Hi.  My character Henry Quantum, star of THE HEART OF HENRY QUANTUM, waited till the very last minute to buy his wife a Christmas gift – and all he could think of was perfume.  Now, he did come up with a good one, but he was aware it was a rather perfunctory gift.  Happily there are a lot more last minute options to save your butt this Christmas.  Here are just a few:

For her:

Chanel No.5 was Henry’s choice, and, let’s face it, it is the gold standard.  But if your partner is younger than 40,  you might try the new No. 5 L’Eau – it’s lighter and more modern, very bright and youthful, and I think quite charming.  Of course when it comes to perfume, most women have a particular scent that defines them.  My advice: check her dressing table (or bathroom counter) and see what’s almost empty.  Then buy it.  And don’t cheap out with eau de toilette.  Get real perfume or eau de parfum if she prefers a lighter spray.


Anything from Tiffany & Co.  The only thing that matters is the little blue box.  Because if she hates what you buy, she can always exchange it.  Just remember: gold is better than silver and jewels are better than plain gold, but if you include a love poem you’ve written yourself, you can put cubic zirconia in there and she’ll swoon.

You might be tempted to think, “Last minute gift? Chocolates!”  No!  A thousand times no! But going to Switzerland to visit the Maison Cailler chocolate factory in the little hamlet of Broc?  Stellar!  In fact, you can take a full Chocolate Tour of Switzerland including truffle hunting, Michelin-starred restaurants, and a sunset cruise if you check out  As a last minute gift, just write up a fake “ticket” with all the details – airline, hotel, how long a stay, etc.  If you’re lucky, she’ll forget about it in a few weeks.  If not, take her to bloody Switzerland.  (Don’t want to do the tour?  The Ritz Carlton in Geneva is quite nice! Or for super romantic, try the Park Hotel on the lake in Vitznau).

Also, do NOT buy her candles, even though she loves candles.  Girlfriends by her candles.  You have to buy her a weekend at Canyon Ranch Resort.  Trust me, they will supply all the candles she needs.

A puppy.  Yes, a puppy.  A cute adorable, hopefully housebroken puppy (in fact, possibly full-grown barker) which you’ve fallen in love with at the animal shelter.  This way she will remember you long after she’s broken up with you, which conceivably could happen that very night – unless of course, the puppy comes with you attached – forever.

For him:

Okay this one is a breeze. It’s expensive, but worth every penny if you want your guy to know you deeply understand him.  Just go to your local liquor emporium (believe me, it’s open on Christmas Eve day) and say to the clerk, “I would like to buy four single malt scotches.” He will be very happy with you.  Include the following: McCallum, Oban, Highland Park, and one more that no one has ever heard and has a totally unpronounceable name.  (This is very important as there is a correlation between indecipherable and his pleasure). Put it all in a box on which you write the words SCOTCH FLIGHT and be sure to include two tumblers, one for him, and one – yes – for you – thus proving you are much more woman than he bargained for.

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A really, really, really expensive watch.  Ladies, this is what every man wants even though he doesn’t know it.  It will make him feel he’s finally arrived, even if he’s only half-way there.  So, if you’ve got five to ten grand to blow, look for brands like Cartier, Jaeger, Ebel, Baume & Mercier –  actually you can even get a lower end but fabulous Rolex for about 12K.  But if you really want to impress, up your budget to 25 to 50K for an Oyster or a Patek Philippe.  But no matter how much you spend one thing is for sure: every time he looks at his wrist, he’ll see your faith in him reflected there.

A week away from you.  No, don’t be insulted.  We’re just talking boy time.  Send him (and a pal, if you can get someone else in on this) for a canoe trip deep into the heart of the Amazon rainforest.  He can join a small group of 4 to 8 other hearty souls by signing up at or – there are lots of other options on line as well.  Let him wander through uncharted jungle, fish for man-eating piranha, and get bitten to death by bugs as big as house cats, while you hang out around the fireplace with all your girlfriends!  Good for you, good for him, and very good for the relationship!

Okay, this one could be for either of you, but let’s put it here because I can’t think of anything else.  It’s about golf.  We all know you can’t buy a real golfer a golf club (unless he’s described EXACTLY what he wants and has tried it out twenty times himself at the golf shop).  But you can buy a gift certificate for the golf club of his or her choice.  Safer, however, and easier, is a gift certificate to the play on the course of his dreams (Pebble Beach, anyone?).  Just go to   The card is digital so it’s perfect for last-minute, and you can redeem it at over 5000 courses.  Easy peasy.

And finally, for the man or woman who didn’t vote the way you wanted him or her to:  A copy of the Constitution – just might come in handy these days.