Thursday, December 04, 2008

Worst Gifts: A Holiday Gift Guide

Everywhere you go there are holiday gifts guides with things to buy for friends and loved ones, ways to spend your money to show people how much you care. But to show you how much I care, today I'm giving you a list of gifts you can be sure to avoid. Save your money because these just aren't worth it (unless for a laugh).

So no holiday gift guide, only a dumb gift guide. Just to be different of course.

If you want a real gift guide you can always check out the list of terrific toys I reviewed this summer because there are some great ones and who knows? Maybe next week I'll do a regular old boring gift guide.

But for now I'm having too much fun mocking these lovely items.

Remote Controlled Doodle BugWhat's the most ridiculous gift you ever received? For me it would have to be a cast iron bird feeder we got for our wedding. My boss gave it to me and the guys at the office were ticked because apparently he'd taken around a collection, asking people if they wanted to pitch in and get us a gift, but then he came up with this gothic monstrosity that looked suspiciously like it had been regifted. They all suspected that he'd hit them up for cash, pocketed it and instead wrapped up something leftover from his own wedding. Boy now I'm sure wishing I had a picture of it.

On with the list!

1. Remote Controlled Doodle Bug. I'd love to meet the toy company exec who thought THIS was a good idea.

"Hey! Hey! Listen you guys! I've got it! How about we make a toy where a kid can stick an uncapped marker in the top then push a button--you know how kids love to push buttons--and then they can drive the toy around all over the place and the marker comes out the bottom, writing on whatever the toy runs across!"

That is a person who obviously grew up on Mars. Without much oxygen.

When I want to give my home that subway-tunnel-graffiti makeover I'll let you know.

Open It! Package Opener2. Open It! Package Opener. This doesn't seem like a bad idea necessarily--I don't think there's anyone who hasn't cursed whoever invented the wrappings for DVDs. Or worse yet, those thick heavy plastic packages that are sealed all around the edges so that you can't rip them, can't cut them, can't break them and you twist and pull for ten minutes before finally ripping a tiny opening that cuts you on the thumb.

It can only be a plot by China to systematically drive American parents insane and let me tell you it's working. Just when you think you've finally got the doll detached from her cardboard surroundings there's one more little twisty tie holding her thumb down. Once I even had a doll that was sewn into her packaging across her hair and across her scalp. Baby that's a doll that's not going anywhere.

The only thing is, I bet these scissors come in one of those plastic thingies. It's just the way life's ironies play out, you know--one of those certainties. THEN what are you gonna do?

Toothbrush Sanitizer3. A Toothbrush Sanitizer. Yes for $39.99 you too can have a pocket-size toothbrush sanitizer that presumably sanitizes your toothbrush. One has to stop and ask: Why? Is the world that dangerous of a place that we've now come to this?

Scenario 1: Your toothbrush falls in the toilet. Solution? THROW IT OUT. It's only $1.85 to replace it or something so live on the edge and get a new one if you can't bear to bleach it into submission. At least that saves you $38.00.

Scenario 2: Your toothbrush doesn't fall in the toilet, it just gets used the normal way. Solution? What solution? That's what toothbrushes are for. How many people have survived for how long with unsanitized toothbrushes?

Besides one has to then ask, if you've got a toothbrush sanitizer that fits in your pocket, how are you going to sanitize the pocket you're carrying it in? Where will it end??

Baby Laptop4. A Baby Laptop. Is it just me or does this gift embody the absurd?

Because babies need to be with it when it comes to technology--how else are they going to keep their skills sharp amongst the tide of other babies flooding the job markets? I mean it used to be that kids learned how to turn on, tune in and drop out at 5, 6, or 7 years of age but nowadays that's just not early enough to be able to compete with the emerging East.

We need our American babies to be right there when it comes to texting and coding and creating spread sheets and this is the toy that's going to take them there. I bet it runs on Vista.

I guess it's not quite that bad--it doesn't really even look like a laptop--but what a hoot. Whatever happened to those colored stacking rings that my kids loved so much? Now that was a baby toy. Back when the world wasn't owned by Microsoft.

Safari Photo Shoot5. Safari Photo Shoot. And while we're on the subject of toys check out this gem.

At first it looks okay. Hey! A game where you try to take pictures of animals! Fun!

But then you look closer and you realize that it's got PETA stamped all over it.

This, my friends, is a game where instead of SHOOTING the animals with a virtual GUN you instead SHOOT the animals with a CAMERA. Shoot!

I can just see my boys (who, incidentally, haven't generally had guns given to them as toys lest you think this post is sponsored by the NRA, I'm really not a gun fan myself) I can just see them unwrapping this on Christmas morning and blinking in confusion.

"What are we supposed to do with this?" they'd ask.

"Why darling, you're supposed to shoot the animals--with your camera! For points! Won't that be fun!"

"Does the camera have a death ray that comes out of it?"


"Does it spit acid?"


"How about flames?"

"No, sorry, but you can pretend to take pictures of the animals. You wouldn't want to pretend to hurt them and this is much safer."

"Okay . . . ."

It just cracks me up. I mean I'm not going to let them play Doom but for goodness sake, let's not be ridiculous.

Struts Ponies6. Struts Ponies. I really shouldn't include this one, it's just too darn easy but I couldn't resist. If, by some freak of nature, you haven't seen these equine obscenities then you're in for a treat because they're so bad they're good.

It's the horse that comes with "clientele" and a warning label from the CDC. No wait, instead of tying your pony to the pole this horsey dances on it.

At any rate, should any of you out there feel that your little daughters do not receive enough suggestive images through conventional media or do not already have enough issues with their body image then this might be the perfect toy for them.

I hear if you buy the deluxe edition you can get it with little stickers to enhance your horse. Silicone stickers for the chest and collagen for the lips.

Jumbo Remote Control7. Jumbo Remote Control. If you've ever wondered how scientists control the Hubble Space Telescope, this would be it. Big enough to guarantee it will never get lost between the cushions of your couch this remote can change the channel on the Jumbotron in Times Square from the comforts of your own couch. In Des Moines.

Maybe this is obvious but seriously folks, if you're having trouble seeing the buttons on your remote control so that you're forced into buying something this enormous and cumbersome your t.v. viewing is bound to be a little impaired as it is.

If you have to have control buttons the size of your front lawn and a remote control that requires two hands to lift it then you're going to have trouble reading Vanna's letters on your screen. You're doomed.

Easy Cycle8. Easy Cycle. Let me spell that out for you in case you missed the irony: Easy. Cycle. Because if you're trying to exercise it's important to find the piece of equipment that is easiest.

You wouldn't want anything annoying like resistance or something crowding into the picture now would you?

And can you read the fine print in the picture? I kid you not, it says: "CORDED REMOTE CONTROL." [a pause while I chuckle]. Because if sitting on the couch with your feet twiddling around isn't easy enough for you just use the remote control and you can exercise remotely while you're taking a shower upstairs and save tons of energy.

I'm trying to grasp the benefit here but I'm coming up empty-handed. Perhaps it's intended for someone severely impaired who need physical therapy? Maybe? Those calves in the picture tend to indicate otherwise. I wonder if he got those using the remote control.

Yard o' Ale9. Yard o' Beer. Have you noticed that I've not taken the easy route with this post and I've given you actual, legitimate items from legitimate sources (I won't name those sources because some of them might actually want me to write about their products someday). I mean there are plenty of sites out there with gag gifts but I'm bringing you real, honest-to-goodness gifts from normal catalogs and someone, somewhere is probably buying them right this minute.

You get quality when you come here, I just wanted you to know.

Anyway, this too is a real item in a real catalog and it's called "Yard o' Ale." For obvious reasons. It completely cracked me up because it says to me, "I don't just think you're a drinker, you're a BIG drinker. With a REALLY REALLY long arm like King Kong."

My one question is: does it come with beer? Or is that extra?

But seriously--how would you get it to your lips?

Pocket Keychain Breathalyzer Test10. And finally, in conjunction with number nine, here is the Pocket Key Chain Breathalyzer Test. Pardon my ripped picture but this has got to be the gift that friends give to friends.

It says, "We all know how you love to knock back the martinis and even though the actual blood alcohol limit is high enough to still allow you to drive in an unstable manner we want to keep you drinking as much as possible without actually going over the limit. After all, someone's got to drive us home."

Can you actually imagine someone giving this to someone for reals? Nope, me neither. The thing I don't get either is how the picture says at the very bottom "For entertainment purposes only." Now what's that supposed to mean? It's listed as a legitimate gift in a real catalog, not a gag gift, and what's so entertaining about people being too drunk to drive? If it were so entertaining we'd have way more people applying for jobs in law enforcement. Can't you just picture the scene at the party?

"Hey Bob, pull out that breathalyzer test I gave you last Christmas and let's see how drunk you are! Everybody come see! Bob's gonna use his breathalyzer test!"

What a riot.

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Technorati tags: holidays, gifts


Erica said...

The pony is utterly ridiculous, nearly as offensive as Bratz.

I have to say I 'get' the yard o' ale, it's based on an army tradition. A new recruit has to 'down' a yard o' ale on their first visit to the mess (I had to do a yard o' bacardi breezer...bad memories) the yard o' ale or the boot (a glass shaped like a boot) is also used as a forfeit or during drinking games.

I would definitely say it was more of a 'gag' gift though.

One Mom said...

I thought the My Little Pony was bad enough...does anybody really buy these? As for the toothbruxh sanitizer, I thought that was what the dishwasher was for...I think I read that somewhere....seriously...

Caffienated Cowgirl said...

Seriously...the horse! OMG! What were toy designers thinking? Does it come with a rider that sidelines as a pole dancer?

Omah's Helping Hands said...

I'm with everyone else, the horse is very sad. What is the company thinking???? I mean really.
I had to chuckle at the remote. My daughter bought her fiance one, as he was always losing the remote. :) Needless to say, it worked.
Thanks for sharing the ridiculous stuff that comes out these days.

Flea said...

My husband's brother bought the yard o'beer years ago, for fun. He's having pretty serious liver problems now. But there was a time when every other yard sale had at least one of them, with some college logo on it.

a Tonggu Momma said...

That remote controlled doodle bug was shown on Oprah last year. A momma won a contest for it... I remember thinking then, "Wow. The Tongginator can now wreck a room in seconds rather than minutes." What the heck was she thinking?

Edi said...

All of those gifts seem very ridiculous to me. The pony seems to fit in with all the other "glamor" girl type "toys" out there - marketed to 3 yrs old who will be 13 all too soon.

My worst gift - was actually one for my son. He was about 3 at the time and it was some kind of "wrestling" character from a tv show/movie maybe?? It was downright disgusting looking - a principle with it's brains showing or something.

At that time my dh gave me some good advice. "Just throw it out! We're not going to be kept hostage to gifts!" Meaning - we ain't gonna keep something around that we hate just so we are not worried about offending the gift giver who might ask about it or come over and notice that it's not around.

Summer said...

I actually think a jumbo remote would be nice. I mean, how could you lose a remote that big? Our normal one is always falling between couch cushions and into the recliner and the like.

SarahHub said...

Chris and I just saw that breathalyzer in a catalog yesterday. We really could not believe it!

And that pony! Huh????

Jennifer said...

You mean people pay for toothbrushes? I don't think I've plunked down cash for one of those puppies in years. I love CVS!

And that Safari Photo Shoot is just weird. It seems like even the most animal-loving, photo-taking kid would lose interest in about 5 minutes. I can't imagine the animals move fast enough to make this much of a challenge.

Alison said...

Thanks for the entertainment. You brought smiles to my morning :-)

Awesome Mom said...

We got a battery operated vegetable peeler at our wedding with we regifted to my sister when she got married. My husband and I still laugh about it especially since it was a gift from a member of his family.

CountessLaurie said...

My five year old just had her birthday so I have been opening these (insert explecitive here) toys for a few days now. The twisty ties and the plastic! It IS China's way of bringing us to our knees. I am convinced of it. And yet, as one comedienne pointed out, lightbulbs come in nice fragile cardboard containers,sure to be broken before I reach the house .... GAHHHH.

Tammy said...

Oh, I loved this list!!! It was nice to laugh. :-) That toothbrush sanitizer totally cracked me up. Especially since you are saving $30 too. Does that mean that they thought people wouldn't buy it at $69.99 so they slashed the price? LOL

That pony...ridiculous. If anyone ever dares get something like that for my little girl it will go in the trash without a moment's hesitation!

bonobo said...

Great post, I can't believe the pony and the doodlebug. Outta control.

Melanie J said...

I agree with the absurdity of everything except the giant remote. I bought one for my parents because they wore the print off their most-used tiny little remote buttons, AND they kept losing it, so the big one was supposed to be a joke one Christmas. But they absolutely loved it and now I've inherited it and I have to say....pretty awesome.

anneglamore said...

I waited tables during college at a restaurant that was known for its meters and half meters of beer. They looked just like the yard of ale. The worst was when you worked the upstairs section -- you had to fill up the beer downstairs, walk up those iron circular stairs that save space, then serve the inebriated frat guys.
Wahoowa indeed.

Now, one of my boys is DYING for some Kinoki foot pads for Christmas. Go figure!

Monkey's Momma said...

Speaking of offensive gifts, I was flipping through a mail order catalog I received the other day and lo and behold, there was a, ahem, adult "pleasure item" on the page with a bright red tag beside it that announced, "Great Gift Idea!".

calicobebop said...

Holy crap - is that pony by the Bratz people? My daughter loves all things "pony" - I hope she never sees this one.

I've actually had a "yard of beer." It was in Bahrain, in a hotel bar. It was enough. I probably could have used that pocket breathalyzer afterwards... Good thing I was staying in the hotel!

Melissa said...

I had not seen the pony before, and I must say - Wowzer! No other words come to mind for that one. This is one of those things that makes me glad I have boys, and then worried about those boys.

I was at a party that had the jumbo remote as a gag gift. Everyone was fighting over it. It looks like the ultimate toy for tots to me. Big buttons perfect for little fingers!

CoconutKate said...

Thankfully, I have not seen the struts ponies...and neither has my daughter. I do have to say though that that remote would be perfect for my MIL who is legally blind. She can see a little but when she buys anything, the bigger the buttons the better. :0)

Some of our bad gifts...wire remote car (we didn't have any kids at the time and the wire was about 2 feet long), a garfield stuffed animal with candy (we are not into garfield whatsoever), and a star box that I was told was given to me instead of my SIL because they found something better for her. :0) yeah.

patty w said...

ROFLOL !! ............

We bought our son one of those remotes last year for Christmas ! He'll be 10 just after Chrismas this year but he was always losing the remote to his TV (yes, they have a 13" in their rooms) It works wonderfully and he has not lost it!

Twinsmom said...

Oh how funny! DD and I saw the ad for the toothbrush sanitizer the other day, and in a voice-with-an-attitude that only a 13-year-old girl can have, she said, "A sanitizer?? *tsk* why????" And those ponies....we won't even go there. The people who designed and approved the production of those obviously never had daughters!

J at said...

I'm totally buying the package opener thing if I see it in the store.

I'm putting that pony on my blog tomorrow. My post started as a waffle mix review, but I'm finding all kinds of weird stuff today, so it's morphing in kind of a disturbing way. :)

Stephanie said...

HA! This post was funny, for sure. I especially detest those Strut Ponies. Those are absolutely atrocious!

Heather said...

Now I know what to get the kid whose parents irritate me. The doodle bug should do the trick to get them to stop inviting us to birthday parties.

Patois said...

I'm going to vote for the pony being the worstest, followed closely behind the "shooting" camera game.

Derick and Becky said...

I can't get over those horses! Seriously, first the Bratz, now this. Pretty soon they are going to make platforms for babies! And the package opener, it does come in one of those plastic things you can't get open!

Bobbie in AK! said...

I have to admit that I fell into the trap of the Open It! Package Opener. The darn thing broke after the second time I tried to use it. It was worthless! What's even worse is that I bought one of them as a Christmas gift for my Dad. Hopefully he had better luck with his.

Heffalump said...

We got that Jumbo remote for my Father in Law's Birthday last year as a gag gift because he was turning 60.

Mean Mommy said...

Oh man- we got our bro in law the jumbo remote last year (kind of as a joke) because their kids were always losing their little remote. It's never lost now! :)

And the toothbrush sanitizer?!? I'm seriously thinking my husband needs it. He's a germaphobe who is afraid to put his toothbrush back into the bathroom drawer because "it doesn't get any air circulation and it will get moldy or let the germs fester." So instead he lets it air dry on the edge of the sink- where it gets covered with drops of water from people washing their dirty hands, or sneeze germs, or (according to Mythbusters) tiny water particles jettisoned from the open flushing toilet. And to think that I kiss that mouth.

Kathryn said...

After reading this post, I am so glad that I get to buy guns for Christmas and not Hoochie Horse dolls! I hadn't seen that before. (I spend most my time at Wal-mart in the Lightning McQueen aisle.) Wow! Other than that, I would have to say the Toothbrush Sanitizer would be the most likely to find itself under the tree at our house. My hubby is almost an OCD germ freak (thing "As Good As It Gets.") He would totally use it!

illahee said...

that horse is freakishly disturbing....

Daisy said...

The remote control is actually a good thing. We had one for my visually impaired son. Later on we got one for my daughter. As she puts it, "Do you know how easy it is to lose a remote control in a college kid's apartment?!" Strange as it may seem, we like the jumbo universal remotes!

Alisa said...

Struts ponies? More like Slutz Ponies. Finally, fitting transportation for those

And you've been tagged. Go here:

Sarah Jewel said...

Omg. The pony... and the remote... and the yard o beer...
I just.... can't... HAHAHAHA

miriama said...

What? No dustpans? Yes. I got a dustpan for Christmas. From my EX-husband. I repeat EX-husband. Need I say more?

cndymkr / jean said...

I thought this list was very good till I got to the large remote control. Umm, I have one. Now, it was a gag gift but those buttons are really nice.
That pony thing should be illegal.

Mary@notbefore7 said... I guess it is bad that I knew exactly who I would "secret pal" that breathalyzer test too...

Maybe we all do. But really give it? Uh...NO!

These were hilarious!

Denise said...

ROFL at the trampy horse. I will NOT be buying that for my sweet horse-loving 8yo daughter.

Serena said...

What the dickens is up with that horse?!!!

Erin said...

Hey! It's a Hooker Horse! That thing looks like a gift for beastiality fetishists not little girls.

Robyn said...

I agree on the toothbrush thing, but my husband is a weirdo who won't throw them away. He always has about three going, and the spares get thrown in the dishwasher, which seems really gross to me. I don't get why he won't just use one a while and replace it. I've thought of these as an alternative to the dishwasher thing.

MiaKatia said...

Oh man, that srtutz pony makes me sick. Seriously folks, little girls don't need that kind of stuff.

Headless Mom said...

Oy. I just couldn't let this pass. The pony? If I didn't see it with my own eyes I wouldn't have believed it.

Heather said...

Oh, now see, I thought you were giving these away! hahaha!

The remote control sharpie marker is great! What could go wrong?

Nicole said...

Ha! I loved this. I really enjoyed every word! Awesome! The Brethalizer..?? lol!

Janet said...

I've seen most of those but that horse leaves me speechless. (And as you know, I am almost never speechless.)

thediaperdiaries said...

The slutty pony takes the cake. What is going on in this world?