The Jason Hahn Files: Let’s Talk About Christmas Gifts…

“That’s the thing about celebrating Christmas. When you’re a kid, it’s so much fun. The season is full of anticipation, optimism and wild greed. But as you get older, you find that you spend such a lot of money on rubbish for people you haven’t seen all year…”

At the rate this year is disappearing, it’ll be Easter soon.

The other day, Amanda frowned when I said this. “But Easter’s in March next year. Or maybe April. That’s months away!” 

“That’s what we said in June about Christmas and now it’s less than a month away!” I told her.

Amanda sighed. “Yes, that’s true. I just don’t know where the year has gone.”

From the corner of the lounge where a heaving bosom slouched, a voice emerged. “Are we doing presents this year?” Saffy asked. “Let’s not do presents. I really don’t have the range to deal with the crowds on Orchard Road, plus I’m poor.”

Amanda said she’d recently read that people are buying less these days, preferring to spend their money on experiences — like leaping off 100m high gorges.

“I’m not doing that,” Saffy said firmly. “Knowing my luck, the rope will stretch and I’ll either dislocate a hip or crack my head open like a Ya Kun soft-boiled egg!”

“I’m also not taking a selfie at the Grand Canyon,” Amanda said, clearly thinking about the couple who stepped back too far and fell off a cliff while they were taking a welfie, and basically died three seconds later.

All of which left, I pointed out, a caviar facial.

“It’s not real caviar, is it?” Saffy asked.

“Even if it’s not, it’s still fish eggs you’re putting on your face,” Amanda said. “I don’t see how that’s going to freshen up my skin.”

“We could go to Norway or something and look at the Northern Lights?” Saffy suggested, though you could tell by the tone of her voice that the idea of schlepping north on a 15-hour flight and be freezing cold was enough to suck all the festive joy out of her.

“Didn’t Sharyn do that last year?” Amanda asked.

Saffy’s bosom inflated. “Yes, she did and she said she didn’t see a thing! She came back and said she should have spent that $10,000 on her CPF account.”

That’s the thing about celebrating Christmas. When you’re a kid, it’s so much fun. The season is full of anticipation, optimism and wild greed. But as you get older, you find that you spend such a lot of money on rubbish for people you haven’t seen all year, and in return, you get rubbish that the second you tear open the wrapping paper and see what’s inside, you wonder to whom you could re-gift it.

Especially if, like Saffy and Amanda, you’re a devotee of Marie Kondo and her exacting demand that you hold something in your hand and ask, “Does this spark joy in me?”, and if the answer is “No”, you give it away or throw it out.

Last Boxing Day, we sat in the lounge room surrounded by our Christmas presents and put each one to the Sparking Joy test. You can imagine our disappointment when not a single item passed. What surprised us all though was that one of the presents was a pair of Chanel sunglasses from Amanda’s latest boyfriend.

“Seriously, nothing?” Saffy had asked.

Amanda turned the case around in her hand. “Nope. Nothing! And you know I love Chanel!”

“Well, it’s a good thing I’m taking you out for chilli crab dinner then,” Saffy said.

“Which is so much more useful!” Amanda said, thoroughly disturbed by the idea that Chanel no longer gave her any joy.

“Maybe if you had gotten Chanel pumps instead?” Saffy suggested.

Amanda paused as she tried to imagine opening a Chanel shoe-box. After a while, she sighed. “Nope. No emotion.”

“Huh!” Saffy said. As she later pointed out to Sharyn, if you’d told her that Kim Kardashian was retiring from show business and opening a bakery, she would not have been more unsettled.

“I mean, the woman once considered getting a tattoo of the Chanel logo on her left boob! You don’t get more committed than that!”

But Sharyn wasn’t really paying attention. “Ay, how I look?” she asked, turning towards Saffy whilst wearing Amanda’s Christmas Chanel sunglasses which, having failed her Sparking Joy test, was passing with flying colours on Sharyn’s face.

All of which has left our Christmas plans this year a bit up in the air. After all, if you’re not giving presents for Christmas, then, really, what’s the point? And if that’s the case, maybe it would make so much more sense to just ignore the whole thing altogether and spend the day at the spa.

“But you make sure you give me all your presents hor,” Sharyn said to Amanda. 

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