Being immersed in children's Christmas presents for the last few days did get me thinking as to what some the various national team coaches might have wanted or indeed received from the fat bearded fella in the red outfit (and no, I don't mean Adam Jones).
Brian Ashton, for instance, largely got what he wanted in that his reward for taking England to the World Cup final was to be allowed to keep his job. Furthermore he's now been awarded an MBE for his efforts. However, I'll tell you what he wants (what he really really wants) and that's to have a bit more control over his own destiny. After all, he's still lumbered with the same coaching staff he has so far failed to bond with, will get no more time with his squad until the new deal with Premier Rugby kicks in in July and still doesn't have the "manager" he's asked for. Apparently he's been told he can "name his man" but the Guardian's interview with Simon Halliday suggests it's not quite that simple.
Across the Severn, Warren Gatland must be celebrating getting the WRU to part with vast sums of cash to tempt him away from Waikato and persuading Rob Howley to join his coaching staff. It's clear, however, that Shaun Edwards is number one on Gatland's wish list and his hopes of being the next Great Redeemer could hinge on whether Edwards chooses to join his old mate instead of taking up an offer from the RFU to coach the appallingly named England Saxons.
Meanwhile, over in Ireland I can only think that Eddie O'Sullivan is thanking his lucky stars that his employers at the IRFU saw fit to give him a new contract before the World Cup debacle. On the cards for 2008 simply must be a return to form, although it has to be said that it's only a matter of time before Ireland's lack of a credible front row is exposed à l'Australie.