From the Unusual Christmas Gifts Company

Dear Sir

Thank you for your enquiry regarding potential gift orders this Christmas.  Your true love is certainly going to have a festive season to remember! 

Here at the Unusual Christmas Gifts Company we like to believe that we live up to our name and we go to enormous lengths to source special and dramatic gifts that fulfil the wishes of the most demanding and discerning clients. You have certainly given us a challenge and, whilst we can provide most of what you ask for, there are supply issues associated with some of the items that we need to bring to your attention.

A partridge in a pear tree

Provided you are happy to have the red-legged or ‘French’ variety rather than the grey we can supply these very easily as our local gamekeeper releases large numbers into the countryside every year.  Some of them do get hit by cars so your true love may need to tie it to her pear tree.  If you are at all interested in continuing your gift giving further into the New Year, we are pleased to advise that we can supply any number of pheasants.

Two Turtle Doves

Unfortunately supplies of Turtle Doves are now running very low in most parts of the country.  You may be able to produce your own, however.  All you need to do is to turn over your land (if you have some) to a bunch of semi-feral, free-ranging ungulates and wait.

Three French Hens

Order as soon as possible to get your French Hens!  We anticipate a steep rise in price in all commodities from across the Channel from January onwards.  There may also be an increase in the paperwork required for any future gifts of continental origin that you might be considering.

Six geese a-laying

If I may say, your insistence on giving out-of-season gifts is proving rather trying.  Strawberries at Christmas we can do, no problem, but unfortunately geese do not usually lay at this time of year.  However, if you are not too bothered about the eggs, we can get geese of various kinds.  Most readily supplied dead if that’s ok.  They should be lead-free but might not be…

Seven Swans a-swimming

Owing to a healthy diet of copious mouldy, sliced Warburtons provided to them by the kindly folk of Britain, we have a good supply of swans available. 

Eight Maids a-milking

As with French Hens, we expect the supply of continental labour to become more difficult and expensive in future.  However, under the incoming ‘Australian points-based immigration system’ we will be able to guarantee that in future all our milk maids will be educated to degree level or higher in agri-technology and fully capable of operating the latest zero-grazed, maize-fed, hormone-controlled dairy systems.

Ten Lords a-leaping

We have an excellent supply of jumping lords this year.  Indeed, they are as mad as a box of frogs!  Highlights from this year’s catalogue include Lord Botham of Stinkpit who will enliven any festive gathering with his hilarious opinions and inability to tell a pheasant from a fieldfare, and Lord Moore of Grouse who will ensure the warmth of Christmases to come with his vigorous climate-change denial. 

We look forward to receiving confirmation of your order and will endeavour to despatch the items for delivery on the dates you specify.  Please note that the couriers we use make every effort to deliver our packages but if your true love is not in on the day(s) in question they may leave your gift behind a bush or with a neighbour.  You may wish to advise the neighbour of the possibility that they will need to keep twelve drummers drumming in their hallway for several days if your true love decides to go away to visit her family.

Yours sincerely

The Unusual Christmas Gifts Company

Prop. J. Wallace

After studying zoology at university Jonathan Wallace was involved in ornithological research and conservation for a number of years in France, Scotland and West Africa.  Subsequently he has spent most of his career as an environmental consultant, assisting industry in managing its environmental impacts.  Wildlife, particularly insects, remain his first love however and he is a keen butterfly and moth recorder and an active member of the North East England Branch of Butterfly Conservation.


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