Last Minute Presents For The Empty of Wallet

Monday December 19th 2011
You’ve been making one of these right. This is from
Bean Town Handmade in Nebraska

How do you choose something really special without breaking the bank?

Well, clearly you should have spent the last 12 months handcrafting a variety of exquisite crocheted garments for all your friends and family. However, if you’re like me, you are frantically realising that you completely forgot you’d be seeing whatsername over the holidays and he/she/it will be expecting something…

Well, the Mercury retrograde is done, so there’s no excuse to delay any more.

Here are some suggestions for last minute giftlets. I’m assuming we’re all on the same austerity budget, so if you’re expecting me to recommend a Ferrari for the Leo and a trip to the Bahamas for the Sag, forget about it. We’re talking skinflint with a heart here.

Read the Moon and Rising signs if you know those. You’ll know what fits when you read it.

Fire – A gift that inspires

Aries need to feel unique and special, but they are not – as a rule – greedy. So for a the most fiery person in the Zodiac, a bag of interesting chillies. But write something good and flattering to go with it.

Red Hot Chilli Peppers for Aries

Books: Anything adventurous – Touching the Void (mountaineering), King Solomon’s Mines, Tracks, Wild

The Lion notoriously likes classy, but this list is all about cheap, right. It’s too late to whip up a jar of marmalade, but really delicious, speciality honey from a local beekeeper, beautifully wrapped should work. Truly, there’s all the energy of the Sun in a little glass jar.

Books: The Line of Beauty, Big Book of Cats, Henderson the Rain King, Who Moved My Cheese

Centaurs often don’t like to get presents anyway, it makes them uncomfortable. On the other hand, they can be wildly generous, so you need to think of something that can’t be broken and that won’t matter if it’s lost — like a promise. The promise of an adventure – say a  day’s walk across London or Manhattan or Sydney (your nearest metropolis in short) from the centre to the suburbs, or a free taster half-hour doing ceramics, or a meeting at the local spiritualist church. Think of something new, exciting and free – you have five days.

Book: Whatever book you choose is bound to be wrong, so how about a DVD. My Saggos are seduced by martial arts which combine athleticism with exoticism (unless you’re from Hong Kong of course). I’ve just been checking out this blood-curdling Thai flick Chocolate from 2008.

Earth – A gift that comforts

No problem pleasing the Bull: the way to a Taurus’ heart is through his stomach. Home-made fudge, crystallised fruit, peppermint creams, or you still have time to whip up some jam. I’ve just been sent this yummy-looking recipe for chocolate babka — you could try that.

Books: Any cookbook the Bull hasn’t got yet

Ideally, you have been cultivating a cutting for your Virgo friend with the green fingers, but in case you killed the cutting, Virgo really would appreciate a well-chosen book, neatly covered, with a tidy inscription inside.  These guys are ruled by Mercury after all, the words planet.

Books: Any excellent novel (no trash thanks).

A spoonlet of caviar is within budget

This is hard because Capricorn appreciates a designer label and general status enhancing bling, but keep in mind that it’s the quality that they’re really interested in. You need to get Cappy something superb: a single perfect truffle shaving is a little hard to come by and even 100 grams of caviar is over our budget. But we can afford a small quantity of maddeningly exquisite chocolate. I recommend Rococo in London who also have an on-line shop, but I expect there’s someone closer to home for you.

Books: Middlemarch, War and Peace, A Suitable Boy, The Corrections – you get the idea, big, fat, classics.

Air – an interesting gift

Geminis are the flaneurs of the Zodiac, so appeal to that. Offer an afternoon people watching. Where is the closest place to where you live that you can both nurse a cup of coffee for an hour or two and watch the world go by? Gemini will love that. Alternatively, you could deliver a piece of juicy gossip wrapped with a bow.

Books: Edie, Blink, the Power of Thinking Without Thinking, the latest best-sellers in the bargain bin. Frankly, anything really. Geminis are the most voracious consumers of information. And check it out, your Gemini may have a secret love of poetry. They aren’t all shallow, you know.

79p on Amazon.

Libra’s are pretty tricky because in general they have good taste. You can’t go giving them just any old tut. And what’s worse is they take gift-giving seriously. Libra will have a perfectly wrapped whatnot all ready for you, so don’t try to compete on the same level. For Libra, the gift does not have to be luxurious but it does have to be tasteful. A very nice lavender bag made form your own bush is ideal, but I’m guessing you don’t have the bush or the bag, so buy a tiny exquisite drawer scenter.
Book: Any beautiful art book will do. Since we’re going for under a fiver, I recommend the old Thames and Hudson series on individual artists and movements. But be warned, if you choose wrong, it’s worse than nothing. Libras tend to have artists they adore and artists they absolutely can’t stand. If I gave my mother a book about Francis Bacon, she’d take it as a mortal insult.

Oh don’t bother with Aquarius: this sign is above mere materialism. Oh all right then, if yours is still in the material world, something sparkly and silver. If your Aquarian has a tree, a Christmas decoration would do it or some cool, crazy costume jewellery.

Book: Hitchhiker’s Guide the the Galaxy – obviously, The Selfish Gene.

Water – A gift with emotional resonance

Remind Cancer of childhood.

Cancer is the most sentimental sign, as you well know, so a souvenir is what you want – a pebble from the beach, a shoelace. You can give Cancer the same thing every year so they can form a collection, just something small, like a china Santa from the charity shop would do, but they love continuity and repetition. If you haven’t got time for that, give Cancer some of the food you made for Taurus..

Book: Children’s annuals – Beano, Rupert and friends. Memoirs about the period when Cancer was growing up.

Oh dear, you have to get Scorpio’s gift right, so I’m a little worried about recommending anything at all. But this person is likely to have an obsessive interest, such as photography, potholing or pigeons. Go with that. Alternatively, if you’re feeling really creative, you could give them a mystery to solve, or a puzzle to do.

Books: Anything by Stephen King or Val McDermid, The Secret, old crime novels to add to their collection.

Spirited Away – Pisces dreaming.

The fishes don’t care how much something cost, as long as it’s a surprise and fits them like a glove. This is actually incredibly hard to achieve, Pisces moves in mysterious ways. This is why it’s often a waste of time to spend a lot of money on Pisces. What they really like is something you have thought about for weeks – a poem, a song, a portrait. If you just aren’t that creative, a small volume of poems or a DVD of Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazake.

Book: Moby Dick; Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway; Song of Ice and Fire; Tales from Earthsea; Memories, Dreams, Reflections.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I want them all! Great gift ideas. I am Pisces and I am not too hard to please – diamonds, perfumes and books work for me all the time 🙂 This time I am gifting handmade candles, jewellery, chocolates and jams.

  2. Christina says:

    That all sounds rather lovely, anon, spreading a little Pisces magic.

    I’m doing jam too, but I did make it earlier.

  3. libramoon says:


    quiet fall

    of snow

    whitens night’s field

    unwritten, sandlike

    upon tomorrow’s shore.

    Tomorrow is the blessed eve

    Lords and Ladies, leaping,

    dancing, holy abandon, ecstatic rites.

    In dense, secret forest, legends gambol, rise

    honorably to masters, age in inebriates.

    Spirits imbue damp, fresh scent.

    Words melt, evaporate, flavor brew

    of ancient melodies, renewed

    each Winter’s Eve.

  4. Christina says:

    Thank you, libramoon. That is beautiful.

  5. Prospera says:

    That looks like something William Wegman would do…

  6. Prospera says:

    The pic of the French bulldog with the fab hat looks like the work of William Wegman…

  7. Christina says:

    thanks Prospera – I’ll check that out now.

  8. Christina says:

    @Prospera – Oh my goodness – I see what you mean. Thanks for introducing me to his work – it’s gorgeous. I’m waiting to hear back…

  9. Christina says:

    OK – the dog hat is from Bean Town Handmade in Nebraska – which was on etsy. I recommend looking at William Wegman too. It just goes to show that the difference between “fine art” and a picture of a dog in a hat is in the label.

  10. P says:

    oh man, it’s so funny.

    I have to wonder who had more fun: Wegman or the dog.

  11. Dido says:

    Always found that Man Ray looked quite put-upon, but your Boston Terrier in a hat, why I’d get over my being a saggitarian and not really liking to be given any presents, if you want to give me him… Happy Christmas XXX Dido