The Christmas Present


Each year we face the challenges of Christmas presents. Already featured on the news, amazing tales of spending are spun. 'Billions in the next few days,' an announcer declares standing in front of an apartment store. Beads of triumphal materialism are glistening on his face. He mops his brows. His hands gesticulate and give emphasis to his prophesies of enormous spending. This is expected to be seen by the viewer of proof of our wellbeing. Shop till you drop is now going like wildfire, ambulances are heard screaming their way to those that have dropped. Many shoppers are on the streets carrying large bags emblazed by large letters. A man is sitting near the corner holding a sign, 'I am homeless.' His head is down.

One can't buy that on E-Bay.

There is also a war to the death being fought. E-Bay is the Trojan horse that has entered our shopping habits. Apparently many now shop in front of a screen and rarely move outside. Wardrobes are piling out with bargains. Anything under $1000.- is GST or VAT free. A dream come true. And we don't have to go anywhere! Beauty. It just seems odd to buy clothes and not then go outside to show them around. What is it all about?


Men are buying computers or E-Pods/pads/tablets/routers/ and tweet to the world of their prudent shopping, all on E-Bay. Fishing rods with spinners, even leather jackets and bike helmets. The electronics bought from E-bay can then be used to ferret out even more E-Bay bargains. So it goes on. I wonder what I have done wrong to be totally outside the loupe of the E-Bay world of excitement.


For years now I have often missed out buying cheap things. I just can’t for the life of me think up something that I might like. My E-reader is lost somewhere.After all that concern about my eyes deterioration I still prefer a normal book. The E-book reader was about the last ‘thing’ I bought. I downloaded ‘War and Peace’ just to prove I still had the technical nous.

I don’t wear ties and only use paper handkerchiefs. Who wants to put a used hanky back in one’s pocket? That leaves socks or a meccano set. I bought Norwegian socks that are life long wearing. After 16 years of wear I darned one hole in each sock near the heel, using a hard boiled egg. Afterwards I ate the egg with a little salt.


With the meccano set I lost the Alan Key. I don’t normally skateboard or do twirls on a bicycle which seat has been lowered to the frame. I have become a man without wanting presents. I really would not know what I could still want to buy. I like a hug or a nice compliment, an unexpected kiss, a pat or stroke. Who doesn’t? I get all that and more. Why want to shop for an E-Bay gadget or tool. Should I buy a Pierre Cardin suit? I would look silly and self conscious. I am happy in jeans.

A garden for both of us is the ultimate gift and is free. Here is our garden that Helvi has managed to transform from an original bit of wasteland with ugly exposed paling fences. Have a look at it now. How can an E-pad or Louis Vuitton handbag compete with this?



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10 Responses to “The Christmas Present”

  1. Andrew Says:

    Wise words Gerard. We have a tree but otherwise don’t really ‘do’ Christmas. A garden is the ultimate gift except perhaps a hard boiled egg. So you can darn the socks. My grandmother gave my father the same gift each year as long as I can remember. An ounce of St. Bruno Flake and the year’s Giles annual. He was quite content.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Hope the tree is a good one Andrew. We always have a real tree. My parents had a spruce tree with real candles. One time the tree caught fire and dad hurled the tree from three stories up out of the window. The chickens down below ended up with the burning tree. The neighbourhood talked about that for years.


  2. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Great post Gerard. The back garden is quite beautifully filled with plants and potted plants I noted.

    All I want are more plants to plant and I can buy them myself. I give my two kiddos money. They give me something that I might really want or need. Not much. Don’t waste money on dhristmas. After my children were grown and had left home I ceased putting up a christmas tree. Actually I don’t like holidays at all. I sound like a grump but really I am not. ::-)


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I also have reservations about Christmas. I feel the commercial ‘shopping and spending money’ has spoiled it. Expectations of having to feel happy again can be laid on so thick that that in itself can be a huge turn-off.
      I like to feel Christmassy whenever the mood takes me. We have flickering lights going outside which are solar lit. Amazing!
      I am a grump, so I am told, but also try and see the funny side of situations.


  3. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    I totally agree about the garden. Our Christmas as children would be include a fight over who got the Giles cartoons first.
    But enlighten me… ‘I darned one hole in each sock near the heel, using a hard boiled egg.’ Uh? It almost looks like the joke you put in your thesis to prove that the examiner has failed to read it.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, it is a really a lovely garden and we sit in it as much as time allows us. The darning and egg relates to how ‘mothers.’ used a wooden gadget to darn socks to stretch the part so when the needle went in it would not hurt their hands. Hard boiled eggs were also sometimes used.
      I believe the original knitters were shepherds who, whiling away the time watching their flock, would knit.
      Hope it made sense!


  4. Patti Kuche Says:

    Isn’t it still a little early to be talking about Christmas? Please say yes!

    Gerard, your garden is beautiful, and not just for Christmas!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, it is silly but the country needs your money. There is nothing like Christmas to rattle the money can.
      Glad you like the garden. Not bad shots for a little Nikon 3.2 pixels I bought 14 years ago for ten times the price they are selling now..


  5. Lottie Nevin Says:

    Ah, the little wooden egg, or the hard-boiled egg – it brought back happy memories to me of my ma, sitting by the fire in the evenings darning those darned socks! and when she died (so young) I wept and cursed that she never had a chance to teach me how to darn! can you believe it? it’s true! I was so angry that simple, practical things like that I would have to work out for myself. As for Christmas, I think you’ve got the whole thing sewn up, Gerard. May you both continue to enjoy the blooms and blossom in your beautiful garden for many years to come.


  6. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Your garden is beautiful Helvi and Gerard! What more could one want?: Sit and have a coffee, tea or lemonade! Togetherness is the ultimate present.l


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