Today is the day that St Nicholas arrives in the Netherlands by steamboat from Spain.
If you don’t have enough ideas for presents yet, here are some suggestions for generating suggestions:
- Check out the websites you bookmarked during the year.
- Ask others: your kids may have good ideas about what their cousins want, for example.
- Quiz the people themselves! Many people enjoy being asked what they’d like.
- Get them to initial your catalogues (see 14 October).
And remember that you’re buying to their taste, not yours.
It seems that Gemma has been listening when I’ve been talking about my blog and she offered up a brilliant compromise solution to the office party problem: a wassail bowl. This would be exotic as well as Christmassy and we could probably do it for nearly the same price as beer. I immediately suggested that we add a fruit punch for anyone who wants to stay upright, both ideas were accepted and I am starting to think that we might be able to make this work. (I have seen what a disaster to morale the bungled birthday cake roster was and I am afraid that a bad Christmas party could bring this company to its knees!)
 See? I’m not the only one who starts Christmas this early.
 And bad ideas too. My son Jeremy has tried to persuade me to buy all kinds of wicked practical jokes for his cousin Jack but I knew my sister Wendy would boomerang it all back to me faster than you could say “whoopee cushion”.
 Although I learned not to entirely ignore my own feelings when I gave my brother a record called “Disco Duck” when he was ten. He really wanted it and he was only ten so that doesn’t count against him but I hated it, and had to listen to it five times a day until he finally got sick of it.