2008 November 17

As the recession bites, the idea of Christmas shopping depresses as many people as it cheers up. If you’re one of the 29% of the British population who – in a recent survey – classed ‘shopping for gifts’ as being more enjoyable than filling in your tax return but less enjoyable than having a dental check-up, don’t despair. You can do most of your shopping online, bag some bargains, and please everybody on your Xmas shopping list.

Let’s start with the wrinklies: Gran and Granddad have enough slippers and photo-frames already!  But a high-quality,  top-comfort sleeveless fleece is a thoughtful gift: it can be slipped on over a shirt or jumper to nip outside and bring in the washing or give the dog some fresh air, and it can be worn under a winter coat for longer trips outdoors. Finally, if your grandparents are worrying about their energy bills (who isn’t?) a fleece allows them to stay warm without turning up the central heating.

Parents: Dad gets so many socks, and Mum so many tea-towels, they must sometimes want to tie them all together and make a rope to escape from the hell of Christmas gift-giving! Why not invest in their health? But them each a really good winter jacket that’s good for Sunday afternoon walks (remember how they used to drag you out for ‘healthy exercise – now you can get your own back) and smart enough to wear to the pub for a warming drink on their way home. You’ll be the favourite offspring for sure.

Nieces and nephews, daughters and sons: Can you remember how horrible it was when your parents bought your clothes for you? Well, learn from that. Don’t try to buy trendy gear for your younger relatives because the very term, trendy gear is so unretro it’s nearly squicky (and if you didn’t understand that, you’re just too old). Instead invest in really classic cotton tops. Girls will always welcome more plain black or plain white T-shirts and boys can’t get enough hoodies, as long as they are simple, neutral colours. Pre-teens would love some fabric markers to personalise a new sweatshirt, but teenagers would just see this as ‘lame’ so stick to the classics and earn their grudging respect.

There, Christmas shopping sorted, all available from polo-shirts.co.uk online and only one lot of post to pay – with the money you save, you could take your other half out for a lovely romantic post-Christmas dinner – because you’re both worth it!