I'm giving this post over to my late father, Ken Wright (1899-1952). As a frequent contributor to The Chatham Daily News in the 1940s, Ken had some sage advice for newly-wed male Christmas shoppers in 1945. It is another one of those things from the past that I recall with fondness every year at this time. It is typical of my father, fun to read, and as humourously applicable today as it was when he wrote it 65 years ago.
By KEN WRIGHT
What are you getting the little lady for Christmas fellows? You older chaps need no advice. You've learned the hard way and know the ropes. But you lads who during the course of the past year took on the status of "married man" , take a tip from me: Don't under any circumstances get the "better half" a cook book. No matter how beautiful the binding or how many recipes it contains, don't buy that for your wife for Christmas. I made that mistake a few years ago.
A pressure cooker or a nice lamp make lovely birthday gifts but I tell you, definitely do not give her a household item like that for Christmas and expect her to do back flips or even feign any degree of surprise or pleasure. I've made those errors in the past as well and have the scars to prove it. Items like that are about as risky as buying her a frying pan or a rolling pin for Christmas.
You cannot go wrong with any pretty little trinket, some inexpensive little thing for around, well, say, not too much and by all means not too little. Remember it is the spirit of the thing that counts -- as long as you don't buy the wrong thing. Buy the wrong thing and she will "box" it back up and you can just return it to the store the next day. That's what Boxing Day is for you know, and you do not want to fight the crowds to go there and do that.
Just keep your ears open. She may drop some little tidbit between now and then and that will be your tip. Don't expect her to hint, however, because women are not made that way.
You can come through this gift thing safely by exercising a little care, forethought and patience.
Merry Christmas fellows! And good luck!
Note: Ken took his own advice after he wrote this piece and a couple of days before Christmas he wisely returned a super-dooper orange juice squeezer he had purchased as a gift for my mother. We all had a Merry Christmas that year thanks to a quickly-substituted pair of nylons and a bottle of my mother's favourite perfume.