ON MY MIND: Crazy Christmas gifts

On My Mind | Maureen Burns

I think there is a state of the brain that gets “goofy” during the Christmas season. I am referring to what happens to people when they buy, buy, buy all the gifts that people want, don’t want, need, don’t need or they just have to give something to and don’t have a clue what to give them. You know the drill. We have all lived this scenario for most of our lives.

If you still wonder what I am talking about, take a glance at some of the Christmas catalogs bombarding your mailbox this month.

What does this bring to mind for you? For me, right at the top of my “crazy” Christmas gift list is the grand ole Chia pet. I have told my family members year after year after year, “Do not. I repeat. Do not … buy me a Chia pet.” I’m afraid a couple of them might really do that. And now there is even the timely Chia pet of Barack Obama. (I think I am too Irish. I just wrote O’Bama and had to correct it.) Anyway, bottom line, the Chia pet is on my list, but not the I gotta/wanna have list.

I saw in a catalog a set of glass wiener dogs that were for oil and vinegar. My friend, Gisela, has a wiener dog (and she is German so that is a perfect match). Gisela may appreciate this oil and vinegar set because of her dog. Other than her, though, I wonder about this set. It seems wrong on quite a few levels. First, which end do you shake the oil and vinegar out of? Either way it seems kinda yucky. And then there is the storage factor. A set of glass wiener dogs to hold oil and vinegar takes up a lot of needed room in a cupboard. Hmmmm. This gift seems like one that gets bought with a “Christmas brain.” Then again, it’s only $39.95.

Marketers see us coming. They stick stuff on store shelves at this time of year that never take up shelf space during the “normal” part of the year. These items might as well say, “Buy me, sucka.”

I don’t know about you but I have a cupboard full of “appliances” that I never really use. Many of those were Christmas gifts. They’re supposed to be time saving, clever and way cool.

For instance, I have a potato baker. It holds two potatoes and takes 25 minutes to bake the potatoes. The potatoes do taste great. I admit that. However, I can count on one hand the times I have actually hauled this sucker down from the top cupboard and used it. And then, I have to clean it all and put it back up on the top cupboard. I get worn out thinking about it. I am pretty sure I could live without my handy potato baker appliance. The ole microwave only takes 4 minutes, don’t you know, and they taste plenty good enough. Personally, though, I have never had a bad potato. Potatoes are my friends.

This week I saw in a catalog, a big appliance that will warm your bathroom towel. Now, I am sure that would feel great for a second. I am not sure it would be worth the cleaning and storing of that big appliance or the hefty price tag ($89.99) that it comes with.

I also saw a doggie biscuit maker appliance with cut out shapes for a mere $99.99. I don’t know about your dog, but my dog will eat poop if I don’t watch him. I adore the little guy, but I’m not sure he’d appreciate this specialty item or notice the cute biscuit shapes.

There are lead-ins that try to allure you, “For the man/woman who has everything.” Whether they do or not, they still may not want/need this item.

Laura Meyer said she got an egg boiler appliance once which seemed strange, but then she grew to really love it.

Diana Jones said, “What about the French press coffee thingy? All I can use that for is a future white elephant gift.”

My friend, Warren, showed me a bearded face mask, complete with detachable mustache. The hat is knit and the beard is a different fabric. It is dandy and only $45.99.

My husband got a visor hat one Christmas that has a bunch of spiky grey hair on top. This may sound silly but we have actually had lotsa fun with it. It may have turned out to be a perfect gift after all. Who knew!

He also got a fox hat once. It is like a really nice Davey Crockett hat with a tail and all. Lovely fur. It was given to him with a great story about being from a small town and people asking, “Wear the fox hat?” You have to say it really fast and it is rather naughty, but very clever. It, once again, was worth it for the fun.

People get caught up in the madness of holiday gift buying. Their brains do/think strange things. If you don’t believe me, look at their credit card statements in January. So, as you go through the frenzy of it all, you may want to remember some of these thoughts/warnings/examples. Ho, Ho, Ho!

After thought — Gisela said, “NO, I do not want a wiener dog wine and vinegar set. One wiener dog is enough!”

Visit Maureen at book signings for her new book, “On my mind . . . or what’s left of it.”  She will be at Robbins Booklist on Friday, Dec. 7, 11-1, and Meijer on Sat., Dec. 2, 11-1.

Maureen Burns, a Greenville resident, is a professional speaker and author. Her e-mail address is maureenburns@maureenburns.com.

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