My Perfect Christmas Gift

Underneath this tree there are pants, socks, a surprise book about dogs, a construction kit, a tea-towel with Prince on it, and tickets to ENO’s production of Chess next year.

Don’t worry. The recipient doesn’t follow me on Twitter. He doesn’t read this blog either. Grounds for divorce, I say.

Most of the gifts I’m giving this year to the other half are pre-determined. Lists were exchanged earlier this month. I considered a ‘the list’ project plan with a list of deliverables.

There’s no problem with that: I’d rather spend money on stuff he wants, than take the risk getting ‘surprise gifts’ that end up sinking without a trace.

Mindful of that risk, I instead channelled my ‘big statement’ gift-giving into two (perhaps) predictable presents.

I gave the first one last night as part of a Secret Santa project. Inevitably it didn’t turn out to be especially secret – the recipient worked things out swiftly.

“I’m giving you this because it’s something you wouldn’t normally listen to. It’s also something you must listen to.” It was the first book of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier.

I worried it wouldn’t land well. Only time will truly tell. But in the moment I was pleased. I felt like I was sharing something important to me with someone else.

Along similar lines, the gift to my next door neighbour. Isabelle Faust’s (what I think will become if it isn’t already) landmark recording of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. A highlight of my year at the BBC Proms, and a recording that still invigorates me whenever I hear it.

Over the past six months I’ve loved the renewed energy I’ve had writing this blog, the new friends I’ve made because of it, and the new ideas that have emerged as a result. I see that as my unexpected gift this year. I’ve no real idea how exactly it can’t it came about. But the opportunities it’s afforded me is something I value a great deal.

The energy I’ve found and deployed for my writing has come about in part by those who read it and those who contact me because of it.

Regardless of what’s under the tree for me today (and I have no idea because the OH doesn’t really use social media), I’m rather pleased to be able to appreciate the impact this blog has on me.

My kind of gift. That’s down to you.

Thank you. Merry Christmas.

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