So, we all need ideas for Christmas gifts. There comes a time when your brain totally freezes up and you find yourself thinking that maybe a packet of Marks and Spencer's pants would actually make a decent gift for your nearest and dearest. This is when suggestions do come in handy (even if that suggestion is merely "Anything but pants"). Indeed, this fine site has featured several excellent and practical gift suggestions.
But as December goes on, the more gift guides appear in newspapers and magazines, and the more it seems that they are aimed solely at millionaires. The "cheap" gifts are all at least 20 quid, and there seems to be an assumption that you will think nothing of spending a few hundred on a present at the one time of year when you have to buy loads of gifts.
Seriously, do you spend more than 20 quid on anyone who isn't a partner, parent or maybe a close relation? I'm pretty sure most of us don't, and yet newspaper gift guides suggest spending £70 on a bag for your best friend, or £50 on a pair of Cath Kidston pyjamas for your sister.
If we followed these guides, we'd end up spending a week's wages on the office Secret Santa and remortgaging the house to pay for our mum's festive surprise.
The glossies get even more insane - the gift guide in the latest edition of US Elle (generally a fantastic and intelligent magazine, by the way) featured a pair of children's shoes by Roger Vivier that cost over $300. It said that a proportion of the cost goes to a children's charity but seriously, if you can afford to spend 300 bucks on a pair of shoes that your kid will grow out of in a few months, you can afford to just give that $300 straight to the charity itself.
There are exceptions - the Guardian's guide a few weeks ago actually featured quite a lot of imaginative and charming gifts under £15 - but in general when I see a gift guide in a publication, I roll my eyes and turn to the next piece. So what about you? Do you find these gift guides practical and useful? Are they fantasy shopping? Or do you, like me, just leave them alone and go for a browse around the shops instead?
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