Every fall, we assemble a holiday gift guide—a carefully curated selection of 75 or so trendy suggestions for everyone on Santa’s list (see links at right). In the weeks leading up to the issue, hundreds and hundreds of companies—and their dutiful publicity reps—come out of the woodwork with items for consideration. As the close date nears, their pitches are frantically lobbed via voicemail and email; some folks are so moved that they make a random office drop-off. Dozens of cupcakes one day; a box of biodegradable drain plugs the next.
For every 100 or so pitches, there’s always one real gem. And I don’t mean a super sleek Alessi espresso machine or a Kartell chair. I mean a smushion, an ottoman that doubles as a coffee table, or a supersized box of flavored condoms. Now these items never make it into the real gift guide, carefully curated by our team of style experts, so this year, I decided to take a few of the funniest items off the cutting room floor and assemble a—dare I say—Reckless Holiday Gift Guide. Call it version 2.0.
Here are 13 objects, accompanied by the text from the publicity pitch that accompanied each of them. You might get an idea for someone in your family—in the least, you’ll come away thankful that you don’t have to comb through press releases.
Poo-Pourri, $14.95, at poopourri.com
What is it? A botanical bathroom spray marketed toward the genteel set
Press release says: “Last night’s buffet was the best you ever had, but today at the office, all that eating is catching up with you. As you walk out from your second visit to the restroom, you nearly collide with the handsome lad from two offices down. You both pause, staring at each other. Just then, the door shuts behind you. A rush of bathroom air fans past. “Mmmmmm…citrusy,” he says and walks away. You pat your purse and smile.
Boogie Wipes, $3.99, boogiewipes.com
What is it? Booger wipes for kids
Press release says: “Fall means flu! Boogie Wipes, the world’s only saline-based nose wipe for kids, has launched its “Save the Sleeve” educational program to help slow the spread of the cold and flu virus. To take the “Save the Sleeve” pledge and to enjoy the fun online activities, kids and their parents should visit SavetheSleeve.com. Meet “Boogs” and his buddies “Sick Sam,” “Amy Allergy,” and “Chilly Chuck.” The fun and challenging games, jokes, and little known gross facts are fun and educational for kids and parents alike: For example: Did you know that the human body produces over two liters of mucus per day? That’s enough to fill a soda bottle!”
LiftKits shoe inserts for men, $24.95, at myliftkits.com
What is it? A shoe insert that gives short men added oomph in the height department. Tom Cruise is rumored to use such a product.
Press release says: “All of us have observed the tactics that women engage in to cheat the playing field. Whether it be high-heels, push-up bras, padded bras, fake eye lashes, and the like, these women have a lot in their collective arsenal, and, quite simply, it works. At LiftKits we had one thought, Why not add something extra to our game? If this is reality, then lets live it. LiftKits are for everyone from Hollywood leading men to the regular Joe. Whether you are using your LiftKits for an interview, a casting, a social event, or simply to improve the quality of your everyday life, we at LiftKits are dedicated to helping you feel better about yourself. ”
Norman PhartEphant plush toy, $24.95, at normanphartephant.com
What is it? A farting stuffed animal
Press release says: “His name is Norman Phartephant and he is a 10-inch plush stuffed elephant that makes some very funny noises with the squeeze of his tail. Norman’s 8 different tooting sounds will be sure to keep everyone entertained.”
Adult footed pajamas with drop seat, $44.95, at pajamacity.com
What is it? Foot-in pajamas for adults
Press release says: “We have a great holiday gift idea—footed pajamas! They are fun, affordable, useful, and available to fit ALL body types—from tall to short and thick. These PJs will help adults everywhere rediscover their own childhood . . . Not only are they cozy and well made, they are practical, because the warmth they provide is also a good way to keep the heating bills down.”
Horse car floor mats, $17.99, at collectionsetc.com
What is it? The name says it all
Press release says: From the user reviews, “Pros: Extremely attractive. Durable.” Cons: No cons. Best uses: "They look great in my old car.”
Emergency Bra, $29.99, at ebbra.com
What is it? A bra that converts into a gas mask. Developed right here in Chicago.
Press release says: “In case of emergency, it can be quickly and easily converted into two face masks without removing any clothes. In case of emergency, where no specialized respiratory devices are available, it can decrease the inhalation of harmful airborn particles. Because the Emergency Bra masks can be securely fixed to the head, it frees a survivor’s hands to keep balance while running and removing objects on the way out of danger.”
CamelNot by Brava, $5.99 for 3, at wardrobesupplies.com
What is it? A bourgeoisie panty liner
Press release says: “Let’s face it: even though it is a faux pas, sometimes “camel toe” happens anyway. With Camel Not, you can wear leggings or skinny jeans without having to worry about the fashion police. . . ‘Camel toe’ is the result of tight clothing revealing too much about a woman’s private region—hence revealing a shape that resembles a camel toe. Today’s fashions—including leggings with shorter skirts, skinny jeans, and other tight pants, or shorts, and the fact that it is even more fashionable in some circles to go bare down there, makes it easier for camel toe to creep up.”
Potty Putter golf game, $12.99, at collectionsetc.com
What is it? A golf game for the second office
Press release says: “During tough economic times like these and with our country at war, people increasingly are looking for things that bring them hope, inspiration, and spirituality. And they want to surround themselves with these things.”
Luscious Lips by Cynthia Rowland, $49.95, at cynthiarowland.com
What is it: A conditioning system for fuller, pumper lips—no surgery required!
Press release says: “Simply tilt your head back and place the Luscious Lips device over your mouth. Hold the device firmly, and suck out all of the air to create the vacuum. Then, gently pull the outer cylinder slowly, and you will begin to feel your lips pull into the cylinder. Hold for a few seconds and then release and repeat until you reach the desired plump.”
Potty Patch, $39.99, at Petco
What is it? An indoor dog lawn
Press release says: “Winter winds and heavy snow are not pleasant. Don’t you think your pet feels the same? The Potty Patch offers a warm alternative during winter weather to keep you and your dog protected from the harsh arctic winds.”
Rick Springfield memoir, $26, at bookstores everywhere
What is it? Rick Springfield’s memoir
Press release says: “In his searingly candid memoir, Grammy Award-winning pop icon Rick Springfield pulls back the curtain on his image as a bright, shiny, happy performer to share the startling story of his rise and fall and rise in music, film, and television and his lifelong battle with depression. This is the memoir that millions of his fans have been waiting for.”
White Castle scented candle, $13, at houseofcrave.com
What is it? An onion-scented candle
Press release says: “With eight nights of giving, it’s easy to run out of gift ideas for that hard-to-buy-for person. Let the aroma of steam grilled on a bed of onions fill the house this Hanukkah season by giving White Castle’s Original slider-scented candle. White Castle’s Original Slider-scented candles are a fun, attention-getting gift to give during Hanukkah, especially for families who have a child with Autism, as net proceeds from the sale of the candle benefit Autism Speaks.”