The deadline for holiday shopping is fast approaching, and almost everyone has one or two notoriously hard to buy for people left on their Christmas list.
What do you get for the Relative Who Hates Everything? You know, the one who tells you, "Thanks for the scented candles, they're a fire hazard, so I'll never burn them" or "Thanks for the sweater, I can't stand wearing hard to care for materials like cashmere". Almost everyone has one crotchety critter in the family who has no hobbies other than criticizing the rest of the family. What do you get someone like that? Golf clubs? They don't play. Theatre tickets? They hate the arts. Cheese logs? They only eat human flesh.
Why bother trying to please the Relative Who Hates Everything when you can just baffle them into silence instead? Below are seven simple gift ideas that are guaranteed to allow you to chat gaily through a stunned silence that will, if you are lucky, last through the whole visit.
- Milk chocolate eyeballs-on-a-stick.
Why leave the same old plate of cookies and milk for Santa this season? A company called the Chocolate Vault will mold many interesting chocolate body parts for you and your loved ones. In addition to the classic eyeball, they also offer ears, noses, hands, feet and two attractive brain options. Available in milk, dark or white chocolate. http://www.chocolatevault.com/_medical/pages/anatomy.htm
- "Weekend Warrior for the Animals" PETA gift set.
Want to throw a great spin into those incessant arguments about politics? This set has everything Grandpa needs to start a wonderful career in part-time political activism. The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals have put together a lovely little kit that includes 6 stickers, 6 buttons, 2 guides for activism and a book called "Animal Rights Weekend Warrior: 52 Specific Plans of Action", all in an attractive, earth-friendly grocery tote. Bonus idea: get it for Dad and explain that you hope it can be the basis of many weekends of "quality time" together. http://petacatalog.com
- Membership in the Adrian Empire
Explain to Aunt Ethel that you think she has the makings of a knight or a duchess, and that with her membership in the Adrian Empire and a little hard work, she could achieve just that. Explain to her the wacky fun she can have recreating medieval times with other anachronists, making her own suit of armor, or learning how to use a broadsword! http://www.adrianempire.org
- Episodes 1-12 of Kittypr0n
A San Francisco bay area cable public access television show. Winner of a Best of the Bay award, each episode consists of one hour worth of cats eating, sleeping and frolicking with small, battable things. There are no human faces or voices. There is no discernible plot. Just... an hour of cats doing cat things. The San Francisco Bay Guardian described it as being "like a cross between The Bear and an Andy Warhol movie." Your relatives won't know how to describe it. http://www.ossuary.org/~kittypr0n/index.html
- The Cure for All Cancers by Hulda Regehr Clark.
It's a parasitic worm that can be killed with home-made electric zappers! Who knew? The author also wrote "The Cure for HIV" and "The Cure for All Diseases". Box it with Lloyd E. Marcus's book, "Agape: A Solution for World Peace" and enclose a little note saying you expect Aunt Jill to have made definite progress in the world by this time next year. Available from Amazon.com.
- A Cloud Buster.
With a few crystal wands, some tubes and a lot of copper wire, you can create a device that will enhance the positive energy in your neighborhood. Brought to you by the people who design homemade devices to break up those nasty trails that jets leave as they pass in the sky overhead. Because you know those darn jet trails are responsible for everything from cold sores to the neighbor's dog barking at three a.m. Hours of fun watching Cousin Jed try to figure out if you believe this stuff works or not. Get blueprints to build one for the holidays at http://www.cloud-busters.com
- Vampire Tour of San Francisco
A playwright named Kitty Burns leads a two-hour nighttime tour of San Francisco, providing an overview of Nob Hill landmarks and history. The twist? She plays the role of a vegetarian-turned-vampire while she does it. The perfect gift for visiting relatives who think Californians are a little weird anyway. http://gocalifornia.about.com/cs/sanfrancisco/a/vampiretour.htm
Remember -- if you know you can't make them happy, then you can always at least make it a Christmas they'll never forget. No matter how hard they try.
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This article first appeared in the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin.