Kathleen MacMahon: Saved by the bookstore, the gift that keeps on giving

If the search for that perfect present is sapping your Christmas spirit, pop into the bookshop – and you’ll have it all wrapped up in no time

Book as a gift: the bookstore at Christmas is the oasis in the festive desert. Picture: Getty

I can think of only one occasion in my life when I found the perfect present for someone. I was visiting the Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá in Mexico, when I spotted a hawker selling carved wooden animals. Among them was a small armadillo, which I immediately bought for my friend Ronan. I was so excited, I could hardly wait to get home and give it to him.

My friendship with Ronan was forged when ...