Feature - The Ghost of Christmas Presents 

Shoppin’ in the Hood, part 1

By G.D. Maxwell

On the first day of Giving, my true love gave to me….

The first day of what?

Call it pragmatism, call it godless heathenism, but whatever you do, don’t call it Christmas. The politically correct bureaucrats have officially caught up with what all of us have known since the first time we longingly – and greedily – absorbed the kids’ pages at the back of the Eaton’s catalogue. Christmas is all about presents.

For most of us, that reality only produces a twinge of Judaeo-Christian guilt and a vague, primordial worry about how hot our afterlife is likely to be. But thanks to our very très outlook we can indulge in this seasonal greedfest with official blessings and without worry of alienating our multicultural mosaic. Happy Givingmas everybody.

Being among the shopping-challenged but also believing in stretching personal limits, I’m here to make your holiday – whatever you call it – gift giving much, much easier. What follows are all kinds of things that caught my eye and tickled my fancy shopping around our happy, albeit snowless, mountain home.

This year, more than ever, we should think nice thoughts about shopping locally and supporting the merchants who employ us. Shoppers to your marks, get set, shop baby, shop.

It’s Not the Size That Matters

If your workload, and hence your paycheque, isn’t quite what you were expecting, fear not. Lots of great stuff out there under twenty-five bucks. Drown your own, or your best friend’s sorrows in a sugar high from Glass Elevator in Marketplace. From the hard to find, authentic British Cadbury bars – Dairy Milk, Whole Nut or Fruit & Nut – $4.23 for a 125 gram bar, to the equally obscure Rountree Fruit Gums or Pastilles, $1.49, you can keep the Brit in your life, and the dentist in his or her life, happy.

For the rest of us, the most underrated candy in the world, Necco wafers, are $1.35 for a large roll or Pez dispensers in every Disney character imaginable will set you back four bucks. Bizarre flavour junkies can make for the Jelly Belly jelly bean display and eat themselves silly on buttered popcorn or hot cinnamon – better yet, both at the same time – morsels for $2.50/100 grams.

Next door, the Escape Route stocks more than you might think to tickle the gear junkie in your life even when funds are tight. Wigwam Merino wool sox will warm anyone’s toes for $14.60. Pulsar keyring lights emit a blinding white beam from a tiny LED, $19.90. Everyone needs more Lexan in their lives, particularly when it comes in jewel colours, $11.95 for a one litre bottle. And if you live with a climber, keep their hands dry and grippy with Metolius super chalk – $3.50 for 2 ounces or $6.95 for a quarter pound – and their watch intact with Roc Bloc’s nifty watch cover. It slips onto a watch strap and velcros down to protect the crystal from getting smeared against their favourite climb, $10.


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