By Christine Paluf
There inevitably will come a time in your life that the obligation of the season will prompt the dreaded, but necessary, gift for someone you cannot stand. It may happen every holiday, because that person could be your mother-in-law, your boss, your sister, your college buddy's obnoxious kids or your best friend's wife.
Don't fear, you can use this opportunity to your advantage. All it takes is a little creativity and some fore-thought. Think about what you would give to someone you care for, and then do the exact opposite. Focus on what they love - to hate.
1) For repeated pleasure, the gift that keeps on giving is the magazine subscription to whatever they hate the most. If your father-in-law's favorite holiday rant is about how all those g*d-damn [insert racial category here]'s are ruining the g*d-damned neighborhood, make sure he's on the mailing list for whatever group supports them wholeheartedly. Donations in his name to The American Association for Affirmative Action would go over well, or the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) instead of NASCAR could do the trick. Don't forget the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), not to be confused with the ALCS.
2) Know-it-all right-wing push-their-religion-in-your-face every-chance-they-get fanatics would love a weekly subscription to American Atheist or a slew of porn mags sent straight to the office. Nothing says 'Loosen Up A$$h*le' like porn.
3) What about giving a single ticket to any sports, concert or theater event no one would ever want to go to solo. This can have multiple desired effects. It either forces the gift-ee to shell out their own money to bring someone along, or alternatively they will be left crying in their seat when no one talks to the LOSER who came ALONE because they have no FRIENDS. Adding a camera as a stocking stuffer would complete the humiliation, and plus you'd get more of a return.
4) PETA members would especially appreciate the irony of a lifetime National Rifle Association (NRA) membership. Be sure to get the email address of the hated one, you can do a heck of a spam job if you hit all the sites that will piss them off the most. The Fur Commission even has a great holiday list. Also, consider making a donation in their name to some such dead-animal supporting organization.
5) And for the tree-hugging hippy in your life, deodorant is too obvious. You don't want to seem cheap. Toss the vegans a nice steakhouse gift certificate. It's normally quite a thoughtful gift, but under these circumstances it becomes a nice, passive-aggressive way to tell them to shut the f*ck up.
6) And for the truly uptight couple whose marriage is on the rocks, a gift-certificate to the local sex shop is a home-run in the 'let's make someone uncomfortable' department. As long as it can't be used online. Also, be sure to include a note that outlines how you figured they could use this; after all those lengthy conversations you've had about how terrible their sex life is.
7) Do you and your mother-in-law share nothing but a strongly silent hatred for each other? What better gift than a tastefully framed picture of yourself to adorn her mantle? She'll have to put it up - you're family.
8) And if she is always complaining about her weight, (this goes for any female on your list) pick the most aggressive Weight-Watchers plan you can find and sign her up. Or gift her with a copy of 'Eat Fat, Lose Weight' or 'The Cooking Light Way to Lose Weight.' Just in case she doesn't get the message, it's right there in the title. Too bad there aren't any 'Why Don't You Shut Up, Get off Your Fat Ass and Do Something About It?' cookbooks.
9) For that obligatory gift for the child of abhorrent parents, any loud, annoying toy will do. A percussion set (drums, tambourines, bells) is a great way to get right to the core of their frustration. A couple of months of 'practice' with those puppies and your investment is sure to pay off. Same goes for a karaoke microphone with a horrible learning sing-a-long CD, maybe of AC/DC. And beebee guns and roses. Those pushable corn poppers are always a hit. Typically, any toys marketed by Nikelodeon tend to have a low parent/child approval ratio. Just make sure that it eats the hell out of batteries.
10) Nothing says apathy like those pre-packaged Pepperidge Farm gift baskets. Same goes for socks (itchy, obviously) and especially the old-standby, the fruitcake. Only if it's re-gifted of course. Christmas-themed clothing works. Big Mouth Billy Joel Bass is perfect for this category. Plus it's annoying as hell.
Show them you don't care. Go out there and do your best, turn this situation around and give yourself a gift in the process ... the joy of causing others' unhappiness.