16 Dec The Ghost Of Christmas Present
This is a powerful spirit – it rattles the cashbooks and money boxes just like Jacob Marley in Dickens’ tale. And it will not be silenced. You buy it and wrap it and give it or else…or else the months of January and February are going to be a bleak winter indeed.
That’s in the northern hemisphere. Down here if you don’t come up with a suitable Christmas Present, the ghost will make sure you have a hot time of it in those months. And you can only sleep on the couch so long before your back goes.
Avoid this fate. Take Tiny Tim’s advice and bless your friends and relatives with suitable presents. In the case of your photographers, come on down to us and get something that will make them glad to see you. But remember that it is a delicate matter:
- Are they brand-sensitive? Look on the front of the camera that they are always pushing in your face while you are trying to eat. What is the name on the front plate? Well, remember it when you go to buy a present and get something suitable for that make. It need not be from the exact factory – there are lots of aftermarket manufacturers who make things for other people’s cameras. Just make sure that whatever it is, has the desired name somewhere on the box.
- With a few exceptions…cute merchandise that has a brand name on it but no actual use is less welcome than you’d think. The camera-branded coffee mugs and the brand-name scarves are charming but you do yourself no good by giving them. The initial delight the recipient expresses at seeing a box containing a valuable lens evaporates when they find a plastic sippy cup inside. They probably cannot kill you with the sippy cup but that doesn’t stop them from trying.
- Do they need something badly? If they’ve told you about it for three years running, you can sort of guess that they’re genuine about it all. If it is impossibly expensive you can either find enough mutual friends to club together and buy the object…or just all agree to drop the acquaintance. It’s a frugal solution either way.
- Do they need nothing? And can you tell that? Well, give them exactly what they need. Thoughts and prayers are a good substitute for most practical presents. Or you can give them a voucher for it.
- Do you need a present more than they do? Well, buy it for yourself and then go tell them that they need not get anything for you as you have already attended to it, and that is your present to them. Spoken quickly, this almost makes sense. If the thing you bought yourself proves not to be as good as you expected, tell them to do better in the future.
- Can your present be hung on a Christmas tree? Most of the soppy holiday cards show this being done and it is wonderfully sentimental. it also means that you don’t have to pop for a 3000mm tele lens for them – it is too big and heavy for the tree. Look around until you can find festive lens cloths for sale. Or use camera straps instead of tinsel.
- Festive food is always welcome…on the day. Three weeks later no-one wants to see a box full of turkey bones on the doorstep.