It’s called a White Elephant party. Sometimes, it’s known as a Yankee Swap. Maybe it’s just an office get-together or a Secret Santa for extended family. It doesn’t matter what you call it. It ends up with you trying to figure out what to buy for people you don’t know extremely well. It’s a pain in the tuchus. What are you supposed to get for these randos who show up in your life once or twice a year?
Behold! A coloring book based on the classic television show, The Golden Girls. People can choose their own palettes as they try to stay inside the lines of hollow pictures of oversized purses and medicine bottles. Give the gift of the hormone replacement therapy fueled promiscuity of Blanche! The ignorance and vacuity of Rose! The sharp-tongued wisdom and withholding of affection of Sophia! The competent drum work of Dorothy! Inspire the creativity of the person whose name you drew out of a misused goldfish bowl. But, wait! Whatever will they color with? Crayons? Pencils? Pieces of anthracite? That’s not your problem. What are you, their mother?
Remember that scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off where Cameron stands in the museum, staring at that painting until it reflects his own soul, and the emptiness of the void screams back at him until he decides to wreck a car? Help someone recreate that existential nightmare with their own reproduction of Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat. He was a French artist, so you know it’s good! Foist the personal hell of insignificance and emptiness onto someone you barely know. Sit back in your leather chair and laugh as you think of them gazing forlornly at the print, the dots of color growing larger in the waking mind as their sense of self becomes smaller and smaller. Or maybe they’re big fans of John Hughes movies and they’ll really like the thing. You don’t know. You don’t have to! Your work here is finished.
Everyone has a hard time making decisions. While your recipient may not believe in astrology, omens, or the terrible physics of coin flipping, they’ll probably think nothing of consulting a Magic 8 Ball. This toy has been around since before most of us were born. With a quick shake, the Magic 8 Ball provides vague guidance for even the most complex of questions. Yes! No! Outlook Not Good! Oh, think of the maddening fun they’ll have, shaking the Magic 8 Ball with both hands, screaming their questions again and again, only to receive the answer of Ask Again Later! The Magic 8 Ball does not care. It does not judge. It is cold and emotionless, like the universe we all struggle to find meaning within.
We need to talk about cornhole. It’s not just a slang term for a tight, intimate space, or the wedging of one’s self inside that aforementioned space; it’s a also a hilarious game played with a slanted board and bean bags. Toss the bean bag into the hole! Yay! You did it. That’s a cornhole! If a competitor gets their bag into the hole before you do, then you just got cornholed. I did not make this up. These are the terms of the game. You agreed to this unspoken contract when you decided to play. Anyway, here’s a desktop version of the popular game, where the hole is even smaller and tighter. You can cornhole at the office! In the kitchen! Even on top of your overbearing father’s rolltop desk. You wonder what’s inside the weathered mahogany shield, but you dare not sneak a peek to find out. He will know. Somehow, he will know. Also: it’s cornhole, and the person who receives the gift will have to say the word “cornhole” out loud, and that’s really funny.
Right now, you’re probably thinking, “What the hell is wrong with you, Article Writer Person? All these ideas stink!” Look, everyone has something that stinks. That’s just part of being human. Organic matter decays. We’re made of meat. Lots of things don’t smell good. But your gift-getter can rid themselves of most of those things with these anti-stink bags! They block odor and can be tossed away and forgotten like regular garbage, even though anti-stink bags are for special garbage. Go ahead! Toss a diaper in there. Maybe a week old tilapia. Tell them to root around in the gutter and find something slimy and unrecognizable. Tie it up in one of these special receptacles and they won’t be able to smell it at all! That’s a present anyone can get behind, even strangers or your weird cousin who lives in a cactus.
Or, you know what? Just get booze. That fixes everything.