Christmas on Becca's Books | Best and Worst Presents by Kathleen McGurl

~ Best and Worst Presents ~

By Kathleen McGurl

What were the best and worst Christmas presents I ever had – what a fun question to answer! There’s nothing like a little trip down memory lane at this time of year. A few presents stand out, over the years. When I was about 11 or 12, I remember crying with joy when I got a tape recorder one year. It was denim-blue coloured and came with a shoulder strap so you could carry it around (this was the mid seventies, and Walkmans hadn’t yet been invented, let alone iPods). You had to hold down the fast-forward and rewind buttons so getting to the other end of the tape made your finger ache. But it was MINE and I could buy cassettes or record from the radio and play my own music. I was in heaven!

More recently, my husband has bought me a few lovely things – a silver and pearl flower-shaped necklace which I adore, and a cuddly giraffe onesie (if I can’t be long-legged I’ll dress as an animal who is).

Another stand-out present was a collection of books my dad picked out for me. I loved all of them, especially the Fay Weldon. He and I had such similar tastes. Sadly the reason I remember this present so well was because it was Dad’s last Christmas – he died just 3 months later, before I’d read all the books.

If I’m to tell you of my worst presents, I’ll just have to hope that the people who gave them to me aren’t reading this blog. Nigel, my dearest brother, if you’re here,  look away now. He gave me a map and guidebook of Kenya one year. I’d never spoken about going to Kenya, and I had absolutely no plans to go, and indeed have never been. But my brother said, well, you like travelling so I thought maybe this would give you an idea of somewhere to go... I still can’t quite work out the logic there. Why Kenya and not Peru or Greece or Russia or Laos or China or Italy or Alaska...
Another odd one was the year I asked someone for a set of bicycle spanners – something specific that I actually needed for bike maintenance. Instead, she gave me a set of precision screw-drivers – the tiny ones you use to mend spectacles etc.

And my best present of all time actually arrived unexpectedly a few weeks before Christmas – my second son. He was due in mid-December and I was assuming he’d be at least a week late as my first son was, and arrive right on Christmas. He came early but I still think of him as that year’s most wonderful present. That little bundle of joy is about to turn eighteen. How time flies!
I hope all your readers have a wonderful Christmas, Becca, and that Santa brings them everything they asked for. If anyone needs Kenyan guidebooks or precision screwdrivers, let me know.


Kathleen McGurl lives in Bournemouth with her husband and teenage sons. She always wanted to write, and for many years was waiting until she had the time. Eventually she came to the bitter realisation that no one would pay her for a year off work to write a book, so she sat down and started to write one anyway. Since then she has published two novels with Carina UK and self-published a third. She has also sold dozens of short stories to women's magazines, and written three How To books for writers. She works full time in the IT industry and when she's not writing, she's often out running, slowly.

You can find Kathleen McGurl on Facebook | Twitter | kathleenmcgurl.com

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