LUV – Whoever invented the Christmas stocking* was a stone-cold genius. A stocking is the perfect present-giving size. They don’t allow you to buy someone’s affections, because you can’t fit a PlayStation or a car inside a stocking. Instead it forces you to search out smaller presents, more personal presents, thoughtful little trinkets of appreciation that mean more because of the effort than went into finding them. Done right, a stocking is a tiny container full of love.
Sure, you might sometimes find a kid who gets his presents inside a pillowcase, but that kid will grow up to be so spoiled and self-centred that they’ll contribute nothing to the advancement of mankind and die alone and lonely and full of regret. Similarly, I know for a fact that Robyn Wilder used to celebrate Christmas by receiving a walnut in a shoe. A WALNUT in a SHOE, for fuck’s sake. That’s not a present. That’s about half a step up from a punch in the face. If you ever meet Robyn Wilder, you’ll see what receiving a walnut in a shoe has done to her. The woman is a psychological and physical wreck. Show her a walnut and she’ll cry for a week. Would she be better adjusted had she received a stocking? Undoubtedly. Hooray for stockings.
* A massive stocking that was designed specifically to hold Christmas presents, obviously. Not a real stocking. That would be shit.
– Stuart Heritage
HAT – Yes, a walnut in a shoe. If I was lucky. Because I’m fabulously international, I spent some of my formative Christmases on the continent *flicks hair*, where the penalty for smoking yourself thin and employing laissez-faire road etiquette comes at Christmastime.
Firstly you have to celebrate it on Christmas Eve. Secondly, instead of Rudolph, continental Father Christmas comes down your chimney with his friend, Krampus. Who’s Krampus? Oh, just a bowel-liquifyingly terrifying demon who abducts naughty children and feasts on their hearts.
Even if you’ve been good as gold all year, the most you can hope for is walnut in your shoe, so Christmas stockings – with their promise of ‘selection boxes’ and no de facto threat of child abuse – seemed impossibly wonderful to a poor Walnut Child like me.
But it turns out they’re just a lie. Just a fucking lie. Because you can write to this new, apparently generous ‘Santa’ character, asking for as many My Little Ponies and skateboards as you like, but what do you actually get?
A diary too tiny to write in, a giant pencil too big to sharpen, a clementine, a Finger of Fudge, a can of foul-smelling Impulse, a puzzle you’re too thick to solve, and a series of rancid novelty lip balms. Every fucking year. I’d rather the walnut, to be honest.