5. HANDMADE…ANYTHING
This would be totally different – and appreciated – if it were, say, the 1800s. If it were still acceptable to give oranges as a special stocking stuffer. But you see, aunt Joan, there are legitimate stores that sell products that I can actually use. Made with love? Maybe not as much. But functional and less sad? Always.













4. CANDLE
This is most always the result of poor Secret Santa management. When it doubt, buying a candle is your way out…of getting a real gift for "John C. in accounting." It's essentially more thoughtless than a Visa gift card, because at least you could make the choice to buy a candle or ANYTHING ELSE with that money. Of course I've given candles when in the Secret Santa predicament…I just blow the dust off of that "Holiday Apple Cinnamon Fir Tree Gingerbread Medley" candle I got last year and throw it in a bag. Merry Christmas, John C. in accounting. 













3. CASSETTE TAPE OF A BAND YOU LIKED IN JR. HIGH
Grandmas try really hard. And that should never be under-appreciated or taken for granted. But really? Not even a CD? There are only specific, especially nostalgic times when we, in the privacy of our own homes, reflect on our musical taste of the late 90s. Opening up a tape of Limp Bizkit on Christmas morning when you already feel like a kid again (and not in a good way) salts the wounds of adolescence. 










2. TYPE OF UNDERWEAR YOU WORE IN JR. HIGH
What dumps salt in your awkward memories as if they were the slick highways your god-forsaken relatives used to get to your house? Receiving underwear from any of the above: Limited Too, Hot Topic, or the flowery 3-packs from Target. Any of your family members seeing underwear and thinking of you is bad news bears, but actually opening gift-wrapped Napoleon Dynamite tighty-whities gives you flashbacks to watching scrambled porn at sleepovers and the Entangled Braces Crisis of '99. Your uncle should understand. It's like 'Nam. 










1. DONATION IN YOUR NAME
Okay, really? You were faced with the same gift dilemma as everyone else, and instead of buying a candle, you just HAD to look so noble and better than the rest of us by "doing something charitable." How come this family in Africa got the cow? THAT would've been a kickass present to open. You probably just created this "official certificate" in Microsoft Word and printed it out this morning when you realized you were supposed to get me something. Which, honestly, isn't a bad idea for aunt Joan next year…