FROM JASON’S UNDERWHELMING YULE TIDE SPIRIT — Black Friday is upon us, and American consumers are expected to haul their turkey and cranberry sauce-stuffed asses to the malls and departments stores. Retailers are predicting a $474 billion day.
That’s going to mean a lot of waste; each Christmas season, I seem to be wary of a growing selection of crappy, impersonal presents. There seems to be added pressure to buy token gifts for wider-ranging groups of acquaintances, co-workers, and business contacts. Extended families seem to extend just a little more each year, especially as I get older and relatives start dropping new children with reckless abandon.
So choosing appropriate, useful, relevant gifts — all within a reasonable budget — is getting trickier.
So as a man, I feel obliged to highlight some stupid man-gifts that you should avoid buying for the one you love:
None but a savant has a chance in hell of solving them anyway. Inevitably, one or more of the pieces will get lost or, worse, end up in the dog’s belly.
Unfortunately, it is almost always more convenient and expedient to use a razor and/or scissors to trim those troublesome follicles. Unless the recipient is a lycanthrope, leave this one on the store shelf.
Giving a gift card is essentially saying, “I don’t know you well enough or care enough about you to expend the effort to buy something personal.”
There’s another issue. It’s gotten to the point in my family where we merely exchange gift cards — of the same value! — with certain other family members. We’re basically spending postage to give ourselves permission to go shopping. When you reach that point, shouldn’t you just acknowledge that it’s all just a charade?
Massage gadgets: These line the shelves of upscale department stores, purporting to be remedies for tired backs, hands, and feet. They’re really just vibrating ball bearings covered in cloth. They can be quite painful and will suck a pack of batteries dry in no time.
And are we really going to let people label these “shiatsu” massagers? Let’s face it: We know what they’re really being used for, ladies.
Novelty items: I don’t need a farting Santa statue. I don’t want a school bus key chain, a pen that can write underwater, a pocketknife with 132 widgets, a motorized fish that sings AC/DC songs, or Batman shot glasses.
Hot Topic is not punk rock.
Religious items: Even if I believed in god, getting a crucifix for… I don’t know, just around the house?… would be kind of lame. As it is, I don’t want to be spoon-fed tracts. No attempts at conversion this holiday season, please.
If you think Christmas is about the birth of your lord, then you obviously are blind to history. It was originally a German pagan holiday, adopted by the Anglo-Saxons as Yule, a celebration of the winter solstice. It was a time to sacrifice human slaves and slaughter boars.
Last year’s Christmas market was flooded with electronic versions, CD-ROM versions, giant Sudoku puzzle books, and even Sudoku neckties. Now that the craze has subsided (and people have discovered that it was remarkably boring), stores will be trying to unload their overstock and trying to label Sudoku as “hip.” Don’t believe it. Not even your mom wants to do these puzzles again this year.