Sandra Dick: Best gifts are free so keep that vacuum . .

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Sorted then? Turkey stuffed and the cards delivered? Just that last bit of shopping and you can enjoy all the season brings.

There’s nothing like Christmas shopping to confirm that men are from Mars and women from the planet Shoptastic, a few light years away from TopShop, around the corner from Hollister.

Certainly Christmas shopping has failed to act on my other half. A quick jaunt to Asda for chocolates and wine for his relatives and it was done, dusted and, at the weekend, delivered.

I, however, have suffered shopping hell, peaking in festive meltdown in Argos when, with reading glasses AWOL and squinting at five Lego sets displayed in a picture the size of my thumbnail, it took all my self control not to hurl myself out the window while screaming “Stop this hell, someone make it stop!”

I’m sure there are men who make wonderful shoppers, yet personal experience suggests many blokes’ genetic blueprint fails to include the “shopping” code, and certainly not the one linked to “appropriate gifts”.

Past Christmas delights for me from my other half have included a vacuum cleaner, a USB multiple port adapter for the PC and a very fluffy pink mohair cardigan with large black velvet buttons. Back when our relationship was in its infancy I received a “lovely” gold top hat pendant inscribed with the words “You’re the TOPS!” recycled from an ex-girlfriend. Quite how we went on to survive 15 years of marriage is a mystery. Then came the time I received the same handbag as his sister – he still doesn’t quite understand why that rankled.

Yet I’m easy to buy for: diamonds, Jo Malone perfume, a Radley bag, new skis and a week in Verbier, all just dandy. But as his favourite shop of the year is Aldi, I fear I may be unwrapping car mats and a torch.

Honestly, though, I don’t mind. For the most important gift this Christmas is that we’re all still here, me, hubby and my two boys, ticking along through health ups and downs but still amazingly intact. It’s true, the best gifts are the ones that really are priceless.