Now that the holiday season is in full swing, it is time to think about how we can spread our holiday spirit around. I'm not talking about having a crappy, claymation Christmas movie marathon or lighting some disgusting eggnog incense - my holiday spirit is the kind people love most, the kind that comes wrapped and sits under a tree. These can get predictable, though, especially when you're shopping for those people who "already have everything." But nobody has everything if you're willing to look hard enough. Here's a few ideas:
Get off the Phone Excuse Machine
($9.99 - www.stupid.com
The perfect stocking stuffer for anyone who loves Seinfeld or has a litany of annoying friends/acquaintances/coworkers/family members. This handy machine has a variety of sound effects like doorbell, police siren, and my personal favorite (harkening back to Seinfeld again), Chinese-food deliver guy. You may laugh, and indeed you should, but the more you think about it, this is a damn useful little machine.
Chick Flick Kit
($39.95 - www.cookiepots.com
Let me start off by saying that this is NOT something you want to get for your girlfriend (at least not by itself). Quite frankly, if you're looking here for what to get your girlfriend, you're probably screwed beyond reparation. If, on the other hand, you have a (female) cousin, niece, or coworker, this is a thoughtful and creative gift that will allow her the opportunity to do the three things that women enjoy most: Gossip amongst themselves, eat chocolate, and cry together.
MP3 Recording Karaoke Player
($49.95 - www.hammacher.com
How many times have you sat bored at a dying party, wishing that someone would break out the karaoke? Me neither, but invariably somebody does: They pull out the machine, turn on the television, and pass out the play list which, if you're lucky, contains a song recorded sometime after 1990. Imagine how much more bearable things would be if your song-loving, logic-lacking friends had a play list containing only songs from the past year. Imagine how cool it would be to be able to choose the songs you want to sing and load them into the karaoke machine. This gadget will make it happen: You choose the songs, you load the lyrics, you control the karaoke. Finally.
Ticket Stub Diary
($12.00 - www.uncommongoods.com
We all go to events that require tickets, and we all know what happens to those tickets once the night is over: They either end up on the ground somewhere between the venue and the parking lot, or they actually make it back home and sit in a drawer while we swear we'll find a place for them, until they get thrown out the next time we decide there's too much clutter in our lives.
This diary provides the perfect place to keep your memories uncluttered, and readily available the next time you need to show your friends you really were in the front row when Chris Martin
perfected that ridiculous dance he does in the "Viva La Vida" video. A perfect gift for the sentimental and the nostalgic, provided they do a lot of stuff that requires tickets.
The Twinkies Cookbook
($12.95 - www.brightfungifts.com
Twinkies may be the world's perfect food - portable, delicious, and as Family Guy taught us, able to survive a nuclear holocaust. But who amongst us hasn't looked at a Twinkie and wondered, "Are there limits to this spongy goodness?"
This book gives you the chance to find out, as it shows you how to transform the Twinkie from a mere snack cake into something you'd be proud to serve your guests. The perfect gift for creative cooking types, or any parent searching for new and interesting ways to give their kids a sugar high.
Money Maze Puzzle Bank
($10.95 - www.gadgetbargains.com
You know who you are: You don't like to go holiday shopping, you don't really care who you're shopping for, and the Visa Giftcard people know you by name. Fine. I'm not here to judge you or your inconsiderate lifestyle. What if this year, though, you make the Visa Giftcard a little more fun than it usually is? Put it inside this maze, and suddenly a soulless, last-second gift becomes a fun holiday activity, all while sending a clear message that you think whoever you gave it to is smart enough to figure it out. Win-win.
Hopefully these suggestions have helped, and at least inspired you to look for creative gifts of your own. Remember, the holidays are not so much about the gifts as they are about the effort. Spend some time, think about who you're shopping for, and there's no way you can go wrong. Unless you buy someone a blender. Nobody wants a damn blender.
Story by Jose Flores
Starpulse contributing writer