Tuesday, 21 December 2010
This is a guest post from Just A Guy Thing.
We’ve all been there!!! It’s 15 minutes before Christmas lunch and you HAVEN’T GOTTEN ANYONE GIFTS BECAUSE YOU ARE SELF-INVOLVED WITH A DRUG PROBLEM! However, with T-minus 15 minutes, it’s no time to be thinking “in the box.” Shift the paradigm. Further. Shift it further. That’s too far. There. No. It’s fine the way it is. Put it down.
With the paradigm in the right place (finally!), you’re ready to do some last minute shopping. Actually, since stores generally aren’t open at 12:45 p.m. on Christmas Day, you’re going to be doing more “gift creating” than “gift shopping.” Aren’t you glad we shifted that paradigm? We told you to trust us with that one. Aren’t you glad you did?
GIFT CREATION MODE
If your family reflects the “modern family,” you’re probably going to be balls-deep in about 30 gifts for your various moms, dads, nannies, half-siblings, and a slew of homosexuals. You won’t have time to sit at a loom and weave sweaters, tapestries, or pashminas for everyone in the mix. But remember: The only difference between a thing and a gift is the act of giving it to someone. Much like a stranger is a friend you haven’t met, a thing is just a gift you haven’t given someone. No time to be picky.
GIFT CREATION MODE – FOR REALS THIS TIME
So you’ve got your ingredients. Unfortunately, that only gets you about 35 percent of the way there. It’s shoehorning that gift into a construct that fools family into thinking “I care about your life and happiness.” Also, the shoehorning is metaphorical. No shoehorn is needed for this exercise.
Office Supplies – This is a gift that will be read as cold and unsentimental without a brilliantly created context. Further, as the reader will see, the name of this game is as much about diverting attention from your gift as it is about producing it. That said, find the biggest underachiever in your family (in our families, it’s us). Give them the office supplies. Make sure it’s a fairly comprehensive collection of supplies, lest the gift appear stranger than it actually is. So when the recipient (Keith?) opens the
gift, you bust out with this little number:
“Now I know this might not be the most fun gift in the world, but I remember you saying that you wanted to start a ______ (not band or weed co-op), and I wondered how I could help you realize that. It’s not much, but it’s a start. Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you pursue this.”
BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA! By packaging stuff you can steal from Kinko’s, you a) appeared practical and altruistic and b) made Keith look like a total dickhole, deflecting attention away from your gift.
Unused Candles, Dido CD, Dish Soap – Relaxation Pack . The dish soap is bubble bath. Use a jam jar for the soap. Jam jars abound during the holidays. Also, don’t wash it out completely, as the jam streaks will give the contents a more artisanal look. Accompany the gift with, “I just know you work so hard…”. Works for a woman or a closeted dad.
Unused Monogrammed Stationary – No time to get picky. Give this to whoever has the same initials you do. People won’t look past the fact that the stationary has the recipient’s initials and thus, the gift is very thoughtful.
Obsolete Video Game System – Find a poor relative. Don’t bring in the whole system. Just a game in its case. Give it to the child (Farley?) to open. When Farley gets a puzzled look on his face, get a very pensive look on your face and go, “Hmmm. A video game. In order to play that you’re going to need the PlayStation (careful to omit suffixes) that’s IN THE CAR!!!!” Run around the living room carrying little Farley and toss him playfully on the couch and give him a raspberry on his stomach. Then look up and go, “Sorry about that! Whose turn is it to open the next gift?” Gold.
Any Bottle of Wine – Find a relative with whom you have dined out between 18-9 months ago. Preferably while on vacation. Give them the bottle. (Aside: You can wrap the bottle in toilet paper and draw a little face on it with a sharpie. Ooooooooh! Mummy wine. Cute). Then, playfully but confidently, be all, “When we were at Emeril’s restaurant in Orlando, I remember you were really taken with the second wine we had that night. I called them up and I’m PRETTY sure that this is it. I hope you enjoy it as much as you seemed to that night.” My god you’re good.
Your Toaster – They can’t all be winners. Try your best to give this to a relative who doesn’t have a toaster. Move on to next gift as quickly as possible.
Something Concave – This is an ashtray you came across at this crazy Japanese boutique in Seattle. Give it to someone who doesn’t smoke, but has a lot of friends that do and call it a “great conversation piece.”
Six Clean, Nonmatching Socks and Your Least Favorite Pillow – This is a gift for your youngest, dumbest relative. It’s the Build-A-Snake workshop!!!! YAY!!!! Cut the toes off of four of the socks and gut the pillow of its filling. Sew (or let’s face it, staple) the toeless socks together; fill with the pillow stuff and then cap the ends with the unmolested socks. Paint eyes and draw some rings around it with the dumb kid’s magic markers. Also tell the kid to be careful; there are staples in there.
A Candy Bar – Find someone who is about 4-6 years younger than you. Give them a candy bar bearing a Post-It with the cryptic message “DO NOT EAT.” Get a big, Tom Cruise smile, and be like “Ok, ok…I can explain.” Proceed to tell the whole group, with a prop glass of champagne in your hand, how, on the day of the recipient’s birth, you were notified by your parents and wanted to get a gift for the newborn. Being a precocious little tyke, you bought a candy bar for the newborn!!! Kids! However, when your parents told you the little one was too young to eat the candy, you decided to save it until they could. It got lost in the mix, but you came across it earlier in the year and “couldn’t resist.” If this party weren’t populated by relatives and their wives, you would totally be getting laid tonight.
A Microsoft Encarta CD-ROM – Give this to your oldest relative. Tell them despite its small size, it holds all the information that a set of encyclopedias does. MAYBE MORE! “We’re gonna get you into the 21st century, Grandma!” Smiles all around. If someone mentions Wikipedia, tell them to stop being a Grinch.
The Final Gift: The One That “No One Person Can Own” - On your way to the Christmas shindig, drive slowly. I know you’re probably late from collecting all the aforementioned crap, but don’t worry. Your relatives will be too fucked up on nog to know the difference. While driving slowly, look at the trees. Appreciate them. Just kidding. Find the smallest, youngest tree you can find. Make a mental note of where it is.
After you’re done with the traditional gift giving, tell the one person without a gift (Muriel?) that you didn’t forget about her. “Hop in the car,” you say. If the PlayStation kid asks for access to the car to get his system, pretend like you didn’t hear him and hurry out. Take Muriel to the tree and tell her that you have planted this tree in her honor. You REALLY wanted to plant it with her, but you didn’t want to ruin the surprise and the tree people had to plant them before Christmas because they take off from December 23rd to January 2nd. And you thought it was better that she see the tree on Christmas Day than for you to tell her about it and have to wait two weeks to plant it. It’s a pretty elaborate lie, but the lie is the only work you have to do to give this gift, so it’s worth it.
Merry Christmas!!!! To all our friends out there who don’t observe Christmas, a polite tip of the hat.