What Not To Put On My Christmas List

He’s making a list,
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice.Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

I’ve always found this a little sinister, especially when it then describes how Santa goes on to watch sleeping children, wide awake children, and warns them not to cry. Apologies to anyone who has now has the mental image that jolly old Santa is a paedo and has had the magic of Christmas ruined from what was essentially a nonsense preamble, but hey-ho, you can’t please everyone.

Nope, in this post I wanted to talk about Christmas tat. You know, the sort of objects which are advertised as gifts around this time of year — they normally come in free catalogues in magazines or the Sunday papers — and generally contain things which look vaguely interesting but you’ve never actually had a need for before. In some cases, you might even find yourself thinking “Uncle Derek would like that…” (this is more likely if you have an Uncle Derek, of course).

Well, irrespective of what you or your Uncle Derek would think about them, it is my opinion that they are tat. That’s not to say someone else won’t want them; nor, for any legalistic purveyors of ‘wacky’ Christmas gifts, is it me saying that they are definitively of no value; it is simply me saying that this is really not the sort of thing that appeals to me. And let me explain why…

Let’s just look at the evidence.

Prosecution Exhibit A: The Cooking Reminder Magnet

Cooking Reminder Magnet (flickr)

Or with a memory like a sieve? Maybe you’re just too thick to cook? Or you’ve got a memory like a sieve?

If you need a magnet stuck to the front of your oven to tell you that your oven is in use, this suggests you have a bad memory. You with me so far?

In which case:

  1. What are the chances you’ll forget to put it on
  2. What are the chances, whether or not you put it on, that you’ll just happen to walk past the oven, if you forget you are cooking
  3. What are the chances that, assuming you forget you are cooking but have remembered to put the magnet on, that you will just happen to walk past the oven, and then somehow notice the magnet before you notice that the oven is hot and (maybe) it’s got a light on in it? Maybe you could look at the dials?
  4. What are the chances you will forget to take it off at the end and you will then be forever opening the oven door to check if you’re cooking anything?

The only segment of the population who will actually benefit from this are people who forget they are cooking, but walk past their oven regularly and are incapable of detecting whether their oven is switched on or not unless it has a little magnet stuck to the front of it. Oh, and don’t have a timer on their oven. Or elsewhere in their house.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I feel I have already made my case explicitly and abundantly clear: however I have five more pieces of evidence yet to place in front of you…

Prosecution Exhibit B: Oliver Flavour

The Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker (flickr)

The Jamie Oliver® Flavour Shaker™. Now, you may like the pukka mockney Sainsbury’s advertising, school-dinner fighting chef with a big tongue — and I do, as a matter of fact — but why for Heaven’s sake would anyone want to add a “Jamie Oliver Flavour” to their food? I don’t even know what he tastes like…

Oh, and the trademark and registered symbol were already there. I didn’t add them for effect, or anything.

Prosecution Exhibit C: Bling Bangles

Bling Bangles (flickr)

Now, I am not ‘down with the yoof’; indeed you are unlikely to find me ‘hangin’ with my homies’, or even ‘just chillin’ in my crib’, mostly because I have only the vaguest idea what these terms mean.

However, unless I have misunderstood something rather severely somewhere else, I thought that the whole point of wearing bling was that it was an ostentatious expression of wealth.

In which case, wearing what I think I am probably correct in presuming is costume jewellery is somewhat missing the point, is it not? And wearing this cheap bling — price-wise, we’re talking ALDI-price bling here — will not in itself make you look like a famous film star. Or a pop star. Or a footballer. Or a rapper.

But, it is always possible that it’s just that it’s not my style and you might like it. Which is why I’ll move onto exhibit D. One for the ladies…

Prosecution Exhibit D: The She-Wee

The Shewee (flickr)

This handy gadget will enable you ladies to urinate without taking your clothes off. Basically, you just wee into a funnel, with a plastic pipe attached to the end.

Alternatively, if the inconvenience of needing to open and unfasten various items of clothing is getting too much for you, why not go the whole hog, and just have a catheter fitted? You could then just strap the bag to your leg and you wouldn’t even need to leave your busy meeting to urinate. Ideal for today’s businesswoman.

Sadly, the She-Wee is a non-returnable item. If you buy it, you cannot return it. Presumably this is because they don’t want loads of these returned after having been used, but this is just ridiculous. I mean, you’d not buy a new car unless you’d had a chance to take it for a test-drive, would you?

Look, I’ll admit I don’t know about this one. I’m a man, and this is obviously something for the ladies. If I’ve got it wrong, do correct me. However, I can assure you that my knowledge of male anatomy will come in handy for one of the gadgets later on.

Prosecution Exhibit E: Naughty, But Naff

Allegedly 'naughty, but nice' aprons (flickr)

These are basically cooking aprons with pictures of semi-naked men or women on them. For people who don’t realise that this:

  1. is a bit sad
  2. was only a brief fad in the late 70s
  3. wasn’t really that funny in the first place

Don’t get one of these for one of your friends who is “bold enough to wear something saucy”. Get it for someone who is “crass enough to find it entertaining”. They will appreciate it more. Besides, it’s not really saucy. Saucy — and more than a little kinky — would be wearing said underwear and fashioning your own see-through apron out of clingfilm.

But no, I don’t want one of them, either.

Prosecution Exhibit F: Grounds For Divorce

In fact, in my mind, this is not so much just “grounds for divorce” as “grounds for prosecution and imprisonment” or “a damn good excuse for claiming that it was justifiable homicide”. Although I’m not sure of the exact legal position.

Bed Snake Bat (flickr)

Anyway, introducing the…

Bed Snake Bat.

The accompanying text identifies said Bed Snake Bat as a ten inch long truncheon, with which they advise you hit the tip of your partner’s penis a couple of times with if he is feeling over-amorous. My initial reaction was what … the … fuck??. As indeed was my second, third and fourth reaction.

Several minutes later, when I had uncurled from the tightly clenched ball I had instinctively formed on the floor, I had devised my own, alternate piece of advice. May I strongly suggest that you do not hit the tip (or indeed any part) of your partner’s penis — even if you think your partner “might be into that sort of thing” — with implements likely to cause severe pain, if you wish ever to have further sexual relations with said partner.

Indeed, if you ever wish to have any relations with said partner that do not involve him being a witness for the prosecution…

Prosecution Summing Up

In summary then, m’lud, I would suggest that if you, your friends and relatives have survived perfectly well without buying special handles with which to carry carrier bags, that if the women you know are quite capable of using a normal screwdriver then they don’t need you to buy them a pink one (and indeed, if they can’t use a normal screwdriver, a pink one won’t be of much use either). If you think someone might appreciate “1001 Gardens to see before you die” (yes, seriously), or completing a jigsaw of “1,000 places to see before you die”, may I respectfully suggest that you instead take them to one of the bloody places.

The reason you’ve coped without these is that you don’t need them; you don’t want them; you wouldn’t buy them in the shops, so why buy them just because they are nicely presented in a catalogue?

And please, please, please Santa, I’m sorry for being rude about you before, but please don’t bring me any of this stuff…

3 Responses to “What Not To Put On My Christmas List”

  1. The Goldfish responds:

    I loved this post and I love these crap catalogues. Pretty much anything which is described as a “gift” at this time of year is likely to be tat. And don’t get me started on “Gifts for Him/ Her”.

    I think your Bed Snake Bat is actually something else which they couldn’t advertise it as, perhaps for when he has a headache. Extremely bad taste though.

    The she-wee has become a hit among outdoorsy types and for things like music festivals where the toilet facilities are poor - never tried it myself, but I imagine it provides more dignity that having bare one’s bottom and squat.

  2. Tracy responds:

    Too funny and very timely.

  3. Jack's Mam responds:

    Oh dear! I’ve spent hours searching thru’ catalogues and ordering the bloomin’ things and NOW you tell me these things aren’t on your Christmas wish list!

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