Opinion

Crazy gifts of Christmas

In the lead-up to Christmas, stores have been a-twinkle with holiday decor, offering tons of holiday gifts, and festive newspaper and television ads have enticed shoppers to find the perfect presents for their loved ones.

 

There’s something else that’s been ever-present this season: those annoying product advertisements.

These ads, for items that no reasonable person should dare to live without, are becoming increasingly lame. There’s no more simple “It slices, it dices, you really need this knife.” Now it’s a narrator with a group of people supposedly in the middle of a store, cavorting and exclaiming at the top of their melodramatic lungs that this here cushion will make your rear end happier than a pig in — well, you know.

In the ad I’ve seen most often, seemingly mild-mannered women perch gingerly on this cushion, and all of a sudden their eyes open wide, they go “Whoo-ooo-ooo” and start shimmying like they’re on a sit-down version of “Dancing with the Stars.”  

Then there are the ads for those household helpers, like the super-duper mopboard duster with a round whatsit that fits on the end of a wand. This will end all your backbreaking household chores.  For the first time since the cave dwellers, you can clean your mopboards in a snap. Why, this is so wickedly ingenious you’d better get two for the price of one.

Yeah.

That thing on the end of a wand?  Newsflash: the original is called a “vacuum cleaner.”  It comes with these clever little attachments that, lo and behold, you can attach to the wand — like the brush that even cleans mopboards.  Now that’s ingenious.

Another favorite of mine is the commercial for that double-sided knife sharpener.  Remember when these ads would feature someone showing you how their kitchen product would work on actual food? Well, that’s gone out the window.  Now they have much more creative uses.

With just a few passes through this amazing sharpener, you can sharpen up a credit card to cut your vegetables. Hey, that’s using your credit wisely.  You can even hone a butter spreader so sharp it will slash through an old leather boot. Hooray! I like a little shoe leather on my toast.  

No matter where you look, you can find a product that’ll make you shake your head.

But I came across something the other day that really took the cake. A website called removeandreplace.com came up with a list of “funny and strange things you can actually buy.”  In addition to a combination frypan/toaster/coffeemaker and a bath mat that turns red when wet to look like bloody footprints, there’s one thing I just can’t unsee: the finger cellphone stand.

It’s a fake finger designed to stick on the back of your cellphone with a suction cup so you can prop the phone up on your desk.  The description says “realistic human finger,” which is just creepy. The website calls it a “perfect gift for people who love stupid things.”  Well, at least they’re truthful.

  If you’re a person who loves stupid things, I have bad news. The item is listed as “currently unavailable.” 

Thing from “The Addams Family” is safe … for now.

But amid all the crazy, we see what really embodies the season: folks coming home for the holidays, everyone gathered around the fireplace, kids tearing into presents, families sharing time together.

For me, and I like to think for most of us, that is what the holidays are all about, aside from the spiritual meaning: family, friends, laughter, allowing yourself to be a kid … and cultivating gratitude.

As you read this, it is Christmas Day. To all of our readers, a truly Merry Christmas. Happy wishes for whatever, and however, you celebrate.  Enjoy your loved ones, and may the new year bring many blessings your way.

And if you happen to get one of those cushions, let me know if it’s really that awesome.

Paula Brewer is assistant editor for The Star-Herald, Aroostook Republican, Houlton Pioneer Times and St. John Valley Times, plus websites TheCounty.ME and FiddleheadFocus.com. She can be reached at pbrewer@bangordailynews.com or 207-764-4471.

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