Taking the Guesswork Out of the Holidays

Taking the Guesswork Out of the Holidays

Big Daddy Graham offers some advice to make shopping for your loved ones a little less stressful.

I adore practically everything there is about Christmas. I love the lights. I treasure decorations that get passed down from generation to generation. I dig most of the holiday music and many holiday films.

 
What drives me absolutely nutty, however, is attempting to figure out what gifts I am going to get my loved ones.
 
Shopping for my 2-year-old twin grandbabies is a delight. I could spend thousands of dollars on Jamison and Lucy and buy out an entire Toys-R-Us store, if they even still exist.
 
But take my wife. (Please.) We have been married for 37 years and dated for five years before that. I have completely exhausted the romantic, the creative and the funny gifts. And the same applies to my two daughters.
                                                                                                                           
And I am very fortunate when it comes to Christmas shopping. I have about five relatives to buy for. But my wife? She has 105! My wife is half-Irish and half-Italian and I have no idea how she does it. She starts shopping in August. The Deptford Mall is like a giant magnet that pulls my wife’s car over whenever she drives within two miles of it, and the Cherry Hill Mall is like mecca to her. When my wife finally wraps that final present, a tidal wave of relief engulfs our home.
 
An old friend of mine by the name of Deuce Krause developed an extremely brilliant move. He buys every single person of importance—every relative, every friend—the same exact gift.
 
Talk about one-stop shopping. One year he made one stop, that’s right one stop, to the Mantua Home Depot and bought 17 fire extinguishers. Counting the drive, this transaction took approximately 35 minutes. Wrapping these extinguishers up (which his wife did, by the way) maybe took another hour.
 
And that is what my buddy Deuce has been doing for over 30 years. So if he can do it, why can’t we? So here’s what I got both my daughters and my wife last year.
 
A Large Tupperware Container
This served two purposes. It was what I put all the other gifts inside of and then when it was empty, it was a gift itself. Everybody always has use for a large Tupperware container. Then I loaded each container up with the following gifts.
 
Headphones
Now I know what you are thinking. Many people already have an awesome set of $400 Beats or something along those lines, but everyone can always use another. No one will throw them away or regift them, trust me.

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I have a set in my attaché case (believe it or not, I actually use one), my beach bag, and one set near my bed.
 
An Eagles Wool Cap
It’s December, for crying out loud. Everyone can always use another wool cap. Don’t worry about whether or not the person you are giving this to might be a rabid Flyers fan. Everybody, including your 87-year-old Aunt Matilda, loves the Eagles, so you ultimately can’t go wrong.
 
A Hershey Bar
Actually, my favorite candy snack is a Three Musketeers bar but they are soft and could potentially get squashed up inside the container, so get a flat Hershey bar. And don’t be a cheapskate. Buy the three-pounder.
 
A Collapsible Umbrella
It will fit in the container and who doesn’t always need another damn umbrella? They are eternally breaking in the wind or you’re always losing them. Get a black one to be on the safe side, color-wise.
 
A Smoke Alarm
I know it’s extremely boring but also supremely practical. Just make sure you get the model that you can simply put on top of the bookshelf, the corner of your bar or somewhere in your garage.
Avoid like the plague getting the type that must be screwed in to the ceiling. That’s the model that goes off in the middle of the night where you end up beating it to death with a broomstick.
 
One Gift Card
I am not overly fond of gift certificates. Unlike the 40 percent of gift cards that go totally unused (that’s a fact, by the way), I spend mine, believe me I do. I just dig it when the person giving me the book actually tries to figure out what novel I would devour instead of just giving me a gift certificate for a book. Does that make sense? The old adage, “it’s the thought that counts,” doesn’t really apply with a gift card.
 
I’m telling you, this idea really worked for me and just might start a new family tradition for you. The family of Deuce Krause, who created this clever gift idea, really looks forward to what different item he might come up with every year.
 
So Merry Christmas everyone and I’m going to tell you how you could make my Christmas a little bit brighter. As you all know by now, I have been paralyzed since July 21. So why don’t you send me a Christmas card? It would truly mean a lot to me. Address it to:
94WIP
Big Daddy Graham
400 Market St. Philadelphia, Pa. 19106
 
My daughter Ava will scoop them up. And don’t forget, “Two Funny Philly Guys” starring the hilarious Joe Conklin and myself is returning for yet another performance to Pitman’s legendary Broadway Theatre on Saturday night, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. This will be my very first comedy show from my wheelchair, so I guess I will not be doing “stand-up.”

To read the digital edition of South Jersey Magazine, click here.

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 16, Issue 9 (December 2019).

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Author: Big Daddy Graham

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