• Deborah A Allen

The worst gift idea...

It’s that time of year again…Nooo, not that time (yet) but the time when the advertising starts in earnest.

We get advertising through the door leaflets with the supermarkets and local shops telling us their specials for the coming week. You start to notice at this time of year that the bundle of leaflets is getting heavier and heavier containing ever more and ever thicker advertising. My inbox is beginning to fill with ‘gift ‘idea mails too and it won’t be long before the first snow filled, twinkle lit advert reaches the tv screens (if it hasn’t already).

I guess we have all had the nightmare gift, you know, the one that you really don’t want and can’t wait to get rid of. The awful ornament from auntie or home-made socks from someone who can’t knit so you end up with two odd shaped tubes of knotted wool in some ghastly colour that looks like baby vomit. The trick is to keep smiling as you unwrap the gift from hell...

My own bug bear is the bath or perfume products, quite apart from the fact I don’t own a bath the fact is I am allergic to a lot of cosmetic products. But it doesn’t matter how often or how loudly I say that I am allergic to bath, soap, and perfumed products each year without fail there is always someone who gives me a bath set or a bottle of some awful scent. I’ve learned to accept each gift with a smile and a thank you and then just mentally tag it for the charity shop or church jumble sale.

I don’t think these people are being mean or nasty, they just can’t take a hint or maybe they just forget or possibly they bulk buy gifts to ease the burden of buying gifts. Its not a problem and the gift always end up in a good place.

At least the gifts I get are new, I think the worst gift I ever heard of was from a lady who was given a soap on a rope which based on the evidence (one short dark curly hair) had already been used! Coming in a close second was the lady who received a box of chocolates with all of her mother in laws favourite flavour missing!

Now although it may be annoying given that we haven’t even celebrated Halloween yet its not harming anyone. More disturbing are some of the films I’ve been seeing on social media the last week or two. Films designed to pull at your heartstrings and make someone a lot of money. Films of people receiving puppies and kittens as Christmas gifts. They show the unsuspecting person opening a box and being reduced to floods of tears as the furry bundle of joy makes its entrance into a family all smiling and filled with joy.

Sadly, the truth and the long-term events behind many of these stories are not told.

Firstly, unscrupulous puppy breeders in mill or puppy farms will have bred these animals especially for the ‘Christmas market’ i.e. for those people taken in by the cute films.

Many of the pups will not have had any health checks or been socialised and quite often their mother will be living in a filthy cage and will be bred time and time again until eventually she drops dead.

Some of the pups will develop illnesses because they have not been properly looked after, fed or vaccinated, they may have worm or flea infestations and even if they are healthy they may develop long term health problems like elbow or hip dysplasia because neither they or their parents have been health checked.

Then there is the problem of your home which is a death trap for puppies and kittens at Christmas, poinsettia, holly and Christmas trees are all dangerous for pets, chocolate, sultanas , alcohol, turkey bones and some nuts are all poisonous and then there are all the trailing electrical cables for lights, the candles and the lovely glass baubles to think of.

If the new pet makes it through all this consider the fact that many shelters and rescues say mid-January is their peak time. The fun of Christmas has worn off everyone is back at work and the reality of having a new pet has set in with a crunch. The costs of feeding and caring for this little bundle start adding up. Plus, if it’s a puppy there’s the idea of walking on dark days and even darker nights in the pouring rain, freezing cold and possible snow.

As little fluffy chews your slippers, craps on your rug and eats through your new footstool the shine wears thin.

So please if you have seen these films and think they are cute think again, never give a dog or cat as a gift choose something else… Give a gift voucher or even bath salts, at least the church jumble sale happily accepts those ...

Because as we all know and are all reminded every year

A dog is for life , not just for Christmas (and the same applies to cats birds and reptiles).

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