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I was going to make my own vouchers McPopcorn for a night out with me when she's feeling up to it. Will include some for babysitting too, good thinking!

Still, my mother’s presents are never given with malice or mischief; they are always presented with wide-eyed, innocent excitement. “Do you like it?” she always asks expectantly, and we nod our heads while we try to figure out what “it” is.

After opening this present, Dad wore it for the rest of Christmas Day, and even speculated upon certain occasions and functions in the future where this timber tie might complete his ensemble perfectly.

But for Christmases I found it impossible to hit the target, so I came up with another methodology that I was sure would work: I started to pay attention.

But don't get mad. Don't accuse. Just patiently explain to her that she hurt your feelings. That, unless she has a heart of stone, should be enough. Hopefully, she will see the error of her ways, the waterworks and histrionics will flow again; and she will apologize.

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cashmere lined gloves ('Too small. Do you think I'm a toddler?')

The other day someone asked me what I hoped to get for Christmas. “Oh nothing,” I explained, “I’m a single mom. My kids give shit gifts, and my mom, well …” You don’t “hope” for gifts from my mother. They’re coming – whether you want them or not.

For instance, two years ago, my mother gave me red ruffled panties. They were large, bright red, and covered in obscenely fluffy ruffles, the kind that you see little girls wearing under their fancy dresses in old-timey pictures. They were the type of panties that I imagined, if worn under clothes, would make the wearer look like she was wearing a lumpy and quite full diaper. As I held them up, mystified by the bow in front, my mother remarked, “You know, because you’re dating now.”

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pedicure is a life saving gift im 38+2 and my partner has bought me a voucher to have one before our baby is born and I cant wait my feet are swollen sore and achy so great gift!!also hes got me a voucher for new look so when I feel ready i can treat myself to some new clothes.you cant beat nice bubble baths etc.

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She never did remember to bring The Clapper to Aham and Lindy, so her clapping demonstration ended up being their only gift.

• The designer ear-rings, because I'd seen her hover for a second or more on a page in a catalogue ('Too heavy. They drag my lobes to my waist')

My favourite gift arrived when dd was a few days old. It was a big, huge cake, a tray of brownies and some cupcakes delivered from a local bakery. Meant we had lovely treats, and also stuff for visitors. Don't send flowers - the family will be in too much of a spin to appreciate them, and will have to fanny around with vases.

Her: "The girls at work were looking at them online and I thought, 'I have to have a pair'."

• The cake icing turntable, because she loves the Great British Bake Off.

All of these wage packet-sapping gifts (and more – let's not mention the cheese-making kit!) are still in their boxes or collecting dust on the shelves, or being used to dry towels (that's the exercise bike), though I have caught her on the scales a few times with a look of jaw-dropped horror on her face.

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Me: "Looking forward to seeing Danny and Claire, love?"

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This was a huge mistake, delivering only the lesson that my instinct is so off the feminine radar I'd be better suited to cage fighting (I wouldn't, really. Not with these soft Fairy Liquid hands that do dishes).

But then I was struck by a moment of inspirational genius: why don't I get my wife's workmates to do some spying on my behalf.

If your father is still in the picture, I would explain to him, and maybe he could pass along to her how you feel.

Me: "Great. Excellent. Lovely. They suit you. Good for you."

Christmas present for my mum

Each gift is handed to us with the unspoken message, “This is me, and I love you” – and maybe there’s no better gift to give a child than the knowledge that they can be weird or awkward and still feel unconditionally loved, the way she knows that she is.

But I have to say that your mother is being less than ideal in so many ways it's hard to know where to begin.

• The John Sergeant autobiography, because she'd found him funny on Strictly Come Dancing.

Gifts for Moms | Unique gift ideas for Mom | firstSTREET

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I wasn't bothered with gifts just as well as I didn't get any! I remember though a family member had plated up a few dinners to stick in the fridge or freezer and in the first week it was completely priceless.

One November night, we were sitting on the sofa watching a telly drama, when my wife remarked: "Those are nice boots."

I was used to getting text messages from my mom around the holidays with gift ideas for members of the family, including my sister-in-law. I would laugh or sigh or roll my eyes and answer “neat!” or “what?”.

“Oh, cool mom!” my brother said, slightly strained and a little relieved. “Ahh!” Lindy managed. But, The Clapper wasn’t there; it was just my mother excitedly clapping twice, and then twice again, to demonstrate what they could look forward to.

My wife made her selection, I was informed of said selection, I then went online to order the wife's selection, selection arrived in the post and I breathed on my knuckles and rubbed them on my shirt in the sure knowledge that this time I had, finally, got my wife' Christmas present bang to rights.