My two-year-old godson does not yet know which football team to support, but after strutting in his Chelsea FC baby dressing-gown (pounds 16.99) or resting on his Chelsea FC beanbag (pounds 29.99), I have no doubt he will succumb to the "Blue" charm. I might just throw in a Rotational Selection Box and a Tore Andre Flo seat cushion.
The 14-year-old nephew is harder to please. He may be a Tottenham supporter, but he is unlikely to settle for a Spurs duvet cover (pounds 30) even if I have David Ginola's name embroidered down the left side. So perhaps the computer game Fifa 99 for Playstation (pounds 39.99) is a better bet. As for his 16-year-old sister, the Nike Air Warp Skate blades (pounds 225) should be ideal for someone who really needs to get to school quicker.
Their father - my brother - is notoriously hard to please. Not least because he follows virtually every sport known to man. As a boxing fanatic then, the Rumble in the Jungle/ Thrilla in Manila Ali v Foreman and Ali v Frazier video (pounds 14.99) would strike a chord. He is also a keen rugby aficionado, so the Encyclopaedia of Rugby (pounds 17.95) or a Twickenham Pewter Tankard (pounds 22) might be an acceptable stocking filler.
However, you should always strive to give the connoisseur something unique - a very personal present. The MCC shop at Lord's cricket ground is selling a Jocelyn Galswarphy limited-edition print of the MCC v Rest of the World one-day match, played on 18 July 1998 (pounds 125). It will sit perfectly in any study.
The younger brother is a fitness freak; the Multi Fitness Centre with four stations for a total body workout by NordicTrack (pounds 1,750) should allow him to "pump iron" from the confines of his own home. But if like me you are operating on a tighter budget, the battery- operated Bodi-Tek Enhancer (pounds 200) is probably more appropriate, though I should point out that it must be used in conjunction with regular fitness work, not as an alternative.
A Benetton fleece jacket (pounds 140) or a Ferrari quilted waistcoat (pounds 125) would drive my sister, a Formula One enthusiast, to distraction. Both garments are simple enough that they can be worn as everyday clothes, not just in the pit lane. If you are feeling extra generous, the F1 98 Flying Finn First to Finnish video (pounds 13.99) is a must. The review of the Formula One year features the best of the action, including Damon Hill's first win for Jordan, Mika Hakkinen lifting the title and Michael Schumacher proving that he is only human after all, by stalling on the Suzuka grid.
For all golf nuts, there are a multitude of presents available. Small gifts include the All-purpose golf tool (pounds 9.99) - to a golfer what the pen-knife is to a fisherman - the Digital Golf Score Card with belt-clip (pounds 19.95) for all poor mathematicians, or the Mr Men wood covers (pounds 5.99 each) for grown-up kids. Does Mr Grumpy have Colin Montgomerie head covers, I wonder?
If you have recently won the Lottery or are expecting a handsome Christmas bonus, the remote-controlled golf trolley by Powakaddy (pounds 799) is probably the present for you. The three-wheeled, battery-powered trolley sits well with golfers who want to walk the course but prefer not to carry a heavy bag over their shoulder. Could be a case of A Good Walk Unspoilt.
My two uncles are crazy about horseracing. A Harrods sitting stick/umbrella (pounds 99.95) for one, and some X-Tra wide binoculars from The Leading Edge (pounds 159) for the other, would do the trick if the wallet were up to it. Perhaps they can make do with wallets. To the disappointment of their wives, though, I have yet to find a gadget which can prevent them from betting.
My grandparents are life-long cricket followers. Finding an original cricket gift like an English victory on Australian soil can be difficult, though the MCC nightshirt (pounds 34.95) for her and the MCC boxer shorts (pounds 15) for him should suit. Cup of cocoa in-hand, of course, they can now stay up and listen to the Ashes series on the wireless, appropriately dressed for the occasion. If you want to treat a cricket lover to a more special gift, the limited-edition Waterford Crystal vase (pounds 725) - celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of WG Grace - should prevent any English rose from wilting.
This leaves the two hardest people to choose for, mother and father. Why not persuade several members of your family to contribute towards the cost of something special? The Massage Chair, complete with black leather upholstery, by The Leading Edge (pounds 2,999), is a wonderful present for sports enthusiasts with tired limbs. Armchair viewers can now enjoy a shiatsu massage from the comfort of their sitting-room, far preferable to the Teddy Sheringham Dentist's Chair.
Meanwhile, the They Think It's All Over - Below the Belt video (pounds 12.99), the Toca Touring Cars 2 game for Playstation (pounds 44.99) and the Chelsea Italjet scooter (pounds 2,500) are on my list to Santa. The good news, for the family, is that there is plenty of stock available. Whether their bank managers show the same enthusiasm is a different matter.
l The gifts described are available from: Harrods (0171-225 6630); Chelsea FC shop (0171-565 1490); Tottenham Hotspur FC shop (0181-365 5042); MCC shop (at Lord's, 0171-432 1021); Rugby Football Union shop (0181-891 4141); HMV (0171-432 2000); Nevada Bob's (0171-628 2333); The Leading Edge (0171- 499 7891).
THE GIFT PARADE
1 Remote-controlled caddie pounds 799
2 Chelsea Italjet scooter pounds 2,500
3 Massage 'Shiatsu' Chair pounds 2,999
4 Multi Fitness Centre pounds 1,750
5 Nike Air Warp blades pounds 225
6 Ferrari quilted waistcoat pounds 125
7 MCC v Rest of the World print pounds 125
8 Harrods sitting stick/umbrella pounds 99.95
9 Fifa 99 for Playstation pounds 39.99
10 Formula 1 1998 video pounds 13.99Reuse content