Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Sassy Curmudgeon's Cheap and Easy (Not Like That) Holiday Gift Guide

December is a magical time of year. In New York, the air is crisp; the rats go underground or freeze to death; and the tourist clusterfuck shifts slightly to the northeast, from Times Square to Rockefeller Center. You may even find yourself so filled with good cheer that you actually consider buying a bag of hot roasted nuts from a street vendor, despite your husband’s giggling. But there are downsides, too--black ice on subway stairs, that Paul McCartney Christmas song that Duane Reade has on Satanic, stab-yourself-in-the-eye-with-a-shard-of-peppermint-bark repeat, and, of course, the stress of calculating appropriate gifts for a list of what suddenly seems like everyone that you have ever met.

Well, I'm going to make it easy for you.

Without knowing anything about your loved ones, like a ninja I'm going to find something that will delight everyone on your list... for less than $10 (not including tax or shipping, which doesn't count, especially if you just keep clicking "complete order" while looking away from the screen and sipping your wine). Because--I'm about to lay down some realness, and please note, this is coming from an unabashed materialist--spending more money does not make Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/the winter solstice better. That said, online shopping--even for cheap shit--does. So, onward! Who brought the eggnog?

Your Mom

Your mom needs another Crabtree & Evelyn soap basket like Kate Middleton needs another telephoto lens pointing at her FUPA.

So here is what you get... this is your mom's secret wish (unless you have two moms, but even then I bet you they want to see this movie anyway, just for the laughs) ... she will act weird when you give it to her, but trust me, you will be the favorite child after you lay this double whammy on her:

Magic Mike iTunes rental (not HD, we are not Trumps): $3.99



Trader Joe's Coastal Syrah, $5 at Trader Joe's (image credit)

Your Dad

Here is what dads like according to the universe: 1) golf; 2) beer; 3) propane grills; 4) their own humidor (in truth I do not know what this is); 5) golf again. But it turns out not all dads are geriatric frat boys. Who knew? Get him this. It's literally miscellaneous. And genuinely interesting. Plus it looks classy. This all equals a WIN for you.

$4.49 on (plus $4 for shipping = $9)
Your Brother

If he's older than six, I guarantee your brother likes Louis C.K. If he's younger than six, he's got to learn sometime.

$9.99 on Amazon
(Pssst! You could win this for free. Scroll to end of post for details!)

Your Sister

This is a cheap play on words, I know, but check it:
  • It is a biological fact that NO HUMAN FEMALE can resist a double feature DVD sale.
  • Kathy Najimy! BAM. You did not see that coming.
  • At the risk of sounding like Winona Ryder in Reality Bites (kidding; I take pains to sound that way at all times), you guys... Sister Act is a really good movie.
$9.99 on Amazon
Your Husband

It's not often that one product manages to wed fine art, dick jokes, and home decor. So snap this up pronto.

$9.99 at Switchplate Superstore
Your Wife

It is also not often that one product combines jewelry and Ryan Gosling. This is a goddamn shame.

$8.25 by CalamityJayneDesigns on easy

(If you have daughters, sons, or other more specialized relatives, please tell them I got too lazy to pick gifts for them, and just select from the above items.)

And now for some more tricky types--

The Person Who Makes a Lot More Money Than You and Who Can Buy Themselves Pretty Much Anything

I bet they don't have a novelty mustache pillow! (Unless they are Tom Selleck, then you're on your own).

$10 at LoraliDesigns on etsy
The Person With Whom You Are Not Close, But Whom Your Office Secret Santa Pool Mandates You Shop For

Ugh, this type of giftee is the worst. You can't be personal but you also can't bribe them with something expensive. I remember when we did a Secret Santa in my second grade class, I gave someone some lame-o books, and I ended up with two huge bags of candy: Whoppers and Starburst. Maybe just go with that, actually. Candy in a paper sack is actually what one of the wise men brought to Jerusalem, I think. The myrrh was just a cover.

$10 will buy you at least 5 candy bars, even in New York.

The Mayan Apocalypse Conspiracy Theorist

Um. If s/he expects a gift on December 25, they are doing it wrong. Just wave at them while you eat the $8.71 worth of candy you bought for yourself and play R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" ($1.29 on iTunes)

The New Parent Who Still Needs To Feel Cool

The other day, while walking home, I found this on the street:

Yes, that's right. Who gets to listen to "Fat Bottomed Girls" on the glockenspiel? THIS COOL MOM RIGHT HERE.

The Queen one is actually $16 (unless, like me, you like picking through other people's trash), but the company makes a lot of other CDs, some of which (AC/DC; U2) you can score for less than $9 on eBay. You have never heard a harp rock harder in your life, I swear.


I hope this helps to make your holiday fast and easy, as Jesus intended.

OH. And. I'm making a big announcement on the blog next week. There's some news I've been waiting to share for months and now I finally get to! And I would tell you right now if I could (I've already written the blog post with the announcement, that's how excited I am), but I have to wait until I get the go-ahead from some other people. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a viewing of Magic Mike with a nice cheap syrah while you wait.


UPDATE!: I found a brand-new Season One Louie DVD/Blu-Ray double disc set under my TV stand. Wrapper in tact and everything.

If you want it, leave me a comment with your favorite under-$10 gift and I'll pick a winner at random by Monday (and will ship to you next week in plenty of time for Xmas--although the plastic wrap is dusty, I'm not gonna lie. When I found it I felt just like those people on Hoarders who find dead cats under mountains of empty Lean Cuisine boxes--only much more joyful).



  1. Oo exciting! Is it another baby?! And my mother in law is for real an apocalypse conspiracy theorist!!

  2. i'm sending that locket idea to my boyfriend. cos DUH.! thankyou una!! <3

  3. Blogging a show? We can always hope, now that Mondo won Project Runway - All Stars, that you have forgiven them their trespasses..

    1. Someday, Carolyn. Someday! I hear All Stars is good. But my kid has completely cramped by TV-watching style. These days I'm lucky if I can watch one show a week.

  4. Jordan2:24 PM


  5. Okay, Paul McCartney: "Simply having a wonderful Christmas time" repeat a thousand times; up-chuck in the candy aisle and blame it on a preschooler.

    1. Sam has had a stomach flu for a week, so upchuck and (stress-eating) candy has become my life of late. Thankfully I have not heard the Paul McCartney song, or I might have a breakdown.

  6. Always love getting a Starbucks card.

    The perfect size and color.

    Can't wait for the news.

    1. Thank you for being the only person who wants my questionable gift!

  7. Good one post.Thanks to share information about
    AC/DC,U2.I have visited your great post.

    2 on 1 golf instruction

    1. Hello Spambot/explorer who had a slightly creepy statutory thing with Pocahontas! This WAS great information about AC/DC and U2, wasn't it? I spent a lot of time researching.

    2. This "John Smith" interaction is a blog post waiting to happen.

  8. That Paul McCartney song makes me want to die. Also, wine and Magic Mike is not only my favorite gift idea on this list, but it is also a summary of what I did on my last day off.

  9. I just bought my sister the David switchplate for her stocking - brilliant - thank you. Here's a great gift (so, ok, it's a little over $10)

    1. Pam! You are the winner of my randomly-generated giveaway! If you want the Louie DVD, please email me at with your address!

  10. Anonymous8:52 PM

    I got the granddaughters "magic socks" - so weird I couldn't resist:

  11. Best gift under $10 (shit, it's NINETY NINE CENTS)...because who doesn't want to know 18 Things You Can Do With A Small Stone? Super informative:

  12. crayons...always love crayons

  13. I give tile coasters I made myself for under $2.00 each! I'm loving the Magic Mike and wine idea. Now if I could only get someone to give it to me (I'm to embarrassed to go buy it myself).

  14. Totally got all my brothers the Louie dvds!


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