WHAT SHALL I GIVE?
CHRISTMAS SUGGESTIONS. (By Imogen in the “Dominion.”) The most distracting thing in the world is to know what to give at Christmas time, and the difficulty is still more accentuated when the recipient is a man, and since there are so many men there must be an equal number of. sorely-perplexed women ransacking their brains for ideas that may materialise into new, useful, or ornamental gifts for members of their family, friends, or those of any other standing in their regard.
In desperation the question was hurled at a modest, unsuspecting, hard-working man the other day.
“What would you like for a Christmas Present?
The pen fell out of his hand and he subsided into his chair. “This is awfully sudden,” he murmured in subdued, tones. “Have you come in for unlimited wealth?”
“No! I’m, merely wanting to know what men like for presents.” was the crushing reply.
“Oh Is that all!”
“I see what you’re after,” he broke out. with a sudden rush of discernment. “You shall have my little lot.”
After a few seconds’ laboured thinking, he handed in triumph a small sheet of paper. “Quite simple, don’t you think?”
The paper read as follows:
“One new pipe, costing 2s 6d; one new cricket bat, weighing only 21b 4oz, with sliding cane in the handle; one pair feather-weight shoes, weighing .0005 of an oz. so that I could field at cricket.”
The suggestions found an encouraging reception, especially the featherweight shoes. Another occupant of the room was asked his preferences. His cup of happiness was so full, however, that all he could think of was a new pipe (evidently an insatiable and everlasting need among men) and, as an afterthought, a pair of bath slippers, and not even after a few minutes devoted to hard thinking could he think of any other need. He was not a millionaire either, or if he was he kept the fact a deep, dark, horrible secret, possibly, a necessary thing in these Socialistic, Red Federation days. A newcomer into the room was asked ingratiatingly what he would like given, to him. Delightedly he smiled. “It’s very kind of you. There are a few trifles I would like, especially as I may be going to England shortly. Shall I begin?” He began!!!
“A safe money-belt; a fitted suitcase; a. dressing-case; a shaving outfit; pair of prism binoculars; Thermos flask; monogramed pocketbook; walking-stick medicine case; military brushes; opera glasses; silver shoehorn collar-case; silver soap cup; safety razor; fountain–!!!
“Why, what is the matter I can still go on, you know.”
It was an undoubted fact. He was prepared to go on for quite a long time, but a telephone call being made upon him, he had to vanish.
A comprehensive addition to the little list of possible gifts enumerated above might be found in the appended suggestions, which are taken from the Christmas number of the “Ladies’ Home Journal.” It is quite suited to the seven ages of man:
For the Baby Boy.
Hanger for his wardrobe, trimmed baby basket, celluloid, rubber, and stuffed toys, hand-made dresses and skirts, celluloid toilet sets, rompers, worsted cap, silk bonnet, corduroy coat, stuffed animals, silver cup, low table and chairs, eiderdown bath robe, rattle, ring, and dell, pillow-cover, bootees, worsted sacque, sweater, leggings, carriage cosy, rag doll, silver spoon, table tray, bath thermometer.
For Little and Big Boys.
House slippers, building blocks, indoor-outdoor games, balance toys, moving toys, mechanical toys, soldier’s suit, fireman’s suit, books, dog, kitten, rabbit, bird, dog-collar, folding desk, roller skates, comb and brush set, kindergarten gifts, reflecting lantern, camera, bicycle, athletic game books, clothes-brush, penknife, boxing gloves, pedometer, pocket compass, inexpensive watch, Indian clubs, blackboard, electric train, painting book, bow and. arrow, scout equipment, shooting game with cork ammunition, cowboy suit, vocational toys, filled school case, tool chest, stilts, boy’s suitcase, camping tent, microscope, gauntlet gloves, tool-chest, stationary engine, referee’s whistle, school pennant, megaphone, developing film.
The Young Man, Father, and Grandfather.
Gloves, silk hosiery, slumber slippers, blanket robe, housecoat, sectional bookcase, lawyer’s brief case, wing chair, footstool, pictures, desk, carving set, handy box, week-end trunk, Malacca walking-stick, evening slippers, rain-coat, silk shirt, hip pocket book (monogrammed), spring grip dumbbells, bill fold and wallet, medicine cupboard, leather key case numbered for 10-1 dozen keys, barometer, thermometer, flexible top cloth brush, silk or knitted muffler, umbrella, coin purse, magazine subscription, sweater, football, starter’s golf clubs, tennis racket, silk or flannel pyjamas, manicure set, triplicate mirrors, brush and comb set, toilet water.
If He Travels.
Leather sewing box, rubber-lined tourist cases, soft leather, necktie case’ with stickpin and collar button pockets, travelling rug and strap, leather shirt case with collar, cuff, glove, and tie compartments, suitcase, umbrella, travelling medicine chest, commutation ticket case, fitted toilet case, traveller’s slippers in case, fitted leather correspondence case, leather jewellery box.
If He Motors.
Fitted emergency case with instruction book, lunch basket, gloves, clock, pennant, automobile match safe, foot muff or warmer, motor roll for coats, etc., leather air cushions, motor rugs, goggles, muffler, leather shell coat.
For His Desk and Den.
Large calendar, newspaper rack, clock, desk set, letter clip, postage scales, assorted stationery, expanding hook shelves, large scrap basket, desk scissors, reading lamp, cushions, ivory paper knife.
In Gold and Silver.
Eyeglass case, scarf pin, shirt studs, key chain, signet ring, charm, cuff links, gold pencil, fob, lapel chain, watch, gold buckle with leather belt, gold vest-pocket fountain pen, platinum chain for evening wear, silver photo frame.
For Outdoor Life.
Leather leggings, folding pocket camera, driving gloves, raincoat, blazer, stop watch, athletic jersey, harness, saddle.
Timaru [NZ] Herald, 20 December 1913: p. 4
Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil would note that although slippers do appear on the list, gentlemen rightly recoil from those beaded, Berlin-wool-work horrors young ladies inflict upon them.
Let us hear from a candid gentleman who enumerates the many useless gifts he has received over the years and frankly states what he wants:
A Christmas Letter.
From the Christmas Peck.
Pray remember when you’re making up the list of your presents for December (unless I am to be missed) that I’ve slippers, picture brackets, smoking sets of various types, half a dozen smoking jackets, thirty-seven meerschaum pipes, twenty patent “kid glove menders,” collar boxes by the score, of embroidered silk suspenders forty-eleven pairs or more! That each year since I was twenty I’ve received a paper weight, have penwipers, ink stand plenty, paper cutters—twenty-eight. That I’ve Browning and Longfellow by the hundreds—every kind; Shakespeare—black and blue and yellow; Milton till I’m nearly blind!
So there’s just one present only that I’m wanting in this year of my bachelorship so lonely—that’s yourself, my Phyllis dear.
Evening Star [Washington DC] 25 December 1897: p. 15
Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes
You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.