'Tis the season to be jolly, especially if you like shopping.
I don't care to generalize, but the demographic that generally enjoys shopping most falls into the category known as "women." As with all generalizations there are exceptions, but in this case, the exceptions are quite rare. Even a gal who is so rough and tough that she beats up Hell's Angels motorcycle club members just for the fun of it will go all squishy upon learning that some "cute" shoes are on sale.
This exception to generalization is also true for males. There are some men who actually get immense delight from shopping. Generally speaking, their level of pleasure is in direct proportion to the dollar amount of the purchase. For instance, it's much more fun to shop for and purchase a new John Deere tractor than to shop for and buy a pack of Wrigley Doublemint gum.
My theory that women enjoy shopping more than men is partially based on the following incident, which is totally true: When our two boys were young - I would guess that they were 5 and 7 years old - I happened to overhear them taking stock of their lives.
"We're really lucky because we have four grandmas," the oldest explained to his little brother. "We have Grandma Anna and we have Grandma Hazel. And we also have the Shopping Grandmas!"
Grandma Anna is my mother and Grandma Hazel was our grandmotherly landlady. The Shopping Grandmas were my wife's mother and grandmother. This indicates a gender-based genetic link that could explain my wife's penchant for shopping. It would also explain why our boys' first words were "blue light special!"
Now that the holiday shopping season has officially arrived, it's time for me to get busy with my gift- buying activities. These activities consist entirely of putting off my gift buying until the last possible moment. As far as I'm concerned, there's absolutely no reason to rush until half an hour before the stores close on Christmas Eve.
So I have a lot of time to not worry, which greatly reduces my stress level. My wife, on the other hand, worries about Christmas gifts a lot. It's nearly a full-time job for her and is proof that retailers have been successful with their Perpetual Christmas Campaign.
If you are of a certain age, you may recall a time when federal law prohibited retailers from promoting their "Spectacular Christmas Sale!" until after Thanksgiving. That starting line was gradually moved and before we knew it, Christmas was being advertised at Halloween. Ever since, the beginning date has been stealthily moved farther and farther back. We are now at the point where the "Spectacular Christmas Sale!" ads we are seeing today are for Christmas three years from now.
One reason many men don't like to shop is that they never know what to buy for their significant other. For instance, a guy might think that a new welding helmet would be an extremely thoughtful and loving gift. His wife, however, might see this offering as woefully inadequate. She might even drive this point home by whacking him upside the head with said welding helmet. Not that this has ever happened to me.
So what's a guy to do? Giving cash might elicit disparaging remarks regarding a lack of romance and imagination. But buying the wrong gift has its own set of hazards. What's a guy to do?
I learned long ago that a good solution is to take your significant other shopping. Let her choose the style, the color and the (correct!) size and everyone will be happy.
Some months after meeting the lady who would become my wife, I faced a Christmas conundrum. What should I get her? Would I ever be able to find the right size and color? I resolved this dilemma by going shopping with her on Christmas Eve.
We meandered through a clothing store and she found some corduroy slacks that she liked. We didn't buy them and eventually wandered over to a jewelry store where I had secretly done some pre-shopping. Pausing by a display case, she pointed at a certain hunk of crystallized carbon that was affixed a small amount of precious metal.
"I like that one," she murmured.
It was the same engagement ring I liked! We took this as a sign and left the store with something sparkly on her left hand.
We were recently reminiscing about that long-ago Christmas when my wife made an astounding revelation.
"I would have been happy to just get the corduroys," she said.
Yes, I probably overspent. But, oh, what fun it was!