Comfortably Numb

“Winter Is Coming” shirts are now IN THE STORE!!! [based on this comic]

Me, Randy MilhollandDavid Willis, Danielle Corsetto, Jeph Jaques, Rob Denbleyker and MORE will be at the Dragon’s Lair Webcomic Rampage panel/signing event on December 10th and 11th. It is always a good time. Austin Fancy Bastard should NOT miss it.

Saturday 8-11 pm
Sunday 12-5 pm

**Q&A panels by reservation only!**
Sat: 6-8 pm
Sun: 10-12 before signings
8-11 pm after signings

HijiNKS ENSUE at Dragons Lair Webcomic Rampage

There is a whole class of “gift” one may receive around the holidays that says, “Hey. I don’t really know you that well, nor do I care to. Here’s some bullshit I paid money for.” The Snuggie (the blanket with arm holes) and the Forever Lazy (the blanket you wear like a shame-suit while you go tailgating or play Wii) have the distinction of falling not only into this category, but all into the “Thing that solves a problem that isn’t really a problem at all and actually makes trying to solve that fake problem more difficult that using the thing you already have or just ignoring it outright” category.

These types of items flood the stores around December as if to say, “SHOPPING IT TOO HARD! BUY LIKE 40 OF THESE AND YOU’LL BE DONE AND YOU CAN GO HOME AND HATE YOURSELF!” They also play into the worst part of Christmas and other gift-giving holidays: the idea that buying something, ANYTHING, for someone is a requirement. Nay, an obligation.

I have successfully managed to strategically distance myself from most of my family in such a way that I A) Do not receive any bullshit X-mas trinkets, and B) Do not have to purchase any such bullshit for others. I buy gifts for my wife, my mother, my in-laws and my daughter. I know those people and I have a pretty good idea of what they like. Often that thing does not cost very much, if any money. My in-laws certainly don’t need me to spend money on them. They have plenty. We give them gifts they wouldn’t think to give themselves or something you can’t buy in any store. With my mom, it’s more about giving time, memories, etc. For the kiddo it’s about treating her to a few special or larger items than she would normally get during the year while simultaneously instilling the value of giving to others in her. Every year she has to fill up a box (sometimes 2 or 3) with toys that she doesn’t play with any more to donate to needy kids. This year she is doing that and using her own money from chores to purchase a new toy from the store to donate.

I say all of that to say this: When you see a commercial that starts with “Doing [insert extremely easy, every day task] is hard! Don’t you wish there was a better way?” DO NOT BUY THAT THING! No one wants it. No one needs it. Stop buying stuff for people just because you think you have to. Make something. Frame a photo of the best day you ever had with that person. Take them on an adventure. Knit a freakin’ scarf. Give them something that doesn’t have a direct monetary value and isn’t available at Best Buy. Otherwise you might as well just write how much cash you were intending to spend on a piece of paper, give it to the other person, take their slip of paper and work out the change owed.

I should probably mention that NONE of the above logic applies if you are giving gifts from The HE STORE or Sharksplode. Seriously. Go buy that shit up.

COMMENTERS: Whats the worst “Here’s some bullshit” gift you have ever given or received? One time I got a set of pocket knives (a SET of pocket knives… like 6… as if you would ever need more than one) with the last 6 U.S. president’s faces on them. If that doesn’t say “I have no idea who you are. Here, take this,” I don’t know what does.  ALTERNATELY: What’s your favorite “As Seen On TV” product to hate? Mine is the “Make a giant cupcake” pan whose commercial starts out with “Regular cake is boring…” NO IT IS NOT. FUCK YOU. CAKE IS AWESOME.

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  1. I get gifts for my friends that I can see them using. I pretty much just browse Think Geek and if something doesn't pop us as "that person would love that!" then I don't buy for them, they must not be that good of a friend if something from Think Geek doesn't pop up. I then donate to Child's Play and tell everyone "rather than get you some random bullshit you probably wouldn't want or use, I donated money to a charity; you're welcome." It took all the stress out of the holidays for me and lets me enjoy this time of the year like it's ruttin' suppose to be.

    I rarely got bullshit gifts growing up (or even now). I was very clear, if you don't know what to get me, get me Legos. It doesn't matter if I already have it, or if it's a theme I'm not huge on. It's going to be compiled into something awesome later anyway.

    • I think Child's play is an alright charity, but when I donate I prefer to focus on third world children, that's just my bag. Props for donating to any charity at all on Xmas though, that is pretty awesome.

    • But on the plus side you can fill that sumbitch up with creme without needing a huge filling syringe.

      Anytime you can add empty sugary calories to snack food without the need of over sized drug paraphernalia is a good day in my book.

  2. My mother's parents never knew anything about me except that I was a white male living in the PNW. They often gave me strange, non sequitur gifts based on reasoning that is incomprehensible even to this day. Every year was another opportunity for the bizarre to enter my life. Some notable examples:

    1.) A life-size plush wide-mouthed bass
    2.) Reign of Fire, the video game
    3.) A year subscription to Men's Vogue
    4.) One box of ziplock plastic sandwich bags, VR Troopers Edition

  3. Great comic today, Joel!

    I have to admit l liked the idea of the Snuggie, because I'm always cold, and I thought it would be cool to have a blanket that would actually stay on you and that you could keep on while still being able to use your arms. I got a faux snuggie for Christmas a couple of years ago. In this case, though, the person who gave it to me knew me, and I actually thought I would enjoy it, until I learned that, unfortunately, the "arms" are way too long to be useful. Who did they make these for, aliens with super-long limbs? I don't know any human whose arms are proportionally that long. It kind of kills the potential usefulness of the item. I thought it would be kind of like a long-sleeved fleece poncho. Maybe they designed it for Plastic Man?

    I have to say I've received enough "bullshit" gifts over the years that there isn't any particular one that sticks out any more. (Or maybe I'm just blocking the trauma.)

  4. My grandparents once gave me a set of pink snowboots.

    I live, and always have lived , in Central Texas.

    So. Snowboots. The fact that they were about 7 sizes too small (really- size 5, I wear an 11) seems the least clueless thing about them.

      • He was planning ahead, but should've saved that one for about 5 years or so.
        Stuffed aminal or teething tihng would've worked better.

  5. I once got a drill that only accepted flath ead or phillips head screw driver bits.

    The BEST of these items is a new gadget I found at B^3 the other day. It is essentially vibrator hooked up to a speaker brain. You attach the vibrator (connected to the rest by a cord) to a hollow object, to make it a speaker via resonance. Bought one for myself, too.

    • "it is essentially vibrator hooked up to a speaker brain. "

      I have one of those. It is NOT bullshit. It is, however, bad ass. Hook that thing to a large Rubbermaid Tub and be shocked at how large the sound is. I love it.

      • 'As a woman, my mental image of a vibrator hooked up to a talking brain that could be attached to any hollow object… was very different from what I think you guys are actually talking about.

        Excuse me while I go invent that thing.

  6. I got a magnetic booklight with a thin strip of metal you were supposed to hang next to your bed to put the light on at night. The aunt that bought it for me badgered me the summer prior to that Christmas for an early list that I e-mailed to her in September. I asked why she hadn't bought any of the inexpensive DVDs or CDs I had put on the list and she informed me that she had went shopping at only a Wal-Mart the day before Christmas for my gift and couldn't find anything.

    • This is basically my parents. Every year they pester me for my Christmas list, which usually has tools, hardware, and various books on it, and every year they make a last-ditch stop at Macy's and buy me some knit sweater or scarf that's fluffy and pink.

        • Buy her something with spaghetti straps that she can't wear because it would show off her grandma arms/back.
          It's the thought that counts. 😎

      • My fiancé's mother always asks my fiancé to ask me what I want for Christmas. What I want is always something useful, tech-ish, geeky, etc. She always rejects that outright and buys me something "personal" (I'm not sure what she thinks that means, but it always ends up being something really girly).

        Worst of the bunch: A Coach hat made of wool. Problems: 1. I'm allergic to wool. 2. I actively avoid wearing designer anything. 3. It was ugly AND too small.

      • Take it back to Macy's for store credit/cash, and buy yourself something you'd prefer, or a regift for them in the form of gift cards for both of them.

  7. 1 – The bit about your daughter donating her toys and money kinda warmed my heart. I'm totally stealing it to use on my kids.

    2 – The worst gift I've received was from my father-in-law: a sweater that would be appropriately stylish on someone two to three times my age. Even better, it was wool, which my wife (his daughter) is allergic to. So it was either entirely thoughtless, or he knowingly gave me an article of clothing that would cause his own flesh and blood physical discomfort. I'm not sure which possibility is worse.

    • Apparently the whole 'donating items and toys to the less fortunate' was what Boxing Day's whole schtick was originally about. People where I'm at tend to treat it as 'post Christmas laze time'. But I agree; excellent values to instill in a child.

  8. Somewhere along the line my husband and I have received not one, but 3 Hershey's kiss fondue pots.

    We are also steadily filling up a re-gifting closet with things my mother-in-law gifts us. I think, however, she's getting wise as the last few useless items (a garden bench that doesn't hold a person's weight, an ottoman that doesn't hold a person's weight, a hammock that we had to buy a new frame for) have been too large to fit in the re-gifting closet.

  9. For my birthday, I got a set of USB cable adapters, but none of them were micro or mini (or anything else that would actually be useful). Also, I work at an electronics store where I can get all my cabley needs fulfilled half-off.

    Thanks for the hover text, my head won't stop playing Code Monkey now… But at least you got an *awesome* song stuck in there.

  10. When I was a teenager I got Risk 3 years in a row from the same aunt -_-

    I always liked the fact that my grandparents never tried to assume what I liked and would just give me 20 bucks and socks, I go threw a lot of socks for some reason.

      • I have about 30 pair-less socks in a drawer, not sure why I keep them but their they are. They three women's socks are the ones that I think are the funniest. Walk of shame always seems to leave something.

        • My mom gives everyone in our family smartwool socks every year. Its awesome. I live in Pittsburgh with no car, so its nice to get good warm socks every year.

        • Mum also gets me socks but I only ever have at most 3 unpaired socks. How?
          McGreggor – all the same style – just a different colour each year that cycles through – Black, Navy, Blue.
          I have about 3 weeks worth of socks at any one time – socks are a full washer load on their own and I never have to worry about matching or colour separation. Go Me

    • I had an aunt that would always give me models. Like glue together models of cars and what not. A perfectly fine gift for some kids despite the fact that I HATED MODELS. I did not enjoy putting them together, and once they were together you couldnt play with them. She never caught on. The weirdest part is her son, my cousin, was only 2 years younger than me. We played together often. he KNEW what toys I liked. Still… models.

      • My own parents got me models several years in a row, despite the fact that I never bothered to actually assemble them (I hated models; I did eventually complete one of them, because it was one of the easy/lazy ones that clicks together and doesn't even require glue).

      • I loved models, never got them, even had an uncle that had a bunch of the cool Robo tech ones and I would be all, "oh shit thous are cool" but I got board games and CD of music I hated all the time. Also I contend board games are the worst "toy" to give to an only child as they require other people.

  11. There is one particular family friend that, when I was growing up, was something between an aunt and a second mom. She loved us and we loved her, but my god, she was terrible at getting me gifts. I would estimate that half of the christmas gifts I received from her were pillows of various sorts. Does anyone remember the crazy pillow-hoarder from Morrowind? I think she thought that was me. The rest of the time, it was generally gift cards, but often for places I don't have any interest in going.

    So I think the worst bullshit gift I've ever received was from her, and it was a pillow… with arms. I guess you were supposed to lean against the pillow and rest your arms on the armrest things? But that just isn't how human posture works. In hindsight, I wish I still had it so I could get a Snuggie and put the pillow arms through the Snuggie sleeves, thus removing humans altogether from the cycle of laziness-enhancing products.

  12. "Forever Lazy"? That's what it's actually CALLED? It's like they're not even trying to pretend Americans have any dignity anymore.

    I'm a little concerned that this abomination meets my parents' gift-giving criteria, and I will end up with one.

  13. I received a gray plaster Santa and Reindeer. It was a garden decoration. This was given to me by an aunt who thought the gift was hysterical. The year before, she had given me a leather and flannel moose that was charming, so she stayed with the theme. There were a few problems in her logic:

    1. It was plaster, gray, and had glitter sprayed on it.
    2. It was a Christmas-themed item. (If it had been for Arbor Day it wouldn't have been any better, but still.)
    3. It was meant for the Garden. I live in an apartment and I hate gardening. My favorite past time as a kid was going indoors.
    4. She had asked me what I wanted and I told her "a gift card would be nice" and she bought me this.
    5. I hate Christmas. (I've worked retail for 13 years. Feel my pain.)

    The look of horror on my face was enough to let her know that she had screwed up. My brother now has it.

    • I'll take the gym membership. That way I can spend a year acting like I'm going to do something positive by exercising instead of the Snuggie which if put on signals that I've given up on life and any activity that doesn't involve ice cream, the couch and a television.

  14. I forget what it was that I got one year (it was about 5-6 years back), all I remember is they were friend's of the family and they bought the EXACT SAME THING for all four of us kids. It pretty much said to me "We really don't know you guys and can't be assed to inquire if you'd be happy with a gift card…so here's some crap.

    • I jokingly asked for a Snuggie for my birthday because I couldn't think of anything else, and it's one of the more useful things I've gotten. Living in Canada one of the Great Lakes in a less-than-sealed house really makes one appreciate being warm and actually able to use your hands. The sleeeeves!

      • I prefer the Slanket myself…it's damn warm during an Ohio winter in a draft-ass apartment.
        Just don't try to do anything involving walking or moving slower than sound. You will phail.

  15. Products like the Snuggie and the Forever Lazy seem like a really disturbing progression of the Oedipal complex. People are too lazy to have the unconscious desire to kill their fathers and have sex with their mothers. Instead, it seems like they unconsciously want to return back to their mothers' wombs.

  16. > “Doing [insert extremely easy, every day task] is hard! Don’t you wish there was a better way?”

    Whoa, whoa, whoa sparky! Those moist towelettes sold as butt wipes are a thing of genius.

    But yeah, they would be totally insulting as a gift.

  17. One of the most ridiculous items I've seen on TV is the egg cracker. You put an egg in it and squeeze a lever/button and it cracks the shell open and dumps the egg into your bowl. The biggest problem with this is the commercial, where people repeatedly try to crack eggs by smashing them into the stove or dropping the whole thing in a frying pan. Who takes an egg and karate-smashes it into their stove?

    • "Cracking eggs is hard! Cracking them into your wallet is even harder! What with all those cards and such! Plus then you can't even find the wallet in your big, dark purse! There has to be a better way! Also brownies are too hard to cut!"

    • This is exactly what I came here to share. It's the epitome of all those ads. People pretty much intentionally doing an easy task insanely badly. All that commercial is missing is someone setting their kitchen on fire and losing their entire family in the blaze due to a poorly cracked egg.

  18. Two gifts spring to mind –
    A Three-Wolf-Moon wooden wall plaque.. Yes really.
    A wall hanging of my birthdate in Mayan hieroglyphics which was extra tragic because the gift giver who knew me for 20 years at that point still got my birthdate wrong. Yeah.

  19. You do realize that the products that you rail against are the very thing keeping this economy afloat, right?

    We do a gift-exchange / theiving-backstabbing thing for the adults of the extended family. Half of the gifts end up being booze, while the other half are usually these things. Two stand out for being both hilarious yet useful: a home-brew beer kit which I still (hur) use, and a whole bunch of anti-stink sprays for the bathroom; it's the gift that eveyone can enjoy!

    • "You do realize that the products that you rail against are the very thing keeping this economy afloat, right? "

      Give me "The Road" any day.

      • That explains the boss that gave those of us travelling for work on 9/11 commemorative plates on the 1 year anniversary.

  20. For a long time my parents would ask for a list, but would use it as a "jumping off point" to get me something else as a surprise. I got a lot of movies that I didn't want or already had just because they starred actors from the movies I actually wanted. The best awful gifts I've received from various relatives are:
    A pair of black, men's crocs, 3 sizes too big (this was a gift that was given to everyone that year)
    A tweety bird watch (never have I shown a love for tweety)
    A scented, wax-covered teddy bear (I am 30)
    And almost every year my sister-in-law gives us a $20 gift card to Red Lobster even though I am allergic to shellfish

  21. My relatives seemed to be under the impression that I was a "girly girl" as a child…despite never wearing dresses, brushing my hair, or whatever it is girls are supposed to do. I got a lot of (rather creepy) dolls, as well as two jewelry boxes. One was Winnie the Pooh, and the other was the Little Mermaid.

      • I buck the trend and give my Nieces LEGO, the real things not those megabrand knockoffs though the HALO kits do look sweet …. or the matchbox / hot-wheel cars – they inherited their dads cars and just LOVE them.
        Mind you they also have 20+ barbies and all things princess …. it's going to be a long battle ^_-

  22. I have a 93 year old grandfather who every year asks us NOT to spend money on him – he has enough crap and doesn't need another hat/scarf/shirt/nicknack. Pictures he likes, everythign else frustrates him.

    AND YET MY ENTIRE FAMILY INSISTS ON GIVING HIM STUFF HE DOESN'T NEED and looks down on us for just giving him pictures and personal things. Occasionally a book we know he';d like.

    Joel, when you say 'Stop buying stuff for people just because you think you have to.' THAT'S my family.

    One year we requested that for Xmas people donate money to charities on our behalf. Family looked at us like we were nuts. WHAT WILL YOU OPEN??????

    • "Joel, when you say 'Stop buying stuff for people just because you think you have to.' THAT'S my family."

      My wife's grandparents take this idea to the ultimate extreme. They buy presents ALL YEAR from the Dollar store and put them in a closet. Come Xmas they just start putting labels on shit. Most of it was already wrapped so they have no idea who is getting what. The crazy part is they probably end up spending $50 per person. For half that they could give a QUALITY gift as opposed to a large QUANTITY of shitty gifts. We usually just leave the items unopened and donate a whole bag to Goodwill on the way back from their house.

  23. I was an only child, so there wasn't a large gift-giving or gift-receiving group to worry about. One aunt always gave gifts that made me go O_o though. When I asked for a donation to charity the one year as a young adult, she skipped all of the suggested ones and went to a religious anti-abortion charity.

    I'm a single, gay, pagan, Unitarian-Universalist man, with no history of abortion in our family. I have no clue.

  24. Bullshit gift? Every Christmas me and my school friends give each other those boxes of assorted shampoos you get from pharmacies. I…I have no idea why….I just seems…Normal? I guess?

    Except for this year. This year we're getting each other onesie pyjamas. The logic behind this is that we all want one but are too ashamed to buy them for ourselves. Even buying them as gifts I can feel my dignity being slowly diminished. "Hello, cashier. Yes, I would like to but this GODDAMNED TEENAGE SIZED PENGUIN BABYGROW. Thanks."

    • My best friend and I give each other random fake fruit every year. It started off normally enough, just fruit, but then it got strange. The fruit now usually ends up dressed or decorated in some way. One year I gave her a "party-ready banana" in a ballgown and she's given a banana in a kilt and a mango in a muumuu and a fez, and so on.

  25. My late grandmother would run through her house and grab items and dump them into bags and give them to us as gifts when we visited her. One year I got a half burned candle, looked at the table next to me, and could see the dust ring where it had stood not 30 minutes prior.

  26. My sister has never had any clue what I'd like for Christmas. I spend hours if not days agonizing over what to get her and she never likes it anyway, but one year her thoughtless gift really took the cake:

    It was a silver necklace, with a charm that said "Special Sister." I had to pretend not to be insulted.

    Then again, it may have been prophetic; I later confused the Swiss and the Swedes in what was not my proudest moment. 😉

  27. My partner's parents' once 'got' me a cake for XMas. A cake in a box. A cake in a box with raisins, one of the foods I refuse to eat.

    'Got' is in quotes because it was a re-gift out of a gift basket that they got from a client. It was actually better when they gave me one of their OWN gift baskets that they normally sent out to clients.

  28. Last year, my brother gave out to every household in the family a 'butter slicer'. Yes, you stick your stick of butter in it and the click the handle to slice the butter. It's terrible to clean, but actually pretty handy and hilarious.

  29. During the first Christmas with my husband, (after a long conversation with the in-laws about how badly I needed a car) I opened a small gift box from them that had a car air freshener in it. Thinking that this might have related to our earlier conversations, I asked "soo…is this a hint?" But it turns out my mother-in-law just thought I needed to freshen up the basement in our house, because she thought it smelled a little musty. Talk about a gag gift.

  30. My mom is the usual gift-buyer of my parents, and for good reason. My dad's good for things like electronics, but anything else…not so much. One year, I must have been around 8, I got a massive bag (maybe 200+) of those brightly colored plastic barrettes with animals and flowers on them. (like these:–UYUqAbqvzY/Tc3p9uGEQQI… )

    I had extremely short hair that I never wore clips in, never had any interest in putting clips and, really, couldn't have clipped back anyway.

  31. Once my mom got my grown sister (college-age at the time) a child's sleeping bag shaped like a puppy. The head was the pillow and you used the body like a tauntaun. Provided your body was no more than 3 ft long.

    Also once my dad went to the red rock amphitheater and brought the kids back commemorative mugs with our names on them. Mine was spelled wrong. To his (semi)credit, he knew it was spelled wrong, but instead of finding me something else, he was just like, "Here. It's supposed to be your name."

    • Well, sounds better than my dad sleeping his drunk off every Xmas, then arguing with Mom over the gifts that she bought for us with his name on the tag. Good times.

  32. First off, thank you for making me aware of the Forever Lazy. And by "aware," I mean "irrationally angry." I blogged about it:

    Second, my ex-grandmother-in-law used Christmas every year to show how much she disliked me by giving lavish gifts to all my in-laws and utter crap to me. It was some of the most blatant — and therefore hilarious — passive-aggressiveness I've ever seen. The best of the worst was an empty bottle of booze shaped like a duck that had been collecting dust in her basement for years — dust which she hadn't bothered to wipe off. She told me it was "collectible."

    • Ooooo…that's like my paternal grandparents literally giving my brother piles of cash for Xmas, while they bought me a 12 pack of tube socks. Got the idea they didn't like me all the much. *shrug*

  33. My wife and I received 7 knife sets for our wedding. Not 7 knives, 7 full sets of knives. I suspect that was some kind of commentary on how the families felt about our union.

    Good news is that for 22 years we didn't have to buy knives.

    The worst gift I think I've ever gotten was a hotdog warmer. It was just a chunk of plastic with two metal indentations on it you could rest hotdogs in that would get warm if you pugged it in. It was the fancy version, with a plastic lid for keeping the flies off. Useful, I guess, if you're microwave is broken. And your stove. I suspect it was a re-gifting incident and we were happy to pass it along.

    Actually I feel strongly that that item was a continual re-gift, never opened and used just perpetually shoved into cheap gift bags and passed along to coworkers and distant relatives for eternity. The box was probably empty.

    • This just reminded me! Two years ago, I got 3 blenders for Christmas. I HAD asked for one, but you'd think at some point my mom, brother, and sister would have figured out that one of them had already bought one. Nope. 3 blenders.

    • Maybe someone should check and see if there's actually something good inside. Fr'instance, I've got a 'Gravy fountain" gift box I'm planning to send my dad (with something decent inside).

  34. Worst gifts I got as a kid were from the lady who came in every other week to clean, wax and polish the stairs in our apartment building. I don't know why she thought she needed to give me anything, but every year I got the same thing: a packet of three horribly scratchy handkerchieves with badly done lace borders in the worst colours imaginable.
    And my mom made me write a "thank you"-card for them every goddamn year, too!

    I also have an aunt who is very good at giving crappy gifts. For my 16th birthday, she got me a full set of chef's knives in a horrible blue plastic case from a, "As Seen On TV" clearance store. They are impossible to sharpen (they actually were dull when I got them), and the handles are fitted so badly you can't use them for more than a minute at a time.

  35. My parents have really never known what to get me unless I specifically asked them for something, but that's really my own fault for

    As far as As-Seen-on-TV products go, I always thought those "Quick Chop"/"Slap Chop" things seemed useful. For people who want to chop up veggies or whatever easily without having to drag out the food processor and waste electricity. Even Ikea sells one (the "Kraftfull"). I'm glad we never shelled out for a brand-name one, because we found a no-name unit at a rummage sale for fifty cents and discovered that (A) the thing was a bitch in the ass to clean, and (B) whatever we tried to chop with it got jammed between the blades immediately. We tossed that thing in the trash right away and went back to being disillusioned with labor-saving devices.

    • Whoop. Never finished typing that. That'll teach me to not proofread my posts. What I was going to say was that it's my own fault that nobody knows what I'm interested in since I'm such a non-talker in general.

      Also, as far as those stupid two-minute commercials go, you might find this an interesting read (warning: TV Tropes is addicting like Cracked!):

  36. One of my favorite TV bullshit products to laugh at is that vacuum-seal plastic bag that shrinks your clothes or something. It's the one that starts with "Too much stuff, not enough space" and repeats it like 4 times. After the 2nd time, I say "Two men enter, one man leaves." or "Bust a deal, face the wheel."

    • I hate to say it, but I own a set of space bags, and where as the commercial is lame, they are pretty fantastic. Sometime I have to cram a bunch of shirts to sell in a carryon bag and they are perfect for that.

    • My friends got a bunch and used them to move. Way cheaper and easier than boxes, and they're great if you're someone like me who lives in a studio apartment but your entire family gave you blankets and pillows. I can put all my winter bedding in one bag…
      The comercial isn't so good, but the practicality of the bags (if they don't rip) is undeniable.

  37. Christmas of my freshman year of college in Florida (I'm from the North), someone in my extended family Secret Santa Loop thought "Well, he's going to school in Florida. I guess that makes him a Buccaneers fan," and bought me a Tampa Bay Buccaneers shirt, in spite of the extreme effort I've put into for most of my life to show ambivalence to any sports team I wasn't a benchwarmer for. I could almost just take it and be like "Who can't use more long-sleeved undershirts in these cold northern autumns?" if not for the bright red Sports Illustrated logo climbing up one of the arms.

    Also, someone apparently felt the need to steal one of those George Foreman-style Brownie Makers. That was the first theft I got to report as a Target employee, and I had to double and triple-check to see if maybe the brownie maker had fallen out of the empty box, or some incredulous guest had opened it to see if it was as stupid as it really looked on the box and then just forgotten to put it back, but the item was nowhere to be found, which means someone was desperate enough to steal an As-seen-on-TV Brownie Maker…

  38. My mom and one of my sisters are terrible at gift-giving. My sister has given me a "makeup kit" for the last five or six years. This is a problem for me for two main reasons: 1) I rarely wear makeup, and 2) I was a cosmetic consultant for several months. I know how to wear makeup; I've even done makeup for bridal parties. I have my own set of quality makeup, so I don't really need a drugstore makeup kit with "sparkle eyeshadow" and lipgloss that has the constancy of sticky, hard wax.

    My mom tries, but she tends to get me things that she thinks I'll like rather than things I've told her I might like. I have two sisters, and my mom gets us all the same presents even though we're at different life stages and very different people. I keep asking that she stop buying me this useless clutter (in kinder words, I promise) and give me gift cards to places like Dress Barn so that I can buy good clothes for work. No such luck.

    I'm grateful that my family buys me anything, and I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I wish these "gifts" would be more relevant if they feel they have to give me anything.

  39. Worst seen on TV product: Every family needs a chocolate fountain!
    NO! Don't we have enough diabetes yet? We have ALL the diabetes!

    Bullshit gifts: usually anything from my father-in-law. He chooses 1 thing, and everyone gets that. Last year it was a fancy Brooks Brothers bag – I'm not a purse gal. My husband uses it to carry drumsticks.
    Often people give my husband tools – which I think is hilarious. I use tools much more often than he does, but people give HIM tools for ME to use.

    • I own a chocolate fountain. And I am ashamed to say, I chose it myself as a bonus from work. It's one of those things that I really like the concept of (because chocolate-covered anything tastes GOOD!), but the reality is quite different. The moment I put the (frankly huge) box down in my tiny kitchen, I realized how epically stupid I had been.
      It's gathering dust on top of a bookshelf now.

  40. One year, aside from a few knives from my parents and grandma. EVERYONE that gave me a gift gave me some type of cologne or another, this was about 14 years ago and I still have every bottle. I rarely ever wear cologne.

  41. My uncle is in the navy and buys stuff overseas for Christmas…sounds cool, but its always deal, like a tourist catalog for the azores, a bright yellow t shirt (I don't even wear tshirts, much less yellow) and a tiny bag of tea with glitter glue writing on the pouch.

  42. "One time I got a set of pocket knives (a SET of pocket knives …. with the last 6 U.S. president’s faces on them"

    Dare I to hope this occurred during the administration of Bill Clinton? Because then you'd have a Nixon Knife, and that just seems somehow appropriate. Not nearly as good if the set started with Ford or Carter.

  43. I would say pretty much anything my father ever gave me. It's not that the gifts in and of themselves were bullshit, they were always things I needed and / or wanted. However, he would:

    a) buy the absolute cheapest (in quality and price) version he could find.


    b) make a point of telling me how little he paid for it.

  44. Motorcycle Barbie! Not only was she sluttily dressed, not only was I five and appalled at her cleavage and eyeshadow, but her motorcycle didn't even work properly.

  45. Back when I didn't drink someone (who KNEW I didnt drink) gave me a wine rack. I felt myself going over that line from Wayne's World.

    "I don't even own one wine. Let alone many wines that would necessitate an entire rack. What am I going to do with a wine rack?"

  46. My mother in law once got me (long before she knew me well) a snuggie like contraption that literally was more complicated then pajamas. It involved several velcro tabs and zippers and resembled something kind of like your death bag. She then however got to know me and since has bought me Star Trek Limited Edition collector Monopoly and other awesome gifts like that. We try very hard to instill those same values in our son who is about your daughters age. He mostly gets gifts that continue things he already has or collects like cars for his train set or more dinosaur models. He then gets a few science kits. For family members we make everything. This year everyone is getting handmade gifts from our son (handprint wreath paintings) and our friends are getting crocheted sea creatures dragons or hats. Because who couldn't use a crocheted squid, D20, or Jayne Hat.

  47. Let's see my top 10 worst gifts:

    10. A set of X-acto knives, when I was six. (WTF Aunt Lydia?!)
    9. A broken Star Trek commemorative plate. (Broken because my brother's much cooler gift, a pitching machine rolled over it on the ride to our house.)
    8. My uncle's old ham radio. Which actually was cool for the whole ten minutes it worked.
    7. A real bow and arrow set that was taken away the second my mom saw what it was.
    6. A girl's pink huffy bike. (I'm a dude.)
    5. A CD cleaner. (My nearly blind grandma thought it was a CD burner and that she had gotten a great deal.)
    4. A bootleg copy of a movie I owned a real copy of.
    3. A set of fondue pots. (I was 12.)
    2. One of those key finder things, that beep when you whistle. ( I was 7, I had no keys. I was keyless.)
    1. My cousin's old 4 wheeler, which my brother rolled. And which my mom got rid of without letting me even sit on it because my brother broke his collar bone riding it.

    • "9. A broken Star Trek commemorative plate. (Broken because my brother's much cooler gift, a pitching machine rolled over it on the ride to our house.)"

      The adding insult to injury aspect of that cracks me up

    • I actually got 2 separate snuggies last year…. Camo and Nightmare Before Christmas purple Jack Skellingtons. One went to the dog and the other became my boyfriends new "I don't want to put on pants but I need a smoke" robe. The camo went to the dog.
      They're quite useful 😀

  48. I suppose worst gift would have to be the 2 years in a row that both my aunts gave me an Axe body wash kit.

    Most hated As-Seen-On-TV ever is that gods be damned knife sharpener. Not only is it a pain in the arse to use and clean, but it doesn't even sharpen the knife. Every single time I've ever tried to use one, end up throwing away the knife because the blade had been destroyed. Then again, as an Eagle scout, kinda have enough knives not to sharpen them….ever.

  49. Another Mom highlight: she gave me the full Stieg Larsson trilogy in English one (recent) Christmas.
    1) I don't like crime novels. I never have.
    2) I have at least 20 SF/F books and comics on my amazon wishlist that I reallyreallyreally want, and she knows this.
    3) Why would you buy someone the *entire trilogy* of something you don't even know they'll like?
    4) We are both German native speakers. I read book in English if they were *written* in English. Why would I read an English translation of a Swedish book? I can just as well read it in German.

  50. Because my birthday is 2 days after christmas, I get a lot of "oh we're going to be out of town here are your gifts bye" about a month before it actually happens. I've also gotten a lot of xmas cards and bday cards on the same day…
    The worst gift was probably part of a "gift pack" that my family tends to do. They group a bunch of things together (one per family unit) and send out 2 boxes, which is labeled for which doesn't matter.
    I received a paperclip bird nest. Like, a fake plastic bird with a "nest" under it, made up of paperclips held together by several weak magnets and sheer force of will. I wasn't in school, don't work an office job, and didn't even have a desk at the time. To this day I'm still finding those horrible green foot stabbers around the place, and I've moved!

  51. One year my very religious Catholic uncle and aunt gave me for Christmas a set trading cards of the saints.

    No lie, they make trading cards with a picture of the saint on the front, and how they were martyred on the back. Just what every 11 year old girl wants for Christmas, a reminder that she isn't being tortured, mutilated, and murdered for her faith…
    And yes, not only did I have to smile to their faces and go 'ooo' over the descriptions of young virgins being martyred (seriously, most of the women in this pack died WAY before 30, what are they trying to tell me?), also had to write a thank you note.

  52. Maybe I'm sparking off an off topic debate here, but would people rather get crappy gifts or gift cards? My fiance's family is more in the former category than the latter. If his dad hadn't been navy and they had to keep moving, I think his parent's house would turn up on A&E's Hoarder's show. He doesn't understand a) when my family says they want flannel pjs and gift cards to that's REALLY ALL THEY WANT, b) if we're getting on a plane to fly to my family's house for Christmas, it might be better to GET THEM ALL GIFT CARDS THEY'LL ACTUALLY USE!
    His family think's it's the height of tacky or something to get gift cards for someone. I think it's the height of tacky to heap 3 million gifts on someone they didn't want and will probably give away. Gift cards do require a bit of thought to figure out what store they're likely to use it in (Visa Gift cards I can see the point of no thought, but sometimes cash is just what you need).

    Anyone else think gift cards are not a bad idea?

    • Gift cards are a great idea … for the stores ….. it's almost pure profit since a good percentage never get used.
      They get lost or misplaced. They also have fees if not used or every time they are used and the best one is that they expire. I absolutely hate Gift Cards/Certificates. Just a variation on the mail-in rebate scams from software companies.
      Just Give me a Nice Card [that takes some though and effort you know] since I do keep the nice ones and put in cash and let me decide what retailer will earn it .Yes I make those shysters earn their margins and I brow beat em when I am paying cash since I know the credit card companies ding em a percentage depending of the card used. If they take AmeEx there is no mercy.

  53. Because I decided at ten that I wanted to be a writer (and never actually changed my mind) the go-gift from relatives, mainly my sister's mother-in-law, is a stationary set, usually accompanied with a crappy pencil and an address book.
    Also I love infomercials. I studied Broadcasting in College and my favourite think is to watch infomercials and pick them apart. My favourite is an ab machine that you can apparently only use as long as you can see a pool nearby. this is why you need a giant window into your backyard.

  54. When I was in high school I wore only very small jewelry – tiny stud earrings and pendants maybe 1/4 inch long on a very fine chain. My dad, bless his heart, didn't understand this and got me a GREAT BIG PENDANT shaped like a BALD EAGLE'S HEAD. In bright shiny gold, with fake diamonds and sapphires! On a honking thick gold chain! Also, I'm not even American. Not that eagles are exclusively American, but… yeah. Suffice to say I never wore it.

  55. Soaps. There is nothing worse than receiving those tiny animal or shell shaped overly perfumed soaps for Christmas. I never use them and in fact don't know anyone who does. Same goes for gaudy knick-knacks. These thing usually end up being re-gifted to someone I don't know well or like but must give something to. I suspect the same scented soap set has been traveling the country since the 40's, never opened, just being gifted and re-gifted.

  56. I got my brother a snuggie this Christmas (in addition to his actual gift) but only because this one is patterned like the classic comic book Batman suit, and has a cowl with ears and mask attached. And hey, if he doesn't want it, my boyfriend and I are going to keep it for ourselves!

    My ex-mother in law always got me strange things, especially in my stocking. The worst that I can remember was an enameled gold cowboy boot pin. She also used to regift things she'd just gotten, sometimes without remembering to take the gift tags with her name on them off. But, the year she got me something I actually loved (a black wool peacoat and red leather driving gloves), and I told her it was just what I wanted (because I'd been eyeing something similar in pink) she took that to mean I hated it because it wasn't pink and never got me anything again.

    My cousin, who I love like a sister, is not great with the gifts either. One year she got me an assortment of teas. I can't drink tea. I guess she had heard me mention that a mint tea someone was drinking at a gala dinner we were at smelled nice. She's also gotten me weird things like red g-string panties and aspirin.

  57. (1) My wife and I call them "but wait" commercials, because they're a definite genre. They all say "but wait," include some footage of someone trying and failing at doing an ordinary thing, and end by telling you how many easy payments of $19.95 you will be making to pay for this crap. By far the greatest of the genre, like the Mona Lisa of but wait commercials, is one for a wall-mounted toothpaste dispenser. Just watching those idiots completely fail at *PUTTING TOOTHPASTE ON THEIR TOOTHBRUSH* is hilarious beyond words.
    Okay, here it is:

    (2) The best "I have no idea who you are" gift was from my mom's kind of elderly boyfriend when I was a teenager. Christmas came, and he gave me a biography about some surgeon who grew up in the projects or something, as though I would ever, ever read that. I know you don't know me either, but just picture me as the kind of person who would frequent this website.
    There, now you see the problem.

  58. I once bought my boyfriend an infomercial gift, but only because he asked for it! He loves to make pancakes, and so wanted the Perfect Pancake, which is basically a small clam-shell frying pan that you flip over, rather than flipping the pancake. Their tagline was something like "If you can turn a door knob, you can use the Perfect Pancake!" We tried it once, and all the batter slid out of the side and got in the element and took an hour to clean. Awesome.

    Also, we got a Magic Bullet as a wedding gift – it takes up half my kitchen with all its attachments and crap, and it barely works. I'll stick to my blender, thank you. Grrrrrrr…..

  59. I see such mockery for the Snuggies. As they are made, they deserve it. I sewed my lover her own Snuganket – my name and design is better. It sees much use. I used superior materials, added extra length everywhere (that's what she said,) and poured my metaphysical (as opposed to physical) love into it. It envelopes her with love, warmth, a mild case of claustrophobia, and the inability to correctly use remote controls and video game peripherals without leaving the comfort of the fleece cocoon. All the other things are crap. All the things.

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