Bah, Humbug: Gifts to Avoid this Holiday Season

Chris Shea

With the advent of the holiday season, people are now rushing in droves to their local retailers to load up on gifts for their beloved friends and tolerated family members. But what’s the point in even bothering if you end up buying them a terrible present? There’s a lot on the line here, so the most excellent Christopher Shea has taken it upon himself to create a survival guide that will show you what to avoid getting if you don’t want to be “that guy” this Christmas. Or Hannukah. Or Kwanza, or Festivus or something. Capitalism, ahoy!


Well, look who forgot to get a present. Nothing says “I remotely care about you” like a $20 plastic card you can buy at Walgreens 5 minutes before you show up to someone’s house. The very concept of a gift card makes no sense. It’s like money, but you can only spend it at one store. Imagine if Grandma gave you 50 bucks for Christmas, but then insisted that you could only spend it on Olive Garden breadsticks. In fact, $50 of Olive Garden breadsticks would probably make a better gift.


I’m not sure as to exactly what market these things are for, but the massive box of 7ft tall teddy bears I see at Costco every Christmas never fails to both inspire and confuse. Who would be willing to drop $200 on a stuffed bear? Why would you do this to someone? If you’ve been looking for a way to fill that spare bedroom of yours and/or max out your credit card, then the gargantuan stuffed bear is for you.


“Wow, I really love this fruitcake” are six words that have never been spoken in the history of mankind. A fruitcake is less of a cake, and more of an orphanage for spices and wayward fruit run by Snidely Whiplash. How do you make one? Mix two cups of raisins, a fistful of maraschino cherries you found under the fridge, a pinch of cinnamon, and a pint of shoe polish. Bake at 350o until brown and unpleasant.  A fruitcake is the kind of gift Ebenezer Scrooge would cringe at the thought of.


Hey kids! Do YOU want the experience of carrying a monolith around in your pocket? Do YOU want to leave a massive rectangular imprint in the pocket of every pair of pants you own? If so, the iPhone 7 Plus is for you! Over the years, the iPhone has de-evolved into a matter of slapping on a new camera filter or two, stretching out the screen by a couple more microns, charging 400 bucks a pop and calling it a day. But this time it’s revolutionary, we swear! The iPhone 7 Plus appears to be marketing to kangaroos, since they’re the only species with big enough pockets to fit the bloody thing. Look out soon for the iPhone 7 Plus Plus, which is projected to be 5 feet wide and wall-mountable.


Unless I’m in immediate danger of having to wear a potato sack to school, clothing is not a huge concern for me. A T-shirt and sweatpants are plenty, since I tend to rock that “fresh off of the Kohl’s clearance rack” look. Jeans and a long sleeve shirt may be in order when I’m feeling fancy, but in my opinion clothing doesn’t make for a particularly enticing holiday offering. Unless it’s one of those knitted santa hats with the fake beard. I would buy a dump truck full of those.


Merry Christmas, honey! Here, have some crippling debt! Getting a car for Christmas seems like one of those conspiracies concocted by car companies in order to get people to spend tens of thousands of dollars over the holidays. We’ve all seen the commercials: an unsuspecting wife walks outside and sees a beaming husband, dog and kids standing next to a brand-spanking new Mercedes-Benz, complete with a big silly bow on top and a jolly pipe-smoking snowman. Everyone hugs, then they go inside for some hot cocoa. What we DON’T see is this family 12 months down the line, who now live in the Mercedes-Benz and have had to sell their dog in order to make this month’s car payment. Merry Christmas!