Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Shopping RULES.

For the last several years, the Calabrese Clan have evolved their gift exchanging tactics into an easier, more efficient and less money-wasting way. With sisters, brothers, spouses, boyfriends and soon to be hated ex-girlfriends littering the general area under the Christmas tree, trying to buy everyone a suitable, unembarrasing gift would be similiar to lighting your wallet on fire then crying softly in the shower. Because you just lit your wallet on fire.

Way before, we had to individually buy for one another, including it kinda sucked. I don't think anyone walked away with anything they actually liked, because with so many people to buy for, everything given was usually from the Dollar Store or something you found tucked away in the darkest corner of your closet. Like a bundle of used paper, or a Garfield wristwatch from 1989.

So here we are now, new and improved, and we've been drawing eachother's names from a hat. Pretty much a Secret Santa kinda deal, minus anything secretive. Which, now that I think about it, is totally stupid. I like the secret part. I want the secret part. I need the secret part. I'm Facebooking my immediate family NOW.

Now, whoever gets me...their options for a present are endless and varying. I can find joy in pretty much anything, from a bag of walnuts to posters of tropical fish. If it ends with "tar wars" or "oney," your task is made that much more simpler.

Same goes with Jimmy or Davey, whom have the same tastes and desires to own anything monstrous or covered in ooze, and in the past, I've been lucky enough to grab their name out of the Christmas Santa Hat. This year, not so lucky.

I got my brother-in-law. The guy who's into political documentaries and obscure, European techno. Everyone has that person in their family, the guy who either has it all or is impossible to pin down what exactly they're into. European art-rock and a docu-dramas about how much everything sucks paints a broad, confusing picture as to what someone will be into. Is a Rolling Stones album too blase? Will a "Step Brothers" DVD be too juvenile? Should I set him up on a date with Michael Moore?

These were the questions running through my mind, these were the unanswered scenarios haunting my dreams, the pros and cons of every single gift ever, blaring through my heart and soul.

Actually, he's not that bad of a present receiver. I just have a terrible time figuring out what people like. Unless I've known you for twenty years, I still have to make educated guesses around the holidays. When getting presents for anyone in my family, you'd swear I was an orphan who's never met anyone outside a wild pack of dogs. In this situation, I'd be a cool street orphan, chimney sweep and all. This is my curse. My Curse of Being an Asshole.

I had to go out and just pick something, anything to wrap up and shove under the Christmas tree for the guy. Giftcards are always easy, but it just screams, "I really didn't try," and the ol' six-pack standby is both old and overused. I had to go to the mall, go to Target, go to the other stores surrounding the Target, just GO ANYWHERE AND PICK SOMETHING. Which I did.

But to keep my sanity while shopping, I did what anyone else would do in my situtaion -- completely ignore the task at hand and buy stuff for myself.

Yeah, I went out to a few stores, took a look around, did what I had to do. Along the way, I bought a lot of stuff for myself. I really feel like I've sinned against Lord Santa Claus. Sorry, man.

I recently went to a party that had a huge, immaculate setup of Italian fingerfoods - prosciutto, pasta, various cheeses, artichoke hearts and olives stuffed with jalapenos. Which I've fallen so in love with (is it even italian?) and have never forgotten since. Granted, the party was last weekend, but my memory has never been the greatest. While browsing around, I at least had enough brainpower to remember that I craved jalapeno olives and immediately needed to put them into my mouth. Yes, they were over five bucks and I completely regretted the purchase once I realized I coulda bought something better, like, I cream. Ice cream is so much better than olives.

So far, my only complaint is that they're wet. Like, totally covered in their pickled juice to warrant a happy face from me. I kinda like them dry, as if they've been sitting out for a while. Clearly, the only way to remedy this is to drink all the pickle liquid and throw the olives into some kitty litter.

This is awesome! When I first came across it, I tossed it aside like it was just another set of chattering teeth in baby-blue packaging, but before I could move on to bigger and better things, I realized that I just possessed a mini-box of chattering teeth. The most absurd, widely recognized gag gift that not one Goddamn person owns.

The general purpose of chattering teeth is above me, and is my belief that it's sole existance is to be the perfect movie prop for scenes involving pranksters, party animals and any wide, open shots of 1980's dorm rooms. It's as if just watching chattering teeth chatter in a film is good enough for us, prompting zero interest in ever owning a pair for yourself. Up until now, I would have sworn I owned some. Hell, with my shopping habits, a whole shoebox full. But no, I never have, but thanks to avoiding my X-mas I do!

I don't think anyone owns chattering teeth, and when they say they do, I dare them to produce some proof of their ownership. Finding 'em is above finding or owning a Slinky, and right under a pack of Silly String. It's somehow in that weird, gag-limbo of no where. Okay, you can definitely find it, and you can surely own it...but will you? NO. Because nobody gives a shit about creepy, chattering teeth. Case closed.

I didn't have to buy anything for Davey or Jimmy, but I ended up in a comic book shop. My bro-in-law is not really into comic books, but I felt that I should at least look around, rummage through the small confines of a room stacked with dusty toys and collectibles, and maybe something would pop up.

Naw, totally lying. I just really wanted to buy something rad.

The Resident Evil games have had a huge impact on my life, ranging from being the first "real" videogame I've played to the one video game that has granted me horrific nightmares and emotional stress. I remember even the most minute details, which still drive my imagination of terror and insanity, which, really, is just a fancy way of saying that it totally fucked me up.

I found this among the masses, and I love it. I have a few toys from the various series, and I love them as my own children. Best monster toys around.

They say the girl is named Ada Wong, and the Tree Thing is named Ivy. I have no idea who or what these characters are, 'cause I've only ever played the first game and just hobbled along through the second, only to realize I never wanted to play video games again. I was going through one of me phases, I think. The one where I wanted to avoid all females while building my room into a Hawaiian, tiki paradise. It was a personal life choice, I swear.

Her dress looks to be made of a red, felt material, so I'm dying to bust this out and have my way with it. I know that sounds gross, but I love this on toys. The only other example I can provide is the cape on the Emperor's Royal Guard, but that's good enough, because that thing is awesome. Have you seen his helmet? It really is awesome. And the thick pool cue resting nonchalantly on his shoulder? Even better.

All in all, a pretty great haul. I ended up getting my sister's husband the game of Scattergories, which doubles as a decent sized gift and something I'm gonna want to play as soon as he opens it. Christmas > everything.

Well, the big day is only a day away, so have fun! In the week to come, I'll either post my Christmas haul or thoughts on the current administration and general sociopolitics. Probably my Christmas haul.

Rock and roll!


  1. Right on! Resident Evil impacted my nightmares also! (The giant spiders in the long hallway of the mansion in #1! Eek!)
    I hope I get you for Secret Santa next year! You are so easy to buy for as long as you don't get impatient and buy everything yourself before Christmas!

  2. I totally have chattering teeth. They were a xmas gift from my brother's ex. Haha. Man, now Im going to have to find them...