Hallowe’en is over, the scary costumes packed away for another year. Bonfire night is done, thank goodness, no more bangs, crashes or sparklers in the garden, freaking out Mum/the dog/the neighbours’ baby. Some very low-rate celebrity has been wheeled into town to turn on the festive lights. This means only one thing: it’s official. We can talk about it. Christmas.
Here at NHHQ what we care most about, apart from which oil/fat will render our roast potatoes most crunchy and delicious (rape-seed vs duck fat is a row that rolls on in our house until Spring), is how we best show the dog the Christmas-love. We go all-out over here: a stocking for the dog, presents under the tree for the dog, specially prepared dinner for the dog…you name it, we do it. While the hound may have no concept of the nativity, or know all the verses to “The Twelve Days of Christmas” (though our dog would LOVE a partridge in a pear tree to bark at, for sure), treating him at Christmas makes us happy. And we all need a little bit of happy.
Presents for the dog take three main forms. Edible treats, personalised gifts bought online, and creative – ahem – masterpieces knocked-up by the children in the holidays.
Toys and playthings for dogs are fun to unwrap on the day and sure to make your dog’s tail wag. Try not to include too much unhealthy junk (or ANY unhealthy junk, to be honest – they don’t need dog chocolate or crackers filled with fatty snacks) but a new chew toy, an especially bouncy ball, or a special pouch of Nature’s Harvest So Lucky dog treats will be just as special and won’t mean you spend all of Boxing Day trying to pick up some very un-pickupable poos. (Sorry. TMI?)
Christmas is also a good opportunity to replace old and tired dog-related items while the prices are Black-Friday low…oh yeah. Here at NHHQ we are nifty AND thrifty. Dog beds, blankets, mats, bowls, coats and leads can be found at bargain prices at the moment if you search hard enough, so seize the opportunity! (There’s always January sales too, but that is just NOT as much fun.)
There are some great personalised Christmas gifts for your dog available online, from books where your dog’s name magically appears, to portraits, to engraved or named clothing or accessories. Kids will love reading the book about their own pet, and anything which encourages reading is a winner in our house!
Or you could try putting your dog’s face on a cushion via www.dogsy.com, where you upload a photo of your pooch, and they turn it into a very smart cushion for the sofa or bed.
Finally, we like to encourage the kids to make something for the dog/dog related for Christmas. This performs various functions:
a) It keeps the kids occupied for a few hours in the holidays
b) It encourages the kids to think creatively
c) It promotes a sense of ‘giving’ and not just ‘buying’ at Christmas so we feel less like consumerist puppets perpetuating the whole messy greed-fuelled hysteria…stop it. Not now, NHHQ, not now.
There are some great ideas out there for easily – and not too messily – concocted make-yourself dog gifts. For example, you can make a dog ornament for the Christmas tree, there are lots of easy-to-follow youtube tutorials for these. You can make your own dog-themed wrapping paper using plain brown paper and photos of the dog, with a few Christmas stickers thrown in (and the odd hand-drawn holly). You can push yourselves even more with some hand-knitted dog blankets or a special drawing of the pet to frame and put up on the wall.
Well, writing this blog has got us feeling all festive. Time to crack open the first mince pies. Ok, ok, truth be told actually they are not the first, we’ve been tucking into surreptitious mince pie treats since early October. Shh. No judging please. We might even ask Alexa for some Christmas tunes and start thinking about the human’s Christmas. I wonder who will win the rape-seed oil/duck fat debate in 2019?
Jingle bells, jingle bells….