The Gift That Keeps On Giving


I hate shopping, even at the best of times, but the idea of strolling through a packed city centre in the middle of December, looking for gifts that I know will not be appreciated once they have been given, fills me with dread.

What I needed was a plan.

After long hours of thought, I think I have found a solution. It isn’t perfect, but nothing ever is, is it? Still, it could just work.

Whistling along to the insidiously happy Christmas tunes being bombarded down my radio until they are stuck in my head, I piled into the car and drive down to my local DIY store.

Naturally, they have converted half of the store into a Christmassy wonderland, hoping to cash in on the season’s madness, but eventually, I find what I wanted. After some haggling with the manager I even get a 10% reduction on my purchases too.

They are:

  • A job lot of High Vis jackets, ranging in size from toddler to XXXL.
  • Two dozen pairs of gardening gloves, again in a variety of colours and sizes.
  • Some industrial strength refuse sacks.
  • Some plain white card.
  • Some wrapping paper, which depicts some drunken reindeers frolicking in the snow.

Once home, I set to work wrapping up my presents. When they are completed, I can finally sit down and relax in front of the fire, content in the warm glow of a job well done.

Next morning, I start work on the homemade Xmas cards. These will be included in the presents, (thus the white card). I find a suitable picture online that is perfect for the task. It shows a grubby, litter-strewn street, a common theme for anyone who has walked their dog on a Sunday morning. I download it for the front picture. Then I get to work on the inside. What should I write…?

Wishing you a Happy Xmas, and a very happy 2016.

I have purchased a very special gift for you and your family this Christmas, and hope that you will enjoy it together.

Inside the parcels provided is the gift of many hours of happiness for you all. It includes some social well-being, and time spent together with a common purpose, having a bit of craic with friends and neighbours, getting to meet new people, and doing something good for your community.

After all, the best gifts are the ones that you can share together.

Hopefully, it will bring your family closer again, as, if the gossip in the town is to be believed, things have been hard on you all these last few months, especially since that awful picture in last week’s Sunday paper. Infidelity is always a bitter pill to swallow, but it’s even worse when you have to share it your personal lives with every Tom Dick and Harry you meet.

Perhaps some time together as a family will help to save your marriage, and also the financial burden of the divorce courts.

Anyway, I hope you take advantage of this gift, for it is a gift that keeps on giving.

I have enrolled you in three months Tidy Town activity. It starts on Boxing Day at 10:30am and continues every Sunday until Spring. Hopefully, by then, you will found the joy that is missing from your lives, and will continue to use my gift long after its expiry date.

Happy Xmas to you all,

Love from your cousin


I rephrased the sentiment in the card, tailoring it to the particular family I chose to send the gift to, but kept the same positive touch to each message.

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