Oh hell, it’s almost a month since Christmas and I have so much to tell you about! I blame too much mulled wine and far far too many Lindt chocolates, the combination put me into a temporary sparkly Christmas hibernation. Now that I am back on planet earth, let me tell you about the best present I have ever received, my Christmas present from Dad.
Now I know that daughters can be hard to buy for, especially daughters that live on the other side of the world. I mean what do you get an expat anyway? It has to be practical because you never know when an expat is going to move flats/continents. It has to be meaningful because Christmas for an expat is never going to be quite right without family. And most of all it has to be light because shipping something from Auckland to London is fecking expensive.
It’s also quite hard in my family because with two creative daughters we are bursting with strange present ideas, normally full of memories and completely unique. Favourites in the past have been the personalised pillowcases that my sister made me, the letterpress names that Dad collected and made, and of course the epic postcard adventure. But we finally have a present to top them all, a present that made me cry on Christmas Day and a present that I will never forget.
This Christmas Dad made me a recipe book. Now you all remember my attempt at the same thing, but Dad did it in a way that only he could ever do. He got me the Cuisine ‘How to Cook’ recipe book, which is page after page of simple, healthy recipes. Dad then went through the entire book and totally made it his own.
He then went through and crossed out every single ingredient that I didn’t like, and wrote suggested replacements (the seafood section was a particular marvel, I’m not keen on fish so entire recipes had to be edited). At the front of the dessert section he wrote “if you are ever sad, come to your happy place” – he knows me so well. There was also an ‘in case of emergency’ €20 note taped to one of the pages, exactly what every spontaneous expat needs.
My favorite part was where Dad cut out bits of magazines and newspapers about out local neighborhood and stuck them in. Now this is special for a couple of reasons, firstly because he actually stuck them in with sellotape, four bits of sellotape for every cut out. I can only imagine how long it took him. He also printed and stuck in loads of my blog posts about my trip to New Zealand – so thats where all the page views came from!
The clippings are also special because Dad has always been a newspaper collector, every weekend he would find some article or funny picture that he thought my sister or I might like, rip it out and give it to us – often with little or no explanation as to why he thought it was at all relevant. Now that I have moved to London he goes the extra step of scanning the newspaper clippings and emailing them to me – always at an angle because he can’t quite get it lined up on the scanner. This is such a strong connection with my Dad for me, it proves that my weird brain is totally genetic!
So there we have it, the most special present I have ever received, Totally unique and filled with love and happy memories. Thanks Dad 🙂