Katy Guest: Rant & Rave (19/12/10)

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Rant

Following the news a week ago that British bosses object to cleavage in the office, the Swiss bank UBS has issued a 52-page document telling staff how to dress. Figure-hugging skirts are out, along with patterned socks and visible roots in dyed hair. Shirt collars must be worn over jacket collars and women's underwear must be flesh-coloured. (Only women's? Will there be spot checks?) UBS is trying to restore its image after receiving a $60bn rescue, Europe's biggest to date, during the 2008 financial crisis. I don't know much about banking, but perhaps if bosses concentrated on their jobs and got their minds out of their colleagues' underwear, they might do better.

Rave

The Guest household has imposed a limit this year on the number of Christmas presents that may be exchanged. Last year, we spent so long unwrapping that before we had finished we had all got drunk and fallen over. So, this year we're only giving one another 10 things each. Some people look at me strangely when I multiply those 10 by both parents, my brother, his wife and my boyfriend, but it's not about expense and extravagance; it's about Christmas. Among those 10 are likely to be a little thing I'd forgotten that I mentioned way back in June – a thing which someone who loves me will have noted, tracked down, and hauled across the Midlands on public transport. There will also be a £5 something that I ran through the snow to get during a Tube strike.

If I am reduced to buying anything from the Christmas Gifts range of a major department store, I will feel I have failed. Some families start Christmas shopping in November. We've had presents under our beds since February.

A new survey, carried out for Gatwick airport, says that people find Christmas shopping stressful and overwhelming, and that they don't know what to buy. But the fact that we still do it surely proves how much we care about each other. Christmas is about showing people that you think about them, and that you'd endure Selfridges in December because they mean so much to you. That, in itself, is the best Christmas present of all.

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