Surprise Solitude

For me, Tourettes means I have strong oppositional impulses – the automatic urge to do exactly the opposite of what I want to do. This is why I shout ‘I’m over here’ during games of hide and seek,’ why I shout ‘bomb’ in airports, and why 400 Australians in a theatre knew Fat Sister was pregnant before our mum did.

The Festive Season has always been particularly stressful when it comes to keeping surprises under wraps and I’ve developed quite extreme tactics to keep the gifts I’ve got for people secret. The main strategy involves buying gifts without deciding exactly who they’re for – if I don’t know what I’ve got someone I can’t give the game away! But this gets expensive and some people do better out of it than others.

Shielding has one major benefit for me this Christmas because the fewer people I see, the less likely I am to give away what I’ve got them, and that means I can spend more energy and time thinking about the best present for each person.

This year is going to be hard for many people, and money and resources are will be under even more pressure than usual. For me, finding the perfect gift has been an opportunity to think about the people I love.

The tic on this year’s Touretteshero Christmas card came from an involuntary list of presents – fortunately, though, it’s quite abstract and doesn’t spoil any surprises.

“I got you a Standing Ovation For Christmas”

The image is a Christmas card design, showing a busy London. Across the city little red Santa hats are dotted, and throughout the image in white is the word "Clap". Written across the top of the scene are the words "I got you a standing ovation for Christmas!".

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