Friday, December 07, 2012

Ghosts of Christmas Presents

Happy Friday, everyone! Thank you all for the kind words on the launch of The Pollyanna Plan. I'm happy to assure you lots of carrot cake was eaten in celebration.

Today, I am off to Carnaby Street for lunch with one of my favourite writers and pals, the wonderful Mel Sherratt. So, while I'm stuffing my face, I'll turn the blog over to Scarlett Bailey, another fabulous author who has some wonderful Christmas reads out now to get you in the spirit.

Over to Scarlett!

It’s the time of year, not to mention the time of the month of the time of the year when I realise that I really need to get those last few Christmas presents tied up, preferably in Christmas wrapping and a colour co-ordinated bow. Getting the perfect gift, the one that will make the recipients eyes light up, gets harder every year, but I have picked up a few tips along the way about the art if giving and receiving Christmas gifts. Here are my top five tips.

DON’T casually mention in passing a domestic appliance in the three months prior to Christmas, especially not when the man in your life is around. This is how I ended up getting a Dustbuster one year and being single by New Year’s Eve. Men, it’s not always the thought that counts.

DO accept that men are impossible to buy for unless they have a hobby. My man is a musician (Miles in ‘Married by Christmas’ is based on him!) and one year I did manage to buy him a guitar, but that pretty much wiped out my present budget for the next one hundred years. So this year he will mainly be getting fruit. (Not really, but I can’t tell you what I’m really getting him in case he reads this.)

YES, kids have everything already. I know this because I have four of them, including baby twins. The twins are ok, all they want for Christmas is something to chew on, the three year old is at the stage when he wants everything he sees (I want that, that, that, that, and that, and that, and that and also that), so I’m guessing I’ll be able to please him in some way, but its my eleven year old daughter that’s the tricky one. What do you get a girl who’s already saved up her pocket money and bought herself an iPod touch? I’ve decided to go low tech and buy her many books, art materials and possibly a goldfish. We are still debating the goldfish, mainly as usually whatever is her responsibility to feed, clean out and take for walks, becomes mine. Although admittedly we won’t have to worry about the walks with a fish.

TRICKY gifts are often the ones you buy for your girlfriends, and after years of trialling soaps, scarves, jewellery and books (people don’t like it when I give them books, its like they think I am somehow cheating, even when I give them books I haven’t written!) I have found a sure-fire failsafe. Glitter based make-up. Yep, there is nothing I like to give or receive more than glittery nail varnish, eyeliner, eye shadow, face powers (cleavage powder) and lipstick. Certainly my friends and I are at out happiest when sparkling like a fairy on top of the tree. Glitter cheers up everyone. Even Scrooge.

NEVER publicly admit to hating a gift you have received, even if it’s the same soaps set you that you have repeatedly mentioned being allergic to that one particular relative who gives it to you every year, come what may – anaphylactic shock included. Sour faces and resentment just spoil the day. Smile brightly, tuck it away somewhere and at the first available opportunity return it or donate it to a charity shop. Then buy yourself something lovely instead. Maybe some glittery mascara.

Before writing her debut novel The Night Before Christmas, British writer Scarlett Bailey was a cinema usherette, a waitress, and a barmaid - but always a writer. A lover of romance, Christmas, comedy and perfect heros, Scarlett, who also writes under her own name Rowan Coleman, decided to write books that are perfect to curl up in front of a real fire on Christmas Eve, whilst waiting for Santa to pop down the chimney. You can find her books on and

Thank you, Scarlett! 

What's the worst Christmas present you've received? 

Have a great weekend, everyone.


  1. I read this, laughed, agreed, and then got to the 'glitter based makeup'. And for a long time, I got no further. oooh.....want!!! You are so right there. Will email you my address!!!!

  2. Enjoyed your post very much Talli, pleased you had plenty of carrot cake.

    My worst Christmas present? last year (and I suspect this year also)I had precisely nothing from my son or family not even a phone call,

    Have a great day and week-end.

  3. Hi Talli and Scarlett - such a fun post to read ... we used to save our pocket money and then our parents put in half for that extra special present at Christmas .. if that was the theme, then added 'accoutrements' could be added to the special prezzie.

    I might sneak in one or two books ... but suspect I'll have to be creative otherwise.

    Looking forward to reading WWW and Pollyanna .. and Scarlett's Christmas stories ..

    Enjoy Carnaby Street and lunch - sounds fun .. cheers Hilary

  4. Carrot cake... Talli you made me drool!

  5. Awwww enjoy your fab lunch date Talli!

    I don't think I've ever had a "bad" x-mas pressies! I'm just grateful I get them! LOL! take care

  6. Carrot cake, yum! I love that cover of Scarlett's book. A lovely looking Christmas read.

  7. Glad you had a Happy launch and carrot cake day! The worst present? Nothing! I said I didn't want anything for Christmas one time, but I didn't really mean it. I thought at least they'd get me a little something. I've learned: If I want it...I ask for it. Many times.

  8. As a guitarist, I have to say you are an awesome wife!

  9. Thanks, Scarlett! Yes, I received a cheese grater one year. Now I know why.

  10. Quite a lot of fun to read, Scarlett! Thanks for guesting for Talli today!

  11. What a fun post! A household appliance is NOT a suitable present for a loved one!

    I hope you had a slice of carrot cake for me, Talli, it's my fav too. Hope the lunch was gorgeous :)

  12. My father is clueless when it comes to Christmas. My mother will inevitably just buy something she likes for herself, from him...

  13. My husband always clarifies all household appliances before buying. One year, I really did want a Keurig coffee maker!

  14. Men are usually terrible at choosing gifts, William.

    My mom's sister and brother-in-law gave each other money for Christmas. Usually the same amount. How's that for a lack of imagination?

    Thanks for the advice, Scarlett. Love your covers!

    Talli--hope all is well with you and Baby TR!

  15. Nice getting to know you, Scarlett! I'm the worst gift-giver in the world. I never know what to get people.

    Talli, I'm so glad you had a great time! That carrot cake sounds yum.


  16. As a kid it was a large yellow construction truck that required batteries. I took it apart six months later to "see how it worked", and couldn't get it back together! :)

  17. Great post Scarlett, thanks for the tips. We struggle in our house as we have two adult sons (20 & 22) who don't real want us to buy anything (which translates into 'give us money instead of a gift' and a 9 year old who wants everything including a working model of an imaginary character from Realand. When I reminded him that character only exists because I thought it up while writing the book he said that didn't matter because Santa is capable of making anything a child wishes for. Help! As for bad Christmas presents that I have received? That would be every secret santa gift, EVER!

  18. I enjoyed your post today, Talli! Fun!

  19. Great post- made me smile. I have no problem buying for my two girls but buying for my boys is the complete opposite. I never know what to get them. In fact, I'm still trying to come up with an idea now!

    As for receiving dodgy presents, there is always the school summer fair raffle ... (I didn't really say that!)


Coffee and wine for all!