Ten last- last- last- last- last-minute gift ideas
When [people] think of Christmas …they think of giving gifts and out-giving the next person, of spending their time looking for the right thing for somebody who has everything. — Billy Graham
As the clock winds down and the money runs out, there’s no better time to give up the giving. Tell disappointed family and friends that your pastor, The Rev. Graham, said that giving is wrong.
But if guilt inspires and you must give, try these quick 10 gift ideas:
1.Secret Santa gift exchange? Relax. Stop at the Wawa on the way to grandma’s and grab something at the checkout counter. Slim Jims or Snuz moist oral snuff will do. Nobody will know it’s from you but you.
2. White Elephant gift exchange? Go to Amazon, search “white elephant,” and buy the cheapest porcelain white elephant that delivers overnight. People will laugh at the winky postmodern humor of it. Or if you have any elephant-themed swag left over from the 2016 Republican National Convention, bingo. (Gift a red MAGA hat if you want this holiday gathering to be the last.)
3. Office supplies. Seriously. Everyone can use a ream of paper, alligator clips, florescent Post-It notes or staples. I certainly can (hint hint). Dig through your desk drawers and mazel tov! (Caution: A friend once went to a Staples store to buy staples, and they were completely out. True story.)
4. A “two-year subscription to Facebook” for your great aunt who doesn’t know what Facebook is. Don’t mention that Facebook is free. Or that she inexplicably might develop a craving for borscht or a crush on Vladimir Putin. Or a bigger crush on Donald Trump.
5.Make your own gift. Cut out 365 New Yorker cartoons from past issues, paste them onto 5x8 index cards, write the days and dates on the cards, alligator clip them together, and voila! A New Yorker Day-to-Day calendar. You save $14.99 toward your upcoming subscription renewal.
6. Those stunning $800 shoes you impulse-bought because they were marked down 75% and you regarded the $600 you saved as new-found money, but you wore the shoes only twice because they squeezed your bunions? Problem solved. And you still have that $600 to splurge on yourself.
7. Have any black truffle mustard, corn cob jelly, fennel saffron sea salt or other obscure epicurean items from a gourmet gift basket you received and will never use? Grab an old Easter basket and fill ‘er up. Dig through the back of your pantry for any items from previous years. The sugar- and gluten-free non-GMO Brazil nut brittle might be a little stale, but the look of feigned appreciation on the receiver’s face will be priceless.
8. Speaking of re-gifting, it’s ok. New York Times contributor and American Enterprise Institute president Arthur C. Brooks says so. He cites a study saying (spoiler alert!) that givers would rather their gifts be passed along than thrown away.
Also, “there is a narrow range of circumstances in which regifting is not just tolerated but actively embraced,” Brooks writes. “The key is to follow what I call the Fruitcake Principle: If you don’t value it, don’t regift it. Only pass on things you yourself own and authentically treasure.”
To which I respond, “What? I thought AEI was a leading Washington, DC, right-wing think tank, not a sensitive squishy socialist snowflake propaganda outfit where Bernie tells us to share the wealth. Mine is mine!”
9. Speaking of canned products (see #7), consider packing a sturdy box with Spam, Dinty Moore Beef Stew, Hormel chili and other assorted grocery goods, first aid products, some bottles of water, a transistor radio, batteries and a flashlight, and ta da! Survival kit. Shows you really care what happens to your giftees after the Rapture, since most are staying right here to deal with the apocalypse zombies.
10.Speaking of zombies, if imagination fails, camp out overnight in front of the Apple Store, rush the door when it opens, knock over tourists who clot in the entrance, frozen by sensory overload because where they’re from watching paint dry really is a thing, and load up on iPhone accessories. Three new ones are fun:
iColon, a device that hooks up to the iPhone camera to perform the post-50 decennial ‘scope in the privacy of home and also creates hilarious videos for holiday parties and Vimeo posts.
iHeartMe, which automatically shoots, enhances and posts activity updates to Facebook “friends” every 30 seconds.
iMadoosh, which includes a shock collar to give the user a moderate-voltage prompt when crossing the street hunched over the iPhone, oblivious to traffic, other people, reality and any iota of self-awareness. Also works on drivers and bikers who are texting while in motion.
If these suggestions seem silly, just show up empty-handed and say “my presence is my present!” If anyone snarks, snark nuclear by quoting Sartre in that sneering, superior French way: “La générosité n'est rien d'autre qu'un engouement à posséder!” Which Google translates as, “Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess!”
Let your holiday gathering chew on that. At least you’ll be contributing to the merriment. Happy holidays!
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer