You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you and, more horrifyingly, found underneath your Christmas tree.
Haunting. These are the days when any utterance, no matter how trivial, may come back to haunt you like the mythical ghosts of Dickens’ fame.
Recently, with complete disregard for personal safety, my husband idly mused he could stand to use a mustache trimmer. Almost immediately he realized the error of his ways and cast about wildly for something, anything, to distract me from seizing upon this as an ace gift idea.
Trust me, as the D-Day of gifting approaches, any comment, no matter how mundane, may be construed as a direct request. I’m sure he’s just going to love his combination mustache trimmer and shoe polisher. Just love it!
Definite deadline. Christmas shopping is like the two-minute warning of shopping. There is a definite deadline. There is no “belated Christmas gift.” No “Christmas again? It just snuck up on me!” excuse.
No, Christmas is one of those holidays, much like the Fourth of July, where the date is generally pretty well known. If by some chance you have only recently emerged from your cave and somehow are not aware that Christmas is upon us, retailers, the media and random strangers on the street will remind you incessantly how many shopping days are left until Christmas.
Desperate. You simply must score some kind of gift. It doesn’t even matter at this point if they like it or not.
Your grandmother remarks, idly, that she misses the old days, old ways and the cozy wood fires she enjoyed in her youth. Score! Grandma can always return that log splitter you got her.
Your brother, in a burst of nostalgia, remarks in passing that no shoe has been as comfortable as those old Adidas he wore in junior high.
Lucky for you, shoemaker Adidas also makes a men’s cologne. Never mind that the last thing any rational adult would wish is to smell like an old pair of sneakers. It’s the thought that counts darnit, and when he thinks of this gift, he’ll always remember you and think of old shoes. Who can put a price tag on that?
A male spouse will recall, dimly, that his wife said something about needing a sweater. Or was that sweat pants? No matter, he’s going to be out shopping and he just knows he can find something nice.
Never mind that the merchants he frequents are fine establishments in which to buy a rake or a belt sander, but not, it should be noted, ladies’ fashion. This is how the “I’m With Stupid” sweatshirt got a foothold on America. It snuck up on us via the truck stops and hardware stores.
Suggestions. A real danger point for any gift giver are the last minute “gift-giving guides” that pollute the airwaves to assault our senses – and complete lack of common sense.
You will hear a lot of yammering on about something called the coffee-table book. This is a book roughly the shape and size of a coffee table, except that, unlike a coffee table, it serves no discernible purpose.
Coffee-table books cover an array of topics from bird-watching to tea bag collecting, making them particularly dangerous as they fall into the “something for everyone” category, even if that something is simply a really useless gift.
The Clapper, Perfect Pancake maker, and Chia Pet. All these recipient scenarios may be easily avoided if you follow this one, simple, holiday rule: Speak not a single word to any of your loved ones until Jan. 1 at the earliest. For the next few days, mum’s the word or the Chia Pet gets it.
Or, more frighteningly, YOU get the Chia Pet.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt wishes peace on earth and goodwill to all, even if it’s NOT on sale. She welcomes comment c/o email@example.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)
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