Christmas list of the male Kiwi specimen: tanks, armour and a puppy
It’s that time of year when Starbucks smells like gingerbread lattes and Smith & Caughey's windows are animated with holiday cheer.
(Well, it’s cheery unless you suffer from pediophobia or some other fear of humanoid figures coming alive, then I suggest you walk on the other side of the street during the month of December.)
This year, it’s also a time when about half of Kiwis are feeling financially stressed over Christmas shopping, according to a recent MasterCard survey.
It’s no surprise that women (53%) are feeling slightly more stressed than men (46%) this holiday season. Nearly one-third of us are buying for more than 10 people while only 10% of men are buying for 10 friends and family.
Thanks guys, no problem. We’ll pick up your bosses’ presents on our way home from work amid our chores of picking up the dry cleaning and groceries.
But the big question is: How much should I spend?
Kiwis are planning to spend the most on their children at an average of $NZ88 per child, and $NZ86 on their partners, according to MasterCard. I’m Californian, and this seems quite low to me.
A further look into Christmas spending shows Americans plan to spend about $US800 on gifts and, on the high end, households in Northern Ireland plan to spend about £620.
I asked my partner, a quintessential Kiwi male, for his list and hoped for the best. The Kiwi male is known for his grunting skills, his love for all things manly, and his gumboots. Surely, I could find something for him to unwrap within the culturally acceptable price range.
T-72 battle tank: Pretty much his entire life, he has talked about owning a tank. I’ve tried to argue it won’t fit in our cage-sized Auckland apartment. He argues we can just live in the tank.
“They’re Soviet. It’s not all high tech. It’s not all electronic and stuff. They are lighter than American tanks. Russian tanks have three-man crews, most western tanks have four-man crews. They are pretty economical as far as tanks go.”
The last he conducted market research (as he recalls about five years ago, long before I met him and crushed his hopes and dreams) a T-72 with a decommissioned gun ran as low as $125,000 shipped to New Zealand.
If Auckland housing prices continue to climb, I hope this T-72 has a shoe rack for my heels.
Night vision googles: While some people joke they are preparing for a zombie apocalypse, I think he really is. I actually don’t mind this request because NVGs are something I can actually afford. Tactical Reaction NZ is run by an ex-army guy and sells them for a mere $250, though they're not on his website yet.
Also, we live on the sixth floor of our 10-storey building and the light in the staircase is out between the third and fourth floor, so I can see these as actually being functional while we are training for the SkyTower Challenge.
A puppy: Nearly 70% of Kiwi households own a companion pet, according to the NZ Companion Animal Council, which is the highest percentage in the world. About one-third of households own a dog. It’s not an irrational request for a Christmas list.
But this Waikato farm boy wants a big dog, specifically a Shiloh Shepherd. He’s asked for “a big wolf-looking thing which is still loyal and good to train.”
Kiwis spend about $1.58 billion each year on their pets, according to the council, half of which is on food. These particular dogs grow to about my weight, 45-65 kilograms, and I’m thinking we don’t have the fridge space for a third roommate or extra living quarters in our Auckland cage.
Pilot’s licence: I hear about the pilot’s licence on a weekly basis. I especially hear about it after he talks with his brother in Christchurch, who already has his pilot’s licence. He rationalises it by saying it’ll be cheaper to fly us to our private island than taking a commercial flight, should we ever own our own private island.
I remind him we can’t afford an Auckland house. Or a tank.
Spitfire: After a pilot’s licence, the next logic step is obviously to ask for a Spitfire. This week, actor Brad Pitt reportedly purchased a Spitfire for £2 million. I gave my partner this information, and he actually paused his videogame (which signals great importance) before he turned to speak to me.
“So that’s who I need to become to afford a Spitfire? Hmmm … ”
Just last month I lured him to the Auckland War Memorial Museum by promising he’d see a Spitfire. If I buy him one, I can no longer trick him into frequenting our local museum, which is free for Aucklanders.
A suit of armour: “I’d like four sets.” He paused, waiting for my prompting. After the awkward silence, he continued: old Spartan armour, Roman legionnaire armour, plate armour from the Dark Ages and samurai armour.
First of all, Google “cost of armour” and some sort of thyroid issue comes up. This is a distraction as I try to conduct market research.
Secondly, if you like all four sets, I’m going to take the cheap route and start with buying the least-expensive component for each era. I hope you don’t mind if your $NZ150 chainmail gauntlet clashes with your Katana sword and Roman legionnaire helmet (which by the way is on sale now for £70 at the UK-based Knight Shop).
Once again, most of these things can be found at the Auckland museum.
Golf clubs: “Nah, didn’t mean it, a shotgun?” Initially he wanted the golf clubs, he argued, because every man cave seems to have a set of unused golf clubs in the corner. Now, he wants a shotgun instead. Until we have room for a gun safe, he’s gonna have to settle for a driving range, rather than a shooting range.
(This also means if the zombie apocolypse does come to fruition, he’ll have to settle for close combat defence.)