Not Now, I’m on Deadline

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I love Dec. 24. Most people begin celebrating the holidays as their family begins to gather.

Eggnogs, cooking, stories, playing games and, maybe, even singing songs. Many head to church services.

Not me. Dec. 24 is the day I reserve to start my Christmas shopping.

That’s right: start! It’s also the day I need to finish.

It has to be related to my years in the newspaper business and the continual battle to meet deadlines, or better yet, push deadlines.

To be honest, I don’t know why I do it. About November of each year I begin thinking of ideas for my loved ones and vow to myself that “this year, I’m going to get my shopping done early.”

And then November turns to December, the weeks begin flying by and, wham, it’s now Dec. 24.

This procrastinating is not necessarily something I’m proud of. Years ago I remember scrambling around on a Christmas Eve looking for just a bathrobe for my first wife.

That was the only gift she wanted. Plain and simple, just a bathrobe. I’d known this wish for a month.

So that Christmas Eve I headed to the stores only to find at every turn that the bathrobes had been completely cherry-picked and the one remaining in her size was, well, ugly.

Really ugly!

So I did what any guy would do. I bought it. And, of course, I had it nicely wrapped.

Christmas morning came and the gift was unwrapped and she was certainly … how should I say this … surprised.

In the days, months and years after that, every time she’d go to get into something comfortable, she’d put on that stupid robe. It was a constant reminder of my failures as a gift buyer.

Need I remind you that I said “first” wife?

So what have I learned from that lesson?


Today, I’m back at it. South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island here I come. I’ll be sharing the day with many of the poor saps in the exact same predicament.

The good news is that I have a cheat sheet of gifts she’d love and, fortunately, this year there’s no robe on the list.

Keep your fingers crossed.


I would be remiss if I didn’t reach out to you, our readers, and wish you and your family a very happy holiday from the entire staff here at the Newport Beach Independent.

Fortunately for us, you have allowed us to come into your home each Friday since last June and we’re grateful for that opportunity.

What I can promise you is that we have bigger and better things planned for you in the year ahead.

And finally, thank you to my staff, including the many important teammates in our Laguna Beach office who make all of this possible.

Happy holidays!


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