When it comes to shopping, Christmas or otherwise, I’m a commando. I reconnoiter the simple way, I pull out the flyers, then check online and boom.
The goal is to spend the
least amount of time possible inside the store, any store. Well, any store that
doesn’t feature cycling gear, because cycling gear is cool.
I’m convinced there are X
chromosomes, Y chromosomes and the anti-S chromosomes. The latter causes a
sudden throbbing pain in the feet when forced to spend more than 10 minutes in
a store or mall.
Pain that lets the sufferer
monitor their own heart beat by the throbbing ache in the arches. That pain.
Oh, and don’t forget the sore back.
So when Beautiful Daughter
called asking if I’d bought anything for Beautiful Wife for Christmas yet, it
was a rhetorical question. There wasn’t really an answer expected, or
“Well…” I began.
“I thought so,” BD replied.
I could hear the smile all the way from northern Saskatchewan where she works
as the principal of a small school.
“It’s just that she’ll be
expecting some clothes and stuff, and I don’t do clothes and stuff,” I
“Do you want some help?”
Part of our family
tradition at Christmas is our annual buy-presents-for-your-mother shopping
expedition. The roles are clearly defined. BD brings the ideas and the in-store
know-how. I bring my credit card.
Clothes. Lipstick. Eye
stuff. Did you know lipstick and eyestuff come in a bajillion colours, but each
woman on the planet has only one that actually works for her? I didn’t either.
But this year BD won’t be
home for Christmas. There’s the boyfriend and his two kids and it’s a long way
and a lot of money. BW eased her separation pain by buying stuff for the kids,
a boy, 8, and a girl, 6.
“You’re going to need a
bigger box,” I warned Beautiful Wife midway through the process.
“No, it’ll be fine.”
“I’m good at packing and
you’re going to need a bigger box.”
By the time BW was done,
and my mother escaped the dollar store after her shopping for the great
grandkids, it took four boxes. Canada Post got a taste of my credit card too.
Knowing my situation,
Beautiful Daughter called to come to my rescue.
“I’ve been looking at some
stuff online at Sears that she would like. I can offer some suggestions.”
“Let me give you my credit
card,” I replied.
“Don’t you want to know
what I found?”
“I’m sure it’s perfect. Do
you have a pencil?”
A few days later BW and I
were talking to our daughter online via Skype or Facetime, or something.
“So did you do your
father’s shopping online for him?” BW said with a knowing glance in my
How do they do that? How do
they always know?
“It’s all in the mail,” BD
Then I pulled out a photo
of our daughter and plopped it in front of BW. She looked up, mystified.
“Our daughter’s coming home
for a few days right after New Years,” I explained. “I bought her a plane
ticket. They were on sale. She and her brother will be here at the same time,
for the first time in three years. Merry Christmas.”
BW started to cry.
- Rick MacLean is an
instructor in the journalism program at Holland College in Charlottetown.