Posted by: theboyfromsmallville | November 27, 2007

The Smallville Christmas shopping tips

Okay, so the air really hasn’t turned biting cold yet, except for those nights when a couple of storms hit the country, threatening to even tango together at one point.  Yes, carols have started playing over the radio and decors have popped up in windows everywhere, but not with the same ferocity and numb-inducing redundancy as, say, four or five years back.

But yes, ‘tis the season to be jolly—and poor—again.

And this is the part where I go, you know it’s the Christmas season when (this is the part where you insert your smart-alecky remarks either to show off your wit or exude that mysteriously sinister Scrooge-y aura).

As far as I’m concerned, I realized the holiday season was finally upon us when the alarm clock exploded at an ungodly hour of 8 a.m. to remind me that, of all things, it was time to haul my fat ass off the bed and get ready to finish off that annual duty heretofore known as Christmas shopping.

Tip No. 1: If you’re one of those slaves to the commercial trappings of Christmas, it is best to tick off the names in your list this early. The crowds at the mall haven’t turned killer insane yet and taxicab drivers are still willing to negotiate you through P120-trips without additionally taxing your burdened finances.

By the time December officially rolls around, the crowds will be thick enough to suck out all breathable air from a well-ventilated mall and you can no longer shop without committing taxicab-driver-murder unless you have your own car.

Which I do not have, just in case people who have my name on their lists are reading this. Among the other things I do not have: An iPod Touch, a Nokia N95, a macbook, a junior-sized pool table, a 2.0-hp air-conditioner for a den under construction, a sofa bed, The Fight Club, The Kite Runner, guitar stands, a keyboard (Yamaha) stand, a drum set and, I kid you not, cable TV.

Oh yeah. Tip No. 2? Have a list.

As I rolled off the bed and got ready to join the UP Cum Laude to meet both our Christmas commitments, I thought I pretty much had my list burned into my memory cells.

When we got to the place where we bought some of our stuff, my mind had somehow misplaced those cells. It would have been my salvation that the UP Cum Laude and I have practically the same list. Except that it a rare shopping slip—gasp!—she left her list at home.

So we were left to play things by ear. Like, let’s just buy six or eight macbooks, around seven iPod Touchs, and 11 N-series phones then label them with friends’ names as soon as we get home.

It sounded like a good game plan. Except that somewhere in the middle of the whole experience, names started cropping up and really, it’s hard to figure out what certain people need more—that latest MP3 player or a Sony PSP.

So there. Tip No. 3, at least have a game plan. It will serve you well budget-wise. Because of today’s financial constraints, you have to set a limit you will not breach or else risk the penalty of having your nails pulled off one by one while hanging from a tree—by your balls.

If there is no way you will satisfy close friends and the occasional freeloader within your limit, work around it creatively. Like, because my Christmas limit was pegged at P1.758 million, allow me to pre-extend my apologies to those who will be receiving macbooks from me. Most of the software will be pirated versions.

Tip No. 4? Eat. I do not simply mean have a little breakfast or grab a bite. I mean gorge. Stuff up the night before and have a really heavy breakfast, the sort a condemned person may opt for as a last meal. If you can, carbo-load.

You’ll need the energy. Especially if your human companion during a shopping chore is of the female variety.

Biology classes have never prepared me for that phenomenon wherein a female would rather fill up her bladder to unhealthy proportions because she is too tired to walk the 20 paces from her bed to the toilet but will unyieldingly make the rough equivalent of Frodo’s journey to find something as unimaginably vague as “that Christmas decor that is round.”

Tip No. 5. When you can, haggle. There’s more to Christmas shopping than the one done in malls. The fun part is the shopping where you can bargain for a lower price than the one bar-coded into an item. And contrary to myth, it is not difficult to find a start-off point when haggling. A lot of it is common sense.

When an item sells for P500 and closer scrutiny reveals that it is no more than a multitasking tool that includes a screwdriver, a television remote control and a nose-hair clipper, you know you’re within the realm of reason to start off haggling at, say, P40.

For more complicated items wherein you need to check indices in business sections of newspapers, use the formula that I have been using since god-knows-when: X squared multiplied by the square root of Y, where X is the original price of, say, a macbook and Y is the part where you realize that I’m just mouthing a load of crap.

Sometimes, out of obsessive-compulsiveness, your companion might just end up haggling her way through anything unreasonably, like asking a genuine and licensed Nokia dealer if that P20,000 phone could be bought for somewhere around P15,000. In that case, tip No. 6, get fit.

I’m not talking about stretching while yawning when you get up in the morning. I’m talking about the whole routine: bicep curls, leg curls, squats, cardio. Everything. If you can incorporate the kitchen sink into the exercise, go right ahead.

That way, if your companion waters down a three-piece bed set from P1,000 to P100 in front of scowl-faced, shirt-stripped men who look like they know how to put the fun in funerals, you will be fit enough to run for safety.

Besides, being fit will help you keep up with the rigors of Christmas shopping. It’s such a physical activity; someone should declare it a sport already. I can go hours playing basketball. Circling a mall for a specific size, make and fit of a specific brand of shirt? I’d rather bench press 500-pound weights.

Tip No. 7, exercise extreme patience. Really, because sometimes, 500-pound weights don’t just appear out of nowhere. And even if they did, telling your female companion that you’d rather bench press than go bargain-hunting puts you in a need to be super fit.

Patience also helps you find a perfect gift for a dear friend. At one point, I was about to purchase a pricey Nike sports watch for a futsal buddy. But then, I took a deep breath, told myself to wait a little longer and voila! Right down the aisle, I saw a purple Jordan wristband.

Who would’ve thought? Right in the very same store! Imagine? And all it took was an ounce of patience.

Tip No. 8, go for extras. If there’s someone you might suddenly forget, because it’s not like Christmas lists are an exact measurement up the nth decimal place, you will have a spare gift to wrap.

In the middle of tagging the gifts at home and wrapping them, I realized I forgot to get something for my neighbor’s one-month old daughter. Luckily, I had a spare imitation WWE world heavyweight championship belt (all details perfectly copied!) to give out. That’s one really lucky child.

Of course, the UP cum laude had other things in mind.

“Let’s just go back to the mall and do another round of shopping for the people we forgot,” she said.

In the back of my mind I was telling her that while we’re at it, why don’t you also pick up the leather whip that we use for our nocturnal bonding sessions, spike it with shards of glass and just whale away at my balls?



  1. the fun in funerals! hahaha this is why i love you.

    and you just summed up why i hate christmas shopping. thank god na lang for girlfriends who push you out the door on your SINGLE, SACRED day off and *order* you to shop now na.

    at least i’m done. now there’s that wrapping business to wrestle with.. (at least it’s not a task that involves crowd management.)


  3. Kate, at one point, I looked at the people sardine-packing themselves into a narrow shopping alley, glanced beside me at the beloved and was reminded of your recent blog post. Because I really wanted to say, okay now, crowd-manage this.


    B, rrrrummmbble? HOLYSHIT! :)

  4. i can give you fight club! pdf nga lang. haha.

    and pucha. napakaswerteng bata nga.

  5. di ba? tita ris, diba? shet, prototype na prototype na wwe championship belt talaga, grabe! umiikot pa yung buckle. wooohoooo!


    ui… fight club!!!
    pero, sa office ko lang babasahin? nyahahahahaha!

  6. ui kate, slowness royale, sorry.
    it was only now that i realized that aside from SACRED you also all-capsed SINGLE when referring to dayoff. Hehehehehe.

  7. crowd-manage *this*.

    seriously. hahaha.

    shempre all caps for EFFECT. haha. :)

  8. na-traumatize ako sa last paragraph.

    itay naman, not in front of the kids!

  9. Somewhere in your post I had a vision of Voltes V’s Ultraelectromagnetic Whip and Ultraelectromagnetic Top. :)

  10. law… busting my balls? hehehehehe

    cy… oh oh oh… maiiskandalo ka na naman panganay ah?

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