Timeless advice from George Lee’s monthly feature in the Portsong Guardian, circa 1926
I shouldn’t assume that all you men realize Christmas is upon us. It is hunting season in some places and we tend to be a distracted group. Therefore, I will begin by making two statements to you men who have wives, fiancées, or girlfriends:
First: Christmas is in two weeks.
Second: You are expected to get something for her.
Now that we’ve passed the obvious, let’s talk a little about the word “something”. It can be a tricky word. Do not substitute “anything” for it, anything won’t do. She is expecting something special, something that says you know her, her dreams, and her desires better than anyone else on the planet. Are you scared yet? If not, hand her a can of motor oil or a pack of playing cards on Christmas morn and watch the sparks fly! Here are some friendly reminders of things that will NOT promise satisfaction and smooth sailing on Christmas morning:
1. Anything that is for “us”. If it is for “us”, it is really for you. Rule of thumb: if you will touch, watch, listen to, or carry it more than 15% of the time, it is for you not her.
2. Anything automobile related. Give her car wax or leather cleaner and get ready to sleep in the back seat of your beloved motorcar for a few days.
3. Things intended to make her homemaking job easier. This includes kitchen and cleaning items. Again, see point 1, these things are for you – to make you more food or a tidier home. Either that or they say she isn’t doing a good job and needs help.
4. Items of clothing that are not her style, but looked good on a model or advertisement. In fact, unless you are absolutely, 100% sure of the size, stay away from clothing altogether. I’ve heard horror stories about men who gave their size 4 wives a size 8 dress and left the hospital sometime after New Year’s Day.
5. Gag gifts. Jokes are funny on April first, but not on Christmas. I made this mistake with Harriet once early in our marriage. When they wired our house for electricity, I found she often left lights on. So I thought it would be humorous to give her a light switch with a chain for a necklace. It didn’t work as a present or a reminder. Needless to say, I never ventured down that path again.
6. Anything found near the register at the store. She goes there, she’ll know. Those are called impulse items and she won’t have an impulse to kiss you any time soon.
7. Be wary of things that plug in. I’m from a bygone generation, but I thought a new radio was a stellar gift for Harriet one year. I listened to it alone until June and she still curls her nose up a little every time I click on the The J.W. Terwiliger Hour of Talent.
I suppose the best way to decide on a gift for her is to watch and listen to her, not to that inner voice that says you can finish this shopping thing quickly and be before kick-off. Games will always be there, will she?
George Lee is the resident Sage of Portsong, husband to Harriet and father of Dorothy, Henry, and Sally. Folks from all over town stop by Greynote Insurance to get his advice. If you’re in need of a word of wisdom, or term life coverage, feel free to stop by his office at the corner of Maple & Harvey Street for whichever type of quote suits you.