The Mast-Head: Waiting for Santa

At some point at the end of this week, I’ll start my Christmas shopping. Being used to operating on a deadline, I am familiar with this sort of pressure. Moreover, buying gifts late reduces the chance that our children are going to discover them before they are wrapped.
    Well, that’s my positive spin on the procrastination, anyway. Being a confirmed localist, my plan is to walk into town, as we still call it for some reason. I’ll stroll past the vacant stores, marvel at the high-end clothes shops with no one save a bored and lonely salesperson in them, and dip in at the bookstore.    
    Next, I’ll have a look around the hardware store, and that fancy home place over by Waldbaum’s whose name I can never call to mind. On the way back to the office, I’ll take a pass through the Ladies Village Improvement Society’s Bargain Books to look for odd titles. Beyond that, there are a few places in Montauk I may go to, and Sag Harbor is a good bet for stocking-stuffers.
    My wife has done the heroic work this holiday, staying the week at her parents’ place in New York City while shepherding the kids around to shows, a birthday party, and a trip to Hoboken to stand on line for two hours in the cold of a wind-swept street at a bakery made famous on one of those reality-TV programs people seem to like these days. Before she left for the city, she spent hours ordering toys online. The boxes stack my office, which  will become Santa’s workshop on Christmas Eve.
    We celebrated Hanukkah with a party on Saturday in New York, where the kids got a few gifts. Ellis, who will be 2 in February, received a Play-Dough set and some small race cars that roll down a plastic ramp. The girls, 7 and 10, got electronic devices they had been coveting thanks to the pooled resources of several aunts and family friends. I drove home on Sunday, stopping in Riverhead at Home Depot to buy a light bulb. (That’s a column for another day.)
    The house has been quiet this week, just me and the dogs and the rumbling every now and then of the furnace. I’ll be glad when the family returns and the holiday really gets going.