Definition: To inspect, observe, or survey in order to gain information.
Gentlemen, it may come as a nasty surprise to you but I saw a tweet recently which informed me that there are only 10 week-ends until Christmas.
To give you that little extra help in focussing I found this ‘useful’ website which tells you, to the second, how many hours there are until the big day.
I am reminding you of this not so that you can calculate how many evenings of merriment you have before the festivities really start, but because if you are anything like me you need a bit of a ‘run up’ to steel yourself for Christmas Shopping.
When it comes to buying Christmas gifts for the love of your life there is a huge gulf between the perfect gift which results in a huge smile on Christmas day and the one which brings a slightly forced grimace and tells you that you have totally missed the mark.
At that point there is no room for manoeuvre, you have no way of remedying the situation, the stores are closed and relations can be frosty for the whole of the Christmas period. It is for this reason that I am reminded of one of my father-in-law’s favourite sayings “time spent in reconnaissance is rarely wasted”
I suggest that you should plan your Christmas shopping like a military campaign. Above all start early and have a strategy.
The most important starting point is to listen to your partner and think. If, like me, you have been married for a number of years and have been through a few Christmases where you have achieved ‘slightly less than the perfect “Christmas gift experience”, it is highly likely that about now your love will start to drop some subtle, or possibly less subtle, hints as to what she would like to receive for Christmas.
The problem is some of these hints can be extremely subtle and possibly dropped into conversation at the most inconvenient time. It’s my experience that there is often a boxing day discussion in which you will be reminded of a conversation in a restaurant in late October, which you can vaguely remember, at which the perfect gift was referred to obtusely and which you missed completely.
So at this time of year be alert, always be listening and find some way to make a note of hints and ideas. With mobile phones and apps available all the time these days set up a page for present ideas and add to it regularly.
Then start to think for yourself. Spend a little time thinking about what your other half likes, what she has always wanted. This can require some original assessment and going into places and web sites that you are likely to be unfamiliar with.
There are some wonderful women’s web sites such as the marvellous and curiously names Domestic Sluttery which will reward a little diligent searching with some great ideas and links to web sites you will otherwise never find. It is my experience that these are ideal for highly original little stocking filler items.
Does your partner have a pinterest board on which there is a pin which may give you a hint, has she noted something on Facebook over the last year that hints at the ideal present.
When you have gathered some ideas and found some likely presents my final piece of advice is to start buying presents early. Don’t miss an opportunity or put it off until next week/month. You will be amazed how the days between now and Christmas will just fly by and the next thing you will know it is Christmas eve.
Aparently in the perfume stores the late dash for Chanel no 5 two or three days before the stores shut is the traditional sign that the male of the species has at long last shaken himself out of his torpor and decided to make a start Christmas shopping.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of relaxation which comes on the last Saturday before Christmas as you head for a quiet pint at the pub at lunch time and watch the people who haven’t planned as they rush for the crammed shops.
So this year Gentlemen, it is now time go forth and prepare for Christmas Shopping!
Other useful sites of friends of ours you might like to consider include:
English Cream Tea Company – Cream teas delivered to your door (and vouchers)
Treat Gifts – Personalised Gifts