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All right, men, huddle up.

Christmas is right around the corner. In just a matter of days you need to be bearing gifts for the ones you love as well as the ones you're related to. And chances are you haven't bought a present for that special lady in your life yet.

Fortunately, there is still time. We women annoyingly refer to it as "The Last Minute." No, it's not the name of the latest Vin Diesel movie. It is what history has proven to be men's favorite time to shop. Or do anything, for that matter.

There's something to be said for the adrenaline that goes along with being deadline driven. Think, "one minute left in the fourth quarter." You have the ball and your team is down by six. You could win this.

You need to be thinking several plays in advance. If you have a good game plan, you're likely to succeed. Without a plan, you are likely to throw up a Hail Mary.

For the love of (deity of your choice), please don't throw up a Hail Mary. Your last-ditch efforts to score big rarely impress us women. Do you want to know why?

Because your last-ditch efforts, and sometimes even your first-ditch efforts, can be so very, very bad. Women are smart. We can tell if you bought something because of obligation rather than inspiration.

Considering how complex we are, women are incredibly easy to shop for. If you think otherwise, it's simply because you aren't paying attention.

Hello? Over here. I said it's because YOU'RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION! I know it seems far-fetched (as does the likelihood of you doing your own laundry, but I digress.)

I realize that for those of you who have no game plan, you may be in a bind here. And no, I'm not referring to the fact that you probably ate too much cheese dip while watching last night's ESPN highlights. I'm actually still talking about shopping.

It would be really easy for me to help you out right now by telling you what to buy your lady friend. But, for a number of reasons, I'm not going to do that.

For one, it would be really awkward if the tag on the gift said "From Angie." This gift needs to come from you. I'm going to let you pick it out.

But I will offer some advice in the form of what not to buy that lucky lady of yours. Hopefully, this will deter you from making any obvious mistakes. Take notes. Better yet, keep a copy of this list right next to your remote control.

Don't buy your lady a gym membership

To us women, that means one thing and one thing only: You think we're fat. You might as well just get her a T-shirt that says "Heifer" on it. Even if your lady is a workout junkie, she doesn't need you to remind her to get her ass in the gym. We've got mirrors for that.

Don't buy your lady a powder-pink tool set

You may think that women this day and age are liberated and want to feel as if they can take care of themselves. And it's not that we don't. There are just some things that we are actually OK with you men handling for us. Hammering a nail is one of them. Just think of how silly you will look with a pink hammer in your hand.

Don't buy your lady a vacuum cleaner

I mean really, what the hell does that mean? "I just wanted you to have the latest revolution in home cleaning so you would have an easier time picking up all of my crap." That idea sucks on multiple levels.

Don't buy your lady carnations dyed blue

Flowers are nice, don't get me wrong. But what Mariah Carey's "Glitter" did for the movie industry, carnations do for the floral industry. They establish the official low end. Especially when they're dyed some color that doesn't occur normally in nature.

And last, but definitely not least …

Don't buy your lady nothing

This may sound like a double negative now, but trust me, if you don't have a gift for the woman in your life, it's going to be a lot more like a negative times 10. Almost anything is better than nothing.

Shopping in Missoula isn't exactly plentiful. There are a few great shops here and you definitely need to know where to go. In other words, you're going to need to figure out a game plan before you get on the field.

Remember, it's the fourth quarter and your team is down, but there's still a chance. Stay focused. If it helps, you could paint your face green and red and wear your favorite jersey, aka Christmas sweater.

It's time to pull out all the stops.

Game on.

Reach Entertainer columnist Angie Moretti at angie.moretti@missoulian.com.

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