There's only a few days left until Christmas and you still have several people to buy for. What ever you do, don't panic and buy one of the following items thinking it's a good idea.

5. Christmas Ornaments

christmas ornaments,flickr

The gift you can enjoy once a year for about 2 weeks (flickr, LauraHendersonDesign)

What you think: There's actually two thoughts behind this gift. 1.) The person receiving said ornament will cherish it for years to come and think of you every year when they hang it on the tree. 2.) If the ornament in question is part of series, you think that somewhere down the line it will be worth a ton of cash for the person receiving it.

The reality: Congratulations! You gave them a gift they can only use once a year for about 3-4 weeks or less! Unless you're buying this for an 80 year old woman with 5 cats, no one wants it. People know where ornaments are sold and they'll buy them when they want them. You know those ornaments you usually see tucked in on the side or in the back on someone's tree that don't quite match the rest of the tree's scheme? Those were given to them as a gift at some point in time and they feel obligated to hang them on the tree just in case the person who gave it to them shows up at their house over the course of the holiday season. In essence, you bought them the guilt trip that keeps on giving! HO! HO! HO!

And if you think for one minute that 20 years from now that ornament will be in good enough shape to bring in big bucks from some collector, I would like to come live with you in Fantasy World. That ornament will find it's way into the same storage container as the rest of them, tucked in a corner of the garage next to the table leg that for some reason has no table attached to it.


4. Grocery Store Gift Card


Food! It's what I've always wanted! (flickr, juliejordanscott)

What you think: Everybody needs groceries right? Why not help take the burden off your loved one for one week and help pay for some of their groceries. It's a practical gift.

The reality: Don't confuse this with gift cards in general. I don't mind getting a restaurant gift card so my family and I can go out and have the opportunity to enjoy a meal we normally wouldn't make at home. I'm talking about grocery store gift cards specifically. A trip to the grocery store is not a treat. It's a necessity. Christmas is about giving someone a gift they wouldn't normally buy on their own, not giving them the chance to finally grab that loaf of bread they've had their eye on.


3. Underwear

underwear,boxer shorts,flickr

An even worse gift than this? Used underwear. (flickr, williamnyk)

What you think: You either know first-hand or have been told by the recipient's significant other that their current stash of unmentionables beyond the point where they're not even worth keeping around as an oil rag. Plus, everyone needs underwear right?

The reality: Wrong...sort of. Yes, everyone needs underwear. Unless they enjoy the freedom that comes with not wearing it. Too much of a chaffing risk for me personally, but to each their own I suppose. I'll admit, there is something about putting on a fresh, soft pair of boxer briefs (TMI?) that hug in all the right places and provides both support and comfort, but again this falls under the "practical gift" category. Trust me, a guy will break down at some point and buy a new $8.00 pack of underwear. It will happen the instant his nether regions brush up against the inside of his jeans through a ripped hole in his undergarments. It may not happen as often as his wife/girlfriend/mom would like, but it will happen.


2. Exercise Equipment*

shake weight,facebook,exercise equipment

Good thing I'm sitting down. I'm just sayin'. (Courtesy, Facebook)

*Also applies to gym memberships

What you think: At some point in time, you heard the recipient mention that they need to start working out. What better way to help them get started than with a piece of exercise equipment!

The reality: Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING good can come from this gift. They will either come to the quick conclusion (no matter how untrue) that you think they're fat or out of shape, or they will use it intensely for about 3 weeks when they realize that exercise is hard work before sitting placing it in the yard sale pile next to their Ab Roller, Thigh Master, and Bedazzler. I can hear the conversation now in mid-February:

You: "Hey how's that <insert equipment name here> working out?"

Them: "I haven't really had a chance to use it all that much in about 2 weeks, you know with the kids playing sports and all. Plus things have gotten really crazy at work lately and I'm just exhausted by the time I get home."

You: "But you don't have any kids." (BUSTED!)


1. Lottery Tickets

lottery ticket,scratch off,flickr

Disappointment in 3...2...1... (flickr, andrewmalone)

What you think: I'll spend $10, they'll win $50,000 and never forget that it was me who is responsible for their fortune! It will be the best Christmas ever!

The reality: They will win $0 and you will, in essence, have given them nothing for Christmas except now worthless paper, a lap covered in tiny metal-like shavings they will brush off into your carpet, and the crushed hopes and dreams of the trips they were going to take, the bills they were going to pay off, or the new car they were going to buy with the money they thought they might win. Believe me, they thought about all those things in the 10 seconds it took for them to pull a penny or their car keys out of their pocket and start scratching away.

Think about it, have you ever known anyone to win a significant, possibly life-changing amount of money from a lottery ticket they received as a gift? I'm saying it's never happened. I'm sure someone has won at least a few hundred bucks once, but more times than not they'll score $2 which they will take to the nearest gas station and exchange for another ticket that will come up empty and re-crush the aforementioned hopes and dreams. Now not only have you still given them nothing for Christmas, you've also wasted their gas, and forced them to face the harsh reality that they will have to keep working for a living.

Just for fun, let's say they do "win big", then what? Should you get a cut of the winnings? It was your hard-earned dollar that bought the winning ticket after all. And don't give me the, "the joy on their face is enough of a gift" excuse because I'll call B.S. every damn time...every time I say! If you think you won't feel some sort of animosity toward that person every time to see them from that point forward, you are not human. From the moment they jump out of their chair waving their gift in the air and screaming "Oh my God! I can't believe it!" you'll wonder what could have been.

Mark my words, the day will come where you two are together, more than likely with a large group of other family members (you know to make what's about to happen even more awkward), and after you've heard the story about the expensive piece of merchandise they bought for what feels like the millionth time you will spew forth a slew of expletives so vulgar it will make any Eminem album sound like the soundtrack to Disney movie. If you ask me (even if you don't I'll tell you anyway), it's a slippery slope that's best avoided.


Finally, as a public service so you don't make this mistake repeatedly, here's how to tell you've made a poor gift choice:

After unwrapping the box, the receiver will hold it up in the air so everyone can see the terrible gift they just received. At the same time, they're eyes will get big, their mouth will drop open, and they'll let out a breathy, "Ohhhhhh, look at that!"  By saying that, they're buying themselves time to think of something nice to say other than what they're really thinking. At this point, their voice will rise a full octave as they say, "Thank you!" This may also be accompanied by direct eye contact and a head nod as they try really hard to make you believe they're thrilled about the Pajama Jeans you just gave them that are 2 sizes too big. They may also follow this up with, "I really like that." But be warned, if they follow that with, "I really do," or repeat the phrase more than once, they...are...lying.

Other key signs to look for are if they go out of their way throughout the remainder of the day to tell you how much they supposedly "loved" their gift or they ask several other party attendees if they saw the great gift you gave them.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, I really appreciate it! I really do!


"A picture of myself? Great! Now the mirror won't be the only thing to remind me that I'm a failure!" (flickr, IndyDina with Mr. Wonderful)



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