Lifting the wrapping paper on forbidden gifts

Christmas gifts extraordinaire. Photo by Roy Colbert.
Christmas gifts extraordinaire. Photo by Roy Colbert.

The command went out this Christmas from the sister-in-law, the most querulous call I have heard in years, I have to say, that there were to be No Christmas Presents For Adults.

Was this to save money?

It wouldn't work if it was, we would all just spend the extra money on the children.

Was it to save time and stress?

Well, call me old-fashioned, but I find Christmas shopping not only devoid of stress, but actually the most enjoyable and creative thing I do all year.

Why, already I have bought two presents for Christmas 2016.

And I buy mainly for the adults in our family and extended family unit.

A zoo monkey could buy presents for children, so I forcibly restrain myself from joining those chimpanzean queues.

But when the command went out in late November, I already had drawers filled to the brim with adult presents.

What would become of them?

It was ironic that the most stress I have ever suffered leading up to Christmas was because the so-called stress of bringing suitable presents to the table had been made illegal.


My sister loves cats and has maybe 30 or 40, I have never truly counted them.

And what a fine present I acquired for her in near-new condition last August!

Pawtographs, a beautifully designed circular tin filled with the equipment to immortalise your cat's pawprints forever.

The slogan was Cherish Them A Lifetime.

My sister will weep when she reads this, tears the size of the tin itself for what she was forbidden to be given.

Pop Up Wine Glass.

Made from low quality therefore environmentally friendly plastic, this unique and magnificently useful thing opens up into a go-anywhere wine glass.

I would love to have something like this at a prestigious reception.

Wine, sir?

I have my own glass, thank you, just pour it in here, young man, click, click, click, SNAP!

There you go!

A risible gift?

Not for a second.

Sophistication comes in many cardboard boxes.

The superb Christmas tie which would retrieve beauty from even the most atrocious shirt was probably going to be given to me by me, but as I am an adult, I was not allowed to gift myself such a thing.

So unfair.

My only recourse is to add it to my wardrobe surreptitiously in March and claim it was never a Christmas present, honest it wasn't, wot, are you calling me a LIAR?

The Professional Final Nail Polish kit was an eye-blinking price reduction down to one dollar from goodness knows how much at the Outlet Store, and as such, would have made Christmas as memorable as magnesium for a number of my women adult friends.

One could perhaps argue that nail polish could dry quickly and well without having the nails inserted into this slightly weird chamber - and there is a costly battery factor as well - but the claims on the box - enhances gloss, no more smudges - are claims no classy woman could turn up her nose, or nails, at.

There are many wonderful books out there for adults, many of which I stockpiled all year.

You can't beat a good book, as the utterly perfect Lauren from Britain's X Factor might well have said had she been asked.

Hollywood Divorces by Jackie Collins was bought specifically for an academic adult who announced patronisingly this year she had finally read Jackie Collins "to see what all the fuss was about''.

She read Hollywood Wives.

So Hollywood Divorces would have been a natural for her, two sides of the one riveting coin, closure.

And then there was a mint condition compilation of Andy Capp cartoons from the 1960s, drawings by Reg Smythe, a sensitive adult present to a particularly fervent feminist friend, who might not have realised Andy Capp preached feminism, in a manner so subtle that only skilled gypsy fortune-tellers in tents could have properly understood.

Andy Capp is like Dickens, timeless.

A good year for Christmas present-buying then.

Hopefully, next Christmas, the dam-gates will reopen and it will be good for giving as well.

As Lauren must have said once, you can't beat a good present.

Roy Colbert is a Dunedin writer.

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