Surefire last minute Christmas presents.

Give your parents the gift of serenity.  Tell them you've decided not to write that misery memoir after all. Your editor doesn't want expensive perfume. Why not write a bestselling series a la Harry Potter instead? It will cost you nothing and bring years of happiness.

Christmas is a time for embracing thine enemy. Wrap a litter of mastiff puppies in pretty gold paper for his/her children.

Stressed over choosing the right gift for your teenagers? Try this nifty trick: place three or four large denomination bills in a festive envelope and watch their faces light up.

And, finally, in the rush to make everyone else happy, don't forget to treat yourself! A litre of gin and that attractive snowflake tin full of mince pies makes a simple and nourishing breakfast or midnight snack.