As Black Friday weekend approaches, I thought I would share with you observations I have made over the years about the way most men approach Christmas shopping. Now in their defence, circumstances over the past couple of years have forced dramatic changes upon them, but the genuine lack of interest in gift hunting has always been there and still is. They experience no joy in the season’s chaos. Let me walk you down memory lane in the Pilon household.

A few years ago, Chuck excitedly told me that TSC (now that is a farmers’ co-op store for those not in the know) was having an amazing Black Friday sale and also it was opening at 6:00 am to accommodate all anxious buyers. Since he was an anxious buyer, he suggested that we get there no later than 6:05 am. I, on the other hand, felt that 8:00 – 9:00 would be early enough. At any rate, we arrived at the location and with shopping cart in tow, Chuck, like a speeding bullet, raced through the aisles, picking out two plaid jackets, several plaid flannel shirts, a bird feeder, bird seed, wool socks, an ugly hat with ear flaps good for wearing when blowing snow and several other odds and ends. (He had just used up 75% of my gift ideas for him). He was so excited. He had finished his Christmas shopping!

Around the 23rd of December that year, it hit him that maybe he should buy something for the wife. Panic set in. He did not remember the “subtle” hints I had been giving him, such as, “I really would like a _________ for Christmas” or the list of stocking stuffer ideas that had been taped to the fridge for the past few weeks. A call went out to Steven with the question, “What will I get your mother for Christmas”? and between the two of them, I was truly surprised as what I received was no way close to what I had suggested or wanted.

Well, that was a few years ago. Last year COVID killed the idea of personal shopping for everyone and this was seen as a blessing in disguise for Chuck. He had an excuse or maybe not. Meanwhile, I was busy getting ready for Christmas by purchasing gifts online. As a steady stream of Amazon, FedEx and Canada Post vehicles arrived, it slowly dawned on Chuck that maybe he better get the old girl a present. One morning as he was flipping through the Canadian Tire flyer, Chuck asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Not sure where that was going but I thought, “What the hell” and without missing a beat, I replied, “Stihl Professional BR600 Backpack Leaf Blower”. (I sounded like that kid in the Christmas movie who wanted the Red Ryder air rifle.) In the fall, I had borrowed my neighbour’s machine to see if I could manage the weight on my back and since I am as

strong as an ox and as stubborn as a mule, two necessary qualities needed for a woman my age to carry out this task, I had handled this “little puppy” quite nicely. BUT I wasn’t sure if I want this tool to be my Christmas gift. The decision was taken out of my hands. “Phone Stewart’s Equipment and see if they have one in stock,” came the instructions from Chuck, “and see when we can pick it up.” Yes, the word “we” was used and most appropriately so as “we” did pick it up.

But men do have the best time at Christmas. As each gift is unwrapped and the recipient says “Thanks Dad, Grandpa or Chuck” he will enjoy that wonderful element of surprise as he sees for the first time the gift “he” has purchased.

Well ladies, just a month until Christmas so get those cards mailed, the tree decorated, your baking done, all the presents bought and wrapped, meals planned and prepared, etc. With a bit of luck, you will be able to relax on Boxing Day.