Give what it takes. Why a brush and dustpan might be the best Christmas gifts

It is common to think that a Christmas gift must be expensive and beautiful. In fact, says the Telegraph columnist Jemima Lewisfirst of all it should be useful – then you will definitely be remembered with a kind word

When I was 11, my godfather gave me a used bar of soap for Christmas. To be fair, he put it back in its packaging, but there were still grayish bubbles of dried foam visible on it.

I think this beats most of the contenders on Argos’ list of terrible Christmas gifts. According to a survey conducted by the retailer (and I must admit I was baffled by its methodology), 28 per cent of Brits say the worst gift they’ve ever received is an expired gift voucher, followed by a dead plant (28%) and expired chocolate (28%) ).

Could this really mean that almost a third of the people in this country have received one or more of these “gifts”? What a strange nation we are.

There are two different types in this list of unwanted gifts: the completely useless (see above) and the annoyingly useful. The average Briton doesn’t seem to like gifts like toilet paper, herbicide or shoe polish. We’re taught to believe that the best gifts are luxurious, expensive treats: bath bombs and thin lingerie, silk scarves and scented candles.

But luxury goods, by definition, are things we rarely use in everyday life. That’s why even so-called “good” gifts often end up in an overflowing drawer, quickly turning pleasure into mess.

In fact, the older I get, the more I prefer a bold and practical gift. My husband once gave me a dustpan and brush, and he correctly calculated that I would get a small but steady dose of satisfaction from the stiffness of the bristles and the tight lid of the dustpan that kept dust from flying around.

Giving your loved one something purely utilitarian means they’ll think of you every time they use it, no matter how cynical they may be.

To me, this is much more romantic than trying to soothe them with expensive ointments. This shows that you recognize and value even the most mundane aspects of your life together.

One day, my father gave my mother a set of drain cleaning sticks. It was useful, memorable, and made her laugh. What more could you want for Christmas?

The author expresses his personal opinion, which may not coincide with the position of the editors. The author is responsible for the data published in the “Opinions” section.

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Source: Focus

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