We all know the hidden meanings behind certain tried-and-true holiday presents. A fruitcake might as well bear a tag reading "You are an octogenarian who is related to me but whom I never call." A scarf says, "I am your secret Santa in the office pool, and here is what I know about you: You have a neck." A pair of boxer shorts bedecked with cartoon reindeer is code for "We don't have sex anymore and this represents my tacit acceptance of that fact."
But what if you have a more specialized message to convey? I've compiled a handy gift guide for situations in which sacks of coal just don't get the message across. (Disclaimer: I secretly want all of these).
1. Recipient: Your cat
When you want to say: I resent the way you keep peeing on the clean clothes I leave on top of the dryer.
Gift: Anne of Green Gables Maid Outfit
(This site is AMAZING. And I think they might have Anne confused with Annie... I don't remember Anne Shirley ever being forced to mop while wearing a do-rag...)
2. Recipient: Your roommate
When you want to say: Please get a bed without springs. Thanks.
Gift: Ex-Masturbator tee shirt
3. Recipient: Your platonic friend who you have a crush on but who you suspect might be gay.
When you want to say: This is a test.
Gift: Captain and Tennille dolls in original boxes
4. Recipient: Jonathan Safran Foer
When you want to say: Thanks so much for taking away the joy I used to find in a nice piece of steak.
Gift: Bacon-Scented Bacon Tuxedo
5. Recipient: Your best friend who un-followed you on Twitter and thought you wouldn't notice
When you want to say: What, you didn't like my extensive list of #philosopherrollerderby names? Aristhrottle was a good one.
Gift: A TweetBook
6. Recipient: Your mom, with whom you are feuding
When you want to say: Because, deep down, I love you, I am giving you this gift of 80s comedy gold that can be enjoyed for years--nay, centuries--but I also want you to read between the lines.
Gift: My Two Dads on DVD
7. Recipient: Your grandpa, who voted for McCain
When you want to say: I can't heckle you because of your pacemaker, but I'd still like to rub it in.
Gift: A John McCain figurine produced before the election, meant to complete the Marx presidential figurine collection... in an alternate universe!
(Make sure to tell gramps that while McCain costs $10, Michael Dukakis goes for $30! His ass will be so burned.)
8. Recipient: Your husband/wife who doesn't approve of your So You Think You Can Dance and/or Mythbusters marathons.
When you want to say: You know what's probably just as fun as television I bet? Candle making.
Gift: A trip to Amish Country
9. Recipient: Your sister who habitually tags hideous photos of you on Facebook
When you want to say: Two can play that game.
Gift: A picture of the two of you in which you look awesome and she looks busted (have it framed professionally so she can't take it out).
(This is an actual photo from my wedding. My husband glows; I look like he's giving me an atomic wedgie...)
10. Recipient: Your coworker who can't pronounce your name
When you want to say: It's pronounced Oz-wee-pay*.
Gift: A mousepad bearing an offensive definition of their name from UrbanDictionary.com.
*If you have no idea what I'm talking about, look up Nicolas Cage's "Baby Name" sketch from SNL in 1992. You will not be sorry.
Follow Una LaMarche on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sassycurmudgeon