130 Secret-Santa Gifts to Avoid

(Originally appeared in Radar, December 2007)

#1. Deployment orders to Iraq

#2. A litter of feral cats

#3. A postcard that reads: “On vacation in Bahamas. Will send gift from airport.”

#4. The pamphlet: Healthy Hygiene Habits That Benefit Everyone!

#5. Your business card

#6. Your grandmother’s invaluable gold bracelet that was hidden away just before she perished in the Holocaust

#7. A monogrammed bedroom aid you once bought at a stoop sale

#8. One developmentally-delayed foster child

#9. The handful of change you received after buying your real presents

#10. A Homer Simpson cookie jar that “defecates” Oreos

#11. Swift, pitiless justice

#12. A “Sex Machine” vanity license-plate for your co-worker’s wheelchair

#13. A book of “Love Coupons,” non-redeemable outside of your cubicle

#14. $500 cash in a paper sack

#15. A Google Earth shot of the recipient’s childhood home

#16. VIP status in the office fridge

#17. Your own 900-page handwritten tome of “Bush-isms”

#18. A Kevlar vest

#19. The entire Life Goes On series on DVD, with a special commentary track from Chris Burke and Chad Lowe

#20. A festive red, green and white cock ring

#21. A handful of those amazing over-the-counter painkillers your company has just manufactured, pre-FDA approval

#22. Your homemade candied placenta

#23. The surveillance videotape that got you fired, just before you successfully sued for sex-addiction discrimination

#24. A $1 gift-certificate to The Dollar Store

#25. A hardcover edition of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Shall Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, by Philip Gourevitch, with the inscription: “Hope Your Christmas is Just Terrific!”

#26. A soap dispenser, freshly ripped from the men’s room wall

#27. A huggy-pillow fashioned after Munch’s “The Scream”

#28. Unnecessary surgery

#29. A “vintage” Ray Parker Jr. concert t-shirt

#30. A necklace strung from “Charlie Ears,” a souvenir your Dad brought back from ‘Nam

#31. Breadsticks from lunch

#32. A mouse pad that reads: “Cunning Linguist”

#33. A $10 donation, in the recipient’s name, to your teen’s college-fund

#34. Long-overdue parking tickets you’ve been stealing since last Christmas from the gift recipient’s windshield

#35. A book of solved New York Times crossword puzzles, with the answers whited out

#36. A few paper plates that read, “It’s Joshua’s Bar Mitzvah!!!”

#37. A motorized dancing Santa programmed only with songs by the Gary Cherone-led Van Halen

#38. A lucky penny

#39. A handwritten coupon “Good for One Free Erotic Back Rub!!!”

#40. The very first draft of your very first screenplay

#41. A 24-hour lift on URLs blocked by your company’s firewall for “inappropriate content”

#42. A nacho-cheese-scented candle

#43. A pastel drawing of your co-worker innocently sleeping in her own bed

#44. A box of novelty penis-shaped pasta, with a can of alfredo sauce

#45. A bedazzled carpal-tunnel wrist brace

#46. “Most Enthusiastic Archer, Camp Seagull 1983” trophy

#47. A set of place mats, each depicting a different stage in the manufacture of fish sticks

#48. A box of fancy Ecuadorian coffee-enemas

#49. A VHS copy of the 1994 remake of Miracle on 34th Street, with a note to “return to library after finishing, thanks.”

#50. Whatever happens to be available in the vending machine

#51. Thong panties with your corporate logo

#52. A firm handshake and a sincere, “Happy Holidays”

#53. A mug with your dog’s profile on it

#54. An event calendar from the 2006 New Yorker Festival, framed

#55. A jarful of sand from your recent Jersey Shore vacation

#56. Two-pounds of Chex-Mix, your own special recipe (made with just a “touch” of mayo)

#57. A copy of the “I REALLY MISS U & NEED U BACK!!!” cassette you mixed for your college ex

#58. Jose Cuervo sweatpants

#59. A Nissan Stanza with 216,000 miles and no tires

#60. A specially-bound leather photo album containing black and white photos of yourself, after-hours, making special use of each of your co-workers’ chairs

#61. One gently used home-pregnancy test

#62. A PB&J with the crust lovingly cut off

#63. Walking up to a co-worker and saying “You got that eye of the tiger,” then walking away

#64. Notes you took from that morning’s Price Is Right

#65. Baby booties with little bells attached for the child your boss would have had if she weren’t such a selfish careerist bitch

#66. A tab of herbal ecstasy

#67. A “World’s Horniest Human Resources Director” mug

#68. An escape-route placard stolen from a door at the Red Roof Inn

#69. Whatever that old lady had in her purse last night

#70. For the lone Muslim co-worker, a crucifix with a note that reads: “He died for your sins most of all.”

#71. A list of death-row inmates in desperate need of holiday pen-pals

#72. An invitation to squeeze your biceps free of charge (once)

#73. A few particles of golden glitter that rubbed off on you during a recent lap dance

#74. A mitten full of puddin’

#75. The Bible in graphic-novel form with “choice passages” highlighted

#76. That beige cardigan the receptionist used to wear before she died

#77. A note that reads:“Hint: Your Breath All Stanky”

#78. A Ziploc bag filled with a generous portion of room-temperature eggnog

#79. The entire Homies miniature doll collection, including quite a few repeats

#80. A life-long subscription to The Watchtower

#81. Nothin’, ‘cause you don’t believe in all that crap surrounding such a “bullshit holiday”

#82. A strand of tinsel you pulled from your aging mother’s esophagus

#83. A Kit Kat diced and sliced into 30 or so pieces and then dumped into a shoebox that you now refer to as “assorted holiday chocolates”

#84. A hand-painted figurine of an angel freebasing

#85. One hamster, two tiny reindeer horns

#86. Jingle Bells: The Remixes, As Sung by the Baha Men

#87. The instruction booklet for changing the printer cartridge, “personalized” with your co-worker’s name inserted into every sentence

#88. A partially stamped Subway “Sub Club” card

#89. A sexy-as-hell chalk drawing of the gals in accounts receivable

#90. The actual sunglasses Kurt Russell wore in Captain Ron

#91. Deliberately misleading information on the transmission of HIV

#92. A jumbo bottle of Old Grand-Dad Whiskey, with the note, “For when you fall off the wagon!”

#93. A CD-ROM good for 100 free hours on AOL

#94. An autographed photo from Jon Favreau

#95. A trial-size bottle of coconut-scented “love” oil

#96. Three grapes to be transferred directly from your mouth into the recipient’s

#97. A bolo tie fashioned from an old computer mouse

#98. Your own replica lightsaber “because I saw how you were eyeing mine”

#99. A $25 gift-certificate to Planned Parenthood

#100. One corn holder, one earplug, and one chopstick

#101. Blueprints of your office building with key “security and infrastructure vulnerabilities” highlighted

#102. “Absolutely nothing, since I worked for what I have and believe others should, too”

#103. A punch in the face. Because of that laugh. That laugh like nails on a fucking chalkboard. Jesus.

#104. A two-day hot-air-balloon ride with Garrison Keillor

#105. The complete, unabridged copy of Moby Dick, printed on your company’s LaserJet

#106. Because you know just how much the person adores Jon Cryer on Two and a Half Men, a revolver and a single bullet

#107. Britney’s kids

#108. The following note: “There is a rickshaw waiting for you outside of our office. Remember how I once promised I’d make you one? Well? What. Are. You. Waiting. For???”

#109. A poster of “The Kramer”

#110. A handful of forks you grabbed from the Quiznos across the street

#111. 45 minutes of you rationalizing about going off your diet

#112. A Christmas magnetic poetry kit featuring only four words: “I,” “Mrs.,” “Claus,” and “catheterize.”

#113. A half-square in the AIDS quilt

#114. A tiny pink Baskin-Robbins spoon with just the cutest scoop of vanilla ice cream

#115. A rape whistle

#116. On the person’s answering machine: Andy Rooney condemning light bulbs

#117. A SaveDarfur.com koosh ball

#118. A video of you playing air-guitar to “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

#119. One lovingly gift-wrapped I.U.D.

#120. Your 200-page novel about the dissolution of a marriage that “could really use some line edits”

#121. An “Every Day is Earth Day” reusable grocery bag

#122. A damaged Netflix copy of Christmas with the Kranks

#123. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amazing Sex, with key positions circled and annotated

#124. One Triscuit

#125. A 10-minute conference call with Andy Dick and Crispin Glover

#126. Photos of a male co-worker passed out with “Cock Tits Steve” written on his face in lipstick

#127. A videotape of every shower you’ve taken since last December

#128. The contents of your desk, in a cardboard box, with a big ol’ fancy bow on it

#129. An almost-full bottle of liquid Methadone

#130. A note that reads: “Um, you’re not fired. That’s your fucking Christmas present.”

–with Scott Jacobson, Todd Levin, and Teddy Wayne