There is a fundamental difference in the way men and women shop for presents.
Women continually shop for presents throughout the year, even if they are not aware of it. Passing a trinket shop they will automatically file the thought in their brain that that trinket would suit Uncle John or Jan or Jason. Three months later when Christmas comes around, straight to the trinket shop for that present.
Men shop usually at the last minute, and with their pathetic little (though carefully thought about) list in their hand. Most of the presents they can rush around and buy in the space of an hour within the one store, but there will always be one or two that just don't happen. This turns into a last minute panic to desperately think of something else and usually results in buying something not quite right or completely different or generic ("I thought you'd like this apple corer, sweetheart. It's yellow, like your apron.")
Speaking of aprons, and I know how this is going to sound, but I bought Alison a kitchen apron for Christmas. Don't hassle me — It's what she wanted! But going into the stores, you would not believe the crappy selection you have. And trying to find the blasted things?! The only resort is to ask one of those cranky old woman:
"Could you please tell me where the aprons are?"
"Certainly sir you chauvanistic pig. They are over there [pointing] near the tea-towels. Would you like me to point out where the shackles and whips are so you can use them on your poor unfortunate, opressed girlfriend?"
Or something like that. I mean I can't remember the words exactly, but what she said and the looks she was giving me amounted to the above. Sigh.
I have a new combined Palm Pilot/Phone. A lot easier than carrying around two items and I invariably left the old Palm at home for the sake of space in my jeans pocket. I'm going to pretend to be a chick and write down things that I see as I see them.
Maybe... If I remember.
I'll let you know my results January next year.