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The Alternative Christmas Gift Guide

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What does one buy for angelic-faced brats and loose friends?

Christmas is the season for uncontrollable urges - it's like it was designed to mess up every good intention. There's the mistletoe and the alcohol for starters - which is practically inviting misbehaviour and then there's chocolate lying around. It makes it harder than ever to live the good life but right in the middle they put Father Christmas who's just so judgy.

When I was a kid I used to wonder exactly how he got hold of the information - did my family inform on me, or were there elfish spies monitoring my every move? Either way, I figured, none of them would see that I'd hidden the school tortoise in the bottom of my cupboard. Sadly, the smell gave me away - who knew one tortoise could poo so much? - and I was grounded with just a week to go. Santa, it turns out, has a very sensitive nose.

So now I'm all grown up and at the end of my first full year doing the best I can to do the best I can, I wonder what the Sustainable Santa will bring me? Personally I'm hoping for membership of Kopi - a coffee club that brings rare brews to your door. It'll help me resist my uncontrollable urge for a morning Starbucks - at least until they're paying their taxes.

The problem is, if you're known for going green, people always think you're going to be giving crappy hand-made presents or a goat in Chad (which, don't get me wrong, is a lovely idea... but so depressing to open that envelope on Xmas day...) Where is the stylish Sustainable Santa?!

So when it came to choosing my presents I decided to do the opposite of Santa and help sinners live better using my brilliant presents. I came up with this at my godson Nick's house last weekend. He's three years old - youngest of two boys - and nature placed him on this earth with the features of a saint-in-waiting. When I first saw him I thought - we won't be able to live in this child's light for long. He will snatched up to Heaven to take his wings and halo any day now. After he'd given his goldfish a fatal heart attack, hiding all his least favourite food under his bed for a week or so and left chocolate in my shoes for the third time I realised that he may stay down here for a little longer.

So last Saturday I was fulfilling my duties and entertaining Nick and Tim, his elder brother, when I realised Nick had been strangely peaceful for almost an hour - a clear sign of danger. I raced upstairs and found he'd drawn - at roughly eye height - an elaborate graffiti pattern all along the freshly decorated white walls of his room, the landing and his parents room.

'What are you doing?' I screamed. 'D,' he said very seriously. 'I couldn't help it. The walls were asking me - please paint us. We're too white.' I burst out laughing and couldn't get cross. Unlike his mother who gave me a full 45 minute bollocking. Fortunately his scribbles reminded me of the Alphabet Zoo jigsaw from Yours Sustainably - hand carved in Sri Lanka in a fair trade environment from sustainably grown wood but mainly colours, animals, alphabet and fun.

Its not just kids who give in to desires they'll regret, I found on Tuesday. Emily phoned after a night out with Arthur - a disgracefully raffish actor she'd met at a party two weeks ago and spent about 24 hours in bed with, notching up no sleep at all. Against all expectations, he actually did phone the next day and invited her to the theatre. Which became dinner. Which became one last cocktail at the Savoy - sometimes you don't care if something's ethical or not and a dry martini at the American bar does transcend all moral codes. After the first, she was invited back to his. She refused demurely. After the second he asked to go to hers. She refused, with a little less determination. After the third, they ended up finding a cleaners cupboard outside the gents toilet and devoured each other like Christmas pudding.

She's deleted his number to prevent herself from texting and now we're all waiting with bated breath. In the meantime, and based on her description of the most active body parts, I'm buying her Weleda products: digestion calming drops, muscular pain relief spray and Pomegranate Regenerating Creams - with organic shea butter, rich in fatty acids, with natural plant extracts to stimulate cell renewal - for... well, for her hands. I'm guessing if Santa saw any of that, I'm the only chance she's got of something in her stocking this Christmas. Unless Arthur does actually call...