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Our Crack Tongue & Groove

paperweight.jpg The worst Xmas present of all time

Continuing on with our semi-irregular features regarding The Worst Things Of All Time, we're now turning our flame thrower onto gift giving.

I received my favourite ever present when I was just a 12-year-old in thrall to the golden age of drawing room crime: a Cluedo set; even playing solo games against myself when I’d ran out of bored aunts to bludgeon. These days I’m more than happy with socks. I love getting socks for Christmas. I wear socks every day but they’re something I rarely buy for myself, so, in many ways, they’re the perfect gift. As long as they don’t stray into the realms of the “novelty garment” then I’m more than happy.

I’ve never really understood the appeal of the “novelty garment”, an item of clothing that is designed to provoke laughter in others, but, unless it’s worn only amongst the feeble minded, elicits, at best, sympathy, and at worst, derision. I’m talking underpants with an elephant’s trunk stuck to the front of them; t-shirts that state: “National Boob Inspector”; Pokemon onesies (for adults) – any of that lot could have uncontroversially been shunted into the Worst Gift Of All Time category. As could “smellies”. Any “smellies”. I sodding hate “smellies”. “What did you get for Christmas?” “Oh – just smellies.” Have you noticed that every other word people say over Christmas is “smellies”. Smellies. Shut! Up!

But even smellies can’t trump the absolute worst thing that you can buy someone for Christmas: a paperweight. Fair enough if you want to pass a nice bit of glass off as an ornament or some such thing, but to pretend that it actually has a purpose is to reward it with a work ethic that is totally unwarranted. “Hey! Do you know what Bill really needs,” no one has ever said, before not adding, “Something weighty and semi-abstract to stick on top of his enormous piles of papers. There are times when you just cannot move at Bill’s house because it’s so strewn with errant bits of A4.”

The last time something blew off my desk was 2011. I solved the problem by shutting the window. Paperweights are just lame. Useless ornaments with pretentions well above their pay grade. And if I find another one in my Christmas stocking again this year then I shall be revisiting my Cluedo glory days on the gift giver: Professor Pissed Off, in the study, with a paperweight. Battered.