it for me.


Apparently, I'm too old for stockings at the bottom of the bed at Christmas. Last year, I felt so despondent that I might miss out on one of those wonderful, crackly, crispy, heavy sacks of presents that I informed Liam early in November, that I'd be doing him a stocking this year - and that I would like one too.

I spent ages thinking about what he'd like (this time I picked serious, lovely gifts, and thought about all those things he needed, but wouldn't buy himself). I got him a beautiful vintage leather bag for work, a matching belt, I even crocheted him some fingerless gloves (which maybe he wouldn't buy ever... but I was determined that he would like). I'd been patient all day, slightly nervous that he might not appreciate me buying him Disney's Robin Hood on DVD (because it was obvious I'd wanted to watch it too), or think that the really useful changing colour egg timer I'd found in the shop was a bit silly. It was early evening on Christmas Day and we'd just cleared away the dinner plates and sunk into the sofas in the living room when he looked over to me, winked and said;

"Shall we do our presents now?"

I jumped up and followed him upstairs. Lying on his bed all exciting in a crisp, white pillow case was a lumpy bag of crunchy presents. I squealed. 

"Can I go first?" I asked, acting like a five year old. 

"Sure! Go for this one." He said, picking a square shaped, neatly wrapped parcel out of the pillowcase. 

As always, I peeled the sellotape off carefully, tearing the corners just a little, enjoying the way the paper sounded as it ripped. I saw a flash of shiny blue. I held my breath and my eyes boggled. 

"No way...!" I said, leaning over to kiss him. 

There, in my lap was the mug I'd seen and loved. I couldn't believe it. 

Today, it sits proudly on my desk, slightly inappropriate for a posh, corporate reception and it still makes me laugh. I get it out the cupboard every morning to make a cup of tea (not too milky, one sugar please) and potter back to my desk. I like how it's become a bit of a talking point, a conversation starter. And I always say proudly;

"My boyfriend brought that for me. He knows I'm not normal, and I quite like that."


  1. Stockings are the very best. I'm going to demand one next year! :)

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  3. A sweet story and perfectly written. I loved it. And the mug is lovely, I have a mug-habit and I would love to have this one (I'm also not normal :P).

  4. How awesome that you picked out that mug for you! Obviously he knows your likes quite well. How did the Secret Santa gifts go over?

  5. Well, how very lovely! I always get such dreadful'christmas present anxiety' - desperate that people will like what I've given them; it must have been smashing for him to get something that you liked so much.

  6. I'm like Sharon in that I'm always very concerned that the presents that I've chosen for people might not be what they want even though I'm sure it is. I love that he picked the mug you really wanted. To be honest I would very much like it as well and will leave some hints around the house for the next 11 months.

  7. aww how sweet...i dont really do xmas anymore so its nice to live vicariously through others...
    oh cute new pic too :)

  8. stockings at the end of the bed must never ever ever end!!! the mug is totally awesome!!!! steven

  9. Great to read this post-new mugs are great presents. I got my boss one of those "Keep Calm and Carry On" ones but I like yours better!

  10. Lizzie....I just found you via the Charlie Award and signed up for more.

    But this is to warn you that I also have nominated you for the Liebster Award.......see my blog, "It's Always Something"...........
    http://loisstearns, Congratulations.

  11. Nova - You should! I will too!

    Starlight - Thank you, if I see another I'll send it over to you!

    Bouncin'Barb - He's good like that. I think he knows me better than I know myself sometimes...

    Sharon - It was! I know, me too. Seen as I made all my Christmas presents this year, I was super nervous - more than usual!

    Happy Frog - Haha. Hints are sure to work a treat. Good luck!

    Dan - Thanks! Oh, I adore Christmas, I'd miss it if I was you! I'm one of those annoying people who put my tree up on 1st November...

    Steven - Big thank you!

    ND Mitchell - They are, aren't they? Says a lot about a person, what their mug has plastered across the front... doesn't it!?

    Lo - Hello, and welcome! Thank you for your support - and very touched to be given the Liebster award too! I popped over to your blog - lovely!