The holiday season is here: that absolutely wonderful time of the year when the sickeningly cheerful person in the office or an annoying friend sends out the memo that we all need to buy secret Santa gifts for each other. Generally, office secret Santa gifts–with the exception of the overly eager office people-pleaser who prides him or herself on being an excellent gift giver–fall into a handful of cliched, generic categories, and we are all guilty of resorting to these kinds of gifts when we honestly couldn’t care less about being secret Santas.
1. Gift Cards
Gift cards are always the default go-to as the apathetic gift of choice. Of course, a practical person would just give money so you can spend it anywhere, such as on alcohol or illicit substances to help you survive the holiday season, but no, appearances are everything. A gift card is more, well, gifty, and now the giver has totally narrowed down where you can buy your own gift. And it’s never a gift card for a place you would normally go, like Target, Trader Joe’s, or, my personal preference for a secret Santa gift card, Chipotle. It’s always a place like Best Buy or Williams-Sonoma, where you have to go out of your way and use a $10 to $25 gift card to buy something that’s overpriced by $10 to $25. Not that the thought isn’t appreciated, but come on, people–step up your gift card game.
I can appreciate having a President George H.W. Bush-caliber sock game, but flamboyant Christmas-themed socks are not my idea of an appropriate Christmas present from a friend or coworker. It would also take away my right to laugh at my uncles when my mom does her annual tradition of buying them fruity Christmas toe socks and forcing them to take pictures wearing them. But people will still buy them for you, and the only thing worse than that is when they ask you to try them on. Looks like Goodwill will get another pair of socks this year.
3. Scratch-Off Lottery Tickets
Merry fuckin’ Christmas, you poor motherfucker! Here are some scratch-off lottery tickets! Maybe you’ll win $500. But probably not. Nothing quite makes you feel impoverished and pitied like $10 in scratch-off lottery tickets. What a shitty gift, and it happens every year. What if they are all losers? Then it’s nothing. You get nothing. That $10 could have bought you the blissful joy of a Chipotle burrito or a few episodes of “Archer” on iTunes, but instead, you have these scratched off pieces of fucking cardboard with dollar signs on them that stare and laugh at you from your trash can.
5. A Christmas Tie
When or why would I ever fucking wear this? No, I’m not talking about a red and green striped tie (I would actually wear that all the time). I’m talking about a tie that has somehow fit an entire Christmas scene onto it. Yeah. Like Santa playing golf with the eight tiny reindeer and the Looney Toons, or one that plays a MIDI version of “Jingle Bells” whenever you squeeze it. Burn it. Burn it with fire.
4. Holiday Music CDs
Just what you’ve always wanted, the Mariah Carey Christmas album. Well, maybe you did want it. Or you already have it. Or maybe you’re Jewish or celebrate Kwanzaa (or both, hell if I know). But that’s a risky assumption that the giver picked out a Christmas CD hoping you’d like it. What are the odds that a coworker is going to listen to, let alone enjoy, a random Christmas CD? Twenty-five percent at best? A 25 percent completion percentage is considered abysmal in football. But, then again, I’ll let a Mariah Carey Christmas album slide, because she was the queen long before Beyoncé was riding serfborts, and you can’t convince me that Beyoncé’s done anything close to “Hero.” Fight me.
5. A Christmas Ornament
Dear God. Why, oh why, would you buy someone a Christmas ornament? Especially if he or she is a minor friend or an acquaintance? I mean, I guess if you picked an ornament with my alma mater’s logo on it I’d be okay with it, but it’s rarely that personalized. It’s often one of those clear ones with a stupid snow globe-like scene in it or a glitter ball or a fucking reindeer. Don’t waste your money on that crap, buy me a Chipotle gift card and don’t make eye contact with me while I’m eating my quesarito. Shit, I don’t even have a Christmas tree..