Wednesday, 25 December 2013
Things I am not going to buy - Day 25: Novelty items as gifts
First of all, a very Merry Christmas to the hoards of readers who are reading this blog fresh off the press! As today is Christmas Day, the day when we all waste tons of money on naff gifts that will be in the charity donation bag by New Year, I thought I would highlight a particular type of gift that I have, occasionally, resorted to buying over the years.
It is always difficult to find just the right present for people who have everything they need/want, and who will buy things for themselves throughout the year (some of them even buy things for themselves whilst they are Christmas shopping for others - no names mentioned here...). Anyway, it is for these people (and they are usually men!), that numerous websites have popped up, selling gifty things that are designed to look like a lot of thought has been put into the purchase. It's not that I'm totally against these sort of sites - I think it is very sweet that you can buy a specially engraved locket for your loved one, with a compartment where they can store your toenail clippings so that they will always have them close, or an automated toothpaste squeezer in the shape of a cow where the toothpaste comes from the... well... (I haven't ACTUALLY seen these exact items, but you know what I mean).
The thing is, once you've bought something that your loved one can wear, put on the wall or put on display, you have to stop! You can only get away with buying more than one of these items if your current "loved one" isn't the same as last year's.
A fairly recent practice that keeps all of these tat shops and websites in business, is the "Secret Santa". Honestly, if everyone who was involved in these schemes from work places, schools and groups of friends, all gave their fivers or tenners to worthwhile charities, an awful lot of good could be done in the world. Instead of which, millions of items of completely useless tat are opened by millions of people, who have a quick laugh then chuck it in the bin (unless it is something edible, like a willy-shaped chocolate bar, which tastes fowl, but they'll eat it). Is this really what Christmas has become? Well that's my soapbox moment over.
Here are just a few of the multitude of websites selling the type of things that I am talking about:
There are also hoards of shops on the high street - many that just pop up for Christmas, such as:
I am particularly concerned when items such as the following are included in a page titled "Must have gadgets". Gosh, how does one manage to live without one of these?