Monday, 22 December 2014

A last-minute Christmas

OK, most years I publish a few gift ideas on here but this year has been frantic and if I'm honest time has been short. So, some Christmas gift ideas for people who haven't had the chance to get out just yet, for the fortysomething bloke in your life...

1. A good bottle of single malt is often welcomed by the mature male type. Not every time; if he's teetotal or plain doesn't like the stuff, obviously it will be a disaster. Check also the sort you're getting; my own taste veers towards the unpeated, non-smoky flavours of Penderyn (the Welsh one) or Glengoyne. I was sent a sample of Bowmore and it's much, much smokier, peaty, tastes almost of seaweed. For some this is utter whisky heaven; for me it's something I can appreciate rather than something I'd choose. Oban makes a good mid-point.

2. Books: in an age in which people can download the latest best seller to their computer without thinking about it, something quirky can be welcome. I've been wading through "The Philosophy of Beards"  by Thomas S. Gowing which takes you through the history of beard-growing as well as the physiology and is great fun. "Becoming the Perfect Gentleman" by Zach Falconer-Barfield and Nic Wing contains such gems as putting cutlery down whilst speaking, brushing your teeth and flossing (no kidding...) and what you need in a wardrobe (don't forget a single reversible belt will do you nicely). Don't take it too seriously and it's pretty entertaining. For once I'm not going to recommend one of my own books; they're all about work and I wouldn't wish any of them on anyone for Christmas.

3. Music: Two ideas beyond boring tokens. One I've given to my daughter. An Albumcard is a great idea; select the album you want to send and you get a greetings card with the cover on it and a download code. So the recipient still gets the album you wanted to give them, the fun of opening a proper present but they get it in a format they will actually use.
The second I've given to my daughter (don't anybody say 'spoiled'). Spotify has quietly launched family sharing, so you can get a discount for household members who want their own account. For a fiver a month she can have all the music she wants in Premium form, so it's downloadable and keepable-for-a-few-weeks (and you can always re-download), no ads, take it with you on the mobile app...with a few exceptions concerning artists who don't want to play, just about everything is available.

No. 1 is available from just about any supermarket. No. 3 part 2 at least is available as a download anytime. Help yourselves - and have a great break!

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