I shite you not.
My Aunt Jan and Uncle Robert got married really young and she wasn’t the most domesticated goddess under the sun, in fact, she was pretty useless in the kitchen and even more hopeless at homemade crafts – but hell, did she try really hard!
When we still lived in Scotland, every Christmas my sister and I used to get showered by gifts by all our family. I mean TOTALLY spoiled. We used to spend half the day opening gifts! It was completely insane.
Let me set the picture for you. I have quite an extensive extended family in Scotland. My dad is a family of four siblings and my mum is from a family of 6 siblings. Hence, we had 10 aunties and uncles who spoiled us broken at Christmas time (that’s not including grandparents, cousins and plenty family friends).
Anyway back to Aunt Jan…because she married my Uncle Robert so young, they really didn’t have much money and so when Christmas time came she spent countless hours making everyone home-made gifts and, bless her, they weren’t really, well lets put it this way…you used it or wore it once and then it accidentally fell into the back of your cupboard, never to be seen again.
I will never forget this one year, Aunt Jan knitted my sister and I pockies (you would probably know them as mittens). She must’ve bought the scratchy wool at the local 10p bargain bin store because the wool was a mucky blue colour and had the texture of fucking Grade A steel wool.
Awww her heart was in the right place. She’d even embroidered teeny weeny yellow and white flowers and a leaf on the top side on the pokkies. Not only that, she even used to make her own homemade Christmas wrapping paper and tie it with recycled string or ribbon. So you now you understand - a lot of effort and preparation went into her Christmas gifts.
So, I opened her pockies on Christmas morning and tried them on. One hand fitted beautifully but the other hand’s thumb was sticking straight up in the air. Och, bless her, Aunt Jan had gotten the pattern wrong and knitted two mittens but they were the SAME HAND! Two right hands. This meant that the pretty embroidery was on the top of the right hand and on the palm side of the left hand (the only way you could wear them to make the thumbs fit). My mum still made us wear them but only once, to visit Aunt Jan's house.
This wasn’t the only gifts Aunt Jan made us that were crooked or mismatched…one year we got little knitted waist coats which were actually dead cute - however, the buttons didn’t match up with the button holes and one side was longer than the other. Another year we got knitted jumpers with cut out felt Santas on the front and one sleeve was longer than the other and slipped stitches magically appeared when you put it on.
The point I'm trying to make is…who cares what the gift is or what it looks like or even if its a little lopsided – she spent loads of her time and effort making these wonderful gifts that contained truck loads of love. The point being, she thought of us when she made these gifts and that's why I'll NEVER forget them.
I miss getting gifts like this. I don’t mean gifts that you throw in the cupboard and hopefully never see again. I’m talking about gifts that someone has put their heart and soul into. It is so easy these days to go to the shops and buy something last minute and not put any thought whatsoever into it. That's so impersonal.
I’d rather receive Aunt Jan’s jaggy pockies any day.
I only wish I’d kept those pokey pockies as a treasured possession. They were so unique and so very special.
Thanks Aunt Jan, wherever you are!