Double-check your wish list (and your gift list)

There are only six more days until Christmas, counting today. You don’t want to be caught unprepared.

It’s time to pull out your list and check it twice. Not your list of stuff to get for other people. If you don’t have your presents bought yet, there’s not much hope.

Sure, you could go shopping today, tomorrow or Monday. But face it, all the good stuff’ll be gone already, and you’ll have to settle for whatever’s left on the shelves. I doubt you’ll earn any points for a can of shaving cream and a package of baby wipes.

I’m talking about your wish list. Don’t give up on the subtle hints yet. It may be too late for you and me to find the right presents for our significant others, but with the proper encouragement, our loved ones can still find exactly what we’re hoping for.

When you get home from work tonight, take the old Model 12 out of the gun safe. Break it down and start cleaning it. Make a point of pausing over every scratch and ding from muzzle to recoil pad. Mumble things like, “Man, this shotgun ought to be in a museum. I’d leave it locked safely away if it weren’t my only goose gun.” You can do the same with your other guns. Just substitute elk, antelope, pheasant or grouse for goose when you say what the gun’s used for.

Pull your waders out of the closet and bring a shop light in from the garage. This trick works well because there’s almost no way to ignore you while you’re doing it. Turn of all the lights in the room, then switch on the shop light and dangle it by its cord inside your waders. Point out all the little pin-pricks of light that seep out, and complain that it’ll take you all night to patch all those holes. You might also mention that the waders’ll weigh twice as much when you finish.

This one requires a little deception. Go out to feed the horses or shovel the walk, and take off your gloves when you get outside. When you go back in, give your main squeeze a squeeze of your own. When the hug’s recipient shrieks and recoils, drop a hint that your gloves just aren’t doing the job they were intended to do.

It’s worth a try. None of this’ll probably work, but what do you have to lose? Just hope all the good, Gore-Tex and Thinsulate gloves haven’t already been snatched up by other last-minute shoppers.