On the Couch with Jasminda



Do you have a pressing problem, annoying anxiety or community conundrum? Jasminda Featherlight, our resident roving Agony Aunt, is here to help. Jasminda will be responding to questions from our News Of The Area papers on a rotating basis. Send your concerns to Jasminda care of edit@mcnota.com.au and include your title, initials and suburb.

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Dear Jasminda,
This year we have decided to do a Secret Santa for the adults to take the pressure off at Christmas time with just one gift each. What do you think?
Mrs EL, Salt Ash

Dear Mrs EL,
In theory I think Secret Santa is a fantastic idea. Being a one gift option, it saves lots of swearing and lots of landfill. In reality, it can be just as fraught. First of all, because it is ‘secret’, you go through the rigmarole of picking a name out of a hat. Then the complaints start: ‘I don’t want Maria. She’s too difficult to buy for.’; ‘I got Jim last year, I’m not having him twice’; ‘I just selected my own name.’ And on it goes. It can actually go for longer than a game of UNO with a seven-year-old, which is a mighty long time.

The next thing that happens, from my experience, is your other half will say, ‘I got your mum, but you know her so much better than I do; can you just pick something up, you’re going shopping anyway.’ Thus defeating the entire purpose of the stress-free Secret Santa concept.

Then there’s the price issue. We always had a fifty-dollar limit, but my mum would not only buy something double the price, but make disparaging comments about those who managed to abide by the rules, thinking they were doing the right thing. The phrase ‘tight as a fish’s arsehole’ springs to mind.

This year, to keep things simple, all adults are buying their own gifts, wrapping them themselves, and then feigning surprise when they unwrap something they actually want, within their price range, and without any withering gazes, or ‘I feel as though you don’t even know me’ eye rolls, or ‘Did you keep the receipt’ rudeness, or ‘Where on God’s green earth will I wear this? Do you think I’m a prostitute?’ glares. I think the day will go off swimmingly, particularly after sixteen rum balls. I can’t wait.

Carpe diem,

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