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Late shopping, cleaned shelves

By Bob Vrbanac

I know what I’m getting Santa this Christmas — a new smartphone with the fastest 4G network available, so he can finally put a rush on my kid’s letters they sent to the old slowpoke.

It’s all fine and dandy that he likes to do things the old fashioned way, and letter writing is a nice holdover to simpler times, but I no longer have the time to act as one of his helpers if he doesn’t give me a head start.

I’m not normally this behind in my Christmas shopping, but events have conspired against me this year. It took until the last Sunday in November before my three sons finally sat down to pen their annual wish lists.

A combination of school, hockey and soccer practices made it almost impossible to get them to focus on their must-have toys. There was no sense of urgency, despite Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales doing a good job of clearing the inventory. By the time I had my kids’ lists in hand I was already kicking myself for missing out.

Of course, everything they wanted was on the hot toys list this year, from Lego Ninjago figures to Star Wars Angry Birds playsets.

I had my hands on one of the elusive green ninjas that my middle son was looking for, but put it back thinking he was done with building blocks. One look at my list and I spent a fretful night knowing I had made a grave mistake.

That feeling of doom hit me as I entered one of my favourite stores to find out the last Lloyd the Green Ninja figure was gone and he wasn’t coming back. All the other stores, including the Lego Store at the St. Jacobs Outlets mall, were cleaned out of the two-inch tall figure.

Curses, you jolly old elf. I can see you laughing now. I guess you had to clear out the inventory for yourself.

I was in a little better shape for my youngest son’s request for a Hot Wheels Terrain Twister.

How hard could it be to find this dinky car? Well, it retails for about $120 and drives on snow and water, so this isn’t the Hot Wheels car most of us grew up with. I managed to find out that it was on sale at a local retailer, but again, I had it in my hand and I put it back on the shelf.

Big mistake. By the next day they were gone. I had to drive to five different stores in three different cities before I finally found one.

Shopping for my oldest son, Luke, was the easiest. He’s into books, and there’s no shortage of them in this age of digital readers.

But he had one more shocking gift request for Father Christmas. My son wants a joy buzzer under the tree.

I’m thinking of stringing it to a plate of cookies and triggering it with a warm glass of milk. Maybe that will give Santa the jolt he needs to get started earlier next year.

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