I was wandering aimlessly through the mall last weekend.
Officially, I was Christmas shopping, but a man in mall in December is much like a lost hiker on a North Shore mountain. He is not sure where he is or where he’s headed and he’s hoping for a helicopter to pluck him to safety.
Too often, men go Christmas shopping with no plan in mind, hoping for an epiphany in the form of a bright light shining on the perfect gift for their wives. There really is no such thing.
Over the years I have purchased many different items, some were well received and some got a cool reception.
Men misinterpret signals. If she says, “The toaster is on its last legs,” that doesn’t mean she wants a toaster for Christmas. Chances are you will buy a white one when all the rest of the appliances are stainless steel. Small appliances are not good Christmas gifts.
Clothes can be acceptable but, if you are going to peek at a pair of slacks in the closet to get the right size, make sure you choose the ones she is wearing after she lost 10 pounds.
Negligees can be tricky. I have learned there is a big difference between flimsy and sexy or comfortable and functional. It is too easy to send the wrong message with black lace.
Maybe tickets to a play or an upcoming performance is a good idea. Just a reminder, the Winnipeg Ballet is a better choice than the Winnipeg Jets. A day at a spa or even a weekend getaway can be a great idea but you need to do careful planning.
One year, I arranged a weekend for two at the Harrison Hot Springs hotel. I had the weekend package wrapped under the tree. I had pre-arranged that Grandma would take the kids for the weekend. All the way up on Friday, the conversation was light and cheerful.
When we pulled up to the hotel there was a huge banner: “Welcome to the B.C. Firefighters Provincial Curling Bonspiel.”
It turned out that I knew over half of the men staying at the hotel, without their wives.
Our reserved table for two in the dining room became a table for six as the Surrey team joined us with funny stories and revelry. Our quiet time in the hot tub was disturbed by six burley Okanagan curlers entertaining us with witty songs and jokes. We had knocks on our room door after midnight inviting us to parties. The drive home Sunday afternoon was quiet and subdued.
I thought I had purchased the perfect gift, but by not asking if there was something going on at the hotel that weekend, I had blown it. Do the research.
A couple had become separated in the mall. She phoned him to see where he was. He answered, “Honey you know that jewelry store we were in last year and saw that diamond pendant and earrings that we thought we could maybe afford another year?” “Yes!” she shouted excitedly.
“Well,” he replied, “I’m in the pub across from that jewelry store.”
I usually try to finish my column with a solution to a problem. On this topic men, you are on your own.
Like the North Shore hiker, before you enter the mall plan your day, know where the pitfalls are and be prepared to spend the night.
At least that’s what McGregor says,