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The Last Windrow: Men, here are some Christmas shopping tips

Got your Christmas shopping done yet, men? I know you’ve still got a week, but time is getting short. Just thought I’d let you know before panic sets in. 

There are some rules to last-minute shopping that I’m passing on because I’ve been in your position before and I’m likely to be in that position again this year. Why do we men do it? Wait for the last minute to do our shopping? 

I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason lies in our genetic makeup. We males are predisposed to act on feelings predicated by imminent danger. If a lion is scratching at our door, we grab the spear. If a grizzly is coming into the cabin, we grab the ax. 

It’s only natural for us to act on impulse. We don’t think too far ahead for the most part. 

So, I’m not blaming any of you males out there who haven’t done a blessed thing when it comes to buying gifts for your beloved. You’re just being you.

Here are five rules I’ve found to be true when it comes to me shopping for my wife. I think they hold true for others as well.

• Rule 1: As you sit there gazing at another Vikings loss this season, keep one ear open for that soft voice that comes from across the room or the kitchen giving you a hint of what gift may be wanted. It could be a voice saying something like, “Gee, these skillets just don’t fit our new stove’s burners.” Or something like, “We could really use a new patio grill.” Or maybe, “My favorite moccasins have a hole worn in the heel.” 

Simple statements like that should make your ears perk up like a deer’s hoof snapping a twig behind your deer stand. 

• Rule 2: Go to the store with a real, actual plan of spending some money. Too often we men are trained to look for the best deal and if it doesn’t appear, we simply walk away. You can’t do that during the gift-buying season. It’s not like shopping for a car when you make an offer the dealer rejects and you pick up your ball and go home thinking the salesperson will follow you out the door. 

Salespeople don’t follow you out of the store begging for a sale at Christmas time. They’re actually glad to see you go! This is serious money-spending time and you can’t go home Christmas Eve empty-handed. 

• Rule 3: Just because your wife or significant other liked what you bought last year doesn’t mean you can double down and buy the same gift in a different color this year. 

Remember, variety is the spice of life and you’ll gain no extra points by giving two fluffy robes in a row. Get real and get something totally different this year.

• Rule 4: Don’t buy something to gift that YOU actually want. Marriages have gone down the tube because some lunkhead bought his spouse a new set of vise grips that he thought they could use for some household chore. Usually these tools end up in his toolbox in the garage. 

Give something you personally can’t possibly use. Sharing is nice, but trying to give something you can BOTH use is chancy. And, it actually makes you look a little cheap. 

• Rule 5: Let a professional do the gift wrapping. It looks much classier to give a nicely wrapped gift than to give a box that looks like it was wrapped by a foraging gorilla. When my wife and I had a department store, I learned to practice wrapping boxes with newspaper so I wouldn’t embarrass myself in front of a customer. 

If you must wrap it yourself, practice just a little bit. I know the gift recipient may say, “Aw, you wrapped it yourself! Isn’t that nice!” But, they don’t really mean it.   

And spend a little extra for that special big, red bow. You’re a big boy now, so show you know how to impress.   

These are just five rules, but if you abide by any of them, you’ll come out looking like you really knew what you were doing.

There will be many of us out in the aisles this coming week, looking, searching, thinking and becoming anxious about opening our billfolds. We’ll breathe a collective sigh of relief when we depart the swinging doors of the shopping emporiums and head for the parking lot with our booty in tow, thinking we’ve swum the final river and climbed the last craggy cliff on our way to the safety of the cave with a raging grizzly bear on our tail. 

That is a good feeling. 

See you next time. Okay?