The Smart Shopper's Guide!
by: Dr. Boogie
When I was a young man, I used to put off my Christmas shopping until the last minute. It wasn't because I was waiting for a good deal, or because I forgot about holiday shopping altogether, no. I was just far too busy to get my shopping done early. Why, back in my college days, I was in classes for almost five hours a day! I'm not a machine!!
In more recent years, however, I've been putting off shopping for gifts because I just couldn't think of what I should get for the people that mean so much to me. And then there's the question of what gifts I should get for my family! I tell you, it was quite a mess. That's why I devised a simple rubric that anyone can use to identify the perfect gift for any member of their family (and we're talking nuclear family, here. You nontraditional family types will just have to wait for next year's edition).
Dad is the hardest family member to shop for. He's always shown himself to be an unflinching pillar of masculinity, and as such, you know next to nothing about this mysterious fatherly figure. You know he has a favorite chair, and you've seen him watch football a few times before, so the most logical gift to get him would be an NFL pillow for his bad back. Is it the right gift? His stony visage isn't going to give you any clue, unless you pick the wrong team, or he's allergic to goose down. Best to err on the side of caution and get him something from the Sharper Image, or Brookstone. You may or may not have one of those two stores in your local mall, so just look for a store that sells esoteric gadgets that you would never buy for yourself. A gift like that will satisfy Dad's need for a semi-useful toy, and it may cause him to smirk a little as he recalls some other useless thing he saw in a Skymall catalogue. Make sure you keep the receipt handy in case there's something else he wants, like a golf swing monitor or a new battery for his Segway.
Ah, mom. She's always been there for you, and you've always been a constant reminder of how she gave up a rewarding career to stay home and watch you grow from slobbering infant to a simpering adult. You really need something special to show your appreciation for all that she's done. If you've already gotten her a vacuum cleaner or an ironing board, you'll need to reconsider your options. Ask yourself this question: has your mother had any trouble dropping the weight she gained from having you (True, a pregnant woman will eventually expel up to 20 pounds of flesh, bone and hair, but there will be so much left over)? Why not get her a book on the latest fad diet? After all, if she loses the weight, she'll feel better about herself, and she'll be a lot easier to look at. Everybody wins!
When your sister was young, shopping for her was a breeze. Barbie dolls and just about anything pink would have been a safe bet. Unfortunately, you were a kid at that point, too, so you couldn't very well take advantage of this grace period due to your financial situation (a lemonade stand in the winter? What were you thinking?). At some point in her life, though, her interests took a radical turn. Now, she's listening to Linkin Park and spending all her free time at Hot Topic. Another easy one, right? Wrong. Granted, Linkin Park is inextricably linked to Hot Topic as much as Invader Zim, but not nearly as much as A Nightmare Before Christmas, but odds are your sister already has more CDs and novelty shirts than she can handle. Instead, go for something less specific, like a gift certificate for the mall. That way, when her angsty non-conformist phase comes to an end, she won't be left high and dry.
Your brother. You know him as that awkward simulacrum of yourself. With that in mind, you should shop for him as you would shop for yourself, only a little cheaper. That's how it would be if there were a just and loving god in this world. Instead, your brother, though similar to you on a physical and genetic level, will have vastly different interests than you, and force you into that whole "nature vs. nurture" debate. Start by thinking of the things you like, and then think of the opposite. That is what you should get your brother for Christmas. Sometimes, though, finding the opposite of something may not be as clear as black and white. In these cases, just use an anagram for something you like (if you like the band Journey, get your brother a copy of the new Korean MMORPG, Rune Joy).
Some people like to get cute little gifts for their pets. They may even go so far as to hang a tiny little stocking above their fireplace for said pet. Of course, you can't really fit anything into such a stocking, so what's the point? I don't know, but if you are one of those people, you'll probably be wondering what to get your pet. If you've got a cat, get it something small it can chew on, like a flash drive. If you've got a dog, get it something it can bark at, like a small child. If it's a fish, get it some contact lenses. If it's a hamster, get it a hexagonal wheel. If it's a ferret, get it a diaper. I'm an expert in human gifts, people.
So in conclusion, get these gifts for your family and I guarantee you'll have a merry Christmas, even if you don't celebrate Christmas. That reminds me, be sure to catch my next guide for the best foods to eat during Ramadan. Otherwise, you'll just end up counting calories from Fajr to Isha'a.
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