Josh’s Christmas Tips for Practical Men

Since it’s late evening on December 22 you may have started to ponder what Christmas gifts to buy for your wife or children. Well, maybe not your children. Children are easy since your wife probably already bought gifts for them weeks ago. But your wife… hmm… She’s harder. Here’s some surefire tips that’ll help maximize the perceived value of your cheap tokens of affection.

Wrap your gift in brown craft paper

So I found some “bath bombs” at Walmart. Bath bombs are like little balls of lotion or whatnot that you put in your bathtub. They are supposed to smell good and be healthy for your skin or some nonsense like that. The point is that your wife probably likes them and that’s all that matters. The problem is that your wife wants the organic, limited edition bath bombs handmade from essential oils by Tibetan monks and then blessed by the pope. The pope’s blessing doesn’t come cheaply and so you’re on the hook for some overpriced bubble bath.

As you can imagine, Walmart’s bath bombs are much cheaper than this and are made from recycled tires and leftover Febreeze chemicals; basically all things your wife will not be impressed by. This is the trick: buy the bulk bag of cheap Equate Walmart bath bombs and then individually wrap each one with brown craft paper, finishing it off with a rustic twine flourish which keeps the wrapping closed. It looks like something you would buy off from Etsy and since it looks that way, your wife assumes that the bath bombs inside are handmade by an Avon lady in Kansas. Now, don’t give your wife all the bath bombs! Only wrap two or three. Perception is reality and if your wife sees three carefully wrapped bath bombs she will assume they are handmade and expensive (because you only bought three) and henceforth and forthwith she will be impressed with your discerning taste. Hide the remaining twenty five bath bombs in your gun safe and pull this trick again for every surprise birthday or anniversary that comes along.

Give the gift of babysitting

The gift of babysitting is something you can pull out of thin air, you don’t have to wait in line to get, and is likely something your wife will actually use – maybe even the same day. Here’s the thing, you’ll likely end up babysitting the little hoodlums anyway, might as well kill two birds with one stone. Get a piece of brown craft paper and draw up an official babysitting certificate worth about four hours of babysitting, or whatever the maximum length of time is that you can handle your kids on your own. Present it to your wife along with your carefully wrapped El Cheapo bath bombs. If you try this gift all on its own, it’ll seem like you did it out of desperation. It has to be accompanied by other tokens of appreciation.

Pull a Switcheroo

It’s the thought that counts but when it comes to jewelry, if you don’t spend much on her you don’t think much of her. As guys we know that some fast talking jewelry salesman is swindling us out of large sums of money but we can’t quite get our wives to see our perspective. You cannot convince me that those little trinkets are worth thousands of dollars. Only morons would spend that much! And yet, you always end up being a moron.

Here’s the trick: You can buy empty Jared jewelry boxes on eBay! You probably know where I’m going with this. Go to Walmart, spend $20 on a shiny trinket, and put it in a Jared’s box. No one will ever know the difference; unless of course your wife tries to sell it then the subject may come up at the dinner table.

“Honey, I took my diamond necklace to Jared’s today and they told me it was worth $2 in store credit.”

You snort and intensely study your mashed potatoes. “Bunch of swindlers!”

Bring some pallets home from work

If your wife is the crafty type, consider giving her a stack of pallets. Pallets can be used to build all kinds of things like, um.. bonfires or piles of sawdust. Your wife, however, has come to believe that pallets can be turned into exquisite coffee tables, chicken coops, yard swings, bird houses, bed frames, or end tables because she saw other people make those things on Pinterest. In reality, building things out of pallets involves tedious hours of pulling nails out of boards, finding hidden nails with your circular saw, changing saw blades, and piecing together strangely shaped, warped pieces of wood into something that resembles something a beaver would build. Of course, a beaver used only his teeth but you’ve used $400 worth of power tools and the results are the same. You’re better off buying real lumber and getting done in the half the time. But, she doesn’t know that (yet) and she’ll be happy as pie that you found a bunch of pallets just for her and her projects! Of course, she doesn’t know you picked them up for free at a local shipping yard and she doesn’t have to know that.

Quick note: You also have to be careful because sometimes she’ll turn to you for help if she inevitably finds that building things from pallets is difficult. I find the best remedy is to quick burn all the pallets in the backyard and then say something like, “Too bad honey, they were full of termites. Its’ the craziest thing.”

Put down your phone

The best present your family can get is your time. You’re a busy man but one thing that doesn’t cost anything is to put down your phone and give your full attention to your family for at least one day. Enjoy the day! Make memories, assemble cheap Christmas presents, drink eggnog and eat too much.

That’s about all the tips I have. I don’t want to give away all my secrets or else Janice will catch on. So peace out, y’all.

Merry Christmas from the Snader family!

Oh yea… and a happy New Year.



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