year in December, comes a time that strikes fear into the heart of every
husband and father. That is the Christmas shopping. Men are by nature
conquerors, and the shopping experience of many is the same as visiting an
gallery, museum, or sight-seeing. There is nothing to do, no sense of
accomplishment, and no trophies. The stress we must endure is as high as when
first proposed marriage to my wife, only I get to live through it again every
deep analysis, I have decided that the problem is one of attitude; how
you approach the situation. Instead of "Christmas shopping", I call
"Christmas hunting". Instead of gathering presents, I "hunt and
Here is how it works:
order to hunt something, you must have a prey, something to hunt. With a
normal hunting expedition, this would be deer, rabbits, ducks, geese, etc.
Even when you go fishing, there is something to catch, kill, dress, and eat.
Christmas time, the prey is the gift. The nature of the gift is what
determines the hunt. If, for example, you decided to go Buffalo hunting, you
would make all the necessary preparations - special permits, gun, travel plans,
etc. Bagging a gift is the same.
gift must be something personal that only she can use. Although she may
need a new kitchen appliance such as a blender, for every kitchen appliance
bought, you must spend at least double to ten times that amount additional for
her personal gift. Just as a fish is different from a duck, gifts come in
various forms, from jewelry to clothing to knickknacks. Impracticality is the
order to understand the nature of the prey, you must do some homework. This
may involve actually looking or listening to your wife. See what earrings (who
knows where they came from?) she is wearing. She will often give you hints that
you are supposed to hear and understand. It may come in the form of "I
or "it would be nice if . . .", such as "I wish I had a watch
to match my
shoes", or it may be that page from the department store catalog that she
wrapped your sandwich in. Look for the item circled in red.
attention during some of those ordeals you are made to endure with her when
you hold her purse as she moves clothing on a display rack in a department
store. See what catches her eye. Another source is the television shopping
channel. Stop for a few more seconds and take note of what they are peddaling.
This part of the process can be related to when you learn about the best
fishing lakes, hunting forests, etc.
biggest problem with the Christmas Hunt is the weapon. In order to "kill"
your prey, the gift, you must use a paper or plastic weapon. A check book or
credit card just don't look as ominous as a 12-gauge shotgun. There is nothing
to wield. When you go fishing there is the pole, hunting has its gun, and even
when you are golfing, you have a club to carry. Merchants frown on customers
bringing and carrying firearms around in their stores. I have yet to find a
suitable substitute. If the problem is acute, finding and carrying around a
pole-like device (spear) may do. This may be in the form of a shower rod, mop
handle, or umbrella. A coffee cup or beer mug may also suffice if you don't
mind carrying one around a store, as this is similar to the scabbard on a
stores have large plastic candy canes filled with candy or bath oil beads
that could substitute for the weapon. This may help you during your hunt for
the gift. You don't have to purchase, just borrow it for a while until the real
game has been tracked and bagged. There has yet to be invented a weapon-
shaped object that would appeal to women.
you can walk in the store, you have a license to hunt there. Your driver's
license, or whatever identification you use to get beer and tobacco products
can be used for the Christmas hunt. This will be displayed to the game warden
(store clerk) when the weapon (credit card or personal check) is used to get
the gift. The prey may then be dressed (gift wrapped) or put in a bag for
protection. The receipt compares to the deer or duck stamp. Unless you have
lot of experience wrapping things, this is best left to the professionals in
order to be more attractive when it is presented to your wife. Your limit is
determined by the balance left in your account.
as you would not hunt deer in the middle of a lake, where you go depends
on the prey you are hunting. Hunters and gatherers have always shared space.
The same field used for getting plants has been the roaming place for pheasants
In the forest where berries are found, the deer and elk roam. In order to get
the gift, you must go alone into the dark, scary forest called "The Mall".
this is too drastic, a "Department Store" may help ease you into the
each entrance of a Mall, there is a totem called a "kiosk". This will
narrow down the hunt. The various stores are listed by item sold, so you can
proceed directly to the quarry, avoiding the quick-sand and cliffs. Each store
in a mall is divided as are department stores into specialized areas. Just as
some fish like deep water, and others prefer shallow, the items sold there are
separated as to type and size. There is usually an extra area designated for
jewelry or electronic devices and cameras. Signs on or near the ceilings can
lead you to the proper area.
Rules and Regulations
a personal gift for your wife has specific rules, like a size limit on
a fish caught in a lake. Here are some that will help keep you out of trouble:
Buy her something she already has. Then she can exchange it for something she
really likes and "you will never know".
Avoid sizes. If you have to get her any clothing, get a size or two too small.
This translates in her mind as a compliment.
No underwear, teddies, or pajamas. This is interpreted as a gift for you, and
also conflicts with rule two above.
If it comes from a store you are comfortable in, get something else. There are
no personal items for women in sporting goods, hardware, liquor, or fishing/tackle
stores. The possible exception is if you are building that romantic porch swing
she has bugged you about for years. In this case, have it finished before Christmas,
or you will have to go back into the forest for something else.
No plants, flowers, or cards. These are for other occasions, weddings, and deaths.
These are interpreted as make-do gifts, such as those things you grab at the
last minute at the airport, the gas station, or the check-out stand.
The gift must personal and impractical. The breadmaker and blender are used
by everyone in the house, not just her. It must hers and hers alone. An exception
would be an automobile. Compact - yes, Mini-van - no.
Things that enhance her personal hobby or collection are sure winners. If she
collects Barbies, an expensive ceramic version would be an excellent trophy
to give her.
Expensive candy is okay, but does not constitute the main gift. Put this in
her Christmas stocking with the plastic candy cane you forgot to put back.
The Perfect Hunt
best way to turn "Christmas shopping" into "Christmas hunting"
would be to
organize a hunting trip. Treat this the same as any other hunting expedition.
Get together some buddies. Drive to the other side of the next state and camp.
Drink and play poker until you all pass out. Wake up before dawn and walk at
least a mile to the forest (mall). If it's not open yet, have breakfast. Malls
open earlier and stay open later as Christmas day approaches.
into two's and hunt for the gift. Admire each other's kill.
the gift is a car hood ornament, it would be tacky to tie the gift to
the hood of the car. Only something too large, such as exercise equipment,
can hang out of the trunk with bungee cords.
the rest of the day in the sports bar or golf course.
have had a lot of success with this attitude toward getting the gift. On one
experience, I tackled the greatest of all forests, Mall of America. I arrived
on Christmas Eve morning at 7 am, parked right outside the door, and I was back
in the car with her gift in 45 minutes. I wouldn't recommend this to an amateur
you get the hang of the "Christmas Hunt", you can attempt the "Anniversary
Hunt" or the "Birthday Hunt", once you figure out which days