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This is a question Presents

What are you buying your loved ones this Christmas? We're looking for inspiration and reckon a big share-a-thon of ideas will help everyone buy better gifts this year.

BTW: If your family reads B3ta and you're worried about giving the game away then tell us what you bought last Christmas.

(, Thu 26 Nov 2009, 12:34)
Pages: Popular, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

supposedly my best gift ever
or so my mum says. it's not exactly your average gift, but she still talks about it.

one year, when i was about 11 years old, mum came home from the shops in tears. she'd just been out to buy the christmas food, but somebody else had obviously been looking for a bargain and had mugged her and stolen her purse. she reported it to the police, who were, of course, no help whatsoever.
seeing my poor mum so distraught, i had a bit of a brainwave: i'd go carol singing! the few posher streets in our area were always good for a few quid, so i donned my parka and set off, towing mum's shopping trolley with me. fortunately, she didn't notice me taking it.
through the freezing wind and slushy snow i trudged, peddling my dodgy vocal talents from house to house. after 2 hours, i decided i'd had enough and called it a day. when i counted up my takings, the total was a little over £50. i was delighted! scurrying as quickly as i could, i made my way to the local supermarket, where i filled the trolley with festive treats, including a fairly decent sized turkey. every last penny went on shopping, from bread and milk to toilet rolls, everything i thought we'd need. feeling very pleased with myself, i towed the trolley home in the growing dusk.
i arrived home to see mum still red-eyed, worrying about how she'd cope without the food money. i showed her the trolley full of goodies and explained what i'd done.
i didn't expect the waterworks that followed! mum absolutely sobbed her eyes out. in my tiny kiddy brain, i thought i'd done something wrong.
she gave me the biggest hug imaginable and kept right on crying.
we had a great christmas that year.
that was 25 years ago, but she still talks about it.
(, Fri 27 Nov 2009, 21:33, 94 replies)
In which disappointment and hand-tooled leather
And another one...

It was the first Christmas of my high-school career. I was twelve years old, skinny, white as fuck and with a lovely Hilary Clinton bob. I was not, you might say, at my best.

Although I was getting on OK at school, I was eternally conscious of the fact that my peers' parents had a heckuva lot more money than mine (I was a scholarship kid) - we did have uniforms, but mine was second-hand from a girl who lived in the same village as me and was about 4ft 10 and quite rotund. It did look a bit daft - skirt held together with safety pins, torn pockets, fingerless gloves Oliver Twist whinge whinge blah. As everyone knows, though, when you have a school uniform it's the little things you do or have that make you stand out. Tiny things, insignificant to the adult eye, that mark you out as cool or not. The way you knot your tie. How long you leave the secondary part of it hanging down. How many buttons you do on your blazer (none! ever!), how you do your hair, how you knot your shoelaces.

And then of course, there's your bag.

Despite going to a school Nazi-ish enough to stipulate in the rulebook the exact height of shoes, brand of swimming costume and colour of hair bobbles one was permitted to wear, bags were a free-for-all. Those were the heady days of the brightly-coloured Head rucksack and the Adidas holdall. I can still remember the bag my longstanding crush touted for five years (Willys, mustard yellow with a reflective stripe and a chunky zip.) I, on the other hand, was in a bit of a fix, bagwise. I had a plain, slightly foetid, thin black canvas drawstring with a single strap. Sort of like a slightly more sturdy version of a primary school PE kit bag.

It wasn't branded
It wasn't brightly-coloured
It wasn't bloody waterproof

It was the millstone around my neck, the shameful burden I was forced to bear. And the single strip dug into my shoulder something rotten on the mile walk to the bus stop.

I hated it. It was beginning to exact comment from some of the louder, bitchier members of my class. And I wasn't yet anywhere near secure enough to carry it off. This bag - this wretched, second-hand, flimsy horror - could be my undoing. I was savvy enough to know that. The vultures were beginning to circle. And so, for Christmas, I asked for a rucksack.

I knew the one I wanted. It was a modest beigey mushroom colour, with a nice front pocket. It had two straps and reflective bits. Best of all, it was Quiksilver. Quiksilver! My cool rating would go through the roof. It was about twenty-five quid, which was slightly more then than it is now (but only slightly.) And so began my stealth campaign.

'Dad. Daaaaad! You know that shop in the town? The one next to the arcade? Yeah? The sports one? Yeah? There's a rucksack in the window. It's beige. I've seenitandireallythinkitwouldimprovemyacademicperformanceif - '

'Don't worry,' said Dad, with an overexaggerated wink. 'I think I know what you mean. You'll just have to wait and see what Santa brings you, eh?'

Brilliant! My plan was coming together, in all awesomeness. Christmas arrived, and the parcels were placed under the tree. There was the one from my parents I'd been after. I duly poked and squeezed and assessed the undeniably baglike contents. Not long now, I thought to myself, after enduring another round of snarky comments on the school bus. Not long.

Come Christmas morning, and all is shiny and bright. There's a tradition in my family of opening our presents slowly at individual intervals throughout the day, and so it was afternoon before it was my turn. With a look of great pride and collusion, my parents pushed the bag-shaped parcel towards me. My hands itched as I carefully peeled away the sellotape. This was it. This was...

This was not it.

This was a rectangular, brown leather briefcase, something between that which could have belonged to a nineteenth-century doctor and a down-at-heel telemarketing executive. It was a briefcase. A briefcase. To take this out of the house, let alone to school, would be social suicide. No. Social jihad. Even the smelliest old teacher didn't have a briefcase. To a twelve-year-old neurotic girl, this was the worst thing that had ever happened to anyone.

I looked at the briefcase. It seemed to glow with the fires of the hell of mockery into which I would be cast forever come next term. Then I looked up at my Dad's face. He was beaming with joy, oblivious.
'Now I know you said you wanted a bag,' he explained, 'but I thought I'd get you something a bit special for doing well at your new school. It's real leather. Cost quite a bit, but it'll last for years. There's a special compartment to put your pencil case it, here. And....' (with the flourish of a magician performing his best conjuring trick...'I had them engrave your initials on it. Just under the handle there. See?'

I saw.

'So that everyone will know it's yours.'

I stared at the briefcase, then back at my dad, who had gone way out of his way and probably budget too to make his only daughter happy. I gave him a massive hug and told him it was just what I wanted.
(, Fri 27 Nov 2009, 12:21, 16 replies)
present to my mum from her father
my grandad died suddely of a heart attack a few years back at the fairly grand old age of 83. he was generally in good health so it came as quite a shock to my mum, so i volunteered to clear out his flat for her, sorting the stuff we wanted to keep and getting the rest of it to the charity shop. one thing i didn't give her, or even mention that i'd found, was a big box of old cine films from the 70s. I took them home, begged a projector off a mate and went through the lot. absolute gold mine that had me in floods of tears. I set about digitising the lot (don't send it off to be done, it's incredibly easy to do yourself), editing it down into two dvds, making menus and all that nonsense.

gave them to my mum for christmas - the first one was full of footage from holidays my parents had been on with her mum and dad to the isle of wight, cornwall and all that, some with me and my sister as toddlers in, all very cute, but the second was a recording of a large chunk of my parents' wedding - a recording that they had no idea even existed. can't really imagine what a shock that would be, but my folks were utterly speechless. the end of the footage is the only time where my grandad gave the camera to my nan to do a bit of filming and it fades out on him grinning warmly into the camera. even typing this is choking me up a bit.

don't think i'll ever really be able to top that to be honest, so i'll probably get her some smellies and a drawing done by my kids this year.
(, Fri 27 Nov 2009, 12:20, 6 replies)
Proper Crimbo
The first year me and Himself were together I went abit mad - I bought him a Macbook. I saved for months and months to buy it but the look on his face when he opened it and realised what it was was priceless. It's even more fun for me when he's opening his pressies because he absolutely does not know what it is till the very last second even when the wrapping is off and the box is opened, because he's totally blind. I love the long drawn out surprise, I love seeing his face as he's giving the item a good fondle (fnar). I love his expression when he figures out what it is. I can't see shit either (though significantly more than he can) so I have to sit close to see his face - which can lead to breaks for sexytiem in the present opening procedure that can make the whole thing last all afternoon. ;)

This year he's got his own back on me in the saving up stakes - I just found out he has been saving up all year with the view to buying us the most luxury food we can find for Christmas dinner and the holiday period.

I however have been utterly, utterly broke this year and feel utterly shitty that I won't be able to contribute to the festivities. He's banned me from buying him the thing he really wants because he knows I can't afford it and it would weigh my credit card down, so I am stumped as to what to get him. All the gadgets and games and gizmos that you could buy for a sighted person are mostly useless for him.

However, not wishing to make you reach for your sick buckets, I know that whatever is wrapped up under the tree this year won't matter, because the best Christmas present I could want since I've been with him has been waking up to a cuddle on Christmas morning and listening to some radio 7 or radio 4 comedy Christmas special whilst eating breakfast with our two stupid lovely dogs on the bed. We don't have children and don't want them, so the dogs are the family that we spoil at Christmas. And like children often are, they will be more interested in playing with the wrapping of their presents than the presents themselves.

Happy days. I hope ya'll are as happy as we are this Christmas.
(, Sat 28 Nov 2009, 0:10, 13 replies)
This year
I'm going to give my nephews and nieces radioactive sweets. I can't wait to see their glowing little faeces.....
(, Fri 27 Nov 2009, 11:52, 3 replies)
A Proppa Cuppa
The giving of gifts should make us feel warm and generous. It's not truly selfless; it leaves us feeling happy that we've provided a little slither of joy for someone and that should always be the reward we receive in return.

And so it was when, as I strolled around Sainsbury's last just-before-Christmas, that I spied a pint glass / tankard style mug among the "cheap gifts to disappoint your work colleagues who insist on doing secret-fucking-santa" section.

"My flatmate likes tea and he likes pints of things; he'll fucking love this!" said my brain to itself and I agreed that it would indeed be so. So I bought it without a second thought.

And I was right... he loved it. A smile crept onto his little face and I got all those feelings of generosity and warmth that I'd imagined. How nice I felt to make my friend happy with so simple a gift, and cheap too; every one's a winner, or so you may think.

Immediately the kettle was warmed and tea was made: his in his shiny new mega mug; mine in my favourite, trusty, old, slightly stained, small, stupid, normal-sized, rubbish mug. I seethed with secret envy at the giganta-mug that my flatmate gleefully supped his tea from, while I was forced to endure the humiliation of normal sized tea drinking.

My next supermarket trip saw me search feverously for my own pint mug, but with Christmas now just a heavy memory hanging around my slightly distended belly, the cheap tat section had been packed away for another year and in its place lay shelves of rubbish stuff to buy under the pretense of making a new start for the new year.

No mega mugs remained and I knew I'd have a year of watching my flatmate enjoy huge vats of tea while I sipped at thimbles of sour, second rate rubbish. Every time I made him a cuppa the water would chuckle mockingly at me as I poured gallons of it into this bottomless holy grail. I searched shop shelves whenever I saw mugs displayed, but none could match up to the marvel of what had now become the greatest gift I never got given.

And then I moped around Sainsbury's yesterday in search of another effortless secret santa for another soon-to-be-disappointed colleague and stumbled upon the same section of shite gifts. I couldn't believe it, I literally stood and rubbed my eyes with utter disbelief, for there, among the Make Your Own Yo-Yo kits and Bore Your Own Family To Death books was the object of my tea drinking desires, a pile of them, all shiny and new and waiting for me to drink pint after pint of warm tea from their copious bellies.

One of them sits by me now, brimming with steaming tea and making me feel once again content with all in my tea based world. You may not appreciate reading this much about naught but a mug, but clearly you don't have one of your own, for if you did you would surely understand*.



*or, you know, you'd probably still think this is far too long a piece about a fucking mug and you're probably right, but it's raining out and I'm bored silly, so tough titties!
(, Sun 29 Nov 2009, 15:56, 17 replies)
Measuring up
For the first time in my life I’ve actually sorted out my Christmas presents early, so I won’t be joining the queue of nervous, agitated, annoyed muthafuckers at the Texaco late night garage on Christmas Eve to collect the usual upholstery cleaning sets, chamois leathers, car air fresheners and boxes of 200 Marlborough Lights to wrap in tin foil and pass round my nearest and dearest, which is apparently the most appropriate way to celebrate the birth of some fucking hippy who died two thousand years ago. No, this year my friends and family are getting proper presents instead. Nice presents. All properly wrapped with little bows and everything.

I’ve bought my partner various bits and pieces, but what with us trying for a kid at the moment it’s become painfully obvious that the whole sex thing has become slightly formulaic. It’s a never ending cycle of pissing on little ovulation sticks (her not me, apparently they don’t work if I do it), doing the deed, pissing on more sticks, taking temperatures, testing mucus (no matter how hard I think about this word in a sexy way it remains distinctly unsexy; reminds me of Slimer out of Ghosbusters), then we do the deed a bit more, then more stick pissing, and so on. Quite frankly it’s the first time in either of our lives we’ve thought about sex as a means to getting pregnant, and not a means for getting our rocks off, respectively.

So, with this in mind I decided the only plausible course of action was to go and buy some luxurious, prohibitively expensive - equivalent to the gross domestic product of a small African country expensive - lingerie. Oh, fuck me – if only I realized how fucking hard this could be…

Walking into the shop the assistant, who looked like she's about ten, noticed me hovering round the fancy pants, corsets and shit. After a while she came over: “You looking for something for yourself?” Great, she thinks I’m a fucking tranny, oh, just fucking marvelous… Then she laughs and goes into her sales spiel. Thank fuck she was only joking, breaking the ice. I explain I’m looking for some sexy gear for my girlfriend. Then she asks the question. The heart-stopper. “No problem, sir. Do you know her bra size?” Now, I know my girlfriend’s tits quite well (better than most, I’d hope), I could pick them out blindfolded in a You Bet style line-up of a hundred pairs of norks, with Matthew Kelly standing in the background egging me on. But – for the life of me – I didn’t have a fucking clue what bra size she is. “Do you know what size knickers she is?” asked the girl. Fuck! I shook my head, told her I’d have to get back to her, and left.

That night at home I rummaged through my girlfriend’s underwear drawer – nothing unusual about that. But this time I was actually doing something productive and didn’t have my pants round my ankles. I was searching for labels, labels with measurements. No joy. Every single fucking bra had the label neatly snipped out. Every pair of knickers was the same.

The next day at work I looked up at the receptionist, Nikki, as I was walking past. Or – to be more precise – I was assessing Nikki’s chesticles. They were pretty much the same make and model as hers indoors. After I’d gazed at Nikki’s rack for a little too long she coughed and enquired if I needed anything. I enquired: “What bra size are you?” Nikki just stared. And stared. And stared. And then she said: “Fuck off you dirty bastard,” and carried on with her filing. Oh, fucking marvelous! Just fucking fan-fucking-tastic!

Returning to my desk I started looking up lingerie on the internet. No help. Wasn’t going to find out what my girlfriend’s chest size was there… So, in desperation, I sent her a text asking her for her measurements outright. After a while she sent me the info back. Then on lunch I went down to the boutique and picked out an assortment of posh grundies, one of those corset things, some matching bras, the works. Then I went to the till and had a heart attack as the girl rang up the total. Paid. Left. Job done. Went back to work to be confronted by my boss who wanted to know why I’d been looking at, to use his own words: “saucy girls,” on the internet.

Later that evening at home my girlfriend enquired why I wanted to know her measurements. I considered saying: “Me and the fellas were playing girlfriend Top Trumps and I needed your stats,” thought better of it and said: “Oh well, you know… Christmas is coming…”

There was a long pause. “Yeah, fair enough. But if you buy kinky underwear that’s really a gift for you, not for me…”

Bollocks…. All that hassle… All that walking round London in the pissing rain… The possible sexual harrassment and ‘surfing for porn’ charges at work…

Think I might just get her an Ipod and be fucked with it.
(, Thu 26 Nov 2009, 15:12, 25 replies)
Uncle Colin, the family twat
Bought me a present for Christmas when I was about 12.

It was about 30cm x 30cm x 10 cm and weighed a ton. It was under the tree and for weeks and I would pick it up every day trying to figure out what it was.

Finally Christmas morning came and I tore open the paper to find a huge box of cheap AA batteries with a note which read:

"Toy not included"

It's almost 30 years and I still don't think I'm over that.
(, Fri 27 Nov 2009, 8:58, 3 replies)
I like being a rubbish uncle
My niece told me she wanted a Wii for christmas.

I can't wait to see the look on her face when she realises I've given her a jam jar full of piss.
(, Thu 26 Nov 2009, 16:49, 2 replies)
Gave my wife the best Christmas present she could have wished for today
Went to my first AA meeting. Day one and counting. Apologies for lack of funnies.
(, Wed 2 Dec 2009, 0:28, 20 replies)
My present from dad last year...
Well, it LOOKED exciting, a lovely big box that made an enticing *thump* with a bit of a rattling sound when I shook it. Even better, it was wrapped really well, gorgeous paper, exquisitely packaged with a ribbon, the whole works.

Imagine my horror when I opened it up to find a dead cat, a fucking GEIGER COUNTER and a flask of some weird liquid... Worst. Present. Ever.

Signed,
Ruth Schrödinger
(, Fri 27 Nov 2009, 20:51, 5 replies)
Use the force...
All the superlatives the 6 year old me knew tumbled wurzel-like from my over-excited mouth as I drew back the wrapping paper and uncovered the watch face to see Luke, C3PO and R2D2 standing almost heroically in the corner: "mega, ace, lush, nice, um, ace, smart, super dooper..." I ran out of words and instead shakily applied watch to wrist before telling everyone the time, all the time, every second like an unwanted, squeaky speaking clock.

I loved that watch like nothing I'd ever loved before. I'd wear it all day and all night, taking it off only to shower, bathe or swim and returning it to my arm within seconds of drying myself (wrist first) sufficiently not to let the damp seep into its magical innards. It was as though I wore the force on my very arm and I had powers I'd never felt before; time-related powers. OK, I had the power to provide an accurate telling of the time if ever it was needed, which it was... sometimes. It was sure to be the best Christmas present I would ever get and I swore never to lose it, lest I be rendered powerless like a freshly shorn Sampson.

Then it vanished. My first thought was a brutal act of sour jealousy on behalf of one sibling or other. I knew they'd viewed that marvellous time piece with immense envy and I wouldn't put it past either to steal or even destroy it in a fit of green-eyed rage. But no: my older brother would have boasted such an act only to increase my torment; while the younger failed to crack under even the most extreme torture, leaving me facing increased anguish in the face of both my lost watch and swift reprisal from my highly unimpressed mum.

Months later I was to discover the true fate that beloved watch eventually fell foul of... I was playing in my favourite corner of the garden - doubtless adding further camouflage to my den in the vain hope that I could protect it from being discovered by girls, or something - when my eye was drawn to a faintly shiny object, my favourite of all types of objects. I dug it out from the soil and noticed some familiar, tiny, golden feet just beneath the initial shiny distraction. Further excavation unveiled the legs, then body and head, along with some familiar comrades in a familiar stance: the paper face of my watch lay in tatters around me and, before long, with tears tumbling over my chubby cheeks, I found each lawnmower-chewed part of my once favourite ever Christmas present.
(, Mon 30 Nov 2009, 18:19, 2 replies)
I'm truly shit at presents
Just ask Mrs G. In fact, I think I've only once given a present that was just right. It was 1990 and our little Sprog was three. That is the PERFECT age for children to be - believe me, it's all downhill from there, until they produce the grandkids. That year, I was working as a cabinetmaker and I made a dolls house. Not just any dolls house - it had four cuboid rooms - each one a 300mm cube - cunningly fashioned from 18mm MDF with a backing of 6mm ply, a wide base of 12mm MDF and a front that opened in the middle, also 12mm MDF with brass hinges and a turning brass catch. There was a roof made from cladding nailed to pine battens, which lifted off (so that you could hide stuff in the 'loft'). It was brilliant. Two stories high, double fronted, windows cut out of the opening front with hockey-stick moulding for window-sills.

Mrs G. was in charge of furnishings and fittings. Each room was painted in emulsion and had a strip of wallpaper as a dado. Downstairs, the rooms were carpeted, upstairs they had cork tiles. Furniture was made from matchboxes, marge tubs, little boxes, with soft furnishings made from foam and bits of cloth. There was a toilet made from the handle and top of a plastic milk carton, bath, bed, chest-of-drawers. It was brilliant.

A couple of days before Christmas, I was painting the roof a lovely gloss red on the workbench in the conservatory when Mrs G carried the Sprog into the kitchen on her way to bed.
"What's Daddy doing?" she innocently asked.
"He's just painting something" said Mrs G.
"Whatisit? Whatisit?"
"It's just something."
"Is it a Christmas present for me?" - such prescience in one so young.
"Well, yes. Santa delivered it early and asked us to finish painting it for him, because he was very busy."

And so on Christmas morning, there it was - just taller than Sprog herself - the perfect home for her Sylvanian families, trolls and various other little friends. There's a picture of her in pyjamas with a knitted jumper from Grandma over the top pulling off the wrapping.

I'd like to be able to say that we've still got it today, though Sprog is now a grown up, but no - it was too big to fit through the loft hatch and I stored it for a while outside, under a bit of tarp. It got damaged though and eventually, with a heavy heart, I had to take it to the dump.

Still, we've got the memories. And Sprog's coming back home on Christmas eve to stay until the 29th.

Merry Christmas one and all.
(, Mon 30 Nov 2009, 17:44, 2 replies)
Gift Warfare
The hardest person to buy for at this time of year without any doubt is my mate Steve. We’ve built up a bit of a tradition over the past four or five years of finding each other the most hideous, indescribably useless, plain fucking awful crap known to humankind. A couple of years ago Steve gave me a weird centaur toy he’d made from a second-hand action man, one of his kids battered old My Little Pony’s, and the liberal application of his lighter to melt the fuckers together into one gooey, scary-as-fuck single entity. But Steve lost. I actually fucking loved that centaur. In return I gave Steve a subscription to Women Only, delivered to his workplace on the 1st of every month. He threatened me with castration over that one.

But this was somewhat eclipsed last Christmas.

I was staying down in Penarth with my girlfriend’s Liz’s family, doing the ‘sorry I’m fucking your daughter but I’m not really that bad, honest’ routine with her parents. Generally trying to pretend to be a decent, upright God-fearing young fellow for the duration of my stay. It get’s round to Christmas Day. As is traditional in Liz’s household, all the pressies are brought out and placed on the dining table after the fuck off huge Christmas dinner (I swear we’d just devoured the honey glazed corpse of a pterodactyl). We then take it in turns to go round the table, open a gift, look all delighted and as pleased as a Preist who’s just successfully drugged and gagged a choirboy and dragged the poor fucker into the vestibule, and then we move on to the next person to watch them open their pressie.

My girlfriend and I had carted all our gifts up from London. Seemed pretty pointless but Liz wanted her parents to see what a nice boy I was, how many lovely gifts I’d bought their daughter (thankfully all the stuff that needed batteries or were wipe clean were left at home). The pile of gifts if reducing, then I see something. Something in a different type of wrapping paper than the others. I see its got my name on it.

I lean over to Liz and whisper: “Wassthat?”

Liz leans close and whispers in my ear: “’S from Steve. He dropped it off while you were working Christmas Eve.” This was the first time I considered it might have been a good idea to have told Liz about the Women Only subscription…

I felt my sphincter clamp shut, my palms go sweaty…

Eventually, having opened all the others with my name on, I reached forward and picked up Steve’s gift. It was quite small, felt… like clothing… crinkly clothing…

“This is from my friend,” I say. “Think I’ll open it later. It’s probably silly anyway.”

Liz’s mad old auntie, Kathleen, says in her sing-song Welsh way: “Don’t be silly! Go on, open it!” Trembling, I pull open the wrapping. I stare down. I gulp, rubbing my hands over the ‘gift’. Kathleen continues: “Go on, let’s have a look! Don’t be shy!” I hold it up, Liz’s mouth turns from a smile to that almost indistinct, almost imperceptible: ‘you’re in fucking trouble bigtime, pal’ frown.

Liz’s family stare.

And stare...

I go to put it down, mumbling: “It’s just a joke. I’m not, you know, I don’t like this sort of thing… I mean, I’m not into this… sort… of… thing…”

Then Kathleen pipes up, seeing me flounder: “I dunno. Seems practicle to me. A waterproof balaclava! Who’d have thought! Go on, gissa go!” Kathleen had had a few drinkies by this stage, she snatched Steve’s gift out of my hands and attempted to pull it on over her head. It took Liz’s dad and brother to wrestle the damn thing off her.

Kathleen was so taken with it, I was tempted to give her the damn thing for keeps… but the thought of her walking down to Tesco’s in Barry wearing a thick wooly cardigan, a pair of wellingtons, and a rubber gimp mask behind her thick NHS glasses nearly tipped me over the edge…
(, Tue 1 Dec 2009, 11:41, 11 replies)
Warring families...
Our daughter is about to experience her first Christmas, and what's more she'll be old enough to appreciate the fun of it, given that her first birthday is only a few days afterwards.

The only problem is her grandparents.

My folks are coming to visit, but they've already sent the present on ahead and it's fucking massive. I have no idea what it is, but on box size alone I'm guessing it's an African elephant on growth hormones. All well and good, apart from the lack of anywhere to put the damn thing, however it being in our house means that my inlaws have seen it...

COMPETITION TIME!

Both sets of grandparents are now intent on having regular updates as to what the other is planning to get / has already got, each trying to upstage the other for their granddaughter's first Chrimbo. To make matters worse, my folks are staying with us and the missus parents live five minutes down the road so they'll all be in the bloody house to smirk at each other and start a war over what present curries the most favour.

Solution: Lady Doom and I are buying our daughter a cardboard box. She fucking loves boxes and giggles like a mental whenever she's allowed to play with one.

Fuck spending a fortune on presents, it's not worth it, not for a baby, not for an adult. The best Christmas present this year is going to be a cardboard box.
(, Thu 26 Nov 2009, 20:34, 8 replies)
Remote control helicopters
My brother's girlfriend bought him a pair one christmas. Great fun battling each other but the most fun is to be had trying to land one on the cat. Yes I'm 38.
(, Thu 26 Nov 2009, 15:15, 14 replies)
Practical Secret Santa..
When I was a spotty teenager, fresh out of college, I was working as an office assistant at an engineering firm, I had to do the secret santa thing at work, and I got one of our engineers out of the hat (well, paper bag..)

Needless to say, the budget was a fiver, which I went slightly over on, and he got from me:

1 Roll of Gaffer Tape (Silver - Wide)
1 Roll of Gaffer Tape (Silver - Narrow)
1 Roll of Gaffer Tape (Black - Wide)
1 Roll of Gaffer Tape (Black - Narrow)
1 Roll of Insulation Tape (Black)
1 Packet of SuperGlue
1 Black Permanent Marker
1 Pencil - One of those elliptical joiners pencils
1 Box of Chalk (White)

With these, I attached a note saying 'You can never have too much of this stuff'

He absolutely loved it - and it even put a stop to all the 'penpusher/desk jockey' jibes from his engineering crew which were aimed at anyone in a shirt & tie who happened to pass their workshop, and he even bought me a pint one night when we crossed our paths in the local boozer, I'd worked there for 3 years and we'd never said a word to each other. Ever.

Since then, I get on great with most of the lads, they've even helped me out with a few mechanical problems with my motor (I know absolutely fuck-all about cars) and even though I left the place in 1996, I still drink with the remaining few of them on a weekend.

Sometimes I guess the thought really does count, and the simplest things can go a long way.

I on the other hand, was given some flashing antlers from some twat in Telesales...
(, Mon 30 Nov 2009, 17:27, 7 replies)
my mother
once had a boyfriend who was very excited about the christmas presents he had bought for her and her family. they had met at university, and he had moved up to yorkshire to be with her, where he had got himself a great job. he could not wait to splash the cash and share the love. bubbling with glee, he could not keep the secrets to himself, and told her that he had bought jewellery for her; albums for her brother, who was an amateur dj, and nice things for her parents too.

on the big day, he was down south with his own parents. my mother's family gathered round expectantly to open his presents. they all felt very light, but maybe he had just used big boxes, they thought.

and they were right. he had. he had just wrapped up a load of empty cereal boxes.

when he returned to yorkshire, my mother asked him what on earth he had been playing at. he replied that he could not understand it; the presents had been in there when he left. he said that they must have been burgled, and the thieves had known which presents to target. yes, and had bothered to replace them with empty boxes in matching paper and with the tags carefully stuck on them.

shortly after that, my mother discovered his great job was non-existent and he had been living in his car, using the spare key to her parents' place to sneak in during the day and steal food...
(, Mon 30 Nov 2009, 10:44, 4 replies)
My parents
have spent the past 5 years or so bemoaning the fact that us kids are not reproducing - bearing in mind that I'm the oldest of 4, and only 27, it's not that surprising, but still, my mother has been desperate for grandkids for a long long time.

So this year they are getting their first Christmas as grandparents, with my baby boy, who will be 12 weeks old on boxing day. Sadly I doubt this will be enough of a present for them so I've got dad a potato ricer and mum a book to supplement the novelty of a baby in the house.

he's quite cute though (I know, I know, I'm biased - but he is, right?!)

(, Fri 27 Nov 2009, 12:15, 21 replies)
I've gone to a lot of effort for my sister this year
I bought her "Where's Wally? The Wonder Book"

I then used a black marker pen to circle wally on every page.
She's going to love it, she isnt a very patient person so really im doing her a favor.
(, Tue 1 Dec 2009, 15:52, 2 replies)
I wanna tell you a story...
Does anyone else remember this story from “2000 Acres of Sky”, which was a great TV series from about 2001. It was told by Paul Kaye’s character. For me it sums up what giving Christmas gifts to people you love is all about. I don’t remember it exactly, but it’s something like the following:

A long time ago, there once was a young married couple, who loved each other more than all the world. They were both very poor and made the most of what little they had. Christmas was fast approaching, and they both promised each other that they wouldn’t buy presents (how could they for they had no money?). Despite this, they were both secretly worried about how they might afford to buy the one thing that their loved one really wanted.

Now, the wife had long flowing golden hair. The husband loved everything about her, but he especially loved her hair, and would wash it for her, brush it for her and in summer he would often pick flowers to put in her hair. This made her feel wonderfully special, as she could forget their troubles and poverty for a while as he made her feel like a princess. However, there was one thing she longed for - a pretty hair clip, so that she could put her hair up when she was busy cooking or working around the house. And he wanted to buy her a hair clip more than anything.

The husband’s only possession was a battered old violin. The wife loved everything about him, but she especially loved to hear him play the violin. She loved the look of concentration on his face when he played, she loved to watch him loose himself in his tunes, and she loved more than anything to dance for hours while he played, until they were both so tired that they would collapse and fall asleep in front of the fire in each others arms. Unfortunately however, his violin strings had broken months ago, and their cold little one room cottage had been silent ever since. And she wanted to buy him new violin strings more than anything.

For weeks they could secretly think of nothing else, aside from finding a way to buy the gift they knew their beloved wanted more than anything.

On Christmas day, they both awoke with tremendous excitement, eager to give the other their gifts. Astonished and delighted that they should be receiving anything, they unwrapped their gifts together and at once the tears began to flood down their cheeks. She had somehow bought him new violin strings, and he had bought her the prettiest hair clip she had ever seen.

“How ever could you afford this?” said the wife, wiping away the tears.
“I’m so sorry” he choked, “I sold my violin to buy you the clip. Please forgive me”.
And with that, she took off her head scarf to reveal that her lovely golden hair was gone, and he at once knew that she had cut off her hair and sold it in order to buy his violin strings.

And that to me is the why Christmas is so special. It’s not about the Playstation 3 I would like and will never get, nor about the piles of socks I don’t want and always get. It’s about the look on the faces of my family when they open their presents to find something really special. And that’s all I want for Christmas.
(, Fri 27 Nov 2009, 14:21, 13 replies)
It was a few years ago...
When the kids wake up on Christmas morning we have a tradition of firstly giving them a small stocking filled with inexpensive nick-nacks that they open whilst sat on our bed. Once they have opened the dozen or so small packages we then go downstairs for the big boxes and expensive stuff.

wavy lines thingy .....

It was Christmas morning quite a few years ago, our son was 4 our daughter 2 and a half, and they were sat on the end of the bed with their little stockings, very very excited. It took about half an hour for them to open their presents, felt tip pens, yoyo's, Thomas the tank engine / Teletubbies pants and socks etc, total value about £15.

I was recording everything so we could show the grand parents later that day. Once they had finished opening, they carefully put everything back in their stockings and went and started drawing christmas pictures in their bedrooms. That was it. As far as they were concerned that was Christmas done, and they were over the moon with what they had. Completely unaware of the overpriced and over-hyped boxes and boxes of stuff downstairs under the tree.

I still watch the video now when I need cheering up.
(, Fri 27 Nov 2009, 13:57, 2 replies)
I like this QOTW
Far too many stories, but the one that springs to mind, is taking my little sister Christmas shopping when she was about eight. I have lots of siblings, and when they're small my parents give them some money and let them buy some presents- generally sweets/toys for the other kids.

My little sister was concentrating very hard on picking lovely presents with her £30 and since she has good taste for one so young, she was doing well. The only person who puzzled her was Dad (who is very hard to get gifts for- he can never think of anything.) Since he loves computers and gadgets, that's what we mostly see him around.

After thinking very very hard, she toddled off and came back with the PERFECT gift for him. Smiling hugely she handed me an extension cable and a plug. I've never laughed so hard in my life
(, Thu 26 Nov 2009, 15:40, 2 replies)
Dicing for presents
This year, like the past 4-5 years, we will be dicing for presents. Everyone brings along 3 presents. 2 should be obvious crap, old stuff found in the basement etc. The third present should be something good, but shouldn't cost more than a few quid. All are wrapped in old newspaper rather than expensive gift wrapping, in order to make sure that noone can tell who brought the presents or whether it is a good one, or a crappy one.

We then pile up all presents on the table, and start dicing for the presents (2 persons each round, the one with the higher number can select any present from the pile). After the pile is gone, 2-3 rounds of more dicing, where the winner can pick any present from anyone, or tell anyone to give a specific present to an other person. This works best with at least 6-7 people.
Afterwards, presents are unwrapped one after another in order to give everyone a chance feel stupid enough for choosing what presents they got.

Greatest presents so far (it is the crappy ones that you actually tend to like most):
- an "ancient" Egyptian table lamp (fuck ugly, made a return next christmas to be won by the original owner)
- 3 porcellain garden dwarfs (again, fuck ugly, didn't survive the dwarf tossing contest later in the evening)
- a used toaster (15 years old, completely caked in burned bread crumbs)
- condoms (the look of disbelief on grandmom's face will live in our memory forever)
(, Fri 27 Nov 2009, 17:30, 5 replies)
Bespoke Monopoly
A few years ago, the people who make Monopoly came up with the genius idea of local editions. You could go round your home town buying up the cathedral, the local footie stadium and so on. It was also, of course, tremendous fun to see if your street was of a high, or low, value – congratulations! you live in a shit part of town and now everybody knows it.

Recently, I found out that you can even have a truly bespoke edition:

www.mymonopoly.com/home.php

And became a bit obsessed about it (essentially you design your own monopoly board and can customise certain squares. Two things though, first, they don’t allow naughty words and second, it’s eighty fucking quid!)

Surely this is a fantastic idea for a couple of reasons. The first is that you can have a really, really, really local version. Live in a tiny village? A hamlet so small it actually has a horse sharing arrangement with a nearby town? The sort of place that has submitted a claim for an EU grant to afford an idiot? The sort of place that only famous folk singers and homicidal maniacs ever come from? Well, why not have a village edition, with local landmarks like the war memorial, church and bus shelter. In fact since they closed down the post office, that’s it for local landmarks, so you are going to have to get creative; ‘that spot where Darren shagged our Sally’, ‘Where Jon was sick after he drank all that scrumpy’, ‘Where we burned that tramp’, ‘The pond’, ‘Roadkill’ and so on.

But why are we restrained by geography? Monopoly comes out at family gatherings when the usual arguments have been exhausted and everyone needs some fresh material to bicker about. So how about some properties that have a special place in family history, ‘where Cousin Sadie had her first wedding’, ‘where cousin Sadie had her second wedding’, and have the second location cheaper than the first? Or the classic: ‘The house Tom’s bitch wife got in the divorce’?

Or moments or occasions? Like your twelfth birthday party could be a low value square because you peed yourself with excitement in front of everyone when you opened your present and it was He Man. (Oh, the humiliation!)

Other low value squares: the time your cousin tried to ‘touch’ you, the time your cousin went to prison because you made up that story about him ‘touching’ you, the time you held a funeral for your pet dog (that wasn’t actually dead, you were just going through a morbid phase). High value squares could be ‘My first drink’, ‘passing my driving test’ or the ever popular ‘out and proud’ (adjacent to ‘dad makes full recovery from heart attack’).

Better still: family secrets edition! But is ‘Tina’s little problem’ a high or low value square? And will ‘That time Auntie Vic came home early and found Uncle Tony sucking the milkman’s cock’ fit on one square.

Of course, the real benefit would be to use people, not places or occasions. Fed up with having to put up for years with Granma’s sadistic game of arranging family photographs on her sideboard in order of current preference, and always being banished to the Siberia that is propped up against the lamp? Then imagine her delight at finding that you have designated ‘Granny Gin Breath’ as the lowest value square on the board.

I predict a fist fight before anyone passes ‘Go!’
(, Fri 27 Nov 2009, 16:16, 4 replies)
When I was smaller
My parents had a tradition that they would get me and my sister some small unwrapped presents in a stocking, to be removed from the stocking first thing in the morning. My sister pulled out a box of chocolate truffles, which both me and her love deeply.

I pulled out a pair of socks.

With a cry of "A HA!" my sister pulled out a second box of truffles.

With a reciprocal cry I whipped my other present out of my stocking and held it aloft in triumph. My sister burst out laughing. So did my parents. After a moment, so did I.

It was a book entitled "A passion for cheese".



As my mum put it "Well, you do like cheese".


.
(, Thu 26 Nov 2009, 14:38, 1 reply)
My grandpa
He spends a lot - a LOT - of time and money every Christmas buying presents for everyone. The problem is that they're usually ridiculous presents that nobody would ever want. And none of us has the heart to tell him, because he's clearly so proud of all the effort he's gone to - and we do appreciate the effort.

Some of the presents I've received: a wooden rooster sculpture, a Genghis Khan hat, a white sweatshirt (not a hoodie, just a mom-type sweatshirt) with a cartoon of a baby chick with sunglasses that says "Chick With Attitude" underneath, a robe with a giant appliqué teddy bear on the back, and a cape.

Yes. A cape.

Sometimes he manages to find an actually awesome present - he's bought me a CD player that looked like an old-fashioned radio, and an awesome telescope - but most of the time it's ridiculous. Take this, which he got me for my 23rd birthday:



Yes, that would be a rhinestoned pineapple. He said that he saw it and thought of me (?).

Oh, and last year for Christmas, he got me a white, fuzzy jacket with pictures of kittens' faces and their paw prints all over it. No, I'm not making it up.

I really do love my grandpa, and I actually love receiving these presents because they're so bizarre. Seriously, though, what is it about me that screams "RHINESTONE PINEAPPLE"?
(, Tue 1 Dec 2009, 17:58, 7 replies)
Every sodding year I have the same telephone conversation with my mother:-
Mum: Auntie Joan has asked me what you want for Christmas…
Me: I don’t want anything.
Mum: I have to tell her something.
Me: I’m a grown man; she doesn’t have to buy me anything anymore.
Mum: Yes I know, but she’s very fond of you…
Me: I’m an accountant mother; nobody is very fond of me.

And it goes on like that, I explain that a book would be the perfect gift as I love reading and mum explains that my auntie wouldn’t know which book to choose for me. I explain that I will read anything and she reminds me of the time 15 years ago that she bought me a book that I had already read. I suggest that I could buy the book, give it to her to pass on to my auntie who could wrap it up and give it back to me as a present. Mum says that it wouldn’t be a surprise and I explain that it’s not a problem as “I‘m not a fucking child anymore”. My mother then tells me off for swearing.

Shall I answer the actual QOTW? I have a gentleman’s agreement with my brother and every male on the planet not to swap cards or presents. This works remarkably well and I suggest to every male B3tard reading this to give it a go. You are already in this agreement with myself and you have to admit that it’s worked well so far.

I will buy my mother a good book and a bottle of Champagne, my father will receive an excellent bottle of whisky. I don’t have a wife or girlfriend so sorry lads, you’re on your own (although I am reliably informed that the ladies can never have “too much” jewellery.
(, Thu 26 Nov 2009, 16:43, 6 replies)
Amazon Wishlist...
...is truly a thing of veritable beauty. I’ve e-mailed all my family, friends and associated hangers-on a list I’ve compiled via the nous and dexterity of Amazon’s “we-think-you-might-like-this” associative linked searches. Now, I’m a bit of a movie buff, so here is a list of DVDs I’d quite like to see under my tree come three weeks’ time:

No Sir, I’m Not That Way Inclined
Rodney You Wanker! The Rodney Lyndhurst Story
The Snow Plough Diaries
Excruciating Badgers
Ferret-Baiting Chronicles
The Clay Genitalia Modeller
The Clay Genitalia Modeller II: The Revenge
Cutting Hair For Fun and Profit
The Terry Nutkins Autumnal Balloon Ride
Frog:Response
What Happened At The NEXT Sale...
1, 2, 3, 4, Alphabet
Slipping In The Fold
Diagnosis Of A Dichotomy
Basically: The Movie
Spectrometry Graphs of the First 30 Years of Existence: The Sequel
Down and Out at The Adventure Playground
I’ll Be Back in a Minute: The Arnold Schwarzenegger Story
Iron Man: Such a Prick-Tease
Candida: The Posh Name For Thrush
Dyslexic Midnight Runners
Jade Goody: Staying Alive
Jade Goody: I Won’t Let This Beat Me
Pry, Mark, Pry
Kylie Minogue’s Edible Bible
Minge, Binge, Cringe: Dr Seuss For Adults
Watchmen: A Documentary on the Making of Rolex Timepieces
Winnie the Pooh and Tigger’s Springtime Gangbang
The Crayfish Genuflection
Abattoir Japes
Bridget Jones Comes "On"
Jifka
Paedophiles: Society’s Unsung Heroes
Stinking Turban Warlord
Tinker Tailor Soldier Molester
Velvet Mustard
Dr Foster’s Hairy Snatch
Dr Silver’s Wonderful Mouth
Renaming of the Shrew
The Rise and Fall of La La Gabor
Barely Touching the Sides
Josef Fritzl: Housesitter
Batman Takes 12”
The Florist and the Machine
Harry Potter and the Bloody Great Big Wand
Harry Potter and the Wizard’s Sleeve
Harry Potter Keeps His Kit On


Fingers crossed!
(, Tue 1 Dec 2009, 11:40, 6 replies)
A small number of Yules ago....
....my current cockwash purchased me a 'lovely' giftbox set containing a pen and a selection of 5 Belgian chocolates.

Not an expensive present I'll grant you (as the still-attached £3.50 price tag attested), but bought with thought and loving care based on 2 considered truisms: 1. I occasionally write things down, and 2. I'm a fat bastard.

Bless. Cheap yet thoughtful, and easily the moral and heartfelt equal to the iPod I got her.

Or at least it would have been had the top heavy object of my random affections not eaten one of the sodding chocolates. Disregarding the pen (which incidentally I did), she spent £3 on me, then ate 20% of it. What a baggy old pair of cortinas de la carne de vaca, as they say in Spain.

I love her to bits really, but this year I'm just going to kick her in the fish mitten.
(, Mon 30 Nov 2009, 15:09, 7 replies)

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