I’m sure most of us remember that one Christmas when we got ‘The best Christmas present ever’. I’ve been lucky, as over the years I’ve received quite a few which stick out in my memory for all the right reasons, writes Tric Kearney.
If I were to pick one favourite it would be a dolls house made for me by my dad. I was six years old and it was two stories high, almost as tall as myself. The rooms were large and it had a real staircase with space under it, just like in my own home. It also came with furniture and curtains that my mum had made. The sense of wonder I felt when I saw that house on Christmas morning has never faded.
Forty years later it continues to have pride of place in my home. Sadly, my dad didn’t live to see the joy it brought to his grandchildren over many years, nor the rows over who is going to be its next owner. The thing about my doll’s house is, it taught me early in life is that a thoughtful gift is worth so much more than anything else.
As Christmas comes ever closer my brain is fried trying to think of a present for himself. He doesn’t make it easy. Each year we ask him to make a list and each year the same list is produced, socks, DVD, whistle (don’t ask me because I’ve no idea), shirt and tie, and of course the requisite add-on, ‘and a new car’.
I know he wouldn’t mind any of these gifts, but as he is excellent at choosing my gift, the pressure is on. Unfortunately, over many of the past Christmases I’ve failed. Most notably last year.
To be fair, I think I must have been a little unwell when I came up with my brilliant idea for his Christmas present — tickets for a well-known comedian in Cork Opera House.
If I’d not been unwell I might have remembered it was I who always laughed myself stupid watching this comedian, while himself rarely cracked a smile.
Come Christmas morning I handed over my thoughtful gift. His face said it all. I was a little bit upset but confident once he saw him live he’d become a lifelong fan. The big night arrived, months later, and off we went, I giddy in anticipation, himself a tad less enthusiastic.
The place was in darkness as we located our seats, only to discover another couple sitting in them.
“Excuse me,” himself whispered, “I think you are in our seats.”
“No, these are ours,” replied the female of the couple without even checking.
Himself headed off in search of light to re-check our seat numbers.
“Sorry,” he apologised on return. “But these are our seats.”
Immediately a sense of dread passed over me. Snatching the tickets, I checked the date, confirming my worst fears. Quick thinker that I am, I stepped into the row and crouched in front of the couple, admiring the stage.
“Yes,” I said, “these are indeed great seats. Are you happy with them? I think you should be. Great view.”
The couple stared at me as if I was barking mad.
I stood up smiling my most dazzling of smiles. “Sorry to have disturbed you.”
Taking himself by the arm I pulled him away declaring: “Those seats will be perfect when we come back to see the show — tomorrow night.”
Thankfully the very kind staff forgave us our error and offered us an empty box. The comedian did not disappoint and I laughed aloud all night. Unfortunately, himself didn’t seem to be watching the same show for he barely smiled.
Maybe he was thinking what an awful Christmas present it was? Wait until he sees what I am giving him this year.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved