I’m not being dramatic, but Argos are endorsing child slavery.

I’m going to be honest guys, I’ve had a bad week. There is something wrong with my back. I may look 22, but apparently I have the skeleton of a 90 year old woman who doesn’t drink milk. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day soon my body gave up and I just crumpled into a pile of dust on the floor, leaving behind nothing but some stylish shoes and an unpaid library fine.

I have to admit, I am both loving and hating being ill. The fact that I can’t lift my arms up properly means that I’ve been wearing my jumpers and cardigans like a Stepford wife. On the other hand, I have always wanted someone to spoon-feed me soup and turn the pages of my magazine for me. Although in my imagination it’s usually Bradley Cooper and not my mum.

Being confined to a bed is sooo boring, too – I feel like it is a subliminal form of torture for E4 to put that many episodes of The Big Bang Theory on back-to-back. It almost makes me want to go back to work and help young adolescents pick outfits that will bring all the boys to the yard/give them hypothermia. (I’m not even joking – the other day someone’s mum asked me if we did some leather hotpants in an age nine.)

I’ve also had some time to think about Christmas presents. Because there are no decorations in my house it only occurred to me that Christmas is a mere two weeks away after This Christmas was on TV. You know, the one with Chris Brown playing the sweet, angelic teenager called Baby, whose only wish is for peace and love and his family to stop fighting during the festive season? (The irony is almost as stifling as the overuse of African-American clichés.)

The way I choose presents for my family is like this: what would I like for Christmas? I always get them something that they hate but I secretly love, because they feel too bad to tell me they don’t like it, and then at some point I’ll have the right to take it back by making them feel that they’ve deeply hurt my feelings. For example, halfway through January I’ll be all like “Dad, why haven’t you used that expensive notepad that I got you?” and he’ll say “I’m sorry but I don’t have much use for a notepad with cupcakes all over it.” Then, I just feign some hurt feelings and “reluctantly” take it back before he realises I’ve already started using the back pages to make a list of people I’m going to delete from Facebook.

As I’m not feeling particularly Christmassy this year, I decided to do some things that would get me in the mood. First on the list was searching my mum’s house for presents. All I can say is that if the things that I saw are presents for me I’m going to be very disappointed. Also, this isn’t as exciting as it used to be now that I can reach the top shelf of her wardrobe. I miss that acute feeling of  pure fear upon realising I’d never be able to get the present back in exactly the same position that I’d found it.

Olivia’s the one who taught me how to do this – she’s an expert at ruining surprises for herself. She once badgered me so much to spill on what I’d got her for Christmas I was forced to tell and cried for the rest of the day. When we used to get up on Christmas morning Olivia had this tactic to see what her Christmas presents were before our parents woke. It got more and more elaborate each year: it began with just a tiny corner rip, but after a few years of practice she started buying her own cellotape so she could unwrap the presents carefully, look at it for a couple of minutes, then wrap it back up and return it to its rightful place under the tree.

Then last week Olivia and I began making a small Christmas pudding, and this time it actually got finished. When I was a young fat-ass I used to eat the raw mixture when my parents weren’t looking without realising it was around two-thirds brandy, one-third pudding mixture. They’d find me twenty minutes later under the tree, throwing up dried fruit and shouting inaudible insults when they tried to move me, like a tiny homeless person.

Next was a Day household tradition: looking through the Argos catalogue for useless gifts. Naturally I skipped forward to the pages where the barbies and the bits of road carpet were, and came across this crime against humanity:



What kind of parent would buy their child a fake hoover for Christmas? Are you trying to bring child slavery to Britain? This is an abuse, it really is. Do you not like your child? I don’t think I’ve ever heard a child say “Y’know what I really want for Christmas? An impeccably clean house. Where’s the bleach? I’m going to go clean the toilet. Yaaaaay!” If a toddler really knew what this was for they would disown you. It’s like you’re setting them up for failure. Why don’t you just write this on the tag:

 Dear Timmy,

I was going to bring you a Scalextric set, but seeing as you’ll probably be cleaning the offices of rich bankers for the rest of your life, I thought this would be more appropriate.

Lots of love and joy, Father Christmas xxx

Even if they don’t have a long and prosperous career in cleaning, they will most definitely be doing chores like this in exchange for pocket money and lifts to super cool parties until they turn eighteen; then hopefully they’ll realise they don’t have live in such a tyrannous household any longer, fly the nest and NEVER RETURN. Just buy them a fucking Furby, you slave driver.


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