THIS may be the time of gift-giving and receiving but the whole subject can be a minefield if you’re not careful.
Children are relatively easy. They see something on TV/hear from friends about the latest must-have toy and parents and other relatives try to fall in line if they can afford it.
Of course, this can be another nightmare as the chosen toy or gadget is probably so mega-popular that stocks are out by November and after that you’re left to your own devices – quite literally.
It’s easy to recognise this Christmas stress among parents as they’ve got a permanently frazzled look as they struggle to find Green Market Shop or Ollie the Owl to ensure that Leah or Charlie won’t be disappointed on Christmas morning.
For adults, it’s another ball game. This one involves the age-old conundrum: who do you buy for?
If you’re sensible, you’ve already narrowed it down to close family and best friends. If you’re still undecided and trying to hedge your bets, you’re bulk-buying toiletries from Superdrug and bottles of everything from Bargain Booze. Again, look for that slightly deranged look among the latter lot when anyone mentions Christmas prezzies.
Buying for work colleagues is something else, although many offices solve this by (a) no-one buying anyone a present or (b) Secret Santa. I favour the first as it’s less likely to go wrong.
Secret Santa can be a lovely system of giving to work friends but it does need realistic thought by the giver about the receiver – and some personal knowledge of what they like. A male colleague once gave a female colleague who had dyed her beautiful red hair black a box of red hair colour. It didn’t go down well.
Perhaps being nice to each other is the best gift of all.