The holidays can be tricky. You're more or less obligated to give gifts to people who consider themselves your loved ones, but what if you don't really like them all that much? Or if they've been super annoying lately? Good thing there's a way for you to fulfill your gift-giving duties while shading all the obnoxious people in your life with gifts that say: you should be better.
Blue Apron is a service that delivers all the ingredients you need for a delicious meal along with instructions on how exactly to make that happen. They only send you exactly what you need, so you could just throw everything into a pot and it would probably still turn out fine. It also discourages all those "home chefs" from trying to put their own spin on things.
What it conveys: You cannot cook and I don't want to nearly starve to death every time I come to your house for dinner.
- $9.99 per person per meal at BlueApron.com
This pair of novelty sweatpants are excellent because they provide the double whammy of the words "cheat day" emblazoned on the side of a pair of drawstring cotton blend pants, which really lets the world know that the wearer has given up, at least for today. This would be great for a friend who isn't even on a diet—the suggestion being that their entire life is one big, casually-dressed cheat day.
What it conveys: LOL good luck with that New Year's resolution.
- Cheat Day Sweatpants $89 at ShopPrivateParty.com
A Holy Bible will get your message across loud and clear: Yes, you are a heathen. Plus, what is anyone going to say if you give them a Bible? They can't possibly get upset because Jesus might hear. Make sure you pick one of the giant Bibles. Seriously, the bigger, the better.
What it conveys: You're probably going to hell.
- Holy Bible: King James Version $9.99 at Amazon.com
If someone hasn't ever specifically asked for a Fitbit, then they definitely don't want a Fitbit, which is exactly why you should give them one. A gym membership would be much too obvious. This is basically a piece of jewelry that let's you know when you're being lazy. If you really want to knock their socks off, Fitbit makes an accompanying Wi-Fi connected bathroom scale which stores your weight, body fat percentage, and Body Mass Index (BMI) online, because obviously that's where someone would want that information stored.
What it conveys:Go to the gym/I don't want you to have a heart attack.
- Fitbit $94.99 and Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale $129.95 at Amazon.com
Giving someone a planner is shady because planners are generally something you'd buy on your own, so people who use them likely aren't expecting to be gifted one, nor do they need another. A daily planner as a gift is almost always for someone who you know doesn't use one. This Moleskin planner can be used with the organizational app Evernote to sync all of your notes and calendars with your smartphone, ensuring that the recipient will have absolutely no excuse for forgetting anything.
What it conveys: You're always late for shit/get your life together.
- Moleskin Evernote 2015 Weekly Planner $34.95 at Evernote.com
Truly top-notch shade can make someone look in a metaphorical mirror and see all their shortcomings clearly. A literal mirror can also do that. Throw in some fluorescent lights and the receivers will practically be shading themselves.
What it conveys: I want you to see your oversized pores up close and personal.
- Zadro™ 1x/10x Magnifying Max Bright Sunlight Vanity Mirror $69.69 at BedBathandBeyond.com
If you really want someone to know that you put in only a modicum of effort, give them a card. I'm not sure that a card technically even counts as a gift if it doesn't contain money, but it shows that you at least remembered the person's name, so what more do you want? And since it's Christmas, why not throw in a little biting social commentary while you're at it?
What it conveys: I'm tired of being the only non-white person at your parties.
- Racially Diverse - Christmas Card $4 from Etsy.com shop HowAwcard
The gift of sprinkle cookies is a subtle homage to one of my absolute favorite and a truly masterful instance of shade. The ongoing feud between sister-in-laws and Real Housewives of New Jersey stars Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga can be partially be traced back to one snowy Christmas day when Melissa Gorga brought sprinkle cookies for dessert instead of the Italian pignoli cookies that Teresa preferred. This particular batch of cookies also included a note congratulating Teresa on her "redone home" and oh, does Melissa know how to poke a sleeping lion. Save these for your annoying, Goop-wannabe sister-in-law.
What it conveys: They're just cookies, fucking relax.
• Christmas Sprinkle Cookies $6 for one dozen at Muddy'sBakeShop.com
Illustration by Tara Jacoby