Tuesday, 2 December 2008

The Belgian Waffle Christmas present clinic

I had an idea while brushing my teeth last night. Regular readers will be reassured to hear that I was brushing them upright, in the bathroom, and that I spat out into the sink. Others will be puzzled that I should feel this worthy of comment. No matter.

Anyway. The idea was this. Christmas is coming, the capybara is getting fat. No sooner has St Nicolas put you in a sack and kicked you to Spain than you have to come back and buy a gift set of lavender scented guest soaps for your mother in law, with death in your heart. How depressing is it to buy something for someone with whom you have nothing in common, and who you know will almost certainly hate anything you buy them? It is a terrible, terrible trial and almost all of us will be suffering in the coming weeks. The CFO has started biting his nails and whimpering. His parents are still suffering post-traumatic shock from the combined gift their sons got them last year of a machine that makes Nescafé for you. It is basically an electric teaspoon. "It WAS a good idea" says Youngest Son, unrepentantly. This year he want to make them a CD of the three of them singing. They sing like capybaras tap dance. Prog Rock Step Dad is getting unutterably gloomy at the prospect of deviating from his well worn shopping trail: Sainsburys - York Public Library - Helen and Dave's Health Food Shop. Lashes is cutting out catalogues with fiendish concentration, disregarding anything with less than three figures before the decimal point. I am weeping at the thought of another five sludge coloured scarves. The end is nigh!

You lot, however, are all clever and imaginative and quite, quite bad. I BET you have some good, or terrible, Christmas present ideas. I am also a sporadic genius gift buyer, though not for family members.

So I thought what we could do would be a Christmas present clinic for the most difficult-to-buy-for person you need to give a gift. Those of you with such a person in your life would email me the salient details of the person in question, then I would suggest a number of potential present ideas, and then the good townsfolk of the comments box could weigh in with their suggestions. Hopefully horrid, or inspired ones. We could do a once a week round up in the run up to Chreestmas.

So. I am going to get the bauble rolling by asking for your help with my own troublemakers.

The Bearded One (father)
Salient information: 62, rich, demanding, important, bearded, scientist. Shows disappointment easily and frequently when faced with sub-standard gifts. Buys himself everything he wants.
Interests: science, maths, being important, drinking, large farm animals.
Best ever gift: tickets to the Salon de l'Agriculture in Paris to stare at large cows and be plied with drink.
Best idea to date: this

OCD brother in law
Salient information: Fear of dirt. Morbid desire for cleanliness. Uses different towels for different parts of body and different slippers for different rooms of house. Scrubs sink before using. Right wing. Authoritarian. Wears flat cap.
Interests: French artisans, watching sport, droning hideous chanson française, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Best ever gift: certainly not one from me. He bought himself an easel once to our total mystification. He doesn't paint.
Best idea to date: This

What do you think? Do you have any ideas? Would you like me to apply my quite, quite brilliant mind to gifts for difficult members of your friends and family? Just waffle mail their details, and wait to be inspired.

UPDATE: I have some verrry interesting submissions already. The clinic will be busy for its inaugural session tomorrow.


Red Shoes said...

How promising! I don't have any suggestions for your quandary people yet, but I promise to think about it. It will be hard to top Dr. Wieder's Original Tung-Brush though.

justme said...

I have been on the internets today ordering edible gifts, which will be delivered directly to the recipients, from John Lewis. Boring maybe, but I myself would MUCH rather receive such an item than some of the strangely useless items I have had over the years from my relatives.......
And am very pleased to hear that your toothbrushing now take place in the normal way.....! Well Done!
The finger puppet, bye the way is wonderful! For the OCD one, have you thought of a years supply of thet stuff they give you to squirt on your hands to disinfect them in hospitals? You can now get it in handy little tubes to carry arround with you and use on public transport and such like. Strange but true.....

katyboo1 said...

My ideas are quite bad, but would be tres amusant and all that.

I live near Ryton which is a big organic experimentation place that is big on veg and veg related paraphernalia. They used to do a veg adoption scheme rather like London Zoo, but leafier. My best friend's parents bought her newly vegetarian husband cabbage adoption papers. He got letters, photos and regular updates on how his cabbage was doing. I don't know if they still do it, but you could try, or indeed make one of your own.

As for OCD boy, I was in some naff gift shop of joy recently and saw a towel which had Arse embroidered on one end and Face on the other, so as not to get confused!

Great idea clinic lady. Haven't got any difficult people though this year, due to scrooge mcbastard activity on my part.

Iheartfashion said...

I'm putting Dr. Weider's tung brush on my own Christmas list immediately!

Red Shoes said...

I have been asking around to those I know in the fancy scientific community and was given the following suggestion for The Bearded One. Perhaps monsieur would like an ? Ebola or syphilis tie?" Cholera or Chlamydia? Anthrax, Antibodies, Asian Flu?

This is likely the Anti-Gift for OCD B-I-L.

quarsan said...

For Dad

Alyson said...

Quarsan - I nearly spit out my food at the OCD gift. Niftily, that place also has the dad cows - but you can paint them yourself - I don't think that was on the other site, but I'm an English only ignoramus and admit I didn't get too much off of the other site.

I have no suggestions of my own. I'm over giving gifts for specific days just because society says I have to. If I find something for you, I'll buy it and give it to you - but don't expect me to save it until Christmas/your birthday/festivus/whatever.

Jaywalker said...

Red Shoes - the ties are simply perfection. I am actually totally getting one for Bearded One. Truly.

Justme - I didn't say I had reformed. Just last night.

Katyboo - I like. Good good. You are going to be good at this, I can tell.

I heart - I've seen yer Christmas list (which is awesome by the way).

Quarsan - I wish I had the guts for OCF BIL. I really wish. You are an evil genius. Please come back and assist at clinic tomorrow.

Alyson - not even a Tung Brush?

SUEB0B said...

Portable UV disinfectant sanitizer...


Léonie said...

The Darwin puppet is amazing! And the ties! Red Shoes, you are a genuis. I simply adore gonorrhea, although the plague is pretty fetching, too.

I suggest that you give OCD your now-redundant toothbrush spit cup. Clean it first, then make him a drink in it. Watch closely as he takes a sip and then explain its history.

For your Dad I think little beads that he can thread into his beard. No, actually, I think one of those ties. Amazing.

quarsan said...

Ok, for OCD BIL - this should sort him out

River said...

The Bearded One? Gift voucher from a science museum,can choose what he likes then.
OCD? Soap. Lots of soap.

River said...

I went to the silk tie website, they're great! I like the mold/fungi 4400 one.

Chantal said...

@ quarsan - oh my god, Mastermind!!! Every year we go to my auntie and uncle's for Christmas and myself and my cousins would play this every Christmas eve until we got old enough (or looked old enough) to go to the pub instead.


Their board was ancient and was a fetching shade of 70s brown. Mmmmm...

Jaywalker said...

SueBob - The CFO and I marvelled over these, especially the wand ones. The CFO wondered however how LONG you had to wave the wand at something before it was 99% germ free. His brother might get repetitive strain injury.

Léonie (and RedShoes) - I have been trying for the tie. But the UK stockists appear only to sell tissue samples and proteins (also innovative present ideas, perhaps?). They are based in York though, so maybe I should send Prog Rock Step Dad round there.

Q - are you thinking he would enjoy sorting those small things by colour? It's inspired.

River - no no no; remember he shows disappointment easily and wishes to be surprised and delighted. Also, he does all his own Christmas shopping in the Science Museum.

You are doing well though. Continue. I am struggling with today's patients.

quarsan said...

This version of mastermind can be played against a computer.

Should keep someone with OCD occupied for some time...

Red Shoes said...

I can assist you with getting the appropriate tie if you need, JW. We could have one shipped to me on the US end and then I'd send it to you, but I'm not sure if there's enough time to get it there by Christmas w/o paying some interesting shipping fees. Email me if you want it to happen. I'm sure we can figure it out.

bonnie-ann black said...


for TBO: anything from these websites:




should be appropriate.

for the OCD, i think a treasure box of latex gloves (various colours), alcohol swipes, liquid soap (i have one niece who abhors bar soap as particularly germ-laden), and any sort of "one-use" items, like travel toothbrushes, individual packages of tissues and mouthwash tabs.

now, you help me with my mom and dad who make more money than me, though retired, and who don't care for my artwork! perhaps sending my younger sister home for a visit? (they always liked her best)