It’s that time of year again, when people rush out to buy gifts for family members that they barely know in order to impress upon that barely known family member that they mean X amount of money to them. Of course, sometimes these people get lucky and strike pay dirt. However, they usually don’t and give their friend/relative/coworker/significant other something that they didn’t want. So here is a quick list of things to avoid while shopping this Christmas season.
Socks and underwear: Seriously, nobody wants tightie whities, no matter what sort of propaganda Fruit of the Loom may fart out. Unless it’s something cute, like a pair of novelty or character socks, no one is going to appreciate this “gift”. You’ll get a half-muttered “thank you” to your face and dirty looks behind your back. So do yourself a favor and skip this please. (Most kids will thank you as well.)
Danish butter cookies: I’ll let Quagmire handle this one.
Fruitcake: I have a firm belief that there is only one brick of fruitcake in the entire world and it has simply been passed around from person to person. No one likes this stuff. At. ALL. I hated it as a kid and I hate it even more now as an adult. Just stop with it already; everyone is sick of it.
Gender Specific Toys: If you don’t know the child, don’t fall back on gender stereotypes to purchase that child a present. Being female, most of my clueless relations got me dolls. And dolls. And more dolls. What did I really want? Transformers, Star Wars figures, Hot Wheels cars, He-Man anything, etc. I may have been a girl but my tastes were for boys’ action figures and very few of my relatives understood that. So a piece of advice: if you don’t know, ask. The child will thank you later by not hating your gift.
Palmer’s Chocolates: The reason why these things sell well is because they are cheap. The reason why they are cheap is because they taste like melted candle wax. (I take that back–the candle wax has some actual flavor.) When vendors for Hershey’s say that your chocolate is terrible, then your chocolate is terrible. Bags of this stuff are seemingly purchased by clueless neighbors and grandparents who think that this will make someone happy. And it will… the moment it’s chucked into a trash can.
Chia Pets: This one says “I made an emergency stop at my local drug store to get you a thoughtless gift”. These are only good for gag gifts and little else.
Small Appliances: Unless someone asked for it, don’t. It’s not a gift if you use it to cook or clean or make repairs. This one is a case of “No really, you shouldn’t have”.
Drug Store Toys: We all know about these things; they are cheap knockoff dolls, games and plastic figurines that are purchased in haste to supply some poor kid with a gift. I get it; you don’t want to come to a child’s holiday party empty handed but at least give the kid five or ten bucks instead. These toys are absolutely terrible and no one likes them. With some cash the kid can buy whatever s/he wants and will be a lot happier in the end.
Gag Presents: No, we’re not talking about a really cool, kick-ass gift that’s been wrapped up in a goofy gag box or paper. And no, we’re not talking about silly stuff purchased for “white elephant” gift exchanges, either. We’re talking about an actual gag gift, purchased and given in the place of a real one. For example: back in the 1990s I told my then significant other what I really wanted for Christmas–G2 Dreadwing. So when my ex told me that I was getting a box that would make me ridiculously happy, I thought for sure that I was getting a new Decepticon for my growing Cybertronian army. I was so excited that I could barely wait to open the box at our annual Holiday party.
Then the day came and my ex lugged in a huge box, far bigger than Dreadwing’s. I was confused but still hopeful. Then he started pulling things out of the box, while singing “The Twelve Days of Yaksmas”, which is a parody Christmas song from Ren and Stimpy.
I hated Ren and Stimpy. This was a fact that was well-known to my ex and everyone in our group so no, this little stunt did not go over well at all. In fact, I spent the rest of the evening in a dour mood, not only upset that my ex had decided to pull this garbage but also disappointed that I didn’t get what I had really wanted. It was not a good night. So please, if anyone out there is thinking of doing anything like this–don’t. It isn’t appreciated at all. Believe me, I know this firsthand.
And that just about covers it. If anyone else can think of anything that I haven’t, feel free to drop me a line in the comments. Until next time!