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.