Mediocre Last-Minute Gifts for People About Whom You're Ambivalent | Bleader

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mediocre Last-Minute Gifts for People About Whom You're Ambivalent

Posted By on 12.24.09 at 06:35 PM

Yo, it's the day before (War on) Christmas. Have you purchased all of your gifts? How about for those near-stranger aunts and once-a-year uncles who annually give you a major case of the "ugh, I dunnos" when you're shopping for them? Or the coworkers you barely know but feel bad about skipping because they retrieved your mail for you that one time, or always say "hello" in the hallway? We conducted a short recon mission at places likely to be open at the very last minute—like, on Christmas Day—and dug up some ideas that won't cost you much time, effort, or money.

We started our holiday-themed urban spelunking expedition at two of the 19 or so different Walgreens located within a mile of our Lakeview apartment. Not all Walgreenses are the same: If one does not offer something appropriate, just walk about 50 yards, past the Starbucks, and go into the next Walgreens. The Walgreens on the western end of our block turned up several winners, such as this candy lunch bag:

candy-lunch.jpg

With burgers, pizza, and other junk food artfully represented in dyes of various #s, this gift is perfect for relatives who worship Ronald Reagan (everyone has those, right?). If they complain about the lack of nutritional value, just tell them to apply some ketchup.

Walgreens West also turned up these fabulous scarves, which double as toilet doilies:

toilet-seat-scarves.jpg

Unfortunately, some blue-smocked "elves" were pricing new goods in the holiday aisle, so we headed on to Walgreens East, located on the far eastern corner of our block. On the way we encountered this snowy "scare bear" and his eyeless offspring:

scare-bear.jpg

Inside we dodged spy televisions set up to catch aspiring lifters of press-on nails and tweezer packs and headed to the pet care section, where we made a new friend:

plush-flea.jpg

I think Plush Flea might not have started out as a flea. He certainly doesn't look like one. But someone has thoughtfully embroidered him with the word, and so that is what he is now, just lounging around by the squeaky horses and rawhide whatevers. Ostensibly, he is for dogs, but he also seems appropriate for (some) humans.

Walgreens East didn't have much more that we felt like making fun of—perhaps the masses had already scooped up all of the Imperial Massive Googly Balls and seven-foot light-up palm trees. So we went home and ordered some of these TeleBrands bottle tops to fill up our recycling bin faster.

The 7-Eleven at the corner of E. Illinois and N. State, convenient to Reader HQ, offers Chicago's (possibly) most secrety treasure trove of mediocre-to-strange gift items. Exhibit A: these razors "for handyman":

razors.jpg

Soft on the wallet, but hard on stubborn window-sticker goo, they're a steal at $1.49. But if that's too pricey, you can save 30 cents and invest in a package of three invisible French mesh-style hair nets by Gabriella:

hair-nets.jpg

Just tell the lucky recipient that these "magical" hair nets will give them the same, full-bodied hairdo as the woman on the package, and they will probably hug you with gratitude.

"Oh, but all of my family and friends are bald," you say. Well, they can warm their heads with these cozy Bears hats:

bears-hat.jpg

Fashionable and Santa hat-like, they feature a sprig of holly to Christmasify things up. But if your not-quite-beloveds are anti-Bears, these antlers offer a nice, alternative "novelty" look:

antlers.jpg

"Oh, but all of my family and friends obsess about their luxurious, Gabriella'ed hair and won't wear things on their heads," you say. No worries: These Christmas light necklaces won't mess with their dos:

lights-necklace.jpg

They go well with this $2.99 copper bracelet — which as a bonus might even cure something:

copper-bracelet.jpg

But the most exciting 7-Eleven gift of all just might be these plastic guitar-shaped drinking vessels, which for $9.99 hold 54 ounces of your favorite beverage (smiling men not included):

gulp-guitars.jpg

On your way out of this holiday Valhalla, be sure to check out the display windows, which offer a random selection of cheap beer, board games and this five-pound Hershey's chocolate bar:

5-lb-candy.jpg

At $34.99, it offers you the opportunity to spend a lot of money on chocolate of average quality. It's like saying, "well, I guess I could have stopped at the Vosges shop, but I was at 7-Eleven, getting a soda, and this was for sale."

If none of these options satisfies you, then we have one final suggestion: the Freedom Tray, which will hold all of the snacks and such you end up buying at Walgreens or 7-Eleven. For $19.95, you get two trays (one comes "free," in that funny "I paid for it, but the commercial says it's 'free'" way). It's a plastic, sturdy way to say "God bless America" — or as Tiny Tim (who probably would have fit comfortably on one of these trays) put it, "God bless us, everyone."

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