Monday, December 8, 2008

All I Want For Christmas Is Some Scour Guard

The time of year is upon us when people divide into two camps: those who love to shop and those who criticize the commercialism of Christmas in order to get out of shopping.

I have, on occasion, considered the possibility that we have lost the true meaning of Christmas amidst the glitzy fuchsia garland and screeching salespeople that mark the beginning of the holiday season. That possibility grew more real in my mind this year as I tried to complete my Christmas shopping, which has become more of a challenge in recent years.

It didn’t take many forays into the shopping mall with four kids to convince me that mail order is the way to go. Besides, shopping by mail gives me the luxury of looking over catalogs and wondering who actually buys this stuff. I have found items that range from truly amazing to just plain stupid.

In one catalog, I found a $75 CD player shaped like a Volkswagen Beetle with speakers in its wheels. Another catalog sported gold earrings shaped like antlers and a phone that could easily double as a duck decoy.

Other options included a contraption on wheels that holds up to 24 fishing rods. I'm not sure who owns 24 fishing rods, but I'm pretty sure he's single.

For those snackers on your list, $29.99 will buy you a S’mores maker complete with ceramic ramekins to hold the marshmallows. I’m not sure what a ramekin is, but I had trouble envisioning our family gathered ‘round the gas burner holding our ramekins and singing campfire songs.

In the same catalog, I found that I could send my loved one a $40 carrot cake or a $200 robotic vacuum cleaner. Quite a selection.

Another intriguing option was to send two pounds of meatballs for a mere $19.99. I guess next year we should bypass the cattle buyers and just butcher our steers, grind them up, roll them into little balls, and ship ‘em on dry ice.

For those who really “have it all,” catalogs offer gifts like an Elvis ornament, a pair of battery-heated socks (which would make a great gift for a future groom), or a “Smart Mug” which plugs into your 12-volt and keeps your coffee at a constant 160 degrees.

A great option for the farmer in your life is the alarm clock that projects on the wall not only the time, but also the current outdoor temperature. No need to get out of bed and walk to the window to see the thermometer; now you need not even roll over.

For the pet-lover, the personalized pet bandana is definitely the way to go. Of course, you could splurge and purchase the “Bow Lingual” device that claims to translate your dog’s every sound into words. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t think I want to know what my dog is saying about me. (By the way, this device apparently has no problem with purebred language, but it may not be able to decipher those lower-class mixed breed barks.)

If a person was still stumped for a gift, another consideration may be the ever-popular funnel that allows you to save the last tiny bit of ketchup from the old bottle and transfer it over to the new container. You can also buy a musical jukebox alarm clock with dancing lights, a Santa shower curtain, or pink flamingos for the yard.

Buying for that special guy is no longer a problem. Now available is a cab enclosure for an ATV that looks like a pop-up tent riding around on your four-wheeler. Those with bathroom decorating dilemmas can choose the acrylic toilet seat with fishing lures or bullets inside.

I must admit that my favorite holiday flyer came from Big R. I can just see the adoring look on my husband’s face when he opens up that package containing the grease gun and the scour guard.

After looking through all the catalogs, it is certainly easy to think that there is something wrong with a society in which we have so many material possessions that we have to buy each other useless or frivolous items to celebrate the birth of Christ.

However, I then consider the first gifts given to Jesus. Here was a child whose parents did not even have clothing for a baby, and what did the Wiseman apparently bring Him? Frankincense, gold, and myrrh. These are not exactly practical items.

So what made them the perfect Christmas gifts?

The intent behind Christmas gift giving goes beyond finding a practical gift or spending enough money that the recipient will be impressed. The intent is to give of oneself to another. For some people, that means buying a Volkswagen CD player. For others, it’s a grease gun.

I think I'll stop short of purchasing the scour guard, though.

Some things are just inappropriate under the Christmas tree.


Judi in Pa said...

So,where do you find this VW cd boom box? I am that one nut that would buy something like that as I collect stupid, unnecessary, useless stuff. Good post. It made me laugh...again.

Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom said...

My favorite? The hot dog maker that pops the hot dogs and buns up when they're done like a toaster. EVERYONE NEEDS ONE OF THOSE!

Julia in Sweden said...

I quite agree. I feel that there's a limit on how much nonsense one could buy (or recieve). It seems to come down to _stuff_. My mil is the ultimate stuffshopper, just because she likes wrapping presents. Nothing wrong with that, but I am trying to get her to sponsor a child in a developement country on behalf of my daughter instead, and just buy one or two things, like a doll or a puzzle. (Not working though.) My thing these last christmases has been homemade gifts or an activity of sorts, like a massage or hockey tickets (perhaps not the ideal thing for you). This year I have made a necklace for my sister, and she and her husband will also get homemade rasberry-chocolate jam and chilioil. For my niece I have put together and painted furniture for her dollhouse. Well, i seem to be babbling, but I think you get my point when I say that it is nice to gather around the tree and exchanging gifts, but that there is a good idea to take some time for afterthought as well.

Mum-me said...

I laughed out loud reading about the barking translater! Yes indeed - who really wants to know what their dog is saying? (Maybe some folk would like to hear their dog discuss the various smells they found in the other dog's butt?)

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha Ha! We have @! of those fishing rod holders and more rods left over.

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