I blame the Three Wise Men’s mums for the present purchase frenzy. There is no way their mammas would have let three guys trek about after that mysterious star to track down a newborn, without insisting on taking a little something for the baby, which they would have probably popped out and shopped for.
It says a lot about Middle Eastern pressie-buying among the royals of the time that the lads rocked up to the stable bearing gold, frankincense and myrrh. Myself, I would have gone for the usual teddy, rattle or a nice bath set, but obviously Wise Men know best, hence the job title.
In fact, they were kings, or as the carol says, ‘We Three Kings of Orient Are’, which we used to belt out at our school Christmas concert every year. We delivered this musical number with Force 10 primary school Glaswegian gusto, which inflicted heavy damage on the diction.
As a result, I believed the wise men were called the Wee Three Kings, a trio of mini monarchs, like a sort of gimmicky boy band from the 60s. The gift list took a pounding, too. Partly because we didn’t have a clue what it was, we thundered out that the kings had brought gold, Frankenstein and myrrh.
For years I thought the scene in the stable involved Mary, kings, shepherds and Boris Karloff in his full monstrous glory leaning over the manger, presumably with the glow from all those pesky proclaiming angelic choirs glinting off his neck bolts.