Two came to mind immediately when some semi-celebrities on the radio discussed presents that were either most inappropriate or that truly changed their life.
Aged about 10, I lived in a household that owned no books in a small village at the end of a narrow valley in the mountains. My parents considered reading a waste of valuable time better spent working.
An uncle from the big city visited one day and gave me a book. A beautiful hardback full of short stories set in villages just like mine and telling about children my age – but set in the wonderfully utterly different world of Africa.
This present achieved three things. It sprung open my narrow world, turned me into a voracious reader collecting experiences through the pages of books and it kick-started the desire to travel the world.
The second present was a wheelbarrow. Alan gave it to me for Christmas. As ever with an eye for a bargain, he bought it at Argos and we assembled it ourselves. It is the best Christmas present I have ever received.
I had started helping out at the allotment and this wheelbarrow made work so much easier. But its true significance is that it marked the beginning of my interest in gardening which has become such an important part of my life.
I am not particularly sentimental but the topic of a special present clearly hit a spot.
I would love to hear if it brings up happy memories in anyone else.