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Ghosts of Christmas Presents

CHRISTMAS falls next Tuesday, making today’s TGIF my last chance to provide the last-minute-Santa, unrequested gift advice service for which I am so deservedly unknown. Of course, with so few people in Trinidad actually having jobs nowadays, it’s something between otiose and offensive to tell people how to spend money they don’t have, but I’ve kind of made a career out of giving people advice they resent; ask Prime Minister Keith Rowley, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Minister of Fine Ants, Colm Imbert or the West Indies Cricket Board (trading nowadays as, “Cricket Lose-These”).

Here, then, is all the Christmas present advice you could not want, sorted by category, for your ease of reference/ amusement/ contemptuous dismissal.

Section 1: Surefire hit gifts for family members.

To husband (from wife): G-string lingerie set – really the gift that keeps on giving.

Wife (from husband): anything but G-string lingerie set, preferably four-figures shopping voucher at favourite clothes/shoe store.

Small sons: anything shiny and plastic; it’ll all be broken or ignored by Boxing Day, anyway.

Small daughters: doll/ doll/ doll/ dollhouse.

Older son (according to temperament/age): FIFA 18/ book voucher/ condoms & case of cold beer.

Teenaged daughter: bling case for iPhone/ book voucher/ birth control pills and DVD of disastrous consequences of early sex movie, An Education.

Father (from son): tickets for home CPL games/ premium rum/ fishing gear/ anything but socks or ties.

Mother (from son, and according to temperament/age): cash/ champagne/ hip replacement.

Father (from daughter): anything, plus an afternoon hug-up on the couch watching It’s a Wonderful Life.

Mother (from daughter): framed picture of grandchildren, up to age six/ anything but another firetrucking picture of grandchildren.

Father-in-law: two tickets to CPL games you want to see/ bottle of what you like to drink when you visit him/ his daughter/son back.

Mother-in-law: box of fancy chocolates with card saying you’re not sure she even eats sweets, she’s so thin/ bottle of what you like to drink/ solemn promise to take her son/daughter to another country but leave grandchildren with her/ anything but pepper sauce.

Section 2: Surefire gifts for co-workers.

Male boss: wall plaque with vacuous, obsequious, buzz word-heavy slogan, like, “Shift the paradigm to the next level of expertise”, or one he’ll take to be praising him, like, “Leadership: the only input that puts the quality into the output”/ your next best idea for the company, even if he was going to steal it and pass it off as his, anyway/ anything but socks, handkerchiefs, ties or mouthwash.

Female boss (obviously doesn’t apply to Pentecostal and Muslim male gift-givers, who regard “female boss” as something between an oxymoron and heresy/haram): fruit basket/ breast cancer research contribution in her name/ coffee mug reading, “Imagine a world without men: no violence and lots of fat, happy women” (not for fat women, though).

Female boss (from female employee who happens to be better-looking): something from the re-gift cupboard: she’s going to resent you anyway.

Male co-worker (from male, and according to age/temperament): FIFA 18/ liquor store voucher/ condoms/ Viagra.

Female co-worker (from married male): doesn’t matter, what you’re really giving her is an open invitation to adultery.

Male co-worker (from good-looking female): nothing – he’ll think it means you want to give him a package wrapped up in G-string.

Female co-worker (from better-looking female): something from re-gift cupboard, see “female boss” above.

Female co-worker (from less good-looking female): an item of clothing from the re-gift cupboard, doesn’t matter if it’s a blouse or a skirt, once it’s several sizes too small for her so she could never get into it.

3. Friends and social contacts.

Child-minders/ children’s teachers: as much cash as you possibly can, plus a hamper of treats she wouldn’t spend her own money on – there’s only one category of contact you want to be on better terms with (see below).

Best male friend (from male, and according to age/temperament): FIFA 18/ liquor store voucher/ condoms/ Viagra.

Best female friend (from male): see “female co-worker” above.

Best female friend (from equally good-looking female): spa or massage gift voucher.

Best female friend (from less good-looking female): massive bar of Cadbury’s milk chocolate.

Hairdresser, nail girl, mani-pedi girl, everybody but the bikini wax girl: something from the re-gift cupboard, all gifts in these occupations just circulate forever, never being opened by anyone.

Bikini line girl: her favourite perfume, the real thing, not a cheap knockoff – you definitely want to keep on her good side.

Garbage truck guys, mail delivery people, gardeners etc: smallest amount of cash you can plus bottle of cheap white rum/ pants that fit the waist, not bottom.

Plumbers, electricians, doctors, lawyers, accountants: nothing; they should be giving you gifts.

Security guards: nothing; they’re stealing everything they want from you already anyway.

BC Pires is an open secret Santa

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