I have never been an organised Christmas shopper and often spend more than I should in the few days before Christmas in a panic that I haven't bought enough for people and I will appear mean. I'm trying very hard this year not to fall into that last minute run to the shops for extras.
I keep reminding myself about my piece of volcanic rock. My eldest daughter is very generous and when she is away she is always buying presents for people, which I keep telling her she needn't do.
Last year she went to Italy and found it very expensive, spending more money than intended and had none left to buy presents. When she came home she very apologetically gave me a piece of volcanic rock she found lying on the beach that she thought was very pretty. I was genuinely thrilled. I have put it on my bathroom shelf and every time I dust it I think of her walking on the beach in Italy picking it up and bringing it home for me. I couldn't love it more if she had spent £100.
While I am not naive enough to think every one would be thrilled with a lump of rock at Christmas, I keep telling myself that the people who really matter won't mind if I give them a plant grown from a cutting, a little cross stitch picture or a jig-saw bought at a jumble sale (I counted all the pieces!) as they are all given with love. So no last minute rush to the shops for me this year buying expensive extras with money I don't have but I will make a point of writing a card with each present telling people how grateful I am for all their support and how much I love them.
I did spend a few spare pounds today though that I just couldn't stop myself from doing. Every day I walk past our local charity shop and admire their Christmas window with a display of penguins in the snow and there is one I just couldn't resist. There is a sign that says penguins are not for sale until 22nd December and I think to myself I will be there at 9.30 on the 22nd for him. Today when I walked by the sign had been removed. Could this mean they weren't for sale any more. I dashed in and asked if they were still for sale on the 22nd. "Oh you can have one today" the assistant said "I'm sick of them." So here he is, ready to be centre of our Christmas mantelpiece. Just £3 spent and he has brightened my whole day. I am so easily pleased!