Tag Archives: Christmas Shopping

Agatha’s Gift Giving Guide

30 Nov

So the newspapers are starting their annual How-To-Waste-Your-Hard-Earned-Money-On-People-You-Don’t-Really-Care-About spiel. Yes, blonde woman with more money than sense, please tell me what to buy — I’m sure it’s pure coincidence that everything you steer me toward is from a company that’s supplied you with products all year.

Bah humbug to you lot.

Even gift guides written by those who don’t personally benefit from sales are usually rubbish. ‘Gifts For Guys’? Come on now. I can guarantee you that my father, Christopher and Roy Keane, despite each being a so-called guy, have tastes which differ greatly. Any gift-giving recommendation based on gender has been offered by an idiot.

Same goes for suggestions based on age. These two were both born in 1928, but I seriously doubt their lists to Santa include the same items.

Noam and Mickey

During my life, I’ve met many people and many types of people and have satisfied most of them. Thanks to this experience, I’ve put together some guidance that, while frank, should prove useful.

Firstly, let me ask, have you or your partner given birth to some sort of offspring in the last five years? If so, put a picture of it on a mug and give one to every person you know. Older relatives will appreciate this — no one else will, of course, but they’ll expect it from you so go ahead and take advantage of that. Once the child is older than five, no one (including you) is going to want anything to do with it, for its existence will no longer seem so magical; therefore, strike while the iron is hot.

Secondly, are you a narcissist? If so, you likely only give presents so that people will think you’re wonderful. But think about this: you are wonderful, you know that in your heart already. So put your wallet away; just let us bask in your glory for another year. That’s more than gift enough.

Thirdly, on an unrelated subject, do you own a gun? Why?

Now let’s focus on the people you are shopping for. Often what causes the most stress when holiday shopping is trying to find the perfect gift for each and every person you know. No. That’s not going to happen so just you stop thinking about that right now. Basically, here’s what it boils down to:

  1. If your gift giving is motivated by love for a person, you should know them and know what they’d like. Buy something they’d like and you’re sorted. If you can’t think of anything they might like, either you don’t really love them or they’re boring and don’t deserve to be rewarded for that fact.
  2. If your gift giving is motivated by obligation, buy fresh flowers. If the person has allergies, get them a bottle of wine and tell them to grow up. If they have a drinking problem and/or they’re under the age of three, just leave it — in truth, they don’t care about you or your present. All they really need at this point is a good nap.
  3. Ask the person what they want and buy it for them.

That’s the gist of it. Christmas shopping doesn’t have to be a maddening or bank-busting event. Use your common sense, be thoughtful, and you’ll be fine. And get rid of your gun, for god’s sake, what are you thinking?


Another Innocent Victim of Ignorance

1 Dec

I made the mistake this weekend of venturing into the city to pick up a few bits and bobs for the upcoming Christmas party season (I always feel it’s polite to arrive at a do with a dish, gift or floral arrangement that is equal to if not better than anything the hostess has prepared). I cannot say I enjoyed my trip out. I’m not going to bang on about the commercialism of the holiday season, for this has been done ad nauseam elsewhere by people more qualified than I to pass such judgments. Suffice it to say that I agree we should all be less materialistic. However, I also know that people will indeed continue to spend money at the holiday season so instead I would like to speak for a moment on what I see as a terrible injustice. And this is the unfair marketing of other precious stones over the beautiful emerald.

EmeraldNow this may seem a small example of villainy in a time when wars abound and bad people are continually doing bad things. And I suppose it is. But I have always believed that inequality at any level should be challenged and therefore I have nominated myself to this role of advocate for a jewel that cannot (and should not have to) speak for itself.

I cannot comprehend why emeralds are so often overlooked when one is shopping for jewellery. Rubies, of course, are red which we all know is the colour of whores, so why anyone would buy one of those is beyond my comprehension. Sapphires are a dime a dozen. Amethysts are pretty but I’m afraid have just too many new age connotations. Pearls are disgusting—do you know how they are created? I am not going to even pretend that an opal is precious, now that’s just silly talk. And I bet you’ve never even heard of a spinel, have you? Diamonds get serious press coverage, what with their inclusion into a deck of cards and their support from Miss Elizabeth Taylor. However, need I remind you that having violet eyes does not automatically qualify one as an expert in gems? Surely, something as important as a jewellery purchase should not be influenced by some celebrity’s opinion. Besides Leonardo DiCaprio once told me that there are some pretty dodgy dealings behind the diamond trade. What’s the worst that could happen when purchasing an emerald—a leprechaun might get his wings?

This leads me to what I think is behind this exclusion. Racism. Pure and simple. When people think of emeralds, they don’t think of their exquisite colour, their glorious clarity or the lovely way they set off a woman’s décolletage. They think of the Emerald Isle, and they want no part of it. Now it is not for me to judge whether theIrish are bastards, what with their ginger hair and penchant for overindulgence. That is for God alone to judge. As you know, I am an open-minded woman who abhors bigotry. This is why I beg those of you who are considering purchasing a piece of jewellery for a special lady this holiday season to put your petty prejudices aside and consider the emerald.  And to remember that my ring size is 4.5.

Please don’t let hatred spoil my Christmas morning. Is that too much to ask during the season of peace?

Service With A Smile

11 Dec

No doubt this month you’ve been faced with a queue of some sort. Perhaps you were posting your holiday cards or getting a flu shot or purchasing a gift for a person you admire (note: my ring size is 4.5). You were probably annoyed by having to wait and when you finally got service, you were expecting a little compassion from the person behind the counter. After all, you’re a busy, important person and your time is valuable. If a service provider makes you wait, the least they can do is apologise, right?

I’m afraid I am unable to back you up on this one. As you know, I greatly admire manners and would love to be greeted with a smile by everyone who serves me. However, I also believe in keeping things in perspective.

Just for a moment, consider that person who is serving you. How’s their day going? While standing in line waiting to buy something is a pain, standing at the till ringing up other people’s purchases isn’t a barrel of laughs, you know. Of course, they’re probably being paid to do so (though undoubtedly not very well), but is pretending their life revolves around you and your happiness part of their job description? If in the end, you got my ring (I hope you remembered I prefer baguette rather than pear-shaped), the transaction’s been successful whether or not the clerk smiled at you or wished you a merry Christmas.

The run-up to December 25 can be stressful. If you can, make a smile part of all your public interactions. But if you don’t get one in return, try to be understanding. After all, it can be very tiring autographing book after book, and even the most sophisticated of authoresses can sometimes become frustrated. I’m sorry I kicked your child’s shin, but you got your book and isn’t that what you actually came out for?