Christmas always proves the adage: it is easier to give than to receive. Not that giving seemed easy this week as we searched the shops for something loved ones would like.

We were looking for something "just right", that he/she might buy for themselves or, better still, would not think to buy, but once they see it will be wide-eyed with pleasure at your discovery, your insight to what will suit them, and your taste.

You have probably wrapped it by now, written the card and put it neatly under the tree. So this is not the time to remind you of your discoveries of Christmas past that he/she never remembers to wear for some reason.

No, this is the moment to remind you that she/he has done exactly what you have done: the search, the despair of finding something just right, the dilemmas when you think this might be it.


They have picked it up, put it down, walked around, come back, looked at it from all angles, thought about it and finally decided that if it was right they would not be doing this. Then, just as you did, they found something they absolutely know you will really really like. They knew it as soon as they saw it, as you do. As you did.

And there it sits, under the tree, lovingly wrapped with its bow and your name on it.

You have not touched it, or shaken it like a child does. Children have no fear of presents. But you do.

You are afraid to go close to it or even glance at it. Whatever the hell it is, you are going to have to like it.

They say it is the thought that counts even if, when you lay open the last layer of tissue to reveal his taste in low cut tops or her taste in floral print beach baggies, the one thought in your mind is, "Whatever was he/she thinking?"

The trick, of course, if you really do not like it, is to put it on immediately. What better proof could there be that you absolutely love it? And it is Christmas Day after all, everybody will know why you are wearing it. It is not like they will blame you for it.

It will probably not look out of place among the other gifts from the family: the upholstered diary, the fridge magnets, highlights of the London Olympics on DVD, another socket set, a double bungy jump from the Harbour Bridge.

They all say something about the person who has chosen them, and the person you are to them. The smallest gift personally chosen, and lovingly given, can be the greatest gift of all. It really is the thought that counts.