Gifts on a Budget. 12/6/01
Okay. It's gift-giving season, but you're broke. What to do, what to do? It's easy to shop on a budget, especially if you follow my advice...
Laura's Guide To Giving Gifts on a Severe Budget!
Oh dear, oh dear. You have no money, and a bunch of grasping, greedy people who will whine mercilessly if you don't get them presents.
Consider the joys of the Dollar Store this year. Come with me, and we will take a tour of your local discount emporium...
Stop 1: Check out the fine diplay of extruded plastic ornamental figurines by the front door. If you live in a particularly high-end area, these ornaments may even be something they call "porcelain", or even glass "crystal". They are advertised as "hand-painted", probably by blind orphans in Guatemala, to judge by the quality. Who wouldn't want one of these? Make sure to insist that it be put on display immediately, in a prominent location, so that everyone can admire it.
Stop 2: Christmas ornaments. Imagine the joy on your recipient's face when presented with a pack of exotic plastic santas, imported all the way from China or Taiwan! There's also little birds and snowmen to choose from! All provided with little tangled loops of gold string, ready to hang on the tree! Nothing dresses up a tree like a plastic santa... or maybe it's a cardinal, who can tell?
Stop 3: Last year's make-up selections. For the woman (or man) in your life who always wanted to look like a cheap hooker, there are many choices here, from glitter eyeshadow banned by the FDA for being a health hazard, to nail polish pre-separated for your convenience! These are particularly good value, as you can often get them 2/$1, so you look generous without breaking the bank! Don't overlook the possibilities of cheap plastic hair ornaments, either. Your stylish Aunt Edith is really going to dig a selection of pink hair bows with cartoon animals attached!
Stop 4: Household goods. How many times have you been over at your Cousin Bertha's house, and heard her say, "If only I had a ---, my life would be complete"? Well, it's all here! the best part is it will be sure to break before next Christmas, so you can give the same thing again and again! Spatulas, containers, frying pans coated with that special kind of easy-flake Teflon, plastic cooking spoons that melt on contact with hot water - the choices are endless.
Stop 5: Pet products. Rover can't tell if that food's a year or more old - he'll just wolf it all down and throw it up, anyway. For a more lasting gift, buy him a collar that won't come undone, ever, not even if he gets tangled in the fence he digs under all the time.
Stop 6: Books. Everyone likes to read, and here you have it all! Inspirational books by noted evangelical leaders, bible stories for children, books of religious word games for the illiterate, and Bible word games by noted evangelical kids. If your relatives don't believe in God, don't worry, they will after you give them the book of Amazing True Miracles as Witnessed by Everyday People Who Love Jesus!
Stop 7: Food. Forget overpriced Cheese Logs and Summer Sausage - nothing says loving like candy from Mexico! How about that bag of cookies made from banned food dyes? Or that super-giant economy-sized cardboard box of generic brand chips? What a deal!
Stop 8, and our last stop: Gift wrap. Don't overlook the versatility of paper bows - why buy expensive bags or wrapping paper? Get the 100-pack of strangely-coloured but festive bows (only slightly sun-faded), and stick them on the dollar store shopping bag! Your friends and family will then know what a thrifty and thoughtful shopper you are, and appreciate you all the more!
If anyone complains, tell them you gave all your money to charity, and don't let them know about the X-Box you got for yourself. After all, this holiday is all about giving, and who is more deserving of a nice present than you?
Ho, ho, ho.