still stuck for gift ideas?

Most of the people I know celebrate Christmas, and the majority of them are still sweating out a few last-minute gifts for friends. One time-tested trick for trying to seem thoughtful at the last minute is to give something so awkward and unsatisfying that the recipient is too flustered and confused to realize that you forgot all about their gift until the last minute. In that spirit, here’s a few suggestions for gifts that you can get away with giving, even though they secretly suck:

  • Get all of their clothes dry-cleaned. Nothing warms a cold holiday like a closet holding an entire wardrobe wrapped in plastic.
  • Extend their subscription for a magazine they already get. It seems thoughtful, but the fact that it requires no thought and is completely intangible will make them feel nice and itchy about having actually expended effort on you.
  • Bottled water!
  • Anything that you can pilfer from your office’s supply closet is good. Reams of paper, bulk packages of paper clips, refills for odd-sized mechanical pencils, and the occasional Swingline are terrific for eliciting that "No, you really shouldn’t have…" that marks a truly awful holiday gift.
  • Can’t go wrong with a firm swat on the ass. For extra points, just poke them with your index finger and say "I got yer Christmas goose right here!"
  • Have a bunch of expired coupons taking up space? Give them the gift of Grocery Savings Past.
  • Sure, the lump of coal is the traditional sucky fossil fuel present. But there’s no reason you can’t innovate with a peanut butter jar full of kerosene.
  • Nobody doesn’t like analingus!
  • If you have a weblog like me, you can give your readers the gift of an entry that you just phoned in, with some requisite vulgarity to elicit that elusive ha-ha.
  • For the gadget freak on your list: A printer cable. All plug, no play.
  • Sometimes you’ve got a budget for a person, but no idea what to get them. If you’ve got a few bucks saved up, you can always help them plan ahead by putting down a deposit on a gravesite.
  • For her: a bathroom scale.
  • For him: a ruler.
  • And of course, one of the hardest groups to shop for is family. For siblings, cousins, and other family members, you can’t go wrong with motor oil.
  • Finally, for the kids, you can get them the promise that they’ll have a miniature RC car any day now, just as soon as daddy can find one, and in the meantime, why don’t you just go to your room and cry because Santa hates you?

Ho, ho, ho, etc.