For all of you who are tired of the endless "perfect holiday gift" suggestions out there, I am offering this seasonal special: I can't help you with your sister Lucy's gift, but I will gladly be the country's, indeed the world's, Secret Santa, coming up with the perfect present for those headline-hogging public figures – the philanderers, the political scammers, the self-deluded, the thoroughly badly behaved, not to mention those who impressed us this year with their charm, intellectual acuity, against-all-odds staying power or special talent.
Let's start with the latter.
Bonnie Brooks, CEO of The Bay: What to give the woman whose come-hither voice has transformed radio ads for the country's premier department store? I've never seen my husband so, uh, up on Bay specials. In fact, obeying The Voice, he marched in the other day and bought himself a cashmere sweater. So I'm giving Bonnie and her Voice a night out – inviting her to a karaoke bar where she's going to sing Santa Baby, that breathy Eartha Kitt tune. That voice needs to focus on more than clearing her shelves of overstock towels.
Conrad Black, former media mogul, imprisoned tycoon, cultural commentator: an entry visa into Canada after he gets out of the slammer. Because whether you think he's a pain or a pleasure, a con or a victim, haughty, naughty or nice, he's paid his dues, and he should be allowed back into his Toronto home to live with his wife, Barbara, and continue his colourful contributions to the national conversation. We won't make him kiss the Canadian soil when he arrives, but he should say it loud and say it proud: "I love Canada!"
Stephen Harper, Prime Minister and Supreme Potentate of Canada: The PM's relentless new Stephencentric "Harper government" this and "Harper government" that approach is mighty worrisome. Even the remonstrations of our top political pundits don't seem to be making a dent in his l'etat, c'est moi delusions. So maybe we should just go whole hog and rename the country. Kingdom of Harper? Harperonia? O Harperstan, we stand on guard (and build costly new prisons) for thee.
Peter MacKay, embattled Minister of Pimp My Search and Rescue Ride: Some water-taxi chits, for the love of God. And a used copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Kate and Will, the Duke and Duchess of Let's Save the British Monarchy: A baby, ASAP of course, but why not stir the succession pot and make it twins, a girl and a boy, with the girl born first?
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany and Single-Handed Holder-Upper of the European Economy: A well-deserved week-long Greek idyll on the beautiful island of Santorini (all expenses paid). She can lollygag on the beach and get her nails done before returning to the gruelling work of solving the euro crisis. It's the very least Greece can do for her.
Vladimir Putin, re-elected Prime Minister of Russia but slowly losing his vise-like grip on power in a country rife with crime, political conspiracy and social troubles: Siberia, equally well-deserved, an extended vacation (all expenses paid). He can come back when he learns how to play nice.
Naheed Nenshi and Alison Redford, the new Mayor of Calgary and Premier of Alberta: They are awesome enough to be the first western politicians we offer to clone. What a gift, not just to them but to all of us east of Winnipeg who could certainly use their talents.
Toronto Mayor Rob (eek, the Toronto Star is telling lies about me!) Ford: A lifetime subscription to the indomitably liberal newspaper, personally delivered by a bow-tied John Honderich, chair of Torstar's board of directors, plus a grudge-management course for the intractable mayor.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund, whose fast track to the French presidency was derailed by his New York hotel-room antics: Since he returned to France to face another accusation of sexual assault and rumours of involvement in a prostitution ring, how about a chastity belt that only his wife can unlock. Or should we just throw away the key?
Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and above all Donald Trump: Political oblivion for these entirely inadequate contenders for the Republican nomination, as fast as you can say, "You actually thought you were qualified to be President?"
Mark Carney, charismatic governor of the Bank of Canada and the Chairman of the Financial Stability Board: A secret convoy of Liberals and/or Conservatives (and maybe even NDPers) begging him to be their next federal leader. He could lead all three parties!
Ryan Gosling, the incredibly hot, well structured and very talented Canadian actor: He should get the one gift People magazine inexplicably denied him by making Bradley Cooper this year's Sexiest Man Alive. Fellow Canadians hereby unanimously anoint him the Sexiest Canadian Man Alive. Let's throw him on the next cover of Maclean's. Because Mark Carney has more important things to do.