I may just have had the greatest Christmas Present idea in the History of Ever.

Buying gifts each year, at least for me, is an exercise in mental torture. What to buy, who to miss, who should get the ‘I spent the money I WOULD have used on a Gift giving Oxfam the chance to save needy people’s lives’ cards that are forming an increasing number of my seasonal ‘purchases’ because frankly, you don’t need more crap from me. Making this Festival mean something may seem easy to other people, but I struggle, and when people talk about the ‘true meaning’ of the Season I end up feeling more Scrooge than Cringle because I don’t have religion as a fallback and I’m just fed up of consumerism.

So, I have found my own personal salvation. I’m going to actually write to people for Christmas.

This isn’t that picture of my kids to show off to college mates, or the Pages-produced ‘newsletter’ detailing what a great year it has been for my family. I’m setting myself a specific brief: one page of handwritten A4. which needs to do the following:

1. Thank the person concerned for being awesome in 2014 (because they were, or else I’d not be sending them the letter.)

2. One thing I think they helped me improve in the last 12 months.

3. One think I think maybe they could improve on too (because it’s about being better as a person too.)

4. Some random witty banter but NO POINTLESS PADDING because they’ll know.

5. A request that maybe next year they’d like to write me a letter because nobody does this any more.

In case the Royal Mail stuff up hugely, I will scan the pages I hand write and save them for posterity, but the plan is simple: if you’re the kind of person who would expect a present from me this year, you’re going to get a Letter instead. It’s worth more than me getting you summat off Amazon, it has my effort poured into it, and it will be by far the best way I have of telling you what matters to me this year. If you’d *like* a letter off me, you need to start making yourself a friend in 2015, and that’s your choice.

If you’d like to borrow this idea, feel free, but do me a lemon and link people back to this original post and give me the gift of more traffic on my personal site and the chance that some Publisher might happen upon my work and want to sign me up.

Stranger things have happened over Christmas, after all.