Good tidings...

Oh Christmas, such a wonderful time of the year. Since I was a baby my parents always followed the tradition of gifting me with  presents every year. But the funny thing is they never encouraged me to believe in the red suited man and his flying sleigh. So, as you can imagine, I grew up knowing exactly who was gifting my lol, however they used to give me awesome surprise gifts and we used to amazing xmas parties at all the Air force stations my dad was transferred. Well, be as it may, I never grew up knowing the full history of xmas, not until I came to UK. That was the first time I had the full experience of a real xmas celebration, and little by little I came to more about christmas such as the church services on xmas eve all the way till midnight, the whole traditional xmas feast (british of course!) with roast turkey with stuffings and gravy, the little delicious pigs in blankets, the vegie goodness, the delectable minced pies and the flavourful mulled wine, and the assize family gatherings, of the don't forget the presents lol…

Then there is the history of Santa Clause himself that always intrigues me. Santa was based on St. Nicholas, the Greek bishop of Myra,  and the original pagan Father Christmas, the green man, who is still celebrated in certain parts of UK as the real Father Christmas. Although history has never been my strong subject it still never ceased to amaze me how much there is to know about little things in life… Xmas pleasantries being one of them.

Well, things have been very tensed in my Indian hometown with the extremists and the aborigines locked in a brutal fight. Lives have been lost in both sides and blood is being spilled in the name of revolution or whatever they want to call it these days. It has been so heart rendering and upsetting that not many have the heart or the zeal to celebrate christmas this year. I just hope people come to their senses and put an end to such brutality, and eventually things get better…

 Well, let's not dwindle on the perturbing issues of the world today for it's the time to celebrate… Every year, I find that the most worrisome part of the festival is the shopping for presents. To be completely honest I am not big on the presents any more, I mean on my birthday ya sure, surprise me, but on xmas it feels more like obligations and formalities, don't get me wrong but a good time is all I need! I know it can be quite tyring and difficult to decide and choose gifts for 10-20 odd people, gifts that they would appreciate as well as be useful to them, especially if you are not too close to them. I understand some people love to gift people close to them. You know what they like and you tend to go out of your way to please them, however remember, you are not the only one gifting sometimes and all the things you gift, while thoughtful may not be all that useful either, such as an owl showpiece for example that you bought because you know he/she loves the critters. I'd suggest "THINK", ask yourself, "would it be useful?", "would it occupy space?" Chances are they would love it but more often than not these are useless commodities… Hence, here are some tips on what I find useful while shopping for gifts.

Tips on presents:

1. Consumables! Food is always an excellent and useful gift to give no matter who, and you can never go wrong with them, provided you know their taste of course. A bottle of wine, a nice box of chocolate, a cool set of cheese with crackers and wine, some amazing spices, or authentic (curry, hot, etc.) sauces are always a winner.

2. For ladies it's quite easy really, cosmetics and spa items always work. But be wary when getting perfumes cause not everyone likes the same kind of smell… Ask them for their choice if they'd actually like on. The same applies for men too, a nice quality grooming kit will ALWAYS come handy.

3. For the loved ones, cool useful gadgets that they have been eyeing on such as those amazing wireless head phones, ebook kindle or bluetooth speakers go a long way.

4. For a friend, especially some into books, comics and films (quite like me) a nice piece of literature, flashy comic or a DVD from their fav. genre would make a brilliant addition. I for one don't need anything else ;)

5. Lastly, for someone artsy or crafty in the creative sense of terms, it is always best to give them something that they can use or incorporate in their studio work, such as my beloved friends have so thoughtfully given to me this year. These gifts can NEVER be wrong!

Well, I hope that kind of helped if you were ever in the same quest as me on what to and what not to buy for christmas. Hope you have a great holiday…

Here's Southampton during Xmas:

Xmas tree at the Uni
Southampton Xmas market
Southampton Xmas market sweet shop

Southampton Xmas market sweet shop

Southampton Xmas market above Bargate

Colours and textures

Round and round

Santa and Olaf from frozen