#3. A Basket
Last year my aunt got me a giant wicker basket that did not contain the burned and bee-stung corpse of Nic Cage. Instead it contained shortbread cookies that proclaimed to be Scottish in origin and made my mouth as dry as the Sahara after a single bite. There were also approximately 1,000 tiny strawberry candies that seemed to have been included in lieu of Styrofoam peanuts, three jars of exotic jellies, a massive, phallic elk sausage, a jar of birch syrup, a bevy of processed cheese flavored with such unique spices as "dirt" and "feet," crackers made from some kind of grain that hasn't been widely harvested since man first attempted to tame the wolf, and a DVD copy of Shallow Hal. The card explained the presence of the Jack Black film because he's funny, you see, and I make funny. We're co-workers.
I like greasy, room-temperature cheese and cracker-shaped plaster chips as much as anyone, but I feel those are really personal purchases. Those are the things a man needs to buy alone along with his condoms and alligator clips. Everything you can get in a basket comes in a basket because each part on its own is a lazy insult. It's like telling someone their momma's so fat, she ... probably ... likes pie. Then you just shrug and walk away because you're not emotionally invested enough to give a shit. That's each piece of a basket. When you put them together, the power of each kind of crappy gift creates a shitty gift Voltron that has the power to stand on two feet for as long as it takes to peel off that objectionable layer of too-thick plastic they're always wrapped in and peruse every item until it fully sinks in just how much you don't actually want to make use of anything in the basket. Because there's never been a time when you sincerely wanted a 3-ounce jar of gooseberry marmalade unless you have a serious gooseberry fetish and a penchant to jam that little fella in your ass. But even then, buy that by itself, save yourself some trouble.
#2. Something Personalized
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This one has a fine line to it, insofar as you could technically get someone a nice watch with an inscription on the back that you could consider personalized, but of course that's not what I mean. You know the kind of shit I mean: those things they sell at a kiosk in the mall that, by themselves, no one ever wants, but the edge the kiosk offers is that a dude with a Dremel tool can personalize it for you right here right now. Weee, life is complete!
There is nothing in the world that you actually require to be personalized, because once you own it, it's clearly yours. Has anyone ever legitimately mixed up one of your towels with one of theirs? Or your coffee mug? Your bathrobe? None of these things need your initials. If anything, they draw attention to you unnecessarily. Hey, whose dumb shit doormat is this? Oh wait, it clearly says right there "Timmy Douchewelder" under the little picture of the reindeer. This is your doormat. You suck.
#1. Holiday-Themed Items
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Every year when I was a kid my mom would give me a mug for Christmas. That mug was inevitably Christmas-themed, ensuring that its use during the other 11 months of the year made me look either lazy or like an idiot. Look at Felix the dipshit, drinking his Santa mug of juice in July. That kid must eat lead paint and jam marbles in his ass for fun.
So what if I did eat lead paint and play Poop Chute Cat's Eyes? I could do that 12 months a year, unlike using that damn mug with Santa's fat face smiling at me that goes on the shelf next to the Frosty mug from last year and the Rudolph mug from the year before.
Nobody wants your Christmas-themed towels, sweaters, trousers, condoms, or anything. We already know it's Christmas, that's why we're getting the gifts. And as a gift giver, it shows your immense lack of caring about the receiver. What do I think Gordy would like for Christmas this year? What really speaks to the heart of our friendship? Oh, an Elf on a Shelf. Because I fucking hate Gordy and I want him to die over the holidays. I hope he chokes on eggnog and aspirates on his festive vomit. Here is the first piece of shit on the first display in the front of the store that was placed here because it's Christmas -- I will rub my balls on it, wrap it up, and give it to him.
Long story short, when you give a holiday-themed gift, you're basically rubbing your balls on the idea of giving.