We all know that feeling of slight desperation as Christmas approaches and we are struggling for ideas about what to get Auntie X or the latest in a long line of brothers-in-law we don’t really know. You don’t want to go down the scarf/wallet/wine/picture frame route, because such gifts scream: “I ran out of ideas” when the presents are opened. You’ve been around the Internet looking for something interesting and novelty teapots and celebrity cookbooks are not the answer. Grand Prix tickets are way too expensive to even consider and F1 merchandise is overpriced and dates rapidly (although you might get another year out of a Lewis Hamilton World Champion tee shirt).
Giving money for Christmas is boring although you can try to make it more interesting by doing origami with it, or packing a few notes in a vast parcel, or getting it canned, so that the recipient has to find a tin-opener to get to the dosh. However it can be slightly embarrassing because the perception of what money is worth differs from one person to the next, which means that older folk still think of a pint of beer at 20p being reasonable when today it costs three quid, an impressive hike of nearly 2,000 percent in the last 40 years. This makes even house prices in the UK seem reasonable…
The thing about money is that there is no thrill. It is much better to buy a lottery ticket, because for a short space of time it feels like an amazing gift and there is always the chance – one in 14 million – that it will be a winner. People don’t know that you are 25 times more likely to be struck by lightning than you are to win the lottery. Or to put it another way: if you are looking for someone in London and dial a random London number you are twice as likely to get through to them than you are to win the lottery.
Still it is the magic possibility that makes the gift, isn’t it? And if it does happen, the chances are that the recipient will give you some money back!
Being subversive by nature, I’m much more into buying things like a roll of “Don’t Enter – Crime Scene” tape, or a calculator that gives the wrong answer. I think an inflatable sumo wrestler suit is the perfect gift for anyone who goes to a gym and I think giant cigarette lighters are brilliant gifts for smokers.
Mr Right mugs are perfect for the Mr Wrongs out there. I have yet to find anyone who is excited by CDs of birdsong but if you can sell throat sprays that promise to give you an Irish accent, anything is possible, not that you will get me buying anything with the words “Don’t Panic” written on it.
I prefer the quirky: wooden spoons with drumstick ends, or wine glasses that lean over slightly. I wonder if in the modern electronic age, there is not a market for an e-novel with questions at various points. Should Elizabeth Bennet marry Fitzwilliam Darcy? Yes or no? You can then read the same book 26 times with different plots, ranging from Elizabeth dying of consumption in the workhouse to living happily ever after with a pirate called Mr Pringle.
Anyway, all this is not much help, so let’s get to the point: why not buy your loved ones subscriptions to GP+ for 2015. It is a great value gift that will keep them amused until the end of November, with just as many possible endings! OK, you cannot easily wrap it up and put it under a tree, so why not be ingenious and buy a copy of a book and have the subscription inserted as “a bookmark”. It would be a double whammy present. I have just the thing… The Grand Prix Saboteurs is a great book for race fans. It is the true story of Grand Prix drivers who became secret agents in France during World War II. And if you’re into racing but your family is not you could always try The Man who Caught Crippen so they can find out important things like how to be torpedoed twice in the same day without getting wet and how to capture leopards on ocean liners and other fabulous tales of life at sea… And you can read GP+ all year.
There you go, I’ve snuck in a promo and you barely even noticed! Now where’s my “Crime Scene” tape?