... an electric shock machine. What have we done to deserve this in our Christmas stocking.

We thought the Industrial Agents Society’s saucy nudes calendar was going to be Building’s most eye-popping Christmas present this year, but that was before the Lightening Reaction Xtreme turned up in the post, a self-harming device for four players.

The Xtreme dishes out electric shocks to anyone stupid enough to play. Bolts of electricity are fired into the players who react too slowly when a red button changes to green. In one version of the game only the winner avoids being sizzled - a sure way of livening up christmas with the relatives.

Thoughtfully, the manufacturer has also included a dual power setting for sado-masochists who are getting enough of a hit from being electrocuted.

We will be sending our thank you note to M&E contractor Hills who sent the “present”.

At least the Xtreme wasn’t sent to promote the new Part E building regulation, which comes into force on January 1st. The regulation governing electrical installations in dwellings is meant to reduce the number of electric shocks in the home not increase them.