Well, I had a big feed of Minnie’s world famous fish chowder last weekend, which means Christmas Daddies musta been on TV. We didn’t really see much of it since they changed the way it works, but it got me thinkin’ – Christmas must be right around the corner. So I thought I’d let yis in on a few of my best tips about Christmas shoppin’.
1) Don’t pay for stuff. Now, I’m not sayin’ go shopliftin’ or anything, since nobody wants to spend Christmas in the clink, but there’s a lot of ways you can get stuff without actually payin’ for it. One way is by tradin’ for it. For example, if your buddy Murph knows how to find things that fall off trucks, and he’s willin’ to trade a carton of smokes for a new iPod for your kid, you’d be crazy not to take that deal. Or, if the wife wants a new stove and you know somebody with a decent second-hand one who’ll take two broken lawnmowers and a case of Keith’s, you’re laughin’.
2) Complain about stuff. I found out how this one works one night last summer when I opened up a bag of BBQ chips and they were all ketchup chips. The whole way home from the store, I could taste them BBQ chips, so when I plunked myself down in front of the ball game, opened the bag and bit into a ketchup chip, I was fit to be tied. I cursed and hollered and went to the phone, and dialed the 1-800 number on the bag and blasted them. What if I was allergic to ketchup? I said. I coulda died! A week later a box with twelve big bags of BBQ chips in it was delivered to the door. The point is, there’s only a few weeks left to complain loud enough to make sure stuff gets here in time.
3) Give away stuff ya don’t want. Last year, I don’t know how I forgot about my brother-in-law Cyril because every year we give each other a little gift – usually some kind of little tool or a quart of rum. So last year, sure enough, Cyril hands me a quart of rum and that’s when I realized I forgot to get him anything. So I said I was gonna down to the basement to get his present and I let on that’s where I hide them. Anyway, I grabbed the first decent thing I could find, which was a socket set he gave me the Christmas before. I came up and handed it to him and Minnie was mortified because they were all covered in grease since I’d been usin’ them for a year. These are so good, eh – I told him – I had to break them open to tighten up the furnace a couple of times. Anyways, he got a gift and it didn’t cost me a cent.
3) Save money on turkey by playin’ darts. This one is more a tip about how to use Christmas as an excuse to get some enjoyment for yourself. Timmy and Tommy play in a dart league and they’re both really good. But last year there was a dart tournament advertised before Christmas where there was a bunch of prizes, but one of them was turkey. It was a perfect excuse for me to give Minnie.
Whaddya mean you’re goin’ out to shoot darts? she said. We don’t got money for you to be drinkin’ your face off two weeks before Christmas.
Oh yes, Minnie, I said. Like I’d go out and do that and take away from our Christmas? The fact is, the tournament raises money for needy families, and the prize is a Christmas turkey. So I thought I’d go and try my best to win us a bird and save some money.
I felt bad sayin’ all that, but it got me out the door. I felt even worse when I spent almost fifty bucks gettin’ ossified and comin’ in last place, but ya gotta blow off some steam over the holidays, right?
4) Only buy for your immediate family. Here’s a clue – if the only time of the year I see ya is Christmas, then we’re not buyin’ gifts for each other. That’s for starters. For seconders, if somebody in your family has a baby, don’t fall into the trap of gettin’ somethin’ small and cute for baby’s first Christmas. Because then you’ll feel like ya gotta do it the next year and the next year, and before ya know it all these neices and nephews and second cousins and neighbours kids, they all get old enough to expect a present from ya, and then that’s only one step away from rollin’ their eyes because ya gave them socks instead of a toy. Ingrates.
5) Use Sobeys bags instead of wrappin’ paper. This’ll save ya six or seven bucks, maybe more, dependin’ how big the gifts are ya gotta wrap. I started this a couple of years ago – if it’s smaller than a Sobeys bag, I plop it in and tie a knot in the top. That way they still gotta rip it up open like it’s wrappin’ paper. Another tip – if it’s bigger than a Sobeys bag, rip them down the side and tape two of them together. I swear, this tip alone will take half the frustration out of Christmas. No tryin’ to fold paper over the corners and stick them together. And I usually just write their name on the bag with a permanent marker, that way I don’t end up with five or six name tags stuck to the arse of my joggin’ pants.
6) Spare no expense on the wife. If your wife’s anything like me, she’s the reason the whole season comes together. So if she likes peanut butter Oh Henrys, get her a whole box of them instead of one bar, ya cheapskate.