Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Gift ideas: What not to buy

We have entered the wonderful time of year where we are all flooded with Christmas catalogues and gift guides and enthusiastic recommendations for the perfect gift for your brother's sister-in-law's dog walker. What we hear much less often though are the cautionary tales, the recommendations of gifts gone wrong, the "steer clear at all costs." Personally, that's what I'm looking for, and in the spirit of being the change I want to see in the world, I present to you my top three gifts not to buy this holiday season.

1) A digital picture frame for the grandparents. I know, coming in hot here. This one is ALWAYS on the "top lists for grandparents." And I admit, on the surface, it seems like a great idea. They don't have to pick their favorite pictures! It's a gadget that will delight and amaze their friends! The love the grandkids! All good points. What they don't tell you though is that while your parents may be savvy enough to link the frame to their albums, they likely are not savvy enough to put their pictures into folders or figure out how to hide pictures. Which means that Thanksgiving next year will get awkward VERY fast when you see the frame, squint a little to figure out what picture it is, and then realize that that's an angle and a situation you had hoped to NEVER see your parents in. Ask me how I know. My parents are dead, so they won't know that I told you. 

2) Play-dough and slime. All I can say here is "WT actual F?" I am a ball of anxiety on Christmas day, panicked that a gift will be accidentally thrown away with the insane amount of trash we seem to create regardless of how many earth-friendly wrapping options I choose. It's neurotic and honestly not my finest quality. I do a lot to create holiday magic but I suspect that manically putting everyone's gifts in their own special box and then nagging everyone to keep track of pieces is not one of them. And every year I fail. But lo and behold, the one and only gift I would beg to fall headlong into the garbage can is the one that sticks around like a b-reel horror film character. 

3) The slime that everyone suggests for adults' stockings. I know you've seen it, and in theory it seems like such a great idea. I fell for it. I really did. Last year every adult of driving age got a tub of the pastel colored goo and I gleefully put mine in my car, for use at stoplights/gas stations/car washes. It was going to change my life! I was going to become a "clean car person." But alas I did not become a clean car person. What they don't tell you is that this goo does not tolerate temperature fluctuations well (ala California in the summer.) So at a stoplight, when I channeled my inner Martha, I instead ended up with a handful of sticky snot melting through my fingers. It was everywhere, and every effort I had to make it stop just made the problem worse. I drive a manual. So when I say "everywhere" I really mean it. 

Okay. Your turn. What's on the top of your Must Not Buy list? 


  1. This made me laugh so hard. I googled the slime because I have never heard of it before and the pictures activated my sensory issues. SO GROSS— I cannot even IMAGINE how disgusting that shit would be in my car— SO MANY CRUMBS.

  2. Oh, no! I did order the cleaning slimy goo this year!!