2008 Holiday Survival Guide for Slackers

It’s a holiday tradition: You’re giftless mere hours until Christmas, and it’s printouts and January ETAs for the unlucky few on your list. Gift ideas for the eternally belated.

Times are tough, but you swore that Economaggeddon 2008 wouldn’t deter you from celebrating Christmas to the fullest. Money is tight of course, so you resolved to handcraft gifts this year: a knitted sweater for dad, a new mug for your sweetheart, and an assortment of cookies for everyone else on your list.

Of course, you made that resolution three weeks ago. The library filled your hold for Knitting for Dummies within days, but you never got around to picking it up. You discovered that having seen Ghost twice in 1990 was not enough training in pottery to sculpt your own ceramics. And last Thursday, after smoking a bowl of chronic (funny how you haven’t cut back your spending on that), you not only ate the entire bag of chocolate chips but then hand-shoveled the all-purpose flour directly into your maw while watching season 1, disc 3 of the Sarah Connor Chronicles.

So here we are, 24 hours from J-Day, and the only thing you’ve handcrafted is your own doom. Fortunately, Christmas brings unto you a Savior: the internet, with a myriad of godsmackingly dumb products available for purchase right this very moment. And I’m sure they can all be delivered to your doorstep by Christmas morn—so long as you pay the necessary shipping charges of approximately $700 billion.


After the success of the Lord of the Rings films, the Harry Potter series, and World of Warcraft, you’d think the shameful stigma associated with owning and wearing a cloak would be a thing of the past. But no, apparently we still have to refer to them euphemistically. Enter Snuggie*, which bills itself as “The Blanket With Sleeves Exclamation Point,” which was presumably a catchier slogan than “The Poncho That Leaves Your Ass Hanging Out Upside-Down Exclamation Point.” Comes in burgundy, royal blue, or sage green, making it the perfect gift for the closet fire mage, cleric, or druid on your list. And if you order now (says the website) you’ll also receive a second Snuggie for free, as well as a portable book light. Maybe you’ll also get a “battery-powered massager” for your “tension headaches,” if you “know” what I “mean.”

*Best Metallica song ever.


Would the Sarah Palin 2009 Calendar make a great gift for that ex who gave you herpes? You betcha! Now the illustrious governor of Alaska can become a constant presence in the gift recipient’s life, just like the simplex virus is in yours. If you are still on the fence, check out the selling points listed on the website, which include “pre-drilled hole for hanging” and “cellophane wrapped.” Maverickly covers an entire 13 months, which will probably be only eight less than her 2012 presidential campaign.


When does life begin? It’s a quandary that has stumped philosophers, theologians, and politicians alike. But there’s no question when yum begins when you come to the kitchen armed with a fetus cookie cutter. And it makes a great training tool for the aspiring fertility doctor on your list (though you may need to make room in your freezer). Honestly, I think the whole stem-cell research issue would be a lot simpler if we knew for a fact that those fetuses were scrumptious.


I always thought the little old ladies in Agatha Christie novels committed mariticide with arsenic because it was that was the most refined way to knock someone off. But no, apparently they simply lacked the trigger-finger strength necessary to plug the spouse. Thankfully, the guys at Constitution Arms are addressing the problem of under-armed elders with the Palm Pistol, “an ergonomically innovative single shot double-action-only defensive firearm…ideal for seniors.” I’m not 100 percent clear on how they plan to enforce that “only defensive” proviso, so maybe I’ll stop cutting across my neighbor’s lawn, just to be safe. Man, if this thing had been around in the ‘80s, Murder She Wrote would have looked like a Half-Life 2 map-pack.


Here, I got you this Burger King flame-broiled-meat-scented perfume. Would you mind trying it on right now? Wow, that smells even better than I imagined. And I’m sure you wouldn’t object to slathering on a little ketchup and mustard too, just to spice things up a bit? Now hold this lettuce while I hurl sesame seeds at you—perfect! Meet you in the bedroom in 10 minutes—just need to prepare by shotgunning 64 ounces of Mr. Pibb.


Your five-year-old daughter has waged a yearlong battle to receive a pooch for Christmas, including frontal assaults on the parental units and a guerilla campaign to enlist Santa’s aid. Well maybe next year, kiddo. In the meantime, get her the next best thing: a shocking sick puppy game. This lighthearted device will teach your little munchkin the two fundamental tenets of pet ownership: that animals are essentially perpetual vomit generators and cleaning up after them often results in a painful electric shock. By coupling her desire for a canine with negative reinforcement, you’ll deter her from making any such requests in the future and become a modern-day Pavlov. Except you know, sans dog.


Cousin Phillip always seems so blue. Time to turn that frown upside-down with Cheers to You, a compilation of inspirational platitudes interspersed with cheering and applause. One listen and he’s sure to have a new, positive, go-get-’em attitude toward life. Or use the booklet to paper-cut through his wrists while the stereo chants “Don’t give up! You can do it!” One or the other is my guess.


USB stands for “unfathomably stupid bullshit” when you invest in the USB pole dancer, USB adjustable hand eye massager, USB eye warmer, USB Kinnikuman warriors, USB heated mousepad, USB humidifier, USB ghost radar, USB refrigerator, USB sushi, and the USB toothbrush. The ideal gift for someone about whom you know absolutely nothing, except that they likely own a computer with an unused port and have no sense of shame whatsoever.


The gift of the Potty Putter (for him) and the Whizzy (for her) is a great way to tell that special couple in your life that you have you put considerable time and effort into envisioning their urination practices, and have found them wanting. And, when they guffaw upon opening their “gag gifts,” be sure to go stony-faced and monotonously intone, “I don’t know why you are laughing—I’m deadly serious about this.” Then drink five pints of spiked eggnog, insist you are OK to drive home despite the snowy streets, pass out in the driveway after failing to gain entry to your car, and have your left earlobe amputated the following morning when you awaken with severe frostbite. That’ll make a great story.


Or, if all else fails, you can give everyone on your list an excuse. Something like, “the economy is so bad I couldn’t afford anything.” Or “I got totally snowed in and was unable to go shopping.” Or “I am a self-centered and miserly bastard.” With any luck, they won’t notice that you gave them the exact same gift the last four years running.

Merry Christmas!