You know, one of these years you’re going to actually get all your Christmas shopping done in a reasonable amount of time. Or at least that’s what you keep telling yourself. And yet, once again you’ve found yourself having to shop at the last minute, and naturally, all the good stuff has been taken already. Naturally, your choices might be a bit limited. Actually, you’re pretty much doomed at this point, but maybe if you play your cards right, you can end up slightly less doomed than you would be otherwise. These… are not those gifts. Think of this as a “what not to do” list of sorts. After the jump, you’ll find some of this year’s hottest bad gift ideas.
Previous Gift Guides and other Christmas posts:
- 2011 : The Sledgehammer 2011 Last-Minute Christmas Gift Guide: Good Things Don’t Come to Those Who Wait
- 2010 : Coal is Overrated: The 2010 Sledgehammer Last-Minute Christmas Gift Guide
- 2009: Deck the Halls With Something Or Other – A Roundup of Questionable Holiday Decorations
- 2008: Didn’t write one, was too busy dodging the snow.
- 2007: The First (And Quite Possibly Last) Ever Sledgehammer Last-Minute Christmas Gift Guide
We’ll start this year with Monopoly, one of the long-running classics. Monopoly has been enjoyed by countless families over the years… Well, for about ten minutes or so, at which point everyone seems to end up at each other’s throats. This one’s the so-called “Classic” edition, which is now something of a throwback as the game has been pretty significantly designed since these were originally produced.
As you can see, given the half a zillion different variations out there, it’s harder than it would seem to find a plain vanilla version of the game these days.
Elsewhere in the games aisle, we see this Mario themed chess set. Even here, it seems that Luigi isn’t getting much respect.
Tablets seem to be one of the hottest gifts this year, and with good reason. With no shortage of new devices on the market, there’s bound to be something that will meet everyone’s needs (well, within a fairly limited set of needs, but that’s a topic for another post.) Based on some of the descriptions I’ve seen online of one of these it actually sounds like it would be kind of neat if you were a kid, but this particular model seems to be best suited for disappointing the 3-year-old on your list who wants an iPad.
Or if you’re looking for something that’s going to disappoint pretty much everyone (up to and including Apple’s lawyers,) this one should do the trick quite nicely.It’s even got rounded corners, just in case they’re looking for a gift-wrapped Casus belli.
Moving on to the toy section, it seems that radio controlled stuff is hot this year. Well, it’s been hot for a while now, but you know it’s getting pretty close to shark-jumping territory when you start seeing remote-controlled vermin all over the place. Sure, it only costs 15 bucks, but it seems to me that real vermin would be a whole lot cheaper.
Then again, speaking of jumping the shark… Adam West could not be reached for comment.
Or if those ones don’t seem to work for you, maybe this is more your Thing.
If you need to clean up after your assorted radio-controlled wildlife, you can always give your kids this toy Dyson vacuum cleaner. Aside from the fact that it doesn’t actually do anything (or at least doesn’t do anything useful) it’s just like the real thing, and at only 1/20th of the price too! You could even get one and use it to “clean up” after your party just to make your friends think you can afford a real one!
Do you happen to have the kind of kids for whom you end up buying expensive toys, only to have them end up getting more entertainment value out of playing with the box? Then this should keep them occupied for a while. At least until they decide to ignore these too and play with the box that the boxes came in.
Of course, if you’re an eight year old, there’s nothing cooler than an official Red Ryder carbine 200-shot BB-gun, now available in designer colors. Sure you’ll shoot your eye out, but at least you’ll look stylish while you’re doing it.
Or if your kid happens to be looking for something a bit more modern, you can always get them one of these. You might want to save yourself a bit of time and call the SWAT team to set up an appointment for their inevitable visit though.
Nonetheless, even with as menacing as those BB guns happen to look, you’re going to get yourself in trouble if you just head off into the woods unprepared, so you might want to get in a bit of practice first. Sure, you’ll probably still get torn limb from limb if you happen to encounter an actual bear while you’re out there, but at least you’d know what to do if you had anything with actual firepower.
If you do go out in the woods to shoot off your newly acquired weaponry, it’s probably a good idea to bring one of these along to help you find your keys if you happen to lose them. Just be careful not to lose the key finder, or you’ll probably never find the thing again. Unless you add a slightly more visible whistle key finder to your whistle key finder…
Oh, and if you were hoping to shave your inevitably rugged manly beard while you’re out in the woods, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news on that one too.
As always, the Holiday season comes with its inevitable shelves full of trinkety gift-like objects that you never knew you had absolutely no use for until you happened to find them under the tree with your name on them. This year’s selections are no exception. As usual, the gifts range from the downright inexplicable…
…to the terminally kitschy…
…to the just plain ridiculous. I’m not sure who wrote the proverbial book that has all the oldest tricks in it, but I don’t think any of these dime store gags (well, dollar store gags if you account for inflation) could be any further than 3 or 4 pages in. At least if you get it for someone you’ll know what to look for beforehand while they’re halfheartedly trying to pass these off on a thoroughly incredulous public.
Although not quite in the same league as the boxed gifts shown above, As Seen on TV products seem to lend their own special blend of kitsch to the season by solving problems you never knew you had, all for only three easy payments of $19.99 (plus shipping and handling). Among this year’s crop pf products, the standout seems to be this BrightLight Pillow, which continues the ongoing nationwide trend of adding color-changing LEDs to just about everything and making sure you’re pretty much never going to be able to sleep again. The lady on the box on the left seems rather enthralled by the whole idea. If only she had a glowing boyfriend that changed colors…
And for another $19.99, this clever little gadget will let you make a speaker out of anything you can possibly think of. Possibly up to and including a $15 set of speakers that will inevitably sound far better than the results of using one of these. And yes, the commercial for this thing is just as ridiculous as it sounds.
But if you’re looking for something just as bit more traditional, there’s always the gift of fragrances. Sure the packaging may look a little bit odd, but as long as you don’t tell her you bought the stuff at an electronics store notorious for its cheap products of dubious origin, I’m sure she won’t even know the difference… Right?
As usual, massagers seem to be a favorite item this year, even though I’m not sure that anyone has ever actually bought one of the things (well OK, I did buy one at one point, and returned it three days later because I found it didn’t do much more than annoy me.) Given the fact that they’ve got just about every other body part covered these days, I suppose it’s inevitable they’d come up with this one at some point. On one hand (pun not intended, but I’ll leave it anyway) this does actually sound kind of nice. On the other hand, I think I’d be worried that the thing would eventually try to bite my hand off.
Meanwhile, in the ongoing effort by certain overpriced gadget stores in the mall to find some way to hook up a smartphone to everything, they’ve managed to create a smartphone-controlled foot massager. Basically the same thing as they’ve been selling for years, only now it uses an iPhone, and it costs $100 more.
If you’ve put off your shopping until the last minute and you’re out of ideas, calendars are always a popular choice, to the point that there are whole stores that pop up in malls for a couple of months to sell calendars, then vanish into thin air sometime in the second week of January. Most calendars are fairly predictable, but every once in a while you get some rather specialized ones.
This, for example, seems like an oddly specific thing to be making a calendar out of.
Kitchen appliances tend, for some reason, to continue to be a popular gift item, even if 75% of them are basically useless. Nothing says “I want to fill up your kitchen with all kinds of useless crud” quite like an appliance that makes only one very specific item, yet takes up almost a whole entire shelf in the cabinet by itself.
As always, jewelry is a popular item around this time of year, and someone who wanders into a jewelry store without a clue what he’s looking for can get into trouble rather quickly. An occasional vague hint or two has had me taking a closer look at the stuff this year than I’d usually manage, and in the process I came across this diamond ring, which handily beats out even the $84,300 4.09-carat diamond from last year’s gift guide. I have no idea just how big that diamond is supposed to be (if I had to guess I’d say possibly around 6-8 carats,) but I did catch a glimpse at the price tag: $280,000. I think I might have to put that one on my credit card. After I get rich enough to get one of the black ones.
Finally, if you happen to have a kid that’s been bugging you for a pony but you don’t want all the time and expense that comes with owning barnyard animals, why not get them this lamp which just happens to come with a full sized horse attached to it? Sure it’s probably too fragile to ride, and it takes up half the room, but it can be yours for only $7,981, and they’ll even throw in free shipping. Actually, on second thought, I think an actual pony might be cheaper.
Anyway, this concludes another Sledgehammer Last Minute Christmas gift guide. Now go out there and try to end up less doomed than you might otherwise be. To all my readers, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year, and once again I remind you to save the receipt.