We’ve all been there - no, not Barnsley - I’m talking about that singularly poignant moment on Christmas Day when you open up a present from some member of your family, grin and go ‘Oh, thanks for that’, when what you actually mean is ‘What the hell am I going to do with this?’
Still, I can’t talk, I once bought the missus a kettle for her birthday. (Yes, you read that right.) Let’s just say she didn’t even bother to pretend to smile. I did though. I laughed my head off. It still tickles me to this day. Just so you know, I did then proceed to give her another, much more appropriate, present, although I cannot for the life of me think what that was.
But let’s get back to Chrissy prezzies. For years (and I do mean years... decades probably), my brother and I persisted in a somewhat odd tradition of giving each other a plastic tube full of chocolate footballs. The tube itself, which was shaped like a walking stick, was bought in Blackpool in some distant part of our childhood. For the first few years, discovering this piece of tourist tat all wrapped up was a source of amusement but that got old pretty quick (a bit like the choccy footballs inside).
So, in order to keep the tradition going (and it is still sort of going even today), we would go to increasingly elaborate lengths to disguise said walking stick. This peaked one year when, in a radical break with our long-running joke, we decided to give the chocolate football walking stick to our dad instead. We found the biggest box we could, put the thing inside, then wrapped it all up. He was none the wiser right up until the moment he unwrapped the box.
As I get older, it’s the jokey or inappropriate presents which seem to stick in the memory most. It gets harder to buy for people as they are, mainly because they’ve pretty much got everything they need and if at any point they haven’t, then they usually have the means to get it.
This is why, occasionally, we end up being given seriously weird presents. Personally, I’m all for the weird and wonderful. Maybe, though, people should make a list of the things they don’t want, like: ‘Dear Satna, please do not get me a Sam Smith album’ or ‘please no more shaving kits’ and possibly ‘never mind the socks.’
Oh yeah, just to say, as well: tssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss. See previous column.