Oh God, it’s that time again … gift season. I believe this adds a great deal of stress to anyone’s holiday schedule. You have to be both a creatively gifted person and have your finger on the pulse of commerce to both avoid getting the same presents year over year, and to know where / how / when / for how much your idea may be fulfilled.
Add to that the challenge of crowded parking lots, shoppers wired on their kids’ Ritalin and ready to pounce on anyone who gets in their way, and the simple challenge of just getting around in the seasonal conditions – and you’ve got yourself some war planning to do. Old Man Winter’s pretty much made himself at home and he’s, well, he’s not always at his sexiest. Because he’s so ubiquitous, I couldn’t take a photo of him, so instead here’s a Titanic-style rendering:
I never feel like shopping after walking in on that.
Well, since most of my shopping will probably consist of gift cards and video games (nephews are the perfect age!), there really won’t be anything interesting to document this year. Unless the store at which I’m purchasing said gift card or video game is being held up, but I usually never get the camera out in time so I wouldn’t bank on it.
Due to this, I decided instead to compile some (hopefully) unique and original gift ideas – for you and your loved one. Of course, they may no suit everyone’s tastes, but that’s why there’s more than one thing on the list :)
The Toronto City Life 2009 Gift Guide
If you live with one of those snooty sonsabitches who wishes for world peace, you’re probably thinking what a miserable, selfish asshole! I mean, how the hell are you supposed to pull that one off in time for Christmas? You can either tell them to go to hell, or if they’re that important to you, you can do the next best thing and get them a world piece. Maybe lop a desk globe in half (or smaller), and gift wrap. Couldn’t be simpler, more affordable, and practically the same thing.
If your recipient just wants cold, hard cash like all normal people, you can exotify the gift by sticking it into a decorative red envelope and calling it a Han Bau. This is the traditional gift in China. Typically it’s given during the Lunar New Year and most often to kids, but I don’t know about you, but I ain’t Chinese so to hell with tradition. For the ultimate in authenticity, get the envelopes with some Chinese characters on them (do you really care what they say?), and hand the wad over with a gong-shi gong-shi ni-a! (that’s the traditional way of congratulating someone for surviving another year)
In the olden days, a lump of coal was seen as one of the worst things that anyone could receive. Of course, back in them ignorant times people had no clue how versatile coal really is. We now know that it’s the raw material for producing diamonds (this year, giver her a lump), and as energy prices continue to skyrocket, something to help heat the home is indeed a terrific gift!
And shit, if you’re giving coal, you may as well include a canary. If the coal decides to get any bad ideas, the canary will die (an old miner trick), saving you the embarrassment of having to drag the gassed-out carcass of your significant other onto the front lawn.
But I know that ladies aren’t always into practical things so something that appeals to their aesthetic sense is a great alternative. I thought about this one for a while and came to the conclusion that a pair of front teeth is a swell and inexpensive gift. I believe there was even a song written about it.
Ladies, in my experience, also just enjoy extensively hugging things – cuddling, I believe they call it. Doesn’t the Cuddle Fish sound like the perfect gift for the woman in your life? If you’re having trouble finding one, try the alternate spelling of Cuttlefish — the pronunciation is the same. Even sounds cute!
For your man, nothing says “I put effort into this bitch” more than a city sewer grate. To begin with, there’s gotta be at least five bucks’ worth of raw material in there so there’s that, and once he realizes the effort required to lift it (let alone gift wrap it), he’ll fall in love all over again. On top of all this, you’re out zilch and now have an amazing conversation piece in your living room! Not a world piece, mind you, but almost as good.
If you’re trying to avoid theft this Christmas, and you happen to be environmentally conscious, a year’s worth of natural gas can apparently be had entirely for free. I know, it’s practical, but for free you can make it a stocking stuffer! I’m not sure how the process works but it involves something called a Dutch oven and fine Egyptian cotton sheets.
A packet of farm-fresh Anthrax is, I’m told, also a well-received gift. It’s incumbent on you to ensure that the receiver knows it’s Anthrax. Of course, if they don’t believe you, they deserve what they get – untrusting louts. Otherwise, it’s theirs to dispense with as they please. The youth I’ve given it to in the past all assure me it was a “sick” gift. That means cool ;)
Finally, I was tossing around the possibility of getting someone an Ewok. You know, from the forest moon of Endor. They’re cute, anthropomorphic as all get out, and pretty damn rare in North America. Imagine the surprise when one pops out of a box with a ribbon on its head. I won’t recommend this one until I can figure out where to obtain a pet Ewok, but I thought I’d throw that out in case you happen to know of a reliable supplier. In which case, can you hook me up?
In previous years I experimented with food and standard pets, but they either start to mold pretty severely or their body begins decomposing well before the box is opened (even if you put them in alive). And I always seal the boxes really well, so air leaking in is not the cause. Guess they just don’t make good gifts. It doesn’t make for a nice Christmas eve (our family opens gifts on the 24th); kids cry, maggots get all over the carpet, smell ruins the hell out of the Carp dinner. Besides, why not do something different this time?
(this was the best I could come up with — St. Lawrence market is really distracting!)