Christmas Gifts You Love (to Hate)Zack ImusChristmas. The most exciting and anticipated holiday of the year.
A timewhen visions of sugar plums–or stereos, new cars, the latest computer, andvarious other desirable and expensive gifts–dance through our heads.Unfortunately the reality of Christmas gift-giving is often a far cry from ourvisions.When we’re children, it seems as the holidays approach that anything ispossible. But as we mature and gain experience with this annual observance iteventually begins to dawn on us that it might not always be all it’s cracked upto be.
By the time we’ve reached our late teens–when, coincidentally, thepotential for receiving truly outstanding gifts is optimized–we realize thatChristmas gifts are seldom what we hope for. In fact, from year to year itbecomes possible to actually predict the kinds of gifts you’ll unwrap onChristmas morning. Let’s look at a few examples.The Necessity GiftThe necessity gift is one that always seems like a really great idea toyour mother or grandmother, but which is invariably a big yawn to unwrap. Let’sbe realistic, how excited is anybody likely to get over a dozen pairs ofmatching socks, a hairbrush, winter gloves or underwear? Slipper Sox, new sheetsets and toothbrushes also qualify. After unwrapping such a gift, a person islikely to exclaim: “Gosh, you shouldn’t have!” And mean it.
The Token GiftThe Token Gift might be received from almost anyone. Though it seems likean intimate friend or close relative wouldn’t stoop so low, experience provesthat token gifts take up where imagination and/or money leaves off. So it’spossible to receive these kinds of gifts from the most unexpected sources.One present in this category is the ever popular “soap-on-a-rope.” I’venever seen these marketed in June.
But come early November the soap factoriesundoubtedly pay double-double overtime to their workers in order to meet thevast holiday demand for nameless, pungent-smelling brown soap manufactured overthe top of what appears to be a six-foot-long shoe-string. A note of caution:Soap-on-a-rope should never be given to boys under the age of 12. Theyinvariably turn them into near-lethal weapons.
If disappointed enough, theymight even turn them on you.Other token gifts include cheap aftershave lotion/cologne, stationery, andthe ever-popular electric shaver. Though this latter might occasionally fit intothe Necessity Gift category, I’ve never met anyone who actually uses an electricshaver. For this reason, this gift might also fit into our next category.The Closet Stuffer GiftCloset Stuffers are exactly what they sound like: gifts that are stuffedinto the closet shortly after Christmas, never to be seen again. The reason theystay there for a very long time–generations, even–is because most ClosetStuffers make us believe that someday they might be fun and/or useful. But ofcourse, they never are.
Great Closet Stuffers include pasta makers, fondue sets, tacky knick-knacks,tie racks, and the ever-popular but usually short-lived all-around exercisemachine. Some of these gifts might have actually been on someone’s “want” list.But don’t kid yourself. If you purchase such a gift, within weeks it will bedoomed to a life of utter darkness.The “I Didn’t Know What to Buy You” GiftWe’ve all been guilty of purchasing one of these gifts as some time oranother. But that doesn’t make it any more fun to unwrap them ourselves. Many ofthe “IDKWBY” gifts fall into the food category.
Examples include: cheese andsausage gift sets, mixed nuts, chocolate covered cherries or pretzels, tins oftasteless Christmas cookies, ribbon candy, five-gallon tins of assorted flavoredpopcorn and, last and certainly not least, fruitcake. Now some fruitcakeswouldn’t qualify for this category. There are actually people in the world whospend months concocting 12-pound, liquor-filled, green-red-yellow speckledwonders (you wonder what’s in them) as special gifts for their favoriterelatives. This doesn’t make them taste any better, but they do make great door-stops in the off-season. No, only department or drug store fruitcakes fall intothis category.Of course, not all “IDKWBY” gifts are culinary in nature.
Calendars qualify,as do chia pets. Enough said.It would be possible to list several other Christmas gift categories thatwould send a cold tingle up your spine. But rather than list any more of these,I’d like to give you a few examples of really great gifts: Stereo components(good quality), gold jewelry, an appropriate music C.
D., gift certificates, andquality clothing.But if you want to be absolutely certain your gift will be appreciated, gowith cold, hard cash. The receiver is certain to experience the true Americanholiday spirit.