2008.12.17 Gifts for every taste, and those without any

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

Recently, I was discussing bad Christmas gifts with a friend and he told me about the time a relative (his grandmother, if I remember correctly) gave him a can of pie filling with a one dollar bill taped around it.

There’s nothing wrong with the money, but pie filling? Maybe she meant for him to buy a ready-made crust with the dollar and make his own pie. That’s certainly not the greatest gift, but it could have been a lot worse. Heck, she could have bought him a Clapper.

Yes, they still make The Clapper, or possibly, they’re still trying to sell off the original production run. They might actually be close to selling out the first batch as I see the company is now introducing The Clapper Plus. Plus what, I’m not sure. Perhaps a shovel to bury it with.

The Chia Pet people are also coming out with new products, trying to expand their market. Now there’s some sort of Chia product for your pet. Yes, don’t forget to buy a Christmas gift for your pet, even if they won’t be returning the favor.

One pet supply retailer had an eight-page advertising insert in Sunday’s paper with suggestions for Fido’s or Fifi’s holiday gift. If they could talk, I’d bet they would beg you to skip the Santa hat, elf hat, Christmas bandana and other goofy items. Perhaps the suede pet bed would be more to their liking. 

And, most of all, don’t give them the stain and odor remover. What kind of gift is that? There’s nothing like embarrassing them in front of their friends for Christmas.

Some of the pet snacks in the flyer concern me, too, like the case of 100 pig ears dog chews, just $89.98. There’s 50 pigs that won’t be having a happy holiday. And how about another product, called “Canine Cattle 17-inch Beefy Femur?” Is this for real?

And finally, for the person who is so lacking in ideas that they can’t come up with something to buy a pet, the store is offering a gift card. Your pet can put it in their billfold, next to their Master Card and drivers license.

I still think buying holiday gifts for pets is a silly idea. Next, someone will start advocating giving presents to stuffed animals. Then I’ll be faced with my Snuggle Bears demanding digital cameras, tattoos, or maybe the new Lucinda Williams CD.

And if the auto industry isn’t already in enough trouble, they’re now facing competition from Fisher Price, which has jumped into the electric car business, just in time for Christmas shopping.

There’s the Fisher Price Ford Mustang, which seats two children and comes with a 12 volt battery and two speed transmission. Top speed is 5 mph, somewhat comparable to a real electric car. Like the Big Three, Fisher Price has been cutting prices, slashing their Mustang to $249.99.

If that’s not fancy enough, your child will be the envy of the neighborhood in the Fisher Price Cadillac Escalade. This two-seater, priced at just $10 more than the Mustang, comes complete with a real FM radio and digital clock. Plus, it comes with chrome “bling” style wheels for your budding “gangsta.” And at about ten thousand dollars less than the similarly-sized SMART car, Fisher Price looks to be the real smart alternative.

But if your kids aren’t ready to hit the Interstate just yet, maybe a collectable replica vehicle would be a better choice. The Fairfield Mint catalog has dozens to pick from, like the 1908 Model T Ford, 1952 Nash, 1950 Studebaker, 1957 Chevy Bel Air, 1969 Corvair and 2009 Corvette. And then there’s the 1938 Mercedes G4....

The G4 is a six-wheel, all-terrain limousine used during World War II by officers of the Third Reich. Just the thing we should be commemorating, especially in a model a child might end up playing with. The model comes complete with figurines of a driver and two officers. Of course, there’s no diecast Adolf Hitler to accompany the vehicle, but isn’t the idea bad enough without him?

Obviously, I’m not suggesting that anyone buy the Mercedes model. In fact, compared to that, maybe a can of pie filling really is the perfect Christmas gift.

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