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Christmas Gift Guide 2008: Introduction

I’ve explained the reasons behind my annual Gift Guide series in previous posts and I’m not too interested in repeating myself here. However, there are some important contemporary issues essential to understanding this year’s gift guide that I do want to mention.

This is perhaps the worst year in my lifetime for the Holiday gift giving season (PC enough?). The reason is very simple, we all enjoyed for too long buying ourselves all the gifts we wanted through acquiring debt. Gas prices went up, the housing market collapsed, the credit market is falling apart and people are shocked the stock market is going down because many companies are lacking something called “profit.”

It is a disaster of our own creation.

Doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time giving gifts this year anyway. Unfortunately, I think too many people are going to scale back on the expensive toys and overcompensate and give some old standards which should never be given as Christmas Gifts. So, as we all deal with the difficulty of knowing the economy of the world is on the verge of collapse (not really an issue for those of us heavily invested in Gold and Ammo) we should remember those things which should never be given as Christmas Gifts:

Socks Yeah, that’s right, never give someone socks. It’s the sort of gift that says “I don’t think you know how to manage your own life.” Socks are something POWs in Stalag Luft 3 need as air filters for their tunnel’s ventilation system. It’s not something you should even be considering buying as a Christmas gift. One exception: Me. My unusual bulk requires I pay careful attention to my feet. The socks I like are expensive (nearly 20 bucks a pair) and it’s taken me a long time to build up enough socks where I don’t have to wear any pairs of the low quality crap you get an Wal Mart. So, for me, socks. But under no circumstances do you buy socks as Christmas gifts for other people.

Sweaters Once again, pay attention to the message you’re sending. In this case, the message you’re sending is “I hate you.” A sweater is something you buy at the last minute, in a size that looks “about right” (because you don’t actually know) and for “75% off the retail price.” Do humanity a favor, take all the money you’re thinking about spending on sweaters and just pay your credit card bill, okay?

An Alarm Clock Yeah, you buy someone an alarm clock and you’re basically buying them a torture device. Sleep is the only state in which most of mankind finds any peace whatsoever. An alarm clock is takes people away from our natural state and plugs us back into the matrix. Instead of buying an alarm clock, why don’t you just trick your mark into handcuffing themselves to a radiator for a weekend?

Gift Certificates It’s like money, only a lot less useful. Good call. I know what you’re really trying to do, change my behavior. You want me to go to some store you seem to like in order to convince me to like that store. Not going to happen. Gift certificates are no better than political ads (except in politics, bribes are illegal). Guess what, when someone gives me a gift certificate to some store I have never gone too, I either toss it or re-gift the thing. Sometimes I’ll even give it to some homeless person. No gift certificates, give a wad of cash instead.

Stocks Sure, it looks like a good time to buy stocks. Guess what? I don’t care. It’s a dumb gift which will immediately go into a desk drawer somewhere, along with any good will the gift receiver had for the gift giver. Giving stocks is giving someone a piece of the future. Fine, I’ll thank you for the voting share of some company (plus a regular dividend, maybe) in the future. Presently, I’ll be buying you an alarm clock.

Underwear Yes, this gift can go right for couples in the middle of an intimate courtship. But for 90% of the public who are either bachelors and bachelorettes, cynical long time married couples (don’t know many long time married couples who weren’t total cynics), children, divorcees or superfluous men, this gift sucks. You might as well give them a sandwich and busfare. If I’m in a situation where I can’t afford underwear, I’ve got bigger problems than underwear.

Neckties  Men don’t need neckties. The first time a man needs a necktie, he buys one. For most men, that one necktie is enough for their entire lifetime. Others who need multiple neckties, they have a job where they can buy their own damn neckties. And they’ll buy neckties they want. The brown-stripey-polyester piece of garbage you bought me is going to be given to the neighbor’s dog as a chew toy, just FYI.

So there you have it, gifts to avoid in these difficult times.


3 Responses

  1. Well, I have to say that I would like getting socks or a sweater. I love socks and it can make a cute gift or an “extra.” A sweater? When you live in cold NY, a new sweater can be a welcome gift.

    I’d have to agree with you on the rest.

  2. I’ll punt on commenting about the socks, but I have to say, Sweaters are always wrong. And it’s not because I live somewhere warm, just the opposite, I’m a Minnesotan.

  3. Your venture into comedy is good. Now your friends know what to get you, if you come to visit us.

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