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Christmas giving guide

December 5, 2014

I'm awful in terms of buying presents for (Jane despairs: what do I want other than something chess or maths related?) but last night, at my retirement dinner from Deloitte, I solved everyone's Christmas what-to-by for mum/dad/brother/grandad/friend/anyone problem, by making some suggestions from the wonderful clients of my firm who were able to join me last night, and of my other retail clients.

Speeches never go to plan, things always go wrong, or at least they do with me. The lectern light bulb didn't work which meant half way through my speech, with the lights in the room dimmed, I couldn't see my notes, which meant:

(i) I should eat more carrots, if that would help my half century old eyes;

(ii) I was ad libbing most of the time, and amongst other omissions and fluffs, I missed one category of Xmas gift suggestions.

So this morning, I thought I would blog with my corrected list.


Just as with the X Factor calling out of eliminations, this list is in no particular order…

Gifts (my admittedly biased list of suggestions of companies I have been privileged to serve)

MandM Direct for clothes;

Timpson to have your party shoes reheeled, or to have some silverware engraved, or for a housename plate;

Max Spielmann for your photo gifts and printing of photos;

Lakeland for kitchen wear, cooking equipment, foil, cling film and all manner of other essentials, table decorations and all manner of gifts and stocking fillers;

Housing Units for furniture, equipment, and all manner of gifts and stocking fillers;

Beaverbrooks for that special person in your life (Including yourself?), and for family and friends;

Lookers if it time to replace your car, whether for new or second hand;

Confetti if she/he says 'yes', or if you are going to someone's wedding;

and last in terms of gifts but not least (and not a client, but owned by a life long friend, Chess and Bridge for (you might think the name gives it away) for chess, bridge, poker, scrabble, go and all manner of other games.

And, if you fancy a Boxing Day or other seasonal flutter, or Betfred on your local high street or sporting venue.


If there is someone who even the above list doesn't cater for, consider giving to others. One piece of advice I have given where appropriate to some of my high net worth families is to overtly do this, overtly in the sense of with the knowledge of the next generation, to infuse the habit of considering others less fortunate. A couple of my client families do this in a structured way, asking children, even teenage years, to choose charities as part of their presents.

There are far more good causes than there is money to go around, and no need for me to give suggestions, but some organisations I have an involvement or in interest in are:

St Ann's Hospice, Greater Manchester's hospice, which from 2015 I will have an active involvement with;

Withington Girls School bursary fund, to give the chance for girls from less privileged backgrounds to go to one of the top schools in the country. Again, I am becoming a trustee of the school.

National Eczema Society, Keswick Mountain Rescue Team, St Rocco's Hospice Warrington are just three of the other charities I choose to donate to, by way of illustration. (Again, in the right cases I typically advise clients to consider categorising their family donations, for instance into thirds, perhaps local/religious/international, or local/personal/religious) as a way of controlling and focussing benefaction.

Finally, gifting to am umbrella charity such as the charities aid foundation is well worth doing. I have used CAF for years: the tax advisor in me dislikes it when time and time again I learn of people who have e.g. responded to appeals or made other donations in not tax advantaged ways. If nothing else, the charities benefit considerably from being able to reclaim basic rate tax.




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