• Christmas only days away, and so …

    Time for 'Neil's Annual Christmas Shopping Tips for Men.'

    Now I know what you're thinking…

    Christmas, this weekend, and this guy's only now offering shopping tips?

    Yes, ladies. And I know its women who offer that snide criticism…so let me be clear.

    These tips are not for you.

    They're for men.

    So if I sound sexist, get over it.

    Most of you have shopping in your blood.

    Most men would rather give blood than shop.

    Just the way it is, ladies.

    You don't need these tips. Your significant others do.

    So, without further ado…men, listen up, here's what you have to do…

    And what I'm about to advise flies in stark contrast to anything you've been told.

    Just know that I am right. Everyone else…is wrong.

    Here we go, guys-- I’ll give you a few seconds to grab a pencil and paper or set your DVR on record….

    Ready?

    One-- Do not put much thought into any purchase. Women assume men are already clueless. So here's a clue: Don't act like you have a clue. You don't. You're a man. You still think 'Hermes' is French for 'herpes'

    Two-- And I can't stress this one enough. Avoid sales. Any sales. All sales. For one thing, women know instinctively you got it on sale. And there's this vast underground network of female shoppers who get the word out to other women that they just caught their significant other flailing around in a sales bin, looking for the cheapest sweater he could find. Don't bother. Pay full price. You'll save a lot of headaches!

    Three-- And this is actually an extension of tip two…never get off a cashier line, even if someone, usually a woman, tells you that scarf you bought for the "Mrs." is selling for half the price at another store at the other end of the mall. Tell her, "Yea, lady, but it's at the other end of the mall. I'm happy here, thank you." she'll think you're an idiot. But let her and every disapproving woman on that line know...You may be a dope. But you're a decisive dope!

    Four-- Think kiosks. They're fast, they're convenient. And their biggest selling point? They're not department stores. And don't be ashamed of it. Be proud of it. You're a ninja, not a Nordstrom. And besides, Nordstrom doesn't make personalized mugs that glow in the dark…"Ken, with the portable kiosk," who you won't see for the rest of your life, does. Ken's fast, the mug is sturdy, and what ken might lack in couth, he makes up for in convenience.

    Five-- Forget perfume, think processed meats. Don't laugh. When your wife's saying Estee Lauder, she's really thinking Hickory Farms. and nothing, and I mean, nothing says love, like a hearty Hickory gift box. Ahh…the smell of it!! The cheese, the meat, the meat in the cheese combo...all in a package that could survive longer than a nuclear winter.

    Six-- Never guess on sizes. And if you do, guess low. For one thing, your wife's going to return it anyway. But she'll think more of you if you thought size-wise "less of her." I'll leave it at that.

    Seven-- Never buy gift certificates. I know this flies in the face of conventional wisdom, and maybe advice from your special lady herself. But trust me, when she says, "Oh, I'll be fine with a gift certificate, she's thinking, "If that's all your lazy, thoughtless, never go the extra mile for the most important woman in your life, pea-brain can come up with." Remember, something in a box beats a piece of paper, promising something in a box.

    Eight-- Never ask for advice in a mall. Usually women are the ones offering it. They just slow you down. Ignore them. Focus on me. They're buying for themselves. Usually something ridiculously expensive. I'm looking out for you, with something unusually tacky, but effective. Go with me.

    Nine-- Think fast. You're on a mission, a reconnaissance mission... Don't doddle. Do. Don't make a day of it. Be done with it…I'm telling you, haste doesn't make waste. Think dominos, 30 minutes or less. Or you're putting yourself in a box!

    Ten-- Twitch, foam at the mouth, throw water on yourself and act like a rabid dog. It'll scare everyone on line. But better, it will chase everyone off line. You'll be off that line and out the door faster than you can say, "And throw in two extra Hickory cheese logs while you're at."

    So…have at it, guys. Do everything as I say, and that special lady in your life will be like putty in your hands. Take it from me; by Easter they're over it. So get a move on, and be done with it!!

    Happy shopping!! And ladies, act surprised!!