This is an original story written at the turn of the 20th Century; in a time before electric Christmas lights, shopping malls and Christmas shopping as we know it now. Here’s to a much simpler time…
The art of choosing Christmas presents, or indeed any presents, lies not only in studying the tastes of the persons for whom they are intended, but in finding out precisely what is needed in each case -- sometimes a very difficult task.
When Christmas is near at hand, a few suggestions may, perhaps, not be unwelcome. To begin with, of course, we must remember that pocket-money is by no means elastic; it has, on the contrary, an unpleasant habit of shrinking very quickly long before we have half finished our purchases so that, though we naturally scorn things of the "cheap and common" type, they must be as inexpensive and as original as possible.
At the top of our list comes mother. It is just possible that she might be in want of a new thimble; if so, the silver ones lined with steel are by far the best, for they wear excellently. A good one costs about 90 cents, but if that is too dear she might like a leather spectacle-case, costing about 25 cents, or, better still, you might give her a useful purse which costs between 25 cents and a dollar; or a little bottle of scent -- one can, of course, pay anything from 10 cents to $2 for this -- or a cosy pair of bedroom slippers, which can be bought for $1 or thereabouts.
Next on our list comes father. Men are not so easy to cater to, for after we have thought of pipe-stands, slippers, ashtrays and tobacco-boxes, there seems to be very little left. A basket-work wastepaper basket -- quite a good one can be bought for 50 cents -- or a 25 cent paper-knife might be appreciated. >>>
If we can afford something a little more expensive, a little gold stud for $2 or a set of fancy vest-buttons, which might cost anything from 50 cents to $3 make nice presents.
A tie is often appreciated, but it should be chosen very carefully, not only as regards color, but style. If it is a girl's present, she should try to get a man to choose it for her. Men often don't like "made" ties; they much prefer the kind they can tie themselves.
If we can afford as much as $2, a quality fountain pen makes an excellent present; if $2 is too much, a big brother or sister might be quite pleased with a "stylo". We can get this for 25 cents.
If a man is interested in photography, he will like a snapshot album, or a roll of film which will cost from 15 cents to 30 cents, depending on the size of the camera for which it is intended. If he motors, he might like a thermos bottle, a pocket flashlight or a pair of driving gloves. A 25 cent penknife, a pipe or even a packet of favorite tobacco might find favor.
Without knowing the person for whom the present is intended, it is difficult to offer advice, as everything depends upon what he or she is interested in; but if we can only discover this, our present will be a certain success.