Christmas countdown makes me present tense!

WELL, with five sleeps to go and not a present bought for anyone (mother, if you are reading this, take deep breaths) I can safely say Christmas is on my mind and stressing me out slightly.

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n Visions of an idyllic Christmas end in a Kevin the teenager strop
n Visions of an idyllic Christmas end in a Kevin the teenager strop

Every year I promise myself I am going to be organised and start my Christmas shopping in October, allowing me to sit back and laugh at everyone panic buying in the week leading up to Christmas. But, oh no, I've decided to wait until Christmas Eve to run the Sauchiehall Street gauntlet, panic buying my backside off.

Let's face it, getting the right present is crucial and requires a lot of thought because giving someone something they clearly didn't want can have a lifelong effect on them and trust me I have first-hand experience of this.

It was August of 1995, I was aged 15 and everyone who was anyone at my school had come back from the summer holidays wearing the latest Sweater Shop jumper, Berghaus Jacket and sand-coloured Timberland boots.

These boots weren't just in fashion, they were a statement.

If you were wearing these boots which even back then cost around £100 you were in the elite in our class, one of the cool kids and were given maximum respect.

I, unfortunately, was sporting a pair of black, heeled, lace-up shoes from the State of Independence and as a result thought my life was over.

I ran home from school and begged my parents for a pair of the boots - but my mother was firm and laid it on the line to me.

With four other siblings she explained that I would need to wait until Christmas for the boots and, of course, behave myself until then. With four months to go it seemed impossible to wait but I wanted those boots so badly I would have done anything.

So I transformed myself into the model teenager. I helped my mum around the house, took my little sisters out at the weekend, stopped playing my music so loudly and even hung up my uniform when I came in after school. Slowly the months passed by and then finally the big day arrived.

I raced down stairs on Christmas morning with my sisters and ran straight over to my pile of presents and after a few seconds spotted what I had been dreaming about for months.

I'll never forget that huge square box wrapped in blue snowman paper with my name on it, my eyes as wide as saucers as I stared down at it.

I took a deep breath and tore off the paper and lifted the lid off the shoe box and instead of those sand coloured Timberland boots before me there instead lay a pair of black leather steel toe-capped Caterpillar boots - spelt with a K.

My sisters still do an impression every year of the carnage that followed that cold Christmas Morning in 1995. All I will say is, think of a cross between a wailing banshee and Harry Enfield's Kevin the teenager gone mad for a picture of my reaction.

Turns out my poor Dad had been called out to a job down at the Barras and got talking to some guy who convinced him that 'Timbies', as they were known, were a thing of the past and a mate of his was selling the latest footware craze that I'd love.

I never did get Timbies but, hey, with a family as amazing as mine who needs fancy shoes.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year. Thank-you so much for reading my wee column each week. It's been a fabulous 2012 - here's to more of the same in 2013!

n A big thank-you to Taylor Ferguson and his team for transforming me from a fiery redhead to a blonde bombshell – my words, obviously – on Monday. Now it's time to see if blondes really do have more fun!


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