Last year I wrote a column about some strange holiday gifts I had noticed in my annual onslaught of catalogues. This year a few of them were not only in the catalogues, but also in retail stores around our area. Apparently, for example, the mug with the slot for a cookie or tea bag on the bottom caught on very well. Maybe the ideas weren’t so bizarre after all, but they sure amused me.
I decided to make it an annual project for me to source out and find the craziest recommendations for holiday gifts and share them with you. Maybe some will catch on and maybe not, but I hope that you find them as amusing as I do.
Right away, even before Thanksgiving, I heard about a local grocery boutique that was recommending holiday treats for its customers. My ears perked up the very first time I heard the commercial, because the first item on their list is a box of “healthy and delicious oatmeal bites.” I’ve had these things. Healthy, they may be (although not for folks watching carbohydrates). Delicious? Not in the slightest! Unless, of course, you enjoy eating compost material that’s been rolled in crushed almonds. My birds wouldn’t even touch them – and that’s where I put the remaining oatmeal bites in my box – in the bird feeder area. However, a lovely wrapped box of these chewy, tasteless globs might be the perfect gift for, say, a mean boss or that dreaded in-law.
The second recommendation from this same store is a “chocolate Swiss Army knife.” Now, I love chocolate. But I think it’s not very festive to give someone chocolate in the form of a weapon – regardless of how many useful tools that weapon includes. Somehow, it just doesn’t shout “happy holidays” to me. Chocolate Santas or evergreen trees are much more appropriate.
One of my catalogues suggested an outdoor pizza oven, that’s baked on charcoal. Really? With the number of local pizza parlors, do we really have to light a covered grill and cook our pizza outside? Wouldn’t our time be better spent indoors, enjoying the food and company? At $99.95, it’s quite a deal, considering the pizza oven that attaches to a gas grill starts at $249.95. Either way, I don’t think the Midwest is exactly a “cook your pizza outside in winter” kind of place.
The same catalogue had a lovely wool avocado ripener for only $17.00. I’ve never had any trouble finding avocados that need to be ripened, or I purchase them enough days in advance to allow them to ripen on my windowsill. To me, that’s just another kitchen gadget that will be lost forever in the junk drawer.
My personal favorite is the carbon eyeglass cleaner (on sale for $13.46). It cleans both sides of your glasses simultaneously, with a do-hickey that looks like chopsticks with felt on the end. But I think you’ll need a case to hold them. ‘Tis the season! Hope you find every unique gift you desire! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue is a retired public servant who volunteers at the Hospice store (For All Seasons) in Troy and teaches part-time at Urbana University. She keeps busy taking care of husband, house, and pets. She and her husband have an adult son who lives in Troy.