The pleasure derived from giving the perfect gift can be so good that it’s almost selfish: the warm glow as you witness the recipient’s heart swell in appreciation of something good.
Conversely, the act of searching for the perfect gift can be hell – especially if the recipient doesn’t tell you exactly what it is that they would like; even more especially if the recipient doesn’t know the answer themselves. What do you get the person that already has everything they ever wanted? Except a bit more of the same, but in recyclable packaging?
I used to enjoy giving books, but I’ve come to see that it’s a pointless exercise. People my own age or older permanently mislay our reading glasses and, by the time we’ve remembered where they are, we’ve forgotten what we wanted them for anyway – so books aren’t useful. Younger generations, their brains addled by social media, barely have the attention span to read a blog never mind a book, and besides – who needs Dickens or HG Wells when there are perfectly good synopses of all their stories on Wikipedia?
There was a time when you couldn’t go wrong with wine – one really nice bottle or a small case of something quite quaffable. But I’ve lost count of the number of people that have told me they’ve given up alcohol following eighteen months of drinking home alone. I don’t know what these people plan to do with the rest of their lives; I don’t even know if I can continue to call them friends – but I do know that presenting them with a bottle of Vimto cordial is only going to accentuate the rift.
Money used to be a reliable stand-by – a Christmas card enclosing a crisp banknote. Sadly, at the current rate of inflation, whatever goes into the envelope at the start of Advent is liable to appear pretty stingy by Boxing Day, so I’ll not be taking this route either. And anyway, if I had any cash in my pocket tomorrow, I’d be putting it on this week’s selection: Haute Estime in Haydock’s Novice Hurdle at 12.10pm.
Fortunately, there is a solution. The buzzword for gifting this Christmas is “experience”. People don’t want “things” anymore, they want “memories” – fun, exciting, Instagram-able memories that can be posted online for mass appreciation… Which is why I’m drawing your attention to the launch of 2022 ticket sales for Kelso Races this weekend. For as little as £16 you can secure a day at the races in January or February. For just £20 you could send your loved one to bet365 Morebattle Hurdle Day on the first Saturday in March.
Tickets can be booked online (from Saturday) in a matter of minutes and the e-mail acknowledgement can easily be printed and folded into a gift card for Christmas Day: easy-peasy / shop any time you like / all your present problems solved.
Next week: how to book your tickets to the races whilst cooking the best Christmas turkey you’ve ever tasted…