Posted by: Michelle Mitton | December 4, 2008

Worst Gifts: A Holiday Gift Guide

Everywhere you go there are holiday gifts guides with things to buy for friends and loved ones, ways to spend your money to show people how much you care. But to show you how much I care, today I’m giving you a list of gifts you can be sure to avoid. Save your money because these just aren’t worth it (unless for a laugh).

So no holiday gift guide, only a dumb gift guide. Just to be different of course.

If you want a real gift guide you can always check out the list of terrific toys I reviewed this summer because there are some great ones and who knows? Maybe next week I’ll do a regular old boring gift guide.

But for now I’m having too much fun mocking these lovely items.

Remote Controlled Doodle BugWhat’s the most ridiculous gift you ever received? For me it would have to be a cast iron bird feeder we got for our wedding. My boss gave it to me and the guys at the office were ticked because apparently he’d taken around a collection, asking people if they wanted to pitch in and get us a gift, but then he came up with this gothic monstrosity that looked suspiciously like it had been regifted. They all suspected that he’d hit them up for cash, pocketed it and instead wrapped up something leftover from his own wedding. Boy now I’m sure wishing I had a picture of it.

On with the list!

1. Remote Controlled Doodle Bug. I’d love to meet the toy company exec who thought THIS was a good idea.

“Hey! Hey! Listen you guys! I’ve got it! How about we make a toy where a kid can stick an uncapped marker in the top then push a button–you know how kids love to push buttons–and then they can drive the toy around all over the place and the marker comes out the bottom, writing on whatever the toy runs across!”

That is a person who obviously grew up on Mars. Without much oxygen.

When I want to give my home that subway-tunnel-graffiti makeover I’ll let you know.

Open It! Package Opener2. Open It! Package Opener. This doesn’t seem like a bad idea necessarily–I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t cursed whoever invented the wrappings for DVDs. Or worse yet, those thick heavy plastic packages that are sealed all around the edges so that you can’t rip them, can’t cut them, can’t break them and you twist and pull for ten minutes before finally ripping a tiny opening that cuts you on the thumb.

It can only be a plot by China to systematically drive American parents insane and let me tell you it’s working. Just when you think you’ve finally got the doll detached from her cardboard surroundings there’s one more little twisty tie holding her thumb down. Once I even had a doll that was sewn into her packaging across her hair and across her scalp. Baby that’s a doll that’s not going anywhere.

The only thing is, I bet these scissors come in one of those plastic thingies. It’s just the way life’s ironies play out, you know–one of those certainties. THEN what are you gonna do?

Toothbrush Sanitizer3. A Toothbrush Sanitizer. Yes for $39.99 you too can have a pocket-size toothbrush sanitizer that presumably sanitizes your toothbrush. One has to stop and ask: Why? Is the world that dangerous of a place that we’ve now come to this?

Scenario 1: Your toothbrush falls in the toilet. Solution? THROW IT OUT. It’s only $1.85 to replace it or something so live on the edge and get a new one if you can’t bear to bleach it into submission. At least that saves you $38.00.

Scenario 2: Your toothbrush doesn’t fall in the toilet, it just gets used the normal way. Solution? What solution? That’s what toothbrushes are for. How many people have survived for how long with unsanitized toothbrushes?

Besides one has to then ask, if you’ve got a toothbrush sanitizer that fits in your pocket, how are you going to sanitize the pocket you’re carrying it in? Where will it end??

Baby Laptop4. A Baby Laptop. Is it just me or does this gift embody the absurd?

Because babies need to be with it when it comes to technology–how else are they going to keep their skills sharp amongst the tide of other babies flooding the job markets? I mean it used to be that kids learned how to turn on, tune in and drop out at 5, 6, or 7 years of age but nowadays that’s just not early enough to be able to compete with the emerging East.

We need our American babies to be right there when it comes to texting and coding and creating spread sheets and this is the toy that’s going to take them there. I bet it runs on Vista.

I guess it’s not quite that bad–it doesn’t really even look like a laptop–but what a hoot. Whatever happened to those colored stacking rings that my kids loved so much? Now that was a baby toy. Back when the world wasn’t owned by Microsoft.

Safari Photo Shoot5. Safari Photo Shoot. And while we’re on the subject of toys check out this gem.

At first it looks okay. Hey! A game where you try to take pictures of animals! Fun!

But then you look closer and you realize that it’s got PETA stamped all over it.

This, my friends, is a game where instead of SHOOTING the animals with a virtual GUN you instead SHOOT the animals with a CAMERA. Shoot!

I can just see my boys (who, incidentally, haven’t generally had guns given to them as toys lest you think this post is sponsored by the NRA, I’m really not a gun fan myself) I can just see them unwrapping this on Christmas morning and blinking in confusion.

“What are we supposed to do with this?” they’d ask.

“Why darling, you’re supposed to shoot the animals–with your camera! For points! Won’t that be fun!”

“Does the camera have a death ray that comes out of it?”


“Does it spit acid?”


“How about flames?”

“No, sorry, but you can pretend to take pictures of the animals. You wouldn’t want to pretend to hurt them and this is much safer.”

“Okay . . . .”

It just cracks me up. I mean I’m not going to let them play Doom but for goodness sake, let’s not be ridiculous.

Struts Ponies6. Struts Ponies. I really shouldn’t include this one, it’s just too darn easy but I couldn’t resist. If, by some freak of nature, you haven’t seen these equine obscenities then you’re in for a treat because they’re so bad they’re good.

It’s the horse that comes with “clientele” and a warning label from the CDC. No wait, instead of tying your pony to the pole this horsey dances on it.

At any rate, should any of you out there feel that your little daughters do not receive enough suggestive images through conventional media or do not already have enough issues with their body image then this might be the perfect toy for them.

I hear if you buy the deluxe edition you can get it with little stickers to enhance your horse. Silicone stickers for the chest and collagen for the lips.

Jumbo Remote Control7. Jumbo Remote Control. If you’ve ever wondered how scientists control the Hubble Space Telescope, this would be it. Big enough to guarantee it will never get lost between the cushions of your couch this remote can change the channel on the Jumbotron in Times Square from the comforts of your own couch. In Des Moines.

Maybe this is obvious but seriously folks, if you’re having trouble seeing the buttons on your remote control so that you’re forced into buying something this enormous and cumbersome your t.v. viewing is bound to be a little impaired as it is.

If you have to have control buttons the size of your front lawn and a remote control that requires two hands to lift it then you’re going to have trouble reading Vanna’s letters on your screen. You’re doomed.

Easy Cycle8. Easy Cycle. Let me spell that out for you in case you missed the irony: Easy. Cycle. Because if you’re trying to exercise it’s important to find the piece of equipment that is easiest.

You wouldn’t want anything annoying like resistance or something crowding into the picture now would you?

And can you read the fine print in the picture? I kid you not, it says: “CORDED REMOTE CONTROL.” [a pause while I chuckle]. Because if sitting on the couch with your feet twiddling around isn’t easy enough for you just use the remote control and you can exercise remotely while you’re taking a shower upstairs and save tons of energy.

I’m trying to grasp the benefit here but I’m coming up empty-handed. Perhaps it’s intended for someone severely impaired who need physical therapy? Maybe? Those calves in the picture tend to indicate otherwise. I wonder if he got those using the remote control.

Yard o' Ale9. Yard o’ Beer. Have you noticed that I’ve not taken the easy route with this post and I’ve given you actual, legitimate items from legitimate sources (I won’t name those sources because some of them might actually want me to write about their products someday). I mean there are plenty of sites out there with gag gifts but I’m bringing you real, honest-to-goodness gifts from normal catalogs and someone, somewhere is probably buying them right this minute.

You get quality when you come here, I just wanted you to know.

Anyway, this too is a real item in a real catalog and it’s called “Yard o’ Ale.” For obvious reasons. It completely cracked me up because it says to me, “I don’t just think you’re a drinker, you’re a BIG drinker. With a REALLY REALLY long arm like King Kong.”

My one question is: does it come with beer? Or is that extra?

But seriously–how would you get it to your lips?

Pocket Keychain Breathalyzer Test10. And finally, in conjunction with number nine, here is the Pocket Key Chain Breathalyzer Test. Pardon my ripped picture but this has got to be the gift that friends give to friends.

It says, “We all know how you love to knock back the martinis and even though the actual blood alcohol limit is high enough to still allow you to drive in an unstable manner we want to keep you drinking as much as possible without actually going over the limit. After all, someone’s got to drive us home.”

Can you actually imagine someone giving this to someone for reals? Nope, me neither. The thing I don’t get either is how the picture says at the very bottom “For entertainment purposes only.” Now what’s that supposed to mean? It’s listed as a legitimate gift in a real catalog, not a gag gift, and what’s so entertaining about people being too drunk to drive? If it were so entertaining we’d have way more people applying for jobs in law enforcement. Can’t you just picture the scene at the party?

“Hey Bob, pull out that breathalyzer test I gave you last Christmas and let’s see how drunk you are! Everybody come see! Bob’s gonna use his breathalyzer test!”

What a riot.

Sponsored by: Wedding Paper Divas–Fine wedding invitations for the perfect wedding.

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