Helpful Holiday Hints

You meant well, but in retrospect, maybe giving your uncle a nose-hair trimmer for Christmas wasn’t the best idea you ever had.  I know, I know — it’s not easy coming up with inspired gifts year after year.  As the holidays barrel down on us, it’s tempting to grab any old thing off the shelf and say “This’ll do.”

Before you give up and renew Gene and Edna’s membership in the Cereal-of-the-Month Club, though, here are some suggestions, culled from catalogs and websites.  These are actual items for sale, and as you read on, you just might say, “Gosh, why didn’t I think of that!?”

•  The Neiman-Marcus Christmas Catalog offers the His and Hers ICON A5 Sports Aircraft, complete with pilot training for two.  This isn’t a toy; it’s a little plane with an amphibious hull.  It flies to a maximum altitude of 10,000 feet and has a range of 300 nautical miles.  There are a couple of drawbacks:  one is that production of this aircraft isn’t scheduled for completion until late 2011.  The other is that it’s a bit pricey — $250,000 may be more than you hoped to spend.

•  Another unique gift — and far more affordable — comes from a company called  As its home page states, they can “morph your photos into a masterpiece”.  You send them a photo of your loved one, and specify one of several artworks that they can digitally defile.  For instance, you could select the Mona Lisa, and their artists will replace Mona’s face with a skillful reproduction of the person whose photo you supply.  If you have a relative with a heavy beard, wouldn’t he double over with laughter every time he sees himself in that Mona Lisa pose?  That’s a lot of fun for around $50.

•  Brookstone has a new take on an old holiday standby:  a flameless candle.  It’s made of real wax, but instead of a wick, there are three light-emitting diodes inside to create that romantic flicker.  What’s more, it has a built-in timer that can be set for 4, 6, or 8 hours of no-drip illumination.  The four AA batteries it requires are not included, but what do you expect for a mere $34.95?

•  A floral bouquet can be a nice gift, but real flowers don’t last very long.  Uncommon Goods has an ingenious solution:  paper roses made from elephant poo.  The catalog stresses that they are odorless, sanitary and 100% recycled.  Just to add to the fun, though, wait until the recipient of your flowers sniffs them, and then mention that they’re made from dung.  A dozen elephant poo red roses are $48.

•  If someone on your gift list is a barbecue enthusiast, he’d probably love the Meat Mark-It Personalized Steak Branding Iron.  It comes with 52 clip-on aluminum letters and spaces, so he can imprint his name, favorite team — or a rude message — on those burgers.  The Meat Mark-It is only $15.99, and is available through

OK, maybe those aren’t the best Christmas gifts ever, but they aren’t the worst, are they?  So what is the worst present you ever got?  Feel free to use a pseudonym when you comment, just in case the person who gave it to you also reads this blog.

One response to “Helpful Holiday Hints

  1. I can’t think of a worst present – though the best gift I could give would be the elephant poo flowers to my brother … if they actually smelled like poo. Revenge!

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