So, I finally ventured into the Christmas shopping world yesterday. Every year, I end up waiting until the most procrastinated second, so that, typically, it's me and hundreds of like-minded idiots fighting over the one shirt that isn't Marlon-Brando-sized. This has a tendency to dampen the holiday cheer, turning gift-giving into a Darwinian fiasco of conspicuous consumption, but when you haven't had a paycheck since, say, late October, you're stuck with the last minute gift-grab. I'm not going to bitch about it thought. No. Today, we're optimists. This isn't going to be a five-paragraph whine about how Christmas is too commercialized or how there's a war of Christmas or anything else that could be confused for the ten unsettling minutes of the O'Reilly Factor prior to the next 50 downright disturbing minutes of high-volumed yelling and visual proof that it's actually possible to contract Down Syndrome during an hour long broadcast. I wouldn't do that to you.
Instead, here are some important strategies for procrastinated Christmas shopping.
1- Go to Costco: So maybe you don't have a special something for your little sister. You'd check the book store or the record shop but she's deaf and illiterate. That's why you go to Costco. Nothing says thoughtful like a 30-pack of C batteries and a maroon Kirkland turtleneck.
2- Add to your friend's weird collections: If you've got a friend who collects doo-rags or dented cans or who stockpiles shotguns for the robot apocalypse, then buy them a doo-rag, take a can out of your neighbor's trash, or buy me a pump-action cyborg-mutilator. Get cracking. They're organizing their forces as we speak.
3- Buy Crap: When in doubt, find some one of a kind bric-a-brac at a garage sale or thrift store. Sure it's one of a kind because there are (at most) three people on earth who want a "Symphony of Destruction" music box, but imagine the joy on that special person's face when they open a box and find a unicorn, circling a carousel, to the soothing vocals of Dave Mustaine. Can you say "New Best Friend"?
4- Give Personalized Gift Certificates: Nothing says "thoughtful" like a gift certificate made by the giver, perhaps 20 minutes before the giving, written in ball-point pen and rife with misspellings, especially when its for something the giver does for free anyway. "This Gift Certificate entitles the recipient one (1) accompanied walk to the liquor store and the coverage of half (.5) the incurred cost of one (1) domestic six-pack," for example. You'll be everyone's best guy.
5- Get their gift first: The worst thing about getting a great gift is when you give something horrible in return. If you're getting a digital camera and you're giving some white socks you bought at Walgreens, while, have a nice divorce. So it's always good to pretend you left the rest of your gift at home or that they haven't delivered it yet. That buys you time instead of looking like a thoughtless prick. And that's what Christmas is all about. Either that or Baby Jesus. I'm going to need to look that up.