The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

December 24, 2014

The Sledgehammer 2014 Last-Minute Christmas Gift Guide: Procrastination is the Last Refuge of the Scoundrel

Filed under: Holidays, shopping — Tags: , — Brian Lutz @ 2:09 am

Well, you blew it again.  This year, you swore that you would do your Christmas shopping at a reasonable time so you wouldn’t need to scramble at the last minute.  You figured that you’d have plenty of time to do it, but just never got around to it somehow.  As the time creeps closer, you think you’ll take a quick trip to the mall and get everything done at once,  And then you realize that this is what you’re going to have to wade through to get to the mall…

And it suddenly dawns on you that maybe you’re in just a bit of trouble here.  Once again, you’re doing your shopping at the last minute, and once again, you’re pretty much doomed.  Well, I’m here to help…  Sort of.  You see, by the point you’ve waited this long, pretty much all the good stuff has been taken, packed up and placed under some unsuspecting tree.  By this point, you’re pretty much stuck with whatever happens to be left, and there’s a pretty good chance someone is going to be very disappointed in you.  But there’s hope.  In what has become a more-or-less annual tradition (although I didn’t do one last year due to spending most of the Holiday season in the Caribbean) allow me to present my Sledgehammer Last-Minute Christmas Gift Guide, filled with ideas for stuff you should be able to easily find on the shelves.  Of course, there’s typically a very good reason that most of this stuff is still sitting on the shelves, but that’s just a minor detail, right?  Anyway, without any further ado, let’s get to the gift guide, which you will find after the jump.

These days, social media is all the rage, and anyone who has accidentally wandered into Instagram for five minutes knows that in order to be one of the cool (or “cool”) kids you have to take lots of selfies.  Typically this process involves the injudicious use of a bathroom mirror, but you can now streamline the process of looking like a complete poseur with this handy Selfie Stick.

Oh, and while you’re at it, don’t forget the ridiculous wooden props to carry along with you for the New Year’s Eve parties.  After all, you’re probably going to look ridiculous and regret pretty much everything later anyway, so why not go all out?

These days, it seems like practically everywhere you look someone is selling Bluetooth speakers.  There’s just one problem with these:  They still look like speakers, leading people to believe you’re actually listening to music.  Presumably the trick is to somehow make these things not look like speakers, which is why someone decided to embed speakers into this allegedly ordinary houseplant.  I guess the idea is that people will assume that the music coming out of the plant is caused by a compromise of their sanity and will then go get their heads examined.


If you had planned ahead when you did your Christmas shopping, you too could have joined the trampletastic frenzy of consumerism that is Black Friday, where you could have found ridiculous bargains that people who spent six hours camping out in front of the store on Thanksgiving Day snatched up three hours before you even thought about going to the store.  These days, there is nothing more symbolic of the whole Black Friday experience  than the suspiciously cheap off-brand TV sold in a store that has no business whatsoever selling TVs in the first place.  Why, at these prices, the things are practically stocking stuffers!

Naturally, if you go looking for long enough, there’s a good chance you can even find a stocking big enough to stuff one of the things into.

As anyone who has attended an awkward office holiday party is aware of, the concept of the Ugly Christmas Sweater is nothing new.  For some reason, this year has seen the whole concept taken to new heights in what is certain to ensure the whole thing jumps the festively decorated woolen shark within three years.

Years ago, it used to be sufficient to have a sweater that was ugly (festive or otherwise) and wear it around Christmastime.  Now it seems that something of an arms race has developed in the presumably lucrative ugly sweater market as individuals and corporations alike strive to be the first to hit rock bottom.  Of course, it seems that some people are simply trying too hard.

These days, it seems that even the festive holiday decor isn’t safe from this disturbing trend.

Should you be so inclined, you can even dress up your wine bottles in ugly sweaters these days.  Don’t worry, your wine bottles won’t judge you too much.

Last year, it seems like Duck Dynasty was all the rage when it came to excessive merchandising of a presumably popular pop culture property.  This year there’s still a decent amount of the stuff to be found on the shelves, but the cheap knockoff artists have had time to catch up, to last year’s Internet and pop culture memes.

You can’t get by on just recycling the stuff that’s past the sell-by date though, sometimes you have to stick to the usual tired old clichés as well.  For some reason zombies remain inexplicably popular, and merchandisers seem to be constantly looking for ways to try to squeeze more money out of this played-out trend that somehow persistently refuses to die and consumes the brains of the unsuspecting.  There’s nothing like a little bit of random licensing to help things along though.

Speaking of taking a treasured icon of pop culture and promptly running it into the ground, the leg lamp from A Christmas Story seems to have become the latest to fall victim to this practice.

Oh well, I suppose we might as well just throw whatever pointless license we can at it and get it out of the collective systems of the product designers.

As usual, toys are always a hotbed of pointless licensing, and one of the most popular categories for this seems to be drivable toy cars. If you’re going to spring for the big bucks to put your kid into a cheesy little motorized toy car, you want to make it look nice so they can impress their friends on the playground.  Naturally your kid is going to want something cool like the Corvette, the Mustang or the Jeep, so why not disappoint them with this generic Soccer Mom SUV?  They’ll look like overscheduled upper-middle-class yuppies in no time at all!

Another present that is sure to be popular with the kids this year is this cute little stuffed animal, which your children can disembowel and wear the flayed corpse of as pajamas.  Presumably, this is somehow supposed to not be completely creepy.

If you have a grammar Nazi on you’re List that your looking to annoy, this may be, just the thing you need to do it.  (duck and run)

Speaking of guaranteed disappointments, here’s a collection of Pez dispensers with the heads of a number of dead presidents on them.  Presumably this series of dispensers is supposed to be covering the presidents in sequential order, so every once in a while you’re bound to hit a less-than-inspiring part of the group.  Something tells me that you probably won’t find a whole lot of Pez collectors lining up to be the first on the block to get Taft, Harding, Wilson, Coolidge and Hoover.  I suppose it could be worse though.  I can imagine the stampede (or lack thereof) that will ensue when the set featuring LBJ, Nixon, Ford and Carter comes along.

If you’re looking for something a little more educational for the kids, why not give them one of these handy miniature gardens and let them try their hand at growing stuff?  There’s one with Venus Fly Traps, one with cacti, one with dinosaurs…

And one you can use to teach your kids how to make beer.  For ages 4 and up, naturally.

Speaking of beer, there seem to be quite a few people out there that use the Holidays as a convenient opportunity to partake of large quantities thereof.  For those people this gigantic beer glass might be just the thing they’re looking for.  If you ever wanted to get hammered but are annoyed by the inconvenience of having to keep opening all those bottles when you could be living in uninterrupted beer-guzzling bliss, you’ve got a handy solution right here.

Or if your prefer your excessive quantities of liquid refreshment in a little harder form, how about a 64-ounce flask?  Just be warned that you might look a tad suspicious trying to sneak half a gallon of hooch into the stadium in your pants leg.

For those people who prefer to stick to the less potent stuff, there are plenty of handy water bottles out there too.  This one features, for some reason that currently eludes me, a Sound Transit route map of the Puget Sound area.  I guess it’s perfect for those times when your run takes you a little farther than you might have planned on and you somehow randomly ended up in the middle of Burien with no idea how to get home.  Hopefully you weren’t planning on taking a Metro bus, because if you were even your water bottle won’t save you now.

But as long as you’ve got the water bottle, you might as well find something to fill it with here, such as this “limited edition” energy drink mix.  Presumably limited due to the fact that the featured celebrity on the box may or may not be playing football in Seattle next year, at which point the whole thing might turn out to be just a tad awkward.

Of course, of all the people you may need to do Christmas shopping for, that special someone always seems to be the hardest one to figure out, not to mention the most peril-fraught.  If you happen to have large quantities of money to spend, you can purchase a high-end designer scarf from a highly fashionable name brand, at which point you can set it down on a chair and make it look suspiciously like a dead animal.

But whatever you do ultimately decide on, be warned that this is just asking for trouble.

I’m pretty sure I don’t need to bother explaining why this is a bad idea, right?

And whatever other hare-brained ideas you might come up with, don’t ever, ever, EVER give this as a present unless you’re absolutely certain you won’t end up sleeping on the couch for the next eleven years as a result.  Anyway, have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and be careful out there.

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