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Ho, #@%&*!, Ho: The Christmas Death March

It suddenly struck me this morning as I was walking the dog that I'd been meaning to do something. Now, what was it? Oh, that's right: go Christmas shopping. Christmas is a week away and I haven't bought any presents yet.

That's not entirely true. I purchased gifts for my parents or, rather, My Lovely Wife and I did. She even mailed them. But my immediate family -- the ones whose wrath I have to fear the morning of Dec. 25 -- has not yet been accounted for, present-wise.

Not to worry, though. It wouldn't be the holidays if I didn't spend those final hours before Christmas in a crowded mall, desperately searching for the items enumerated on the gift lists I hold crumpled in my sweaty hands. I find that that whole fall-of-the-U.S.-embassy-in-Saigon feeling really puts me in the mood. The Vietcong are at the door. The helicopter's on the roof. Where can I find a decorative case for a 30-gig iPod?

Retailers know there are people like me out there, which is why they pile up huge ziggurats of cash-and-carry gifts for last-minute shoppers. Unfortunately, these gifts tend to be pretty lame: wooden back massagers, sweater de-pillers, Isotoner gloves. Bath balls. (Is there anyone who actually uses bath balls?)

I can tell that I haven't yet reached the correct level of fevered desperation. Soon, though. Soon. I'll see you at the mall on Tuesday.

What about you? How are you faring in your holiday shopping?

BritNews RoundUp
Keeping the Christmas theme, a couple in Somerset have trimmed a tree in their garden to look like a huge Christmas pudding, complete with "berries." I guess there are no neighborhood covenants where they live.

Sixty-five-year-old biplane. Eighty-four-year-old passenger. Cow. Put them together and you have this story, and video, from the Telegraph. If you've never seen a plane hit a cow, here's your chance.

It's going to be cold this weekend. You'll want to wear a hat. After all, most of your heat is lost through your head, right? WRONG! According to this Guardian story, researchers at Indiana University debunked that myth, which they trace to a faulty study done by the U.S. military in the 1950s. The scientists debunked other myths as well, including that sugar makes kids hyperactive and that poinsettias are toxic.

A Welsh shopkeeper who has been putting jokes on the leaflets advertising his store has been told by police to stop lest he "breach public order." Writes the Telegraph: "Mr Singh has been left baffled by the police intervention as he claims the jokes contain no bad language and are not racist. He admits some were 'a bit saucy.'" A bit lame, actually.

Finally, here's a bit of seasonal cheer for you, a Christmas video created by an English ad agency. Special effects or the real thing?

Friday Chatday
Don't forget to join me at noon today for my weekly online discussion. Post a question/comment now or jump in once things have gotten started.

By John Kelly  |  December 19, 2008; 9:21 AM ET
 | Tags: Britnews roundup, Christmas, polls  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Yarnstorming: Metro's New Wool Seats
Next: Brrrr, It's Winter; Get Over It


One more present to get. How hard can it be to find Legos?

Posted by: staxowax | December 19, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

John - you should do what the rest of us are doing today - spend the day at work, online, going to all the online retailers (like Amazon) that still are guaranteeing Christmas delivery. Sure you pay a little more for shipping, but at least you can still get decent gifts.

And you have an excuse this year for being late, Thanksgiving was so late this year that many of us were caught off-guard.

Posted by: jjtwo | December 19, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Every year I get a little comfort in knowing I'm not the only one doing the frantic, last minute shopping. Thanks for the company John and see you in the malls this weekend -- woo-hoo!!

Posted by: coleesma2 | December 19, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I burned a few bridges this year, so my gift list is smaller. However, those on the list have not said what they want. I'm thinking gift cards for everyone.

Posted by: petalceleb | December 19, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

John, they're called bath BEADS, not bath balls. Get your head out the gutter!

Posted by: justhere | December 22, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

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