It is Christmas minus 9!

Actually, as I have done nothing in terms of getting ready for Christmas today, I suppose by the time I get busy, there will only be 8 days before Christmas. Wait, ixnay on the  Christmas Day, and I uppose I should be sorted by  Christmas Eve making it out of bounds -o that leaves 6 days!

Six whole shopping days to buy gifts for one, two, three…seven…wait, eight…nope, NINE people!  That’s it, nine people.  Nine thoughtful gifts, a couple of secondary gifts, and then a few stocking stuffers.  All in six days.

Piece of Christmas Cake. As we engineers like to say, “Where there is no pressure, there is no flow!”

batman and robin

I have often marvelled at those all-ear round Christmas shoppers…the kind of people who see things at the Shopping Mall in June, and buy them, right then and there. I am not that organised…or that attentive…and definitely not financially inclined to adopt that as my modus operandi ( I prefer the pain of all gifts at once, vice spread sensibly over the year!).  Anyways, if I bought anything immediately upon seeing it, I am sure there would be some kind of present “graveyard” in the house – the amazingly cunning hiding place that will outfox everyone, even me. Actually, I think that there is one already – full of un-given Mothers’ Day gifts, birthday gifts, all my packs of new batteries. and likely an odd sock or two that have teleported from the dryer. I am sure that you all have a spot like that where the forgotten presents lie in wait,  like the poor souls on the Island of Misfit Toys, hoping that they will find someone to love them forever and forever.


But alas, I’m not the year-round shopper. I am a “week-before-Christmas” kind of guy – perhaps like many of my campadres.

Many of the women in my life seem to have their Yuletide Mojo going all year round…they intuitively catch the giftHoliday-Organizer vibes the rest of us are sending and find a way to translate that energy into some very thoughtful gifts. Their lists – all kept secretly in Christmas books and papers – are full of fantastic ideas that are entered when something strikes their fancy.

I can’t compete…I don’t even keep a compiled list. I have tried, but I think my attempt has been misplaced it in the “gift graveyard”.  Anyway, I don’t have the talent to make a useful list that helps me shop – it is more a catalogue of what I have bought in order to avoid embarrassing repeats (that’s pretty good in itself isn’t it?)

I am the kind of guy who listens to – wait, strike that – I’m the kind of guy who hears those oblique hints bandied about all year.  They all seem to come at me at the most inopportune times, like when I am doing nothing and enjoying it; or when I am in front of the TV, without pen or paper. Or, most often when I am apparently without interest.

And the hints seem to be as easy to decipher as those annoying and incomprehensible and strange Cryptic Crossword clues you see in the weekend papers (who does those anyway?).

If you are a man, I am sure you have had a conversation that sort of goes like this:

Significant Other: “Wow, look honey, isn’t this a nice pantlefoofler?” (Before any of you go looking for the coveted pantlefoofler, in the misguided notion it may be a gift idea,  it is a fictional item – I have used it for illustrative purposes only…but if you look hard enough, I am sure there are many similar sort of things usually featured on TV, in a magazine, a glossy flyer, or on a women’s Facebook Page)

Simple Fellow: “Huh uh, dear. It’s nice; why don’t you buy one?”  (Delivered as a no-look, casual platitude, though with great sincerity.)

Significant Other: “Noooo…I don’t knooooowwww. I’m not sure… I really, really like it. But, I am not sure I need a pantlefoofler…thoughhhhhh, it might be nice to have one.” (This is in sporting circles is known as the serve and volley, placing the ball squarely back in the “man’s” court… or depending on the severity of the impending sadness, it can be likened to a bouncy onside-kick in the late stages of a dramatic football game)


Simple Fellow: “Okay.” (Continuing the sports analogy, the ball lands has landed squarely in court and goes out for 15-love –  or more likely, the football bounces bluntly off the linesman’s  chest as he gets blindsided by the 3 tons of defensive kick return team known as Christmas Disappointment.  In either case, the ball is uncontested and untouched by the Fellow in any constructive manner.)

Without benefit of instant replay, I am confident most men missed the sporting turning point that could make Christmas Shopping a breeze: The Fellow was provided with a veritable gold mine of information – although it was expressed in “Venusian-speak”.  In her dialect, Miz Significant Other made it painfully obvious what she wanted – in fact, I do not believe she has a more overt way to signal her desire and need for a pantlefoofler under the tree.

But for the guy, the facts and information are forgotten – relegated to the dusty drawers of the cerebral mausoleum alongside all those other wonderful gift ideas – and casual acquaintances’ first names.

And it will never see the light of day again.

Oh wait – it does.

It resurfaces on Christmas Day – usually in response to that brief look of  unhappy surprise as Significant Other unwraps the package that reveals anything but the desired pantlefoofler.  And for agirl-unhappy-with-present-de millisecond, a thought will flicker brilliantly across The Fellow’s neurons – that a pantlefoofler would have been a great Christmas gift and that somewhere, sometime, he might have known that.

Oh well, maybe next year.

I have tried to get better every year. I, like all of you, have relied on my perennial standbys…and I like to think that Mrs Fellow would be disappointed if one of those did not show up under the tree.  And I have learned the heard way about what does not make a good Christmas gifts – avoid anything from a Petrocan or Mac’s Milk or advertised with the words “minty fresh scent”.

But like all of you, I don’t want to just do well – I always hope to knock it out of the park!

And so armed with a few cryptic yellow post-it notes (C’mon, do you think that after about 40 Christmas Gift-Buying Campaigns that I haven’t at least learned how to try to defend against the “serve and volley”?), I will head off for two or three days of intense shopping – with a well laid out plan and efficient route. It has always stood me in good stead before

Shepherd Neame Christmas AleAnd if that fails, Christmas Shopping 2013 will be completed with a Boys’ shopping excursion on the High Street – interspersing pints of Christmas Cheer with each Christmas purchases.  A few well-timed Yuletide Ales always seem to provide all the inspiration – and financial abandon –  needed to cover Tannenbaum’s skirt with some holly, jolly gifts. It is the Hail Mary of shopping tactics, but has saved the day more than once!

That is all the advice I can give, save two last bits: save the gift receipts, and Shoppers Drug Mart is open until 1800 hrs on Christmas Eve! Oh yes, and don’t forget the gift bags – much easier than wrapping!

Good luck, mateys, and have a Happy Christmas.  Hope everyone around your tree shares your joy…Tree-Decorated-for-Christmas-with-Presents_wm