I haven’t gotten my Christmas shopping done — or even started yet. But that’s alright because the world will end Friday when the Mayan calendar runs out with three shopping days left.

I’m not holding my breath for the world to end right on schedule. I’m just a last-minute Christmas Eve shopper and I’m hoping to be saved by the bell this year.

One thing I do know is that my mom’s puppy calendar will run out December 31, and her daily supply of puppies will be exhausted if I don’t act soon.

The puppy calendar has become a tradition over the past few years. Mom even says she doesn’t look at the photos on the back so she can discover a new puppy every month.

Being a last-minute gift shopper doesn’t give you a lot of time for waffling. You’ve got to be decisive. Yes, dad will love this Old Spice grooming kit with fingernail clippers AND toenail clippers! Yes, this ice scraper with mitten attached will make a perfect gift.

I’m starting to realize that I really do prefer giving to receiving, and even though I procrastinate, I really do enjoy the Christmas shopping experience. I prefer practical gifts too, although I would consider a Playstation 3 a practical gift because it has a Blue Ray player built into it (hint hint).

I’ve found that it doesn’t take a lot of planning sometimes to come up with a great gift. The whole puppy calendar thing started as a joke between my friend Kevin and I. He had a couple last-minute gifts to grab (he scooped up a handful of gift cards and called it a day), and I had last-minute gifts to buy for everyone on my list.

Calendars are the old standby, the final fall-back point for the 5 p.m., two-hours-before-the-Christmas-party shopper. They generally make a solid gift, because everyone can use one and there’s a calendar for every taste.

Kevin and I were cruising through Target about five years ago when we saw the calendar kiosk in the middle of the aisle. We flipped through the calendars. A University of Michigan calendar? Sweet! My brother would love that. Wait a minute, 17 dollars? Maybe not …

I saw the puppy calendar and held it up to show to Kevin, saying in mock baby talk, “Awwwwwww, puppy calendar!”

“Awwwwww, puppy calendar!” he said, laughing.

We had so much fun joking about the puppy calendar that I had to buy it. Turns out mom (and dad too) loved the puppy calendar. When I thought about it, the puppy calendar is probably the world’s greatest Christmas gift. I’ve got my own four-legged puppy calendar named Ted to cheer me up every day, what better gift to give than the gift of happiness? I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about people who give puppies as gifts to people who are totally unprepared for the time and dedication it takes to train a pup. The puppy calendar cuts out the house-training, the biting, the barking and the floor-cleaning and skips right to the heart-warming cuteness of those little guys frolicking in the grass. Plus the puppy calendar will never mess on the carpet.

I’m going to go ahead and start Christmas shopping this weekend anyway. If any of you are concerned about the Mayan calendar and its so-called “prophecy,” keep in mind that scientists have said that none of the thousands of Mayan artifacts they’ve unearthed have anything about a prophecy written on them.

Astronomer Philip Plait points out that the Mayan calendar is supposed to work similar to the odometer in your car. Once you get to 100,000 miles, the numbers all reset to zero. Your car doesn’t explode, it doesn’t vanish into thin air. Same thing with the Mayan calendar, once you get through 12-21-2012 you go back to the beginning of the calendar. And besides, the Mayan people didn’t simply vanish, there are still plenty of Mayan people in the world to ask what they think about their calendar “running out.”

According to metbelize.com, website for a group that offers tours of Mayan ruins, the Mayan people are planning a huge celebration for Friday which they expect to mark the beginning of a new era. In fact, they say Friday is simply the start of the next 52,000-year cycle of the universe.

That all sounds well and good, but I think before the Mayans celebrate they should get to work on a new calendar.

And they should put puppies on this one.

Bill Petzold is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. He can be reached at petzold@tcadvertiser.com.