All I want for Christmas ..

19th October 2007 at 01:00
There is a word, beginning with C, that strikes fear into the hearts of teachers at this time of year. Have you guessed what it is yet? Easy: Christmas.

While office workers can pop to the shops in their lunch hours, half-term may be the last chance teachers get of avoiding the Christmas Eve panic.

Stuff Christmas and the turkey? You'd probably like to. But fear not, The TES Magazine has sent a Good Fairy to the rescue. Susan Young has done the research so you don't have to. All you need to do is spend a bit of time during half-term at a computer with your trusty credit card


The long and rocky road

Tank driving, SAS skills and terrorism briefing. Yes, really. Everything your beloved will need to tame 9C or a recalcitrant Senior Management Team. Well, you can dream, can't you?

Full Monty Tank Day, pound;235,

Swing when you're winning

Apparently this thing is the king of hammocks, huge enough for two, and comes with instructions on exactly how to relax in it without falling out. Must be a stressbuster then.

Barbados Double Hammock with Gala Stand, pound;125,

Wet and wild

Your recipient chooses their victim (you?) and takes you to the top of a hill where the pair of you are strapped into a giant, water-filled ball. And then someone gives it a push, and down you go. It's the most fun you can have with your clothes on, apparently (but they might get wet). For aquaphobics there's also a dry version.

Aqua Sphereing for Two, pound;55,

Good and gleaming

Program the Robomop and sit back and watch while it mops the kitchen floor, or any other surface you set it on. Watch it and weep, Kim and Aggie.

Robomop Softbase, pound;29.95,

Slip into it

Imagine this: home from a hard day, get your slippers out of the microwave for marking heaven. Oh, and apparently they smell nice, either soothing or tension-relieving. Better wear them to work then.

Aroma Home Pink Hot Sox, pound;19.95,

Tickle, tickle

This head massager looks a bit like a wire spider, but does most peculiar things to your scalp. Perhaps don't use it in public, unless you like imitating When Harry Met Sally.

HeeBeeGeeBee Head Massage, pound;12.95,

Not the cat's whiskers

It looks like a toy cat, but it's a pencil sharpener. Guess where you put the pencil? Now, that's really not nice ... but it'll shut the class up for a bit.

Sharp End, pound;5.99,


Mallet madness

You know - wooden mallets, wooden balls, lots of tactics and aggro. Think Red Queen and let it all out in the garden. Perfect for bringing stress levels down without taking it out on the staff.

John Jaques Woodstock Croquet Set, pound;399,

Liar, liar

A lie detector could be just the job for post exam-results meetings, and gives an electric shock for every porkie told as well.

Shocking Liar, pound;17.95,

And breathe ...

An automatic massage chair will melt away tension, apparently. Just sit and get shiatsu-d. For those who can't face touching their nearest and dearest.

Massage Chair, pound;64.95,

Back in the frame

This is the digital equivalent of your photo album, creating a slide show in a small frame for your desk. Have they forgotten what the kids look like? This should jog the memory a bit.

Cibox Digital Photo Frame, pound;54.95,

Disaster planning

For when the mobile goes missing - a Sim card backup for all those vital numbers. Like home, for instance.

Mobile phone Sim card backup, pound;4.95,


Giant beanbags

As used in Big Brother 7, if that's any recommendation. It's enormous, comfortable and easy to clean - perfect for adolescent lounging around.

Sit On It Classic Beanbag, pound;139,

Going green

Encourage greener habits with a Solar iPod charger.

Solio Solar Charger, pound;60,

Tiger time

I-pals is perfect for any teenager who might want to play Green Day or Rihanna through something that looks unnervingly like a two-headed tiger. Could be cute, could be spooky.

I-pals, pound;24.95,

Techie chair

Apparently this thing is a "portable audio chair for your video games, movies and music". Plug in the device, allow teenager to flop into chair, and you'll know exactly where they are for weeks to come (but you may have to dust round them occasionally).

Pyramat G Flex Game Booster, pound;49.99,

Up and away

The Flying Alarm Clock goes off in more ways than one, and they'll have to find it to silence it. Trouble is, will your teenager just sleep through the din?

Flying Alarm Clock, pound;17.95,

Mobile flashers

Not a dirty old man, but a kitten, monkey or penguin in a little dome to hop about when the phone rings unheard.

Phone Flashers, pound;4.95,



Yes, it's still about.

20 multi-model set, pound;19.99,

Rainbow maker - a real one, using crystals.

Swarovski Crystal Rainbow Maker, pound;18.90,

Smells sweet-ish

Eat your heart out Jordan and Sarah Jessica Parker, now the kid next door can make her own celebrity smell. Oh, and then she can make Perfumed Sublime Burping Slime, which frankly sounds much more fun.

Perfume Laboratory, pound;12.95,

Hop on, hop off

A Space Hopper. It's the real thing, with a face and ears.

Retro Space Hopper, pound;12.50,

Odd balls

You stretch them, you squeeze them, you turn them inside out - you just can't stop fiddling with them. Addictive, and probably hugely annoying for any adults in the vicinity.

Hyperflex Super Mondo Stretch Ball, pound;5.95,

Or there's the Phlat Ball. Starts as a Frisbee, turns into a ball when you throw it.

Phlat Ball, pound;3.98,


Let it snow, let it snow

Create your very own snowstorm. Just add water and watch it grow. The perfect global warming present?

Snow magic, pound;2.99,

Most powerful Trump

You've seen (and confiscated) Top Trumps, now let them play Crap Trumps. This version features all those cars you love to hate but probably still drive.

Crap Trumps, pound;7.99,

Mean and marvellous

The World's Biggest Mug does what it says on the side.

World's Biggest Mug, pound;4.99,

Widget wonders

Thumb Thing is a purple widget that clips on your digit to hold open your book.

Thumb Thing, pound;2.50,

Eye sty

Yes, pigs really can fly, and at incredible speeds, when they come fitted with their own slingshot pockets. The Flying Pig present also comes in chickens.

Flying Pig, pound;9.50,

Go Gran, go

Wind 'em up and watch the grannies go. Complete with Zimmer frames.

Racing Grannies, pound;6.99,


For the kids of someone who really annoyed you

Bagpipe bonus

A starter kit for playing the bagpipes. Comes with a practice chanter (the bit you blow through), tape and instructions.

Beginners Piping Chanter Kit, pound;19.95,

Creepy and crawley

The remote control tarantula does whatever a spider can, probably, but with batteries. For the arachnophobe in your life.

Remote control tarantula, pound;24.95,

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