Gift ideas

‘Tis the season when every second bloody advert is from celebs from A to Z list hawking their wares: perfumes, endless comedy DVDs and books which are instantly sold at half price in the chain bookstores and supermarkets. I’m so utterly disgusted by the crass, obvious commercialism of all of this that I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon and endorse my own scent, Eau de Joe. Why buy a perfume that allegedly makes you smell like some Hollywood slapper when you could have Eau de Joe, with its peaty, single malt mixed with hints of 80% coco chocolate, must books and cat fur aroma.

And for that other perfect gift for Christmas why not select my new special Joe Stands Up comedy DVD. Its an hour long of me standing up in different poses, from bolt upright to nonchalantly leaning against the fireplace in my smoking jacket as I tap out my pipe. Order now and get the bonus extra disc Joe Also Sits Down. Truly something for everyone.

Okay, I’ll admit, these are shoddy, inferior goods designed simply to be bought by folks desperate for gift ideas for relatives whose tastes they don’t really know that well, just like every other shameless celebrity endorsed bag of crap, but at least I’m honest about it. And my comedy DVD would still be funnier than bloody Peter Kaye or Gavin and bloody Stacey. Hmm, maybe I should think on a range of action figures for next year…

Giving is good…

…As they say. Last year instead of traditional present for some folk I knew I wouldn’t see for a while because they live far away from me and haivng it lying around the flat for ages until I next saw them I logged on to Oxfam Unwrapped and bought some charity gifts in their name. This year several of my friends and I all decided that we had more than enough junk already and that instead we’d buy each other charity gifts. So some of us are buying gifts which then get donated to the likes of the Salvation Army to be distributed to folk who don’t normally get presents, some are taking out a monthly donation to a charity in a friend’s name and some are buying charity gifts online. Bit late for Christmas now, but if you have any late gift buying to do for friends or relatives that you may not see until after the big day then think about doing one or two of them this way – Oxfam Unwrapped have a good range of ideas and prices and they will send a card to the person you bought it for to tell them what has been given in their name. This time of year is supposed to be about giving, regardless of your religious inclinations (or lack thereof) that’s not a bad thing to recall from time to time in our consumerist society.

Do I really need another movie on DVD or would I rather my friend bought a gift from Oxfam in my name that is going to help someone somewhere in the world who isn’t going to a nice family home for the holidays to be with loving parents and eat more home-cooked food than some parts of the world see in a month? I’m not saying don’t buy any traditional presents of course and like anyone else I fancy a look at the Janaury Sales – its nice to give and receive those too – but if even a quarter of us took the charity route for but a handful of our seasonal gifts splurge we’d make the world a little better, feel better about ourselves, make the person in whose name we give it feel good, be a little less consumerist and help someone who needs it far more than most of us. I’m not preaching here or trying to tell anyone what they should do, but as a suggestion I think that’s a win-win all round, don’t you?