Shopping in Symondsbury

There are not many more sleeps to go before Father Christmas magically soars over us all in his sleigh. His little elves (you and I) have work to do. Let’s just say we’re his back up team and leave it at that. Ho Ho Ho.

This year I am determined to be organized. Not only have I secured the most desirable accommodation for my tribe tucked away in deepest West Dorset  meaning that we can:

a)  Hold all the festivities in one civilized place, thus ensuring the oldies are warm, comfortable and cossetted and

b) I won’t have to spend the week prior to Christmas tidying and dusting my disorganised London home. Although it is wonderful that we can all be together we have elected for my parents and in-laws to stay in the newly refurbished Barton Cottage giving us all some well-deserved breathing space! Happy families are paramount…

I have made a list, neatly and methodically ticking off the people I adore in my life, all eagerly anticipating that lovingly wrapped present from yours truly. Here goes…

Robert, (husband) workaholic 45 years of age, childish nature, easily pleased.

In-laws, 74 and 70 years of age, the couple with everything, not so easily pleased.

Mum and Dad, both 70 years of age, the couple with everything who think they have nothing.

Leyla and Grace, twins 15 years old, sporty, love books.

Jacob, 13 years old, sporty, loves outdoors.

Dominic, 10 years old, moody, builds models.

Tanya, (the au pair) happy-go-lucky

Basil, the dog

Secret Santa, (work) the po faced woman in accounts.

I consult Tanya, ever conscious of keeping her in the bosom of the family. Following last year’s shopping fiasco; where we came back with nothing but blisters and a parking ticket, we decide to go to The Home and Garden store on the Symondsbury Estate. Free parking, no distance to walk and a gorgeous café for lunch. Simple.

I’m ashamed to say that my tribe have long since given up on some friendly chap bringing you everything your heart desires down the chimney. They see no reason therefore to be good. ‘Here’s our list’ they chorus, ‘you can get it all online’. ‘But it’s not chosen with love’ I wail, ‘where’s the Christmas spirit?’ I’m not tolerating this nonsense, I also firmly believe in supporting local businesses. The entire exercise of giving is supposed to be a pleasure, and so it shall be!

On arrival at Symondsbury Tanya and I plump for a cup of coffee and a sneaky mince pie first. It’s so cosy by the log burner in the café that we book a table for lunch too, confident we’ll be done and dusted in no time.

I have to say that as a jaded Christmas shopper upon entering the store I felt a sense of calmness. Not only did it look inviting and brimming with goodies it smelt divine too. How civilized it was to not be jostled, harried and forced to queue. The carefully thought out selection of gifts will appeal to all ages and tastes.  I had a vague budget, (I’m known as a careful shopper) which I mainly managed to keep to. ‘Quality not quantity’ I murmured out loud. ‘Quite so’ a nearby elderly gentleman agreed.

Back home and full of bonhomie and self-congratulation, helped along by a delicious festive lunch I turn on the radio. The carols are on and I begin to join in, 

“Tis the season to be jolly,

Fa la la la la, la la la la”.

I feel marvellous, who-ever would have thought that I would be this organised? Robert will be seriously impressed, he won’t even notice that tiny parcel inscribed ‘to my darling clever wife’ sitting under the tree.

This is what I chose for everyone along with budgets for each person. I hope it inspires you too!

Gifts to further peruse. We felt we were spoilt for choice. Kitchen section, children’s toys, Christmas decorations and lights, books, gardening, lamps, mirrors, clocks, candles, oils, toiletries, cushions, throws, leather goods, bags, artificial flowers, cards, stationery and much more besides.

May Christmas bring you all you desire, but most of all may it bring happiness with those you love. 

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