I can see a little practicality in a "wish list" (no unwanted presents to stuff in a cupboard forever)but christmas is a time for children rather than adults,and I dont know any children that shop online and max out their credit cards.For years,christmas has seemed to arrive earlier and earlier thus by the time the actual event arrives I'm thoroughly sick of it.The problem of what to buy someone was easily resolved by my grandparents,we always got a WH Smiths voucher.Pretty hopeless for us as children as our WH Smiths was little bigger than a corridor with bookshelves.Where my grandparents lived,was a huge store with almost as big of a range of goods as a Co-Op.When my grandparents finally understood the releative uselessness of a voucher,they switched to cash and my mother remarked that giving cash showed a singular lack of imagination.Guess what my mother gives to her grandchildren now? Yup,cash!
As children,we were asked to write to the family thanking them for the gifts(whatever the actual gift was)but this hasnt continued with my brothers/sisters/cousins children.
Going a bit on the lines of "when I were a lad" christmas spirit was much more fun, you did not start until a few days before, can remember going to the butchers and fruit and veg market with my parents late on christmas eve to get all the food, because it was sold off cheaper then, and walking home because the buses were full, christmas trees did not go up until a week before, I agree with chegs that it starts far too early and is spoilt by the time you get there now. Or maybe I am just a Walter Meldrew nowadays.
There may have been a pagan festival at or about the time of the present celebration of Christmas. However Christmas is a Christian feast day celebrating the birth of Christ. By all means enjoy it in your own way if you do not have christian beliefs. Happy Christmas.
Must have been nice to be rich:), two days before Christmas it would be down to the Earl of Scarborough's estate to poach a couple of rabbits to go alongside the pheasants which had been acquired a few days earlier. The veg would be from our vegetable patch.
Mind you the shops where several miles away and no public transport.