good thing

`Christmas Made Easy', By Leslie Geddes-Brown, pounds 7.99

If you can't face the busy high-streets this Christmas, mail order shopping is the obvious solution. But where do you start? This book lists over 500 companies offering mail order services. They are arranged in chapters such as "Presents for Everyone" and "Luxuries" - and sub headings make the quest for the perfect present even easier. Each listing includes a description of stock, price range, methods of payment and last order dates for Christmas delivery. It is an invaluable source of inspirational presents for birthdays, christenings and weddings too.

Available from good bookshops

mad thing

Phileas Fogg Festive Four-Pack, pounds 3.99

You've got to be careful with these colourful ring-pull cans. If you wake up with a raging hangover and a desperate need for re-hydration, look elsewhere: this is not the sort of four-pack to bring your water content back to a dignified human level. There's about as much water in these as there is in a packet of Devilishly Hot Tortilla Chips, Thankfully Cool Tortilla's, Californian Corn Chips or Mignons Morceaux... because that's exactly what's inside them.

All good supermarkets

sure thing

Desert Boots by Clarks, from pounds 36

Desert boots have not been so popular since the time the mods fought on Brighton beach. Today everyone from Camper to Duffer are producing their own variations. Unfortunately, none compare to the original Clarks desert boots in price, quality or style. Originally designed in 1945, these boots have been worn by everyone from Andy Warhol to Liam Gallagher. Desert boots, currently appearing on the Calvin Klein catwalk, are here to stay.

Men's boots available in chocolate brown, sand, loden green, wolf grey and black, pounds 40; women's boots available in black, chocolate, sand, wolf grey and navy, pounds 36. From Clarks, 260 Oxford Street, London W1, and branches nationwide (01990 785886).