I have to start this blog with a disclaimer: when I say ‘boring’ I mean it in relative terms (i.e. imagine the judgement is being made by a ten year old). I’m in no way saying that I find the presents I got this year as a forty-something year old boring to me as a forty-something year old. I’m saying that they would be boring to a ten year old.
So this is my weird thought:
When you are five, for example, all your Christmas presents are large. They arrive in huge cardboard boxes, they often need batteries, they flash and play tunes. They are bright. They are interesting. They occupy you for hours. The pleasure you feel on receiving these is high. You feel sick with excitement.
Then you are ten. Your presents are a bit smaller but they are still interesting. They still often come in boxes. They might contain sheets of paper and words. They are able to occupy you and your siblings for a good few hours. You still get that sick feeling when you open your presents.
Once you get to fifteen, your presents shrink a bit more. In fact, they may shrink quite a lot. They probably don’t come in cardboard. They may be clothes or money, which you will probably spend on clothes. You may even get some cleaning products (to clean the skin, rather than the sink). You feel happy, but not excited.
At twenty your presents generally increase in size from five years previously. They may be decorative and useful. You will perhaps receive things for the house, or jewellery (of course my experience is gender biased, as I am female, I’m not sure what a twenty-year-old man would get) or a new watch. You may still receive clothing and money.
By thirty, your presents will be much more utilitarian: plates, mugs, kitchen utensils, and the odd vase. You will most certainly receive some self-cleaning products. The money-as-present has now disappeared completely. You may get books and DVDs, especially if you are childless at this point. You feel warm and loved, not excited.
At forty, especially if you have young children, your presents will be pamper-related: lots of bathing products, lots of scarfs that you might not buy for yourself, and gloves. You may get jewellery (if female) which is again, not something you’d buy yourself. You could also get some wine or spirits (your children drive you to drink, they think). You enjoy the wine, and wear the scarf. You just feel tired.
At fifty, your presents will consist of more scarfs and bath products. You will no longer receive domestic items – you have all you need. You may now get more books and DVDs as your children, if you had them, are likely to be more independent. You have more time to read and watch. You may also receive wine and candles. You are still tired, the dinner needs cooking.
When you reach sixty, I’m afraid, you will get lots of scarfs and bath products. You will also receive chocolate. You can sit in your scarfs, in the bath, and eat chocolate. You feel relaxed, someone else is cooking.
By seventy, see above. You will probably get slippers as well, and maybe a new dressing gown.
By eighty: slippers again.
By ninety: definitely slippers. I’m sure when I am ninety I will be very grateful for slippers, but my ten-year-old self would not be happy with a pair of slippers for Christmas.
Beyond? I don’t know yet.
So my point, next year if you surprise your seventy-year-old great aunt with something colourful and flashy and she won’t thank you. She was hoping for slippers.