I don’t know about the rest of the world (blame the public school system for that) but here in the US Thanksgiving is behind us and the holiday shopping season is in full swing.
Now, the internet is going to be full of advice for you: where to find the best sales, 10 Reasons to Do All Your Holiday Shopping Online, 7 Reasons to Get Out of the House and Shop Local, reminders that pets are forever and don’t make good gifts, etc. It’s the same shit every year, isn’t it?
There will also be loads of gift guides out there for people you don’t really have any difficulty buying for: Dad, caffeine addict, film buff; or for people you don’t actually have in your life: the wine expert, the world traveler, the modern art collector.
None of that here. How ‘bout a gift guide for the people you wish you didn’t have to buy a gift for?
nb: All suggestions are serious, all “gifts” are real (I cannot emphasize this enough—I did not make this shit up) and all images are clickable links to the actual item. In case you don’t believe me.
For the dad joke teller:
Did you know they still printed this? Me either! But for the person in your life—who may or may not be your actual dad, or even a dad—who cannot be stopped from making cringey, punny, or downright pitiful “jokes,” this is the must-have subscription-based gift. For nearly a century, Reader’s Digest has been a staple of classier waiting rooms, bathrooms, and hoards—now it will grace the coffee table of your relentless dad-joke teller.
For your chronically late carpool:
You came for passive-aggressive gifts, and here it is; nothing says “what the fuck is wrong with your car, Carol?” like a goddamned code reader. I don’t know if you have to be a mechanic to use one or how useful it really is for figuring out what’s making your automobile hiccup and cough like a colicky infant but I do know if I got one from someone who relies on me for transportation, I’d take the fucking hint and start leaving ten minutes early. Success!
For the boss who just passed you over for that raise:
This one works on a number of levels. First, it’s great for clearing the wax out of that prat’s ears so they can finally hear you when you outline your accomplishments and explain why you didn’t meet those totally arbitrary deadlines with no support or resources. It’s also memorable, in case that was the problem—you know, the old, “what does Bob do again? Nevermind, if I don’t know him he must not be working very hard” trap. For bonus points, add a picture of the fancy watch you would have given if you could afford it.
For that jerk you’re only friends with because they host aalll the things:
I have no idea what message this sends, but neither will they and I think that’s the best we can hope for in this situation. Also, make better friends. Maybe buy two and host a popcorn tasting? No… that’ll attract another hard-to-shop-for set and we’ll be right back here next year.
For the person whose name you can’t remember, and it would be too awkward to ask now:
WHAT’S-HIS-NAME: Thanks, but… I don’t play poker.
YOU: Really? Wow, guess that’s just another thing I don’t know about you. Man, you are a mystery wrapped in an enigma!
WHAT’S-HIS-NAME: Uh… I guess?
YOU: Hahaha! Classic!
For that friend who came back from holiday with an accent, then kept it all fucking year:
If they’re going to be pretentious and foreign, they can at least feed you, right? This entry speaks for itself. Plus… I kind of want one? Please don’t make me do the voice.
For your officemate who conducts every phone call on speaker:
What better way to say, “Hey. How’s about you keep something private once in a while?” than to let that most irksome waste-of-recycled-air open this at the department gift exchange? Look, I hate the whole “open workspace” trend as much as anyone. But we’re all in this together—literally—and it’s bad enough without having to hear about your weird rash, Carol.
For the story topper:
Dave—let’s call him Dave, shall we? I don’t know who yours is, but mine was called Dave until I stopped calling him altogether—has never heard a story that didn’t remind him of the time something even more amazing happened to him. Are you an expert at something? Bet you didn’t know this obscure fact Dave’s about to bring up! No good changing the subject, because he’s done it all. But somehow Dave found his way onto your holiday list (damned secret Santa) and thank goodness you found my list because literally anything else you could buy would have been an opening for Dave to tell you about the one he just bought that’s even better. Now? Now he can tell stories about how he even cooks eggs faster than you. Everyone wins!
For your brother’s soon-to-be ex, because he’s too chickenshit to break up with her before the holiday:
This is a tricky situation, isn’t it? I mean, you don’t want to spend too much on this person because you’re literally never going to see her again but you also don’t want to draw attention to her obviously temporary status. Or do you? These rings are perfect for prompting the discussion that should have fucking happened before you brought her home, Brad, and that’s doing everyone a favor.
BONUS Backup Gift:
Because if the rings work, someone’s gonna need it.
For your “helpful” neighbor who checks on your house even when you’re home:
It’s sweet of her to keep an eye on the place when you’re gone… but does she have to keep peering over the fence every time you take out the bins? And was that a notebook in her hand the last time you had company over? Holy shit, she’s officially moved into stalker territory. And you know the number one complaint listed among stalkers? Blackout curtains. But their number two complaint is eyeball fatigue, which is apparently a very real thing and some weird-ass scientist (I like to imagine him with just the creepiest beard) invented an eyeball massager for these people. You’re welcome.