Christmas can be a vexatious time, none more so than the moment when she opens her 'special,' gift under the tree. Husbands have been getting this so wrong for so long it's a miracle that any of us have made it as far as we have without being seriously incapacitated. Too often what we think is a helpful and diligently thought through present can have rapid unforeseen consequences. When you buy anything for example, with 'kitchen,' on the box, such as an electrical gadget, ("so you can spend less time in the kitchen love'), do bear in mind that surgeons have not yet perfected the surgical procedure for removing bread and ice cream makers when embedded in the upper body. Indeed, I fondly recall when the electronic thermometer I had lovingly purchased some years ago quickly reached terminal velocity after being unwrapped and only narrowly missed my forehead because of my ninja-like reaction time.
Some friends are world class exponents at getting it wrong. I still look back with admiration at how my old chum Ben escaped intact after giving his wife a box of Bic biro's, 'she's always shouting for a pen whenever she's on the telephone.' The all-time-classic-never-to-be-beaten though was another chum who, when sent into town to buy an Aga, drove home in a newly acquired two seater sports car.
Most of you won't yet be suffering from shopping exhaustion, mostly because not one of you (men), will have yet started. This is good because there is still time to absorb some well meaning advice from your battle scarred mentor.
Follow these simple rules and you may avoid the cold and unforgiving letter from the divorce lawyer round about January 5th,
- Under no circumstances buy her gift from Halfords, B&Q, Screwfix or Cotswold.
- Gift certificates, anything 'not sold in stores,' gadgets and anything from those infuriating tat filled catalogues that drop through the letter box are a big no-no.
- 'Night wear' - Just don't go there. This is so wrong on so many levels and you will get it hopelessly wrong on every one of them. Whilst you may see your bride as you did on the day you met she doesn't and she mostly won't appreciate your invitation for her to dress like an Estonian pole dancer. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
- If you would prefer to not be present during a stress episode then for goodness sake don't buy anything which comes with phrases like, 'I thought we could do with something for the house,' or 'it's all about the kids really, isn't it?' or 'all your friends use these in the kitchen,' or 'Which magazine said these were the best value.......'
- They do love their calendars of family pictures but get one of the kids to do it. If you sit down with a large glass of claret at the computer it very probably isn't going to end well.
I will admit, getting it right is somewhere between science, art and luck but it's mostly about a big credit card bill. The only 100% safe zone names are those like Chanel, Hermes, Tiffany and Cartier and 2016 had better have been a stunning year at work for that to happen so good luck.
Don't for a moment think you can reassure yourself after a catastrophic Christmas present moment by saying to yourself, 'she'll get over it.' No son, she won't. It will simmer away for years, corrosively eating away at a once happy union. If she is really angry, and I'm thinking mean and angry, then watch out; you don't want her to make The Call and for you to end up with these poor souls,