Thanksgiving is a distant memory now and Christmas is just around the corner. The Christmas lights are up, new outfits are ready for your usual rounds of Christmas parties, the tree is decorated, and Christmas carols are playing on your MP3 player. After all of the running around and shopping now is the time to sit back, admire your tree, and reflect on all the joys of the holiday season. While admiring your tree if you notice there is nothing underneath it then one of two things have happened.
1. You’ve been robbed
2. You forgot to do your Christmas shopping.
If you’ve been robbed don’t worry. Just make a copy of the police report and give it to your loved ones when it’s time to exchange gifts. I’m sure they’ll understand. If you forgot to do your Christmas shopping then why are you sitting there reading this? Get cracking because time is a wasting!
I started my Christmas shopping a week after Halloween. The first day I bought three pair of pants, three sweaters, some beautiful lingerie, a lovely diamond necklace, and a new TV. The second day I started shopping for everybody else. (Let’s just say I’ve been very good to me this Christmas.) But you don’t have time for that! In the spirit of giving, I’d like to pass on to you a few tips for a successful shopping trip.
The first thing you should buy is a cane. I tore some ligaments in my knee a few weeks ago and had to hobble around with a cane while doing my Christmas shopping. I felt like an idiot the first time I walked into the mall with my cane but wondrous things happened! People held doors open for me, let me cut in front of them in line, told me to have a Merry Christmas in a sincere voice, and even gave me a few bless your heart comments. I do live in the south so this isn’t uncommon when you’re injured. It can also happen if someone is mad at you but fortunately this wasn’t the case this time. I had people getting shopping carts for me, offering to carry my purchases to my car, and the Salvation Army bell ringers seemed to leave me alone too. It was a Christmas miracle! By the time I left the mall I was walking like Chester on the old western, Gunsmoke. So I definitely recommend getting a cane before you go to a crowded mall. A word of warning. This doesn’t work as well at Walmart. The ‘scooter people’ will still try to run over you.
Now that you have your cane, don’t forget to limp, it’s time to start thinking about your loved ones. What are their interests? Do they have any hobbies? Do they have any favorite colors? Is there anything special they like to collect? But most importantly you should think about what kind of lousy gift they bought you last year and how much did they spend on it? This is a true story. One year my daughter spent three days trying to find the perfect gift for one of her best friends. She finally settled on a crystal angel that was absolutely beautiful. The ‘friend’ gave her a pack of panty liners. They don’t exchange gifts anymore. But you’re a better person than that aren’t you? Me neither.
In my opinion the hardest people in the world to buy for are men. They never tell you what they want or need. Ask any man what he would like for Christmas and nine times out of ten they will either say nothing or will tell you they don’t need anything. Guys, we know you don’t need anything but we’re going to buy you something anyway so how about a hint once in a while? If you decide you would like a new shirt, belt, or a pair of jeans tell us your current size. Not the size you would like to be. Trust me, if you wear a size 40 x 30 in jeans we are not going to believe you when you tell us you wear a size 32 x 34. I have several guidelines I use now when I’m buying a gift for a man. If he’s retired I get him a book. If he’s a sports nut I get him a sweatshirt with his team’s logo on it. If he’s a businessman I get him a tie. If he’s into woodworking I get him a first aid kit. If he’s an outdoorsman I get him a pair of wool socks. I can usually finish up my shopping for them in about thirty minutes. That’ll teach them not to tell me what they want.
Small children are a lot easier to shop for. They like anything. Is there anything more satisfying than to watch your child’s face light up for about two seconds after they’ve opened a Christmas gift? The same kid that moves at the speed of an iceberg when it’s time to put on their coat so they can sloooowly walk out to catch a school bus is magically transformed into a speed demon when sitting in front of a pile of Christmas presents. When my kids were small our Christmas mornings usually went something like this. After a hearty Christmas breakfast of Pop Tarts we would gather around the tree and reflect on how blessed we were to have each other in a safe, warm home. At least that’s what I did. It’s hard to tell what the kids were thinking because all I could see of them were a blur of arms with paper and bows flying around the room as they opened their gifts. This usually lasted about two minutes. By the third minute the older kids were bored, the baby was trying to play with the boxes and bows, and my husband was standing at the ready with a garbage bag so he could gather the cast off paper and take the trash out. That was his job at Christmas and the sooner he was done with it the sooner he could sit back and watch TV. Then we would go to the grandparent’s houses so they could open their gifts. I usually mellowed out pretty well at my in-laws house. Probably because my mother-in-law was a firm believer in having wine with Christmas dinner. She also believed in having a little wine before and after Christmas dinner, bless her heart. So if you’re buying for a small child this year just turn on the TV and you’ll see a million commercials for must have toys. Forget those. They’re all gone by now. For kids under the age of six you can’t go wrong with any of the Fisher Price Little People sets or Thomas The Train. I’m not saying they’ll be the most loved Christmas present under the tree but they are easy to throw in a Christmas bag. Slap a “To: From:” on the bag and you’re done.
Older kids are a little harder especially if they are a female over the age of twelve. They don’t like anything unless it has an Apple logo on it and gives them a way to talk to other people so they don’t have to talk to you. Older boys like anything that lets them pretend they are destroying the earth. This year, against my better judgment, I bought a fourteen year old boy on my list the video game “Halo 4”. I did a little research before I bought it though. I have a male friend who knows everything about video games. I asked him if this particular game was violent. He looked at me like I had just asked him if the grass was ever green. Of course it’s violent! That’s why they like it! He also explained “Halo 1,2, and 3” and how they stacked up against games like “Grand Theft Auto” but, to be honest, I wasn’t listening. To make myself feel a little better I also bought him a guitar.
This next part is mainly for any men that may be reading this. I am going to give you some vital information on how to buy a gift for the woman in your life. First of all here is a list of things you think we like but really don’t.
1. Whitman Samplers
2. Naughty lingerie
3. Anything that has to be fed or watered like a puppy, kitten, or houseplant.
4. Those makeup sets that contain fifty different shades of eye shadow, nail polish, soaps, or scented candles.
5. Any perfume that is not shilled on TV by a snotty celebrity.
6. Clothing you have picked out by yourself.
7. Anything that is presently starring in an infomercial.
8. Household appliances. (you should know this by now)
9. Safety equipment for the car such as a set of new jumper cables.
10. Anything sold at a convenience store.
Stay away from any of those items and you should be fine. Really! We’re easy to buy for. In fact if you ask a woman what she would like for Christmas she’ll probably be happy to tell you, in detail, exactly what she wants. Some of us will even take you to the store and show it to you! If you don’t want to ask her what she wants, you idiot, then try listening to her to get some hints. For example if she is vacuuming the carpet one day and mentions how much more she would enjoy vacuuming if she had that diamond bracelet from Hanks Jewelry Store on her arm, she is not hinting that she wants a new vacuum cleaner, if you know what I mean. Go to Hanks and buy her the bracelet. Chances are she already has it on hold on the off chance you’ve picked up on the hundreds of hints she’s given you. If you still want to buy her an item of clothing do not, under any circumstances, take your buddy with you to pick it out. Instead take a trusted female friend. Make sure your wife isn’t jealous of this female friend.
So as you can see, even though you’re a little behind on the Christmas shopping, it is doable. With a little planning and thought you too can come out a winner this year with your loved ones gifts. If all else fails give them cash.