I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Supposedly I was able to order a telescope that will be here before Christmas. I was looking online at Celestron's website and apparently they sell some directly and not through dealers. It showed they had one of the ones I was interested in, in stock, and said shipping time is typically 3-7 days. But, when putting the item in my cart there wasn't anything that gave info on when it would actually ship or "expected" dates. I tried to call the phone number, but all that was apparently like a 3rd party shipper or something. She tried to transfer me to Celestron's customer service but all I got was a a recording about tech support.
Yesterday I had put it in my cart and my email address, but didn't pull the trigger because of the above concerns. This morning I got an email from them "come back and complete your order". So, I tried replying to the email, asking if I could verify this is in stock now and would ship out to arrive before Christmas. I really wasn't expecting a quick reply as usually those types of emails don't get answered fora day or two, but I got a reply right back, that yes, it is in stock and would ship out right away once they get the order, so should arrive in time.
So, it's ordered! I also took commenter Rae's advice and purchased a stargazing book online from Amazon that at least I can give that to him, along with a note about the telescope, should it not arrive in time.
And both yesterday and today, each time I was online looking to find a telescope I could hear one of the bald eagles out on the river. Then right as I hit submit for the order, the eagle was really chattering. It must be a sign, LOL.