According to the calendar, precious few shopping days remain to get that present for your wife. If you are like me, and I hope you're not, you don't have a clue as to what to get her.
After more than three decades of buying Christmas gifts for my wife, I have gained some insight in this important aspect of marital bliss. And believe me, if you fail here, your marital bliss is history. Ancient history!
The very first consideration in buying your beloved a Christmas gift is the budget. This question always comes up: How much do I spend on my wife?
Establishing the Christmas gift budget is the most crucial. Let me give you a suggestion for establishing an amount. Anyone can pull a figure out of the air, but at my age, I leave the figures alone. It's healthier - if you know what I mean.
Here is a formula for establishing the Christmas gift budget: Take your wife's age and add how long you have been married. Then, multiply that number by how many children you have.
You're not quite finished yet. The last thing you must do is multiply that number by how many days you made her life miserable. I know. I know. Maybe next year you won't make her life so miserable.
However, if you are like me and can't remember how old you wife is, please, for goodness sake, don't guess. That would be the worse thing for you to do. She will find out, I don't know how, but she will find out and then your life is toast - burnt toast buttered on both sides.
There is another way to establish your budget.
As a rule, always buy her Christmas present with your checkbook. Receipts can get lost and you will always forget how much you spent last year on her. If you use a checkbook you can always look back and see how much you paid and where you got the present. Those two things are crucial.
Your wife knows every gift you have ever bought her and how much it cost. In addition, she knows where you bought it and what the occasion was when you bought it and what dress she was wearing. I don't know how they know this I only know they do.
Find that checkbook entry for last year's gift and get the total amount you spent. Take that amount and multiply it by 10% for inflation. Then - you're not done yet - take that figure and double it for the many ways in which you inconvenienced her during the year. One of these years, you will learn and not have to do this last step. But, not this year.
The next step is purchasing the Christmas gift.
On the morning of going to the mall, there are special preparations to be made. First and this is most important, when you get up in the morning neither shower nor shave. I'll explain this later. Then, pick out clothes that have not been washed for days. The word for the day is "grunge." The "grungier" the better.
Now, you are set to go to the mall.
When you first get to the mall you will be a little disoriented. That's to be expected. You are on foreign territory, but keep both chins up; your wife is worth the sacrifice.
Once you are in the store and the dizziness has stopped, look around for a large group of women, however, not necessarily a group of large women. When you've spotted such a group walk over and stand in the middle of them. It is also important if you can mumble incoherently to yourself.
Within 3.97 seconds, every woman in that group will disappear. Now is when you go to work.
Whatever they were looking at and admiring, buy. You will not know what it is or how it is used, but that's all right. Your wife will love it. In fact, the rule of thumb is, if you know what it is and what it does your beloved will not want it as a Christmas gift. Trust me on this one.
Now that you have the present, the next thing is to get out of the store as quickly as possible before some buddy sees you with whatever that thing is you have and ask you about it. The lines at the checkout counter are always long and slow.
Never fear, you're prepared for this. Walk up to the longest line you can find, it doesn't matter. Stand at the end, begin muttering to yourself incoherently and throw in several "tee, hee's" every few moments. Your behavior, along with your grungy smell will pave the way for you.
Within a few moments, not even a full minute, the ladies in line will suddenly remember some item they forgot and leave to look for it. In no time, you are at the front of the line and the perky checkout person (a girl but PC won't let me mention that) will take one good look at you, not to mention whiff, and check you out faster than a costume change at a Victoria Secret lingerie catwalk show.
When it comes to gift giving, nothing beats the meticulous care and planning God put into His marvellous gift to the world. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16 KJV).
At a time when gift-giving borders on the ridiculous, it is good to know one gift really makes sense. It's the gift of eternal life offered by Christ to everyone who believes.
The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship located at 1471 Pine Road in Silver Springs Shores. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores and can be contacted by calling 687-4240. Rev. Snyder's Christmas book, "Christmas Through A Parsonage Window," is available. Call for details. His E-mail address is JamesSnyder2@worldnet.att.net. The Church website is www.whatafellowship.com