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Do you have an infuriating relative who says they ‘don’t want anything’ for Christmas or their birthday? Andy and DB’s families found the perfect solution.
Whether it’s someone who ‘just wants to see everyone together’, or someone who ‘would rather have the cash’ — we all know one. That friend or relative who won’t give you a clue on what they’d appreciate as a gift or a thank-you, even if you ask them directly. This year we heard from two men whose families took the initiative and gave them a gift that they couldn’t fail to appreciate.
Andy, 51, Manchester
My wife and kids love Christmas — by which I mean starting getting ready in about October, planning, making lists, even buying the first few presents. I like seeing the family and having a few days off work but all the fuss I can’t be bothered with — and that includes thinking of what gift they can get me. Last year I was surprised nobody had asked me with only a few days before Chrimbo but I wasn’t complaining — I always end up with socks or ties. When I was given an envelope from ‘everyone’, I really hoped they hadn’t just given me cash but the reality was a welcome surprise. I’m not much of a sportsman since stopping playing football years ago but I like watching games where I could ‘have a go myself’ — snooker, golf and so on.
My favourite is darts though — and with a gift card to spend on a sports experience I knew where I was off to. Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright!
I even persuaded my wife to come along too, so in March we headed in to town to see the stars of the Betway Premier League at the arena. What a night — a few drinks, funny costumes, all the chants and songs (she got more into it than me) — and of course all the big names you see on telly. It was a great experience and begrudgingly I can honestly say I’m looking forward to being asked what I want for Christmas this year.
DB, 36, Isle of Wight
I’m a keen cyclist (not yet a MAMiL, despite what my work colleagues say), so my wishlist every Christmas/Father’s Day/birthday is always ‘bike stuff’. If I see it on a website, or in a mag, I want it — I’m probably the best kitted out cyclist on the island. But with under 500 miles of road here there’s not much chance to see the pros at it. So for my birthday, my in-laws got me a giftcard to use on a trip to London to see the Six Day Cycling at the Olympic velodrome. It covered two event tickets and a hotel for the night, so all I had to do was ring up my pal in Watford and badger him to come along. I hopped on the early ferry and caught the train from Southampton to meet my mate at Clapham Junction. The velodrome doors wouldn’t open until 5.30pm but we’d decided to make a sporting day of it and headed to Stratford. First stop: Gary Neville’s ‘Cafe Football’ for lunch, where the lovely Liz and her friendly team served up some delicious food and football themed cocktails.
She even talked us through some of the memorabilia on the walls (including Ronaldo’s boots) before we made the short stroll to the Olympic Stadium. We’d pre-booked a tour of the venue — better known now as the home of West Ham — and it was well worth the trip.
We sat in the dugout and dressing rooms and walked (not ran) on the warmup track that Usain Bolt and Jessica Ennis used in 2012. I even bought a piece of the Olympic track as a ‘Super Saturday’ souvenir before we headed over to Lee Valley Velopark for the main event.
It was an amazing night, with exciting races coming one after the other — I’d watched track cycling on TV but never realised how fast (or steep) it is. Five hours of breakneck speed racing, trackside views of Mark Cavendish flying past and live DJ entertainment — I was worn out by the end.
A tube ride to our hotel and I was ready for a cheeky pint in the bar before bed — one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever had.
Stuck for something to buy the sports fan in your family? Try loading a Thomas Cook Sport Gift Card from £10 to £5,000.
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