WOMAN'S YEARLY PROBLEM A Few Suggestions
There is an art in giving presents, though few people realize it. To some, the giving of Christmas presents is an opportunity of paying off old debts; to others it is a grim necessity which entails a vast amount of labour and bad temper, not to mention the spending of money which they can ill afford. To others, again, it is an opportunity of outdoing their neighbours by the splendour and expensiveness of their gift.
All these people miss the essential purpose of giving presents, the pleasure of the recipient. After all what is the point of giving a present unless the person who receives it is made happy? It is curious how many people forget this.
The pleasure of giving, to my mind, far exceeds the pleasure of receiving. There is something really satisfying in seeing the joy of the person who really likes your present, and even if it takes a little more thought, it is well worth the extra amount of trouble.
It is not really difficult, and it shouldn't be tiring if you use a little method, and begin early. Personally. I always begin at least Six weeks before Christmas, and I sit down for, say, half an hour with a pencil and paper. I write down the names of all the people to whom I am going to give presents, and then I calculate roughly the amount of money I have to spend, and then divide it up proportionately arnong them. This list I carry about with me, and I keep my eyes open for good ideas in the shop Windows. I spend odd moments thinking about each person separately, and I try to see things through their yes, and when a really brilliant idea ceines to me I write it down. It really is trerriendous fun, and it is surprising how much one can get done in lunch hour, or going to and from work,
Nowadays, presents are getting more and more Practical, and you can give almost anythieg, even articles of clothing, to your friends for Christmas.
Persbnally, I am really pleased when somebOdy gives me something to wear, and I think it is one of the nicest and most useful Presents of all.
I have been round the shops lately, and I have kept my eyes open for good ideas; here are some of them, to help you in your search for the right thing.
Round The Shops
One of the most difficult things to find is a suitable present for a man. What are his hobbies? Does he play games? He must need a great many things if he does. Why not give him some golf balls? But do find out the kind he uses, It is no good giving him Silver Kings if he uses Dunlops. Golf tees are useful too, if he uses them.
Articles of clothing are more difficult for men, aLe they usually like to choose for themselves. Don't, for instance, get him a tie unldss you are sure you know his taste. Sometimes, though, a day or an evening scarf are acceptable, or a new pair of tennis
shoes, or some evening socks. Mono grammed handkerchiefs are a safe present. In addition to these there are such miscellaneous things as films for his camera,
cigarettes, or tobacco, if he smokes a pipe. But don't get him a pipe unless you are certain it is the kind he likes.
Other acceptable presents are collar and stud boxes, or a hairbrush ease. Another
useful present I saw in a Piccadilly department store was a leather toilet set, costing 10s. 6d. It included shaving cream, a wash cloth, a clothes brush, and places for hair brushes; 1 thought it most attractive.
What to Give a Woman
Just because there are so many more things you can give a woman, the problem is in a way harder. It is easy enough to choose something, but it is a far more difficult thing to be really original.
Women tend more and more to like useful presents, and they welcome something really practical which possibly they cannot afford. There are many things in the shops which would make ideal presents.
In the bargain basement of a big Oxford Street shop I saw a hand hair drier and an electric toast-rack for the breakfast table, both costing under £1. As for clothing, in that .same shop there were lovely pink and blue woolly bed jackets ranging from 2s. to 5s., and very attractive sweaters for 10s. Artificial flowers and feathers are always welcome. There are the most beautiful and realistic artificial flowers in all the shops, which are just the thing for an evening dress. There are also the most attractive brooches and clips, and hair-ornaments, ranging from 2s. to 10s. in a big Piccadilly shop.
Stockings, again are most welcome. But before you choose these, find out what kind and colour your friend wears. If she is economical, she will like them all the same colour, as they last longer. Then there are very attractive gloves and scarves to be found.
For the bath and dressing table I saw charmingly done up bath salts in another Oxford Street shbp.. In a well-known chemist with branches all over London, I saw a really neat little square box to go in a handbag. It cost 10s. 6d., and there was room for cold cream, vanishing cream, rouge, powder and lipstick. In the same shop there were very attractive leather manicure sets, with a zip fastener, costing 10s. 6d. There were also very pretty cretonne travelling sets lined with oilcloth. They had inside a toothbrush, a cake of soap, a washcloth, and a small turkish towel. These ranged from 3s. 6d. upwards. In the same shop I saw most attractive scent sprays and swansdown powder puffs.
Here are some other ideas for .Christmas presents for women. If they play bridge, give them two packs of cards (but
buy gilt-edged ones). This is one of the best presents you can give, as bridge players never have loo many of them. In a big Oxford Street department store you can get two packs of gilt-edged cards for about 4s. 6d. Cases with four bridge markers in them, or a score card, or a new bridge cloth make good presents.
A purse or an evening bag are always welcome, if you want to give a nice present, and you can never give too many handkerchiefs. White linen monogrammed ones are the best.
Talking of monograms, I saw a very neat little present in a big Brampton Road shop. This consisted of single letters which can be ironed on to a dress or jumper pocket or the end of a scarf, to form a monogram. They are washable and never come off, and they are very inexpensive.
Here is a good present for a woman. Why don't you get a fair sized basket and line it yourself and fill it with every kind of needles and cotton and silk, and put in a really good 'pair of scissors? This, incidentally, is an excellent gift to give a young bride.
If your friend knits or makes her own clothes, get her some wool for a jumper, or a length of cloth for a dress, or some silk for underclothes, or, better still, get her an order for a fixed sum at a shop, and let her choose for herself.
A pretty pot of plants or some cut flowers make attractive presents, as do all kinds of sweets and fruit and biscuits and cakes. But why not for a change give a hard-up housewife some eggs or a pound of butter, or some really good brand of tea or coffee?
What Children Like
Christmas time is children's time, and it is more fun than anything to choose presents for them. It ought not to be difficult to find something nice this year, because the toy fairs in the shops are really lovely.
In a big toy shop in Regent Street I found all sorts of mechanised toys which "go," such as children love, ranging from 6d. to any price you like to pay. There were charming models of Green Line Buses
and traction engines, etc., for 3s. 6d. I think I liked best an aeroplane which is wound up in its box and which flies all over the room. It is very light, and would not smash things, and it costs 2s. 6d.
In a shop in Baker Street run by women, there are the most delightful and lifelike animals, costing from 3s. 6d. upwards. I saw leopards and lions and tigers and spaniels there.
Children love toys such as Meccano and bricks of all kinds, and the great advantage of these is that even if other people think of the same thing, they can all be used.
Some General Ideas
Of course, books are always acceptable; but I would much rather be given a book token. These can be exchanged for books in almost any bookshop, and if you have two or three you can lump them together and buy a more expensive book.
Subscriptions to magazines and newspapers, or to a lending library are good presents to give, too.
These are a few hints, which will, I hope, give you some help in choosing your Christmas presents this year.