A week or so after Thanksgiving, and once the Black Friday insanity has abated; a slow and steady migration begins. It is much like the great movements of the African Wildebeests, as they single-mindedly make their way across vast savannahs in search of food and water. At first, there are but a few individuals wandering aimlessly, as if desperately searching for something. Soon, large numbers gather in groups, as if seeking comfort from others of their own kind, and also protection from many unknown dangers. By early December, department store parking lots are filled with these creatures, who stand outside their cars, pause for a few moments, as if time itself has stopped its steady march forward, and gaze at the enormous mall in the distance.
Tightly clutching, hastily scribbled lists of items, and clothing in various sizes and colors, they reach for their back pockets for reassurance that their credit card filled wallets are there. Moving slowly forward as one, they completely ignore each other, as they focus on reaching the large doors, and decorative entrance to the massive mall before them. Though, they consist of many different races, ages, and ethnic backgrounds, they share a common feature. All their eyes contain, not only a look of uncertainty and confusion, but an underlying fear as well. Who are these men, who as retail establishments open, slowly and aimlessly wander in with no apparent purpose or guidance? Yes, they are our fathers, partners, husbands, brothers, and sons, doing their annual Christmas shopping. It is a sad and pitiful sight indeed. Eventually, they will head home with huge shopping bags filled with kitchen appliances, ugly cotton robes, enormous furry slippers, incredibly unflattering, mismatched, over-sized and under-sized clothing, and precious receipts. Receipts, which will be used the day after Christmas, to return or exchange nearly every single item they procured.
As a man, who has faced, not only this yearly ritual, but the disappointment of watching my wife open her Christmas presents, cover her mouth to hide her smile, listen to a quick, “thank you, I love them,” and then ask if I kept all the receipts, I’ve decided that this madness must end. I have recently formed an organization, with the sole purpose of bringing these lost souls together during the Holiday season. This group will have, not only a mission to foster camaraderie and understanding among its membership, but will also be a vital support mechanism. The group is called, SADSACS. It’s an acronym for, “Society Aiding Dads Stuck at Christmas Shopping.” Though it focuses on fathers, everyone is welcome. If, over the years, you have often disappointed your spouse, partner, or significant other, than this organization could be for you. Age doesn’t matter. You may be young and new to Christmas shopping, or older, and a little wiser. Remember, even an old dog can learn a few new tricks. We also hope that many women, will sign up at our website as teachers, to use their invaluable knowledge, intuition, insight, and skills to help our members in their quest to become experts in procuring that perfect Christmas gift.
SADSACS will provide a forum, in which men can gather in small groups to discuss the horrible, funny, stupid or just pitiful gift selections they’ve made over the years. It will also provide complete anonymity, and allow our members the opportunity to receive lessons, and intense training on such subjects as: the basics of gift giving, what a woman wants, proper accessorizing, color schemes, outfit coordination, fabric selection, what not to give, the right gift for the right person, tasteful jewelry as an added bonus, and saving those receipts. That last one is very important. Remember that we are men, and though we have some good points, we are also imperfect. There will be times when our loved one will return a gift. The object of SADSACS is to minimize gift disasters, train men to be better spouses and partners, and let them know – they are not alone.
I would like to take a few minutes to review some very important guiding principles, and the recovery process, that forms a cornerstone of the SADSACS mission, which is based on popular twelve-step programs. As a member, you must: admit that you have a problem, recognize a higher power that can give you strength, examine past gift-giving errors with the help of sponsor or experienced member, work hard to make amends for these errors, learn to live a better life with a new code of behavior, and offer help and support to others, who suffer as you do, from bad gift choices. Here at SADSACS, we firmly believe, the saying, “It’s the thought that counts,” is totally inappropriate. Do you really want to say on Christmas morning to your life partner, “I’m really sorry honey, but the first thought that popped into my head was – granny panties.”
Here is a preview of what I feel is, one of the most important courses you will learn here at SADSACS. The title is, “What not to give as a gift.” I believe that in order to learn what are good gifts, you must eliminate any bad gifts. For those of you on the receiving end of horrendous Holiday gifts, here are a few you may recognize. Of course, there are the obvious ones such as: a scale, gym memberships, socks, cleaning supplies, exercise videos, gift certificates for plastic surgery, and any type of shapewear, girdles, or body slimmer’s. Less obvious, but just as important, is to refrain from buying any type of attire with four or more colors. That is, unless your spouse or partner works as a clown for children’s birthday parties, and needs a few new outfits. Gag gifts may be okay under certain circumstances, but don’t make it a habit. I made the mistake one year, of giving my wife a voodoo doll of herself. Little did I know, that she already had one of me. The crazy thing is, it took me six months, several doctor’s visits, a cat scan, and finding the doll in my wife’s closet before I realized, the extreme and frequent pain I had wasn’t a pinched nerve. It’s perfectly okay, to give a life insurance policy to your loved one. Just make sure it’s on you, not him or her, and don’t forget to include a new set of cutlery. A definite no, in terms of that special gift, is any square device made of metal; especially if it toasts bread or reheats dinner. It’s also okay to buy your spouse or partner an espresso machine. However, you must include the finest coffee beans, become trained as a skilled barista, make her delicious cappuccinos with double espresso and steamed milk, and serve them to her each morning in bed, while wearing a bright red man thong. Well, maybe not – but it worked for me!
Hopefully, by next year, we will, for the first time in recent memory, see men shopping for Christmas presents in pairs and groups, and making reasonable gift selections We may even in the coming years, have women opening presents, and actually loving them. All us members of SADSACS, only ask that you have patience with us. We may often be incredibly goofy, awkward, clueless, and at times a little naïve; but we love you dearly, and we’re trying our best. To all you women out there who already have someone in your life, who can find and purchase a fashionable, extremely flattering, perfect-fitting winter coat with matching hat, scarf, and gloves, along with the cutest boots – I say this. “Hold on to them tightly, and never let them go.”