It's the thought that counts this Christmas (unfortunately)

A nice twin-tub washing machine for that sulky teenage son. A golf gizmo for that style-conscious niece. Our gifted goddess has the answer to all your present problems...

As the Christmas season is shifting into high gear  -  I felt a small earth tremor yesterday afternoon, which is always the sign  -  it's time to start gift shopping, but how to do it without going mental on the High Street or driving to Brent Cross Shopping Centre, spending six hours trying to park and then bursting into tears?

Do I have the answer? Yes, I do, because this year I've decided to buy all my presents from the advertisements in the back of my mother-in-law's favourite magazine, Woman's Weekly, which I just happened to be browsing through last weekend.

This is not a magazine I usually read even though, for £1.65, I can see it is excellent value, offering as it does many recipes, a knitting pattern for a sequinned bolero and craft projects for children to start and then probably never finish while covering the house in glitter and tubes of Pritt Stick with the tops left off.

Still, having made the decision to buy from just the one source and being determined to make it work, my Christmas gift list is shaping up nicely, as follows:

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Deborah Ross

Our resident Christmas guru knows all

RECIPIENT: My partner, Geraint, 49
GIFT: The Comical Cats Fleece Jacket by Gary Patterson, £59.90, or payable in two monthly instalments of £29.95

This is quite a find, as it is a 'one-of-a-kind' fleece jacket embroidered with irresistible scenes featuring cuddly cats.

In fact, seven adorable cats (and Boo, the friendly mouse) are expertly embroidered across front and back, and there are three generously sized zip pockets, which open and close with an adorable paw-print pull of the kind which, one assumes, pulls adorably.

As it happens, I don't think my partner has any feelings about cats one way or the other, comical or otherwise, but, even so, I think he will love this and will agree that 'when it comes to capturing the fun-loving spirit of felines, no one does it quite like acclaimed artist Gary Patterson.'

I also think he will appreciate the drawstring waist, allowing him to adjust for the perfect fit. Having lived with him for nearly 20 years, I do know this about him: he hates a fleece that can't adjust at the waist for a perfect fit. And how!

RECIPIENT: My son, Nye, 16
GIFT: Brand new twin tub washing machine, £299

Though many of us might have assumed that no one has manufactured twin tubs since 1973, here is the proof to the contrary.

This particular model is lightweight, has a large capacity and comes with a 12-month manufacturer's warranty. Further, it has a modern plastic design, fills from your hot or cold tap with the hose provided, and empties via the hose into the sink or a standpipe.

It's expensive I know, and certainly more than I would normally spend on an already spoiled teenager, but worth it, I think, for the look on my son's face on Christmas morning.

Surprise, son, surprise! A twin tub washing machine that doesn't plumb in (but inexplicably costs more than a one-drum, front-loader that does!). He's going to be so happy. I just know it.

RECIPIENT: Sandra, former child-minder, 41
GIFT: Free eye test

As Sandra helped look after our son until he went to school, and basically brought him up on the frequent occasions I was simply much too bored to do so, I've always tried to give her a real treat at Christmas, and certainly something she would never consider getting for herself. I do believe I have found that with this free eye test offered in your own home.

As provided by Lloydspharmacy working with The Outside Clinic  -  the UK's longest established and largest national provider of 'at-home' eye testing services  -  a qualified optician using modern portable testing equipment will bring the High Street consulting room to her very own door. Just imagine!

As I am reluctant to actually make an appointment for Sandra, as I do not know when would be most convenient, I shall, instead wrap up a piece of paper with the phone number and give it to her that way, tied with a ribbon, and with a note saying: 'Go on, Sandra, make that appointment. You, of all people, so deserve it!'

RECIPIENT: Auntie Shirley, 82
GIFT: Omax Feminine Massager, £34.95

At her request, I've given Auntie Shirley garden centre vouchers every year for as long as I can remember, but no more!

This year, I am going to opt for the Omax Feminine Massager, designed to hit the spot and provide ultimate pleasure every time (I know  -  Woman's Weekly!).

Should she query my choice, I will not say: 'Well, Auntie Shirley, it was that or the striking stainless-steel Liverpool FC bracelet.'

Instead, I will say: 'Go on, Auntie Shirl, treat yourself to the force of a full-body, earth-shattering orgasm.'

Alternatively, we could just go for a coffee in Debenhams which, as she always remarks afterwards, always hits the spot, too.

RECIPIENT: Nephew, Ben, ten
GIFT: Doreen bra, £15 (free P&P)

As Ben is a Play-Station addict, and would probably like a new game, I thought I'd surprise him with something different.

Hence, the world's best-selling bra for comfort, fit and size, with its three-section cups, elastic sides, adjustable straps and availability up to a size 48J (bloody hell!).

It is also available in the following colours: white, black, cream, skin tone and wine. I'm thinking skin tone, as it can be worn under anything but, being ten, he might be less practically inclined and prefer the wine. I think I might compromise and go for the cream.

RECIPIENT: Niece, Rosie, 19
GIFT: Sensation Groovit Golfing Aid, £27

I'd normally buy Rosie an item of jewellery or, failing that, a Topshop gift card, but why be so predictable when I could buy her this 'sensational golfing aid'?

Admittedly, I'm not sure how it aids exactly  -  it looks like a large metal V that you stand on with feet apart  -  but as it's been acclaimed as one of the leading and best golfing aids on the market, I am confident that it does the job it is supposed to do.

I think Rosie will be thrilled with this gift which, apparently, 'all golfers will appreciate long after Christmas is over', and if it's good enough for golfers, then, heck, it has to be good enough for young girls who aren't the least bit interested in golf, too.

Why should golfers have all the fun?

RECIPIENT: Tobyn Andreae, editor of this column, 119
GIFT: Pair of wide-fitting shoes from

Over the years, Tobyn has put a great deal of hard work into knocking this column into some sort of shape and, as a mark of my appreciation, I would like to buy him a pair of wider fit shoes, possibly in brown.

However, while I am prepared to spend up to a size 'E', I might have to draw the line at the 'EE', which is a bit over the top considering he is good, but not that good.

Black, by the way, is the other possibility.

PS: Who is going to get the stairlift and the incontinence pants? Mum and Dad, of course. Happy Christmas, guys!

And let's not forget the dog...

RECIPIENT: Our dog, Monty, 15 months
GIFT: Spray of Poppies craft kit, £33.50

As a family we were going to buy Monty a squeaky Santa, as already seen in Sainsbury's  -  it comes in a little stocking, with a squeaky sausage and a packet of Good Boy choc drops  -  but, instead, we have decided on the Anchor Studio cross stitch tapestry kit, which, when completed, presents a lovely scene capturing the beauty and fragility of poppies.

As Monty's only real hobby at the moment is going outside, sniffing a bush, coming inside and then wanting to go outside again, to sniff another bush, we feel a tapestry is something he could be getting on with quietly while saving us from having to get up and down all the time to open and close the back door.

The kit contains fabric, two charts, a needle and clear instructions, along with high-quality, pre-assorted threads. We believe the finished article will add grace to our home although only, we accept, if he doesn't shred it and then urinate on it first.

If a success, we next plan to move on to origami (animals, probably, and then flowers).

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