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A Christmas Tradition that has Changed

Ending a tradition that carried on for many years, columnist Ray Newman no longer shops on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve reminds me there are many traditions related to Christmas.

When my wife and I first married, I wanted to establish a Christmas Eve tradition that would last. Most men, me included, are not wild about shopping. In fact, the reality is we hate shopping. As a younger man, I went with my wife Christmas shopping and I have to admit it was not my best days. It did not work out because of my attitude.

Shopping for me is knowing what you want, going to the store that has what you want, parking near that store, going inside, walking straight to the item you plan to buy, paying for it and walking out with the gift and heading back home. I determined after several failed attempts to go with my wife Christmas shopping (that I found out meant browsing), I would leave the gift buying to her, except for the gift I would give to her on Christmas morning.

The tradition I wanted to establish was simple. My wife would do all the Christmas shopping whenever she wanted to go, and I would agree with every gift she bought, even bragging on it to family and friends that my wife had the good eye and had made the right purchase for the person who would receive the gift. On Christmas Eve each year, I would go to the mall and buy the gift that I would give to my wife the next morning. Seemed like a great plan and certainly a good tradition.

This tradition was carried on for many years. I really got to the point of enjoying making that last ditch effort during the final rush of the night going to the mall and seeing other men as they were trying to decide what they were going to buy for their wives. The gift I would purchase had been well thought out and I knew exactly where it was and how much it would cost and I would make a quick run to the mall and be back home in record time. What more could a man who hates to shop want? This all worked great until I ran against the reality that I found times when it was necessary to change the gift because what I had planned to buy was no longer available. The card that must always go with the gift became even harder to find at that late time on Christmas Eve night.

So then the perfect Christmas tradition had to be changed. Now, after all these years, I no longer go shopping on Christmas Eve. I stopped trying many years ago to get the right card that late (the day before Christmas). Another thing I learned over the years is to ask my wife what she wants for Christmas and then make sure we go together as she picks out exactly the right gift.

From where I stand, I wish each of my readers a Merry Christmas on this Christmas Eve.

Men, when do you shop for your wife's Christmas gift? Tell us in comments. 

Follow Ray Newman on Twitter — @RayNewmanSr.

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