Saturday, September 26

From the editor: Present perfect

- December 11, 2017


What do you want for Christmas? It’s either the hardest or the easiest question to answer. I spend the rest of the year politely but firmly telling myself that I don’t need that, training my brain to see shops as art galleries to be enjoyed and occasionally – with due consideration – purchased from. Then, up comes Christmas and I’m having flashbacks to wanting The Big Yellow Teapot again, always my default want as a child that never quite manifested.

That’s not to say I was deprived. I had my fill of Strawberry Shortcake figurines and Smurf stickers. Childhood always served up plenty of desires to carefully write on a Christmas list in readiness for enquiring relatives. Our family had a system: my brother and I would each write a list of what we would like – obviously with lots of ‘please’s taken as written – which my mother would then take away and pin up at the back of the airing cupboard. We were not to look at them again. And our Mum could cross out an item every time she gave it as a suggestion to a phoning grandparent, aunt or other relative. Thinking about it now, it was clearly a precursor to an Amazon Wish List – you didn’t expect to get everything on it but you noted down a few suggestions with vague hopes.

I send my godson a new book every year at Christmas, and together we’ve embraced literary figures ranging from Artemis Fowl to Katniss Evergreen, right up to last year’s Philip Marlowe. And I’ve loved the research for that particular project. That’s what I want for Christmas! Books and films that I’ve never heard of, or gotten around to, nudged in my direction by a thoughtful friend. Now, what would you like?

Victoria Nangle

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