Well, it’s happened. Culturally, we have reached a point where a company will put a TARDIS on literally anything and call it a gift. Someday, hundreds of years from now, this era will be analyzed as Maximum TARDIS, and historians will wonder how humanity survived under the yoke of so many bath towels and Jello molds and actual refrigerators shaped like fake blue police boxes.
The upside is that, if you have a friend or family member who is hard to buy for, but they really like Doctor Who, your gift problems are solved.
We all know someone who is just too dang weird, and therefore makes gift-selection nearly impossible. Sometimes that person is us. I like to think of myself as being an easy gift recipient; my interests are multitudinous and varied, and even small things make me extraordinarily happy. But I hear sometimes that I’m actually kind of a challenge, because those multitudinous interests are highly specific and, often, a bit strange to normal people (like when I say “Ooh, right now I’m collecting cookbooks published between 1840 and 1890!” that’s not actually helpful information to people who don’t spend a lot of time digging around in musty old bookshops).
So on behalf of the strange and shrugging folks on your holiday shopping list, here are ten semi-serious gift ideas for the weirdos in your life.
We’ve all got a friend who rewatched that Mythbusters episode a few too many times, the one where they test to see if toothbrushes kept in bathrooms really do get contaminated by toilet matter, and subsequently find out poop is on everything. Or that person who read that thing about how every time you flush a toilet you are sending tiny bits of feces flying gaily across your bathroom like so much filthy confetti.
GOOD NEWS, for those people, who are totally not me (OK, it is): you can now snap a little sanitizer pod over your precious bristles, protecting your mouth from poop encroachment like a human-waste-repelling force field of plastic! WHEW. Even the borderline germophobe in your life will thank you.
Ever been to a big public aquarium, and in the jellyfish part, seen a weirdo mashed against a tank, watching the jellies drift and billow with rapt fascination, and you wonder how long that person could have been standing there because it seems like it may have been a long time? They’ve been there since the aquarium’s opening. That’s me. Hi!
It comes as no surprise that I’ve been obsessed with this jellyfish aquarium for years. See, you can’t put jellyfish in a regular aquarium because they are confused by corners, and the standard filtration system would suck them up and kill them. Which is a terrible thing to do to a pet. So a dude came up with a circular tank that creates the necessary flow charactertistics for jellyfish to live and, voila! for as little as $366 your desktop jellyfish dreams can be a reality!
It’s probably good that I don’t own this, though, as I might not get any work done ever again. A great relaxing gift for the chronically stressed workaholic who prefers her pets to not have faces.
Are you still putting actual food in your mouth and chewing it like some kind of animal? Soylent can fix that! An affordable “food alternative,” Soylent is a complete source of nutrition in a viscous beige shake.
The promotional video on the website explains, “Unlike other foods which prioritize taste and texture, Soylent was designed to maximize nutrition,” and also to focus on most efficiently fueling a body. Oh, those cavalier other foods with their distracting deliciousness! Like the grasshopper to Soylent’s ant.
There’s even a bit of a subculture around Soylent, with lots of people living exclusively on it for months. If you’re raising an eyebrow at this, you really need to watch that promo video because it’s fascinating -- like something you’d see in a satirical sci-fi movie, except real.
Evidently the product came into being when creator Robert Rhinehart and his collaborators realized “the disproportionate amount of time and money they spent creating nutritionally complete meals.” In Today’s Modern World, nobody I know has enough time, and often the first thing to get sacrificed when we’re busy is feeding ourselves. In that respect, Soylent is no doubt a revelation for people who are always trying to streamline their schedules, and for whom flavor or chewing are not important parts of their lives.
But if you hate using the bathroom, you’re still out of luck. One of the FAQs is, “Do you poop on Soylent?” The answer is yes. So this is not the gift for the person on your list who wants nothing more than not to poop anymore. But for the person who finds food and eating annoyingly time consuming and complicated, winner winner chicken dinner.
Hush your words. Don’t ask questions. Just accept these affordable steampunk goggles from the world's greatest catalog, The Pyramid Collection. Someone you know needs eye protection evoking a pretend future-past.
Pyro is an actual thing that purportedly lets you shoot FIREBALLS from your hand. Yes. FIREBALLS. From your hand. I want to unconditionally endorse this as awesome -- because FIREBALLS FROM YOUR HAND -- but the promotional video gave me mad douchechills so I am on the fence about that.
The website is a real gem too: "Fire. Since the dawn of time it has been the reward at the end of man's quest. Both creator and destroyer, it has historically been the element hardest to control." Are we at Epcot? If you’re selling a device that lets people shoot fireballs from their hands, you can probably dispense with all the dramatic window dressing. Fireballs from your hands is enough.
If nothing else, this is the ideal gift for that dude you know who’s been saying he wants to go to Burning Man “next year” for five years now. Ha, just kidding, don’t spend $174 on that guy.
Here’s another bright id-- oh never mind. Also I am pretty sure that’s apple juice.
For the person who curses the lightbulb wine glasses and embraces the darkness, a pennant declaring their allegiance! If this feels like a cheap gift, package it with some black tissues for the recipient to weep bitter tears into over your failure to even drop $10 on their presents.
For your cat. Duh.
Did you know that there are signals carrying people’s voices or even music humming through the air all around us, often from many miles away, live, in real time? What if you could LISTEN to them with no wires, and no bulky equipment, just a small device powered by four C batteries? That would blow your mind, wouldn’t it?
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN I PRESENT TO YOU: A RADIO. So long as the intended recipient is under 25, odds are good that they won’t have one already.
I first saw one of these in a restaurant many years ago (I impressed our server by squealing “OOH IT’S LIKE A MAD SCIENTIST’S LAB” thus proving I cannot be taken to nice places) and have been fascinated ever since. Using a siphon system and a butane burner, it sucks the water from the bottom chamber to the top, where the ground coffee lives, and then, once brewed to your preferred strength, it slurps the now-coffee’d liquid back down into the bottom container for easy pouring.
In warmer months, pair this with the pricier and more vertically impressive cold brew system and spend your pre-coffee mornings steepling your fingers and nodding ominously, instead of fumbling around with a boring Keurig pod.
I mean really, you don’t want to fumble around with this thing, it’s made of glass and involves fire.
What are you getting the weirdo on your shopping list? Enjoy a sriracha candy cane and tell us about it.