Last-minute shopping

How many smellies can you fit in one Christmas stocking?

Today somehow feels like the last convenient opportunity to get out to the local shops and snap up the critical stocking stuffers that you know will be especially appreciated by your beloved on Christmas morning. At least, that’s what I’ve been told, in no uncertain terms, to prepare for this Christmas.

Because our family are away, and it’ll just be Carrie and me waking up to remark at the ingenuity of Father Christmas, hanging those over-stuffed stockings at the foot of the bed (never mind that each of us will have helped the jolly old saint on his errands, before falling into bed the night before!) But in my case, that means I must prepare one very special stocking all by myself, this year, without the annual assistance of our darling daughter who’s far away in Sydney. Uh-oh, better get my skates on then!

Without giving too much away, I know that I must pay a visit to the ‘smelly counters’ (apparently socks and knickers aren’t requested this year!), and also find some delightful gadgets to hide in the stocking’s nooks and crannies. There must be a great magazine too, to roll down the stocking leg, give it a bit of a backbone.

Now if Carrie was a fly fisher person, I might have availed myself of an online visit to Foxy Tails, a local business here that trades worldwide almost exclusively through its internet shopping presence. But I can’t think she’d be too delighted to receive a set of hand-tied fishing flies, even though they are reputed to be amongst the very best in the world. Nor, sad to say, is she that interested in the wares on North Valley Print, another Allendale enterprise with a great online presence, and which specialises in bespoke bar font badges and merchandise. I managed, myself, to print a Pennine Pale badge from Allendale Brewery on light card, through which the little 24v lamps in my beer font, on the bar here in The Elf Hole, can shine well enough. But even if I were to purchase from online traders today, my acquisitions would never arrive by stocking discovery time! No doubt there will be some who will hope to achieve a delivery of something purchased online today, by tomorrow, Christmas Eve, but good luck with that!

I think, however, that with reasonable foresight I’ve managed pretty well to adhere to the mutually agreed ethos this Christmas of finding brilliant recycled gifts, through my favourite online shops. But it had taken a bit of ingenuity in the early weeks of November and into December itself. For now though, I’ve left it too late for the stocking!

No, the only thing for it now is to go local, go quickly and go well. And apparently, Carrie is out on a similar expedition too, so we’ll have to split up on our morning shopping exercises! No doubt we’ll both be smelling fragrantly throughout the early part of this coming year.

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