I am up to my elbows in gifts, labels and wrapping paper all to be cobbled together into parcels and sent back home to family in a day or two with ever obliging parents-in-law. I did finally pull my finger out and have been frenzied buying for the past week. Nothing like a deadline to focus the mind. Now that family birthdays are over, it's been like the cork has popped out from the 'spending inertia' bottle and there's no stopping me - unless of course the cashpoint does that old 'insufficient funds' trick - which it probably will any minute.
This year, keen to avoid the cliches, I've bought things from South Africa (Mr Price Home/kids), Nakumatt!! (they have some good Klutz activity books), pig cups from UK (I know, I know, talk about coals to Newcastle but they were a bargain!). I also bought beads/necklaces etc. from here in Africa (prob some are from Asia too if I'm honest). Even some masai bracelets from a 'real' masai lady with no hair who sits outside the veg shop in her shuka.
Also, Kenya colours rugby shirts (for boys), sarongs made in Kenya and books like Hot Hippo, Lazy Lion etc (for those who haven't received these before in previous years). I might even find myself sending some stuff that I bought in the summer in UK, then carted out to Nairobi in numerous roller bags, back to England. Though this sounds utterly nuts it might just throw me a lifeline with the last few pressies I have run out of ideas/energy to find.
There were some childrens' things at the craft fair last weekend (ie knitted teddies) that were made by very worthy slum based women's groups then sold on by mzungu ladies, but they were SOOO expensive that I'm afraid I shyed away from forking out.
You get faced with a lot of hugely expensive, locally made things when shopping around - I often find myself looking at price tags then backing out of the gift shop quickly with the words 'I'll just have a think about it...' In fact, without the aid of the internet and Amazon, you have to be ready to make a lot of executive decisions on how much you are willing to spend whilst on the spot, whether the items are actually worth it or, more to the point, are they really going to be loved?
The process is agony, but so exciting when it's finished. Phew. Now that I'm organised so hugely far in advance (I've even done my own kids!), I'm sure to wake up in a cold sweat on Christmas eve thinking, 'OMG, I've forgotten X! What on earth did I get them? Perhaps I forgot altogether? Help!'
I know, I know, I can hear you all shouting 'LISTS!' The problem is, I do hate lists with a passion! Organised chaos is far more fun.