The point of cash presents

PUBLISHED: 10:43 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:17 06 May 2010

SO, in one day s time we see the start of the hectic, nay frenetic, run up to the supposedly happiest time of the year, Christmas. I say supposedly because there can be an awful lot of fretting and worrying going on as the big day approaches. I mostly put

SO, in one day's time we see the start of the hectic, nay frenetic, run up to the supposedly happiest time of the year, Christmas.

I say supposedly because there can be an awful lot of fretting and worrying going on as the big day approaches.

I mostly put it down to the apparent need to buy presents for nearly all and sundry.

There are some, I admit, who love buying things and must see Christmas as the best part of their year-long quest to get rid of the shekels to fill up the shelves of family, friends and themselves.

I'm not one of those. As I get older I find the desire to traipse round shops for hours and days on end - often in miserable, cold weather - waning considerably each passing year.

Cash presents are the best thing, I argue, because then the recipient can buy whatever they like, not be landed with some rubbish item they would never wear, use or do anything else with.

Others disagree, pointing out quaintly that it's really the thought that counts. I say it's the thought of saving myself all that time by not hunting out presents in the shops that counts very nicely for me but the argument falls on deaf ears.

So I have to take a bit of interest.

One thing which caught my eye this week also worried me. According to research by a bank, almost 22.2 million Brits - that's more than half of us - will Christmas shop blind this year, unaware of how much money they actually have to splash out on presents.

One in five people questioned said they will hit the shops and only check their balances after they have bought everything.

So there should be a painful financial hangover for many come the New Year.

Now if they all gave cash presents they would know exactly how they were placed moneywise - and they would save themselves an awful lot of hassle.

Am I convincing anyone here?

I thought not, so let me pass on a bit of advice from another survey out this week.

Women certainly don't want novelty gifts for Christmas. Twenty-seven per cent turned their nose up at them while another 14 per cent admitted to smiling through gritted teeth when opening "things for the kitchen" and another 10 per cent deftly slipped that special item of "clothing" to the bottom of the drawer when no one was looking.

Naturally, men are simpler to please when it come to presents. Almost half of those questioned identified socks and handkerchiefs as their no-no gifts, and 10 per cent cited clothing.

Happy shopping.

Talking about the coming Yuletide, some people do not enter into the Christmas spirit as much as others, I learn.

These are the mean-spirited ones, in more than one sense.

Apparently, more than 20 per cent of hosts deliberately short change their unsuspecting guests by keeping the good stuff for themselves and instead offering cheaper or supermarket own label vodka, whisky and gin products.

And three per cent are so Scroogy as to decant cheaper spirits into premium brand bottles to serve to visitors and hope they do not notice. Cheers.

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