Bad Xmas Gifts, Vol. I

Go into the Eternal Light

Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief

October 16, 2006

3 Min Read
Bad Xmas Gifts, Vol. I

NOON -- From The Philter's Nifty Gift file, a press release this morning from Alternative Gifts Ltd. reveals details of "an everlasting gift that you did not think imaginable":

Alternative Gifts Ltd ( the exclusive retailer of the ‘Eternal Light Beam’ gift, offers you the chance to covert your words into electrical signals and send them on a pulsed laser light beam where it will be sent into the Universe and will exist until the end of time as we know it...

Ben Green M.A. the founder of the ‘Eternal Light Beam’ questioned what mark will we have left on the universe in a couple of hundred years time and then came up with the idea of preserving any idea, message, description or image in the information contained in a pulsed beam of light which if sent out into the right part of space would be able to travel unhindered for billions of years.

With a college friend he built a laser machine with a college friend [so... that's two friends?] to do just that. He currently lives in Lincolnshire where he is working on projects to bring this concept to people who also would like to do something special and truly everlasting in their lives.

By now you've done a spit take and sprayed coffee all over your desk. But that's okay, I'm still going to pass on the information about how it works:

The message is simply converted by a computer into a modulated laser light beam which is transmitted into the depths of the universe for all time. (That in some ways similar to the transmission of television pictures) To commemorate the successful transmission, the customer receives a certificate detailing where and when your personal message was send, and an especially laser cut keyring symbolising the earth and your light beam for you to carry around as a reminder.

So, really, all you're getting is a piece of paper or a trinket. You could just print up an official certificate yourself and just lie to your loved ones and say you sent an eternal beam of light. That's not in violation of the Christmas Spirit, from what I can tell. Anyway, carrying on:

Managing Director, Jonathan Aylmer commented: Christmas is our busiest season, and our customers are always looking for something a bit different, that’s why Alternative Gifts is so popular, we offer affordable and alternative presents, and as the exclusive supplier of the Eternal Light Beam this Christmas will be a cracker!”

And isn't that what we all want to hear on Christmas morning? "Wow, thanks, hon. What a cracker!"

What if you're unlucky and, instead of traveling into space for billions of years your lightbeam reflects off a skyscraper, shoots back down to Earth, and blinds the messenger bike boy who's hustling to get your coffee and donuts on your desk before you get back from your manager's meeting? Can't you see the poor bastard now, sprawled out on the sidewalk, claiming that the last thing he heard before he wrapped his BMX around lamppost was your voice, saying, "I love you, dear. Merry Christmas"?

Oh, don't sit there and tsk-tsk me. I'm not the one being far out here. Anyway, the fun concludes with this last passage and a revealing note to editors:

New and exclusive to Alternative Gifts, the Eternal Light Beam gift pack makes a unique gift idea for birthdays, Christmas, or anniversaries and is available at a special launch price of £19.99.

Notes to editors:

Alternative Gifts Ltd ( launched in August 1999, and in a short period has gained a significant profile in the UK Internet gift market a leading online gift retailer. has been given the exclusive rights to retail the Eternal Light Beam worldwide by

The Eternal Light Beam is a legitimate patented gift.

— Phil Harvey, Celestial Ripoffs Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Phil Harvey

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Phil Harvey has been a Light Reading writer and editor for more than 18 years combined. He began his second tour as the site's chief editor in April 2020.

His interest in speed and scale means he often covers optical networking and the foundational technologies powering the modern Internet.

Harvey covered networking, Internet infrastructure and dot-com mania in the late 90s for Silicon Valley magazines like UPSIDE and Red Herring before joining Light Reading (for the first time) in late 2000.

After moving to the Republic of Texas, Harvey spent eight years as a contributing tech writer for D CEO magazine, producing columns about tech advances in everything from supercomputing to cellphone recycling.

Harvey is an avid photographer and camera collector – if you accept that compulsive shopping and "collecting" are the same.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like