While the holidays are a season of love and joy and giving and the such, they also entail a routine of obligation and decorum. And no matter how carefully you screen your calls and Facebook friend requests throughout the year, chances are at some point, you'll be stuck buying for someone who sucks. And here's how you do it.
It's a dick move to buy a hatepresent that's deliberately terrible, so the art of telling someone "Fuck you, and have a happy new year" is a delicate one. But here we are and here you are, brought together by faith and the spirit of gently dropping a truth bomb.
I know it's difficult for me to hate anyone who loves Amy Sedaris, and so giving an Amy Sedaris book to someone I dislike is a shrewd move indeed. The recipient will be disappointed because it won't be her cup of tea, but she'll feel bad about it because it is my cup of tea. If she reads it and decides that Amy is indeed the shit, then I have contributed to the reforming of a jerk. If she reads it and hates it or just sets it on fire, I've contributed to Amy Sedaris's book sales. Win-win.
(I recommend Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People, from $10.87, Amazon.)
The logic behind buying a person you hate a book that you love that you're pretty sure they'll hate is simple and nearly infinitely repeatable. And always passive aggressive.
We all know some pipe smoking mustache haver who brags incessantly about not having a TV or takes every opportunity to lament the robotification of America. For that jerk, there's the The Retro Mobile Phone Handset by Yubz, a handy device that you can plug into your iPhone to make it look like an old fashioned corded phone like the kind that still sits in a place of prominence in the self-righteous Luddite's kitchen.
If you're stuck buying for your least favorite coworker thanks to the tyranny of Secret Santa drawings, do your worst. If you're in a big enough office, you never have to reveal your identity and unless they're the obsessive investigating type, they won't figure out that it was you who gave them the
Maybe You Touched Your Genitals Hand Sanitizer($4.95) or the I Love Commuting travel mug ($23).
Your roommate with terrible musical taste will love a brand new iPod shuffle loaded with every song Billy Joel's ever performed. Make sure to add the entire Kazaam! soundtrack as well, and don't scrimp on the Limp Bizkit. Get it in pink.
Inappropriate beard growth is rampant in this day and age, and while some people can rock the hell out of a full on Iron & Wine style beard, most can't. This is where the gift of a shaving kit comes in. Nothing says "I didn't know what to buy you" and also "Your face looks like an untended caveman crotch, and you're kicked out of the country club until you fix this" and also "You probably want to get rid of that inadequate beard; you're embarrassing yourself" like a high-end shaving kit. If the stakes are low, spring for The Art of Shaving's travel kit ($25), but if you really want to make an impact, shell out for the brand's Pro Glide Power Shave set ($150).
Dense creationist relatives will flip for a Teach the Controversy shirt ($25), a sarcastic take on the religious right's attempts to integrate religion with science in schools. Part of a successful give of this gift is acting as though you heard they like creationism, so you got them a little something to wear to the next PTA meeting or something.
Vain people love themselves, so why not give the person on your list who most resembles Snow White's wicked stepmother a Red Heart Shaped Vanity Mirror($16)? They'll love it like they love themselves, and you've made a point about how much they love themselves.
We've all got a sullen teen relative who goes bananas for that Twilight shit but already has a life sized Edward Cullen cutout to soullessly lust after her while she sleeps. Why not help her round out her collection of dumb vampire crap while not-so-subtly expressing how terrible you find it?
ref=sr_gallery_1&ga_search_submit=&ga_search_query=twilight+pillow&ga_order=most_relevant&ga_ship_to=US&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_type=handmade&ga_facet=handmade">Twilight pillow, $25, Etsy.
Kids love Twilight, right? Here, kid. Enjoy this fucking pillow that says TWILIGHT on it.
These whipped cream and marshmallow flavored vodkas look fucking disgusting, and they seem like something that would be enjoyed by the same demographic that enjoyed Zima until it was discontinued. So, if you know anyone who still dresses up for and attends parties with a "Pimps N' Hoes" theme, go ahead and give them one or both of these vom-inducing vodka concoctions. Make sure that you wrap it to look as much like a dick as possible.
These socks are a perfect way to tell someone that you'd like them to get eaten by sea carnivores.
Shark Socks, $9.95, Uncommon Goods
Why shark socks? Because fuck you and your crunchy legs, that's why.