The Columnist

Columns for the Independent by Miles Kington
Columns for the Times by Miles Kington
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Columns for The Oldie by Miles Kington
The Lady
Ms London


Have you noticed when going through all those Christmas gift catalogues that there is nothing very Christmassy about any of the presents on offer ? Do ipods and electric barbecues and jacuzzi say “Jesus’s birthday” to you?
No, of course not.

That is why I am proud to bring you a completely different kind of Christmas catalogue.

Today’s wonderful, mouth-watering Christmas gift bazaar offerings are all guaranteed to be in the true Christmas spirit, based as they are on textual research into historic Christmas documents.

Authentic, historic ox-and-ass type manger, as used for time immemorial in stables and barns to feed livestock. Now adapted in three different colours for many household uses such as a handy structure for hanging laundry to dry, an attractive place for party-time nibbles, an admirable resting place for pot plants in the conservatory etc etc. Also a useful place to put your dog.
£175 complete.

Authentic replica of the fabled fountain underneath the forest fence, up against the mountain. Can be used to dispense olive oil, liquid soap, vinegar, etc.
only £35

The first Authorised version of Monopoly. You can buy the inn in which there is no room, and decide whether to let that pregnant woman sleep in the stable. You can acquire the licence and franchise for weddings at Cana. You can control the destiny of the upstairs room rented out for Passover suppers, and so much more. And in this game you don’t go to jail – you die, and await resurrection!£17.99

At a time when the importance of tree replanting is becoming ever more apparent, this is a crucial present to give anyone with access to a garden. “Of all the trees that are in the wood,” says a dendrologist,” the holly and the ivy, when they are both full-grown, I think it is the holly that takes the crown, but the ivy is not far behind.” “Of course,” says another arboriculturalist, “technically the ivy is not a tree at all, so that’s a load of nonsense, but at least you can get the ivy to grow up the holly.”
Seedlings, pots and small tools: £45 the set.

More stuff about the Old Testament than you could ever wish to know. £19.99

Genuine capons and poulets, expertly cooked in our own kitchens and stuffed with gold rings, calling birds etc etc. Wonderful cold alternative for Christmas Day, standby for Boxing Day etc. Comes in threes. From £80 per three.

All your favourite Christmas recipes in one handy reference work! And we’re not talking roast turkey and trimmings here. We’re talking real Bible dishes, from mess of pottage and locusts and honey, to fatted calf and Passover supper. £19.99

More stuff about the beginnings of the New Testament than you could ever wish to know.

Myrrh is one of the mystery essences of the East. What does it do? What is it for? Is it for cooking or for putting behind your ears ? And can that really be the right way to spell it? Similarly with frankincense. Is that just another way of writing French incense ? If so, what’s the point? And why on earth did they give them to the baby Jesus ? You can have plenty of fun finding out with this generous myrrh ‘n’ frankincense set in a genuine gold pot.
Only £120

More trivia about the Passion than you could ever wish to know.
£19.99 - or all three for £29.99.


In this dramatic, action-packed battle game, you are one of three kings who set out on a mission to find the king of the world, who will save us all. But there are problems. You have only a wandering star to tell you where he is. And that’s not all. Someone is trying to kill you. His name? The evil Herod. There’s worse. You don’t know if you can trust the other two kings. All the shepherds you meet seem to be extremely stupid. And then, when you finally find the king of the world, he turns out to be a new-born babe. And if you don’t tell Herod his whereabouts, Herod is going to kill every baby in the place. Can you let that happen? If so, can you get the baby to Egypt and safety?
Believe us, this may be the toughest video game ever devised!


The Independent Friday Dec 16 05