#21 A little luxury

In White collar denial on December 29, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Is it just me, or do things feel more luxurious when they come in a black and yellow shop-box and folded in tissue paper? A sense that whatever is inside must be really precious.

It feels so long since I’ve had anything really special, or shopped at the department store with the black and yellow insignia, that it’s safe to say that it wouldn’t have mattered what was inside the tissue paper as the packaging was thrill enough (for anyone interested, it was a gorgeous scarf from a well-known knitwear specialist which I’ve been wearing to watch TV).

This year’s Christmas haul was really quite pleasing – including a  black Moleskine diary to encourage me to move on from the succession of Time Out diaries that saw me through the last decade (they still haven’t sent me the one they promised me in exchange for all the free work I did).

Meanwhile my present to myself was a Hummingbird Red Velvet cupcake, provoked by someone buying me a book of pictures of Hummingbird cakes imagining that I’d be able to replicate them in my own kitchen – as if. Again, the cake was made all the more delicious for being packaged in its own tiny box with wire handle. Divine decadence (as it should have been at that price).

We also stayed overnight in a hotel! OK, a Premier Inn. OK, a Premier Inn in Watford. OK, a Premier Inn, in Watford, with a view of Tesco car park, the ring road, and the Euston-Stoke railway line. But even these looked magical in the wintry sunrise, the light sparkling off the frozen windscreen of the VW.

For really all we want for Christmas is to feel special. And a pretty scarf in a box, or an individual cupcake, do that. I remember one year receiving an expensive set of stacking kitchen bowls, a duvet cover, and oven gloves – Finnish designed and useful additions to the house, but a brutal reinforcement of my position in it.

I’m afraid unlike more energetic recessionistas, I failed to enforce a DIY Christmas. I didn’t make a wreath for my door (and did I miss the memo that these were suddenly compulsory this year?). I didn’t string up spray-painted pine cones and dried fruit by way of festive garlands, I just dug out last year’s fairy lights and tucked the sections that didn’t work under some branches of the tree. I didn’t make my own Christmas pudding (why bother, when Dutchy originals will do it for you?). I didn’t run up Christmas Eve stockings from old clothes – I bunged some brightly coloured ‘bags for life’ in the fireplace. I bought my plum and apple chutney from the school home produce stall. And I forced my mum to make mince pies and jam tarts with my children. And they were still inedible.

I did manage to make six christmas cards in my printmaking class, though it took me a whole term and cost more than the packets of shop-bought ones. I’m not sure how festive the image of the stone harbour wall is, but perhaps it makes some sort of statement about 2009. At least I put the life belt in the picture. Not, however, the ladder.

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