Dave Barry’s Gift Guide


The holiday season is here: It’s time to do your gift shopping!

This is assuming, of course, that you live in 1985. If you live in the current year (2012), you’re too late. You were supposed to do your holiday gift shopping on Thanksgiving.

In the old days, Thanksgiving was not a shopping day. It was a day when we expressed gratitude for our many God-given blessings in the same way our Pilgrim forefathers did: by eating a 27,000-calorie meal, then spending the rest of the day lying motionless watching televised football while burping out gravy fumes.

Back then, Black Friday actually happened on Friday, which is how it got the name “Black Friday.” But then the Black Friday store-opening hours — probably as a result of global climate change — started creeping earlier and earlier. The stores opened at 10 a.m., then 6 a.m., then 3 a.m., and so on, until we have reached the point where, this year, Black Friday actually began on Thursday evening.

So Thanksgiving is no longer a day of quiet reflective belching. The new Thanksgiving tradition is to gulp down your dinner, then race to the mall and join the vast swarming hordes of bargain-hunters getting into fistfights over discounted electronics.

And it’s going to get worse, as Black Friday Backward Creep continues. Soon the stores will open at noon Thursday; shoppers will eat their Thanksgiving dinners while waiting in line for the store doors to open — thousands of people squatting on the sidewalk outside Target gnawing on turkey legs, like a scene from a zombie movie, only not as festive.

And as Black Friday continues to creep backward the time will come, inevitably, when we observe Black Friday on Halloween, and then July Fourth, and then Memorial Day, and so on, earlier and earlier, until we are observing Black Friday on Black Friday again, but it will be the PREVIOUS Black Friday, which will be so confusing that human civilization as we know it will collapse.

But my point is, if you’re just getting started now on your holiday shopping, you have already missed the mall bargains. That’s the bad news. The good news is, you’re still in time for our annual Holiday Gift Guide, which features a collection of unique gift items that you are not going to find at the mall, because not even holiday mall shoppers are desperate enough to buy these items.

As always, we want to stress that all of the items in the Holiday Gift Guide are really for sale; we know this because we purchased all of them ourselves, although not of course with our own personal money. And as always we stand behind these items somewhere between 110 and 135 percent depending on the item. That is why we are able to offer the following Quality Assurance Legalistic Guarantee of Limited Warranty: If you purchase any item from the Holiday Gift Guide, and for any reason whatsoever you are not completely satisfied, simply return the item to its original packaging, then bake it in a 375-degree oven until a toothpick inserted into the center bursts into flames. Serves six.

But enough with the legal boilerplate. Let’s take a look at the items that “made the cut” for the 2012 Holiday Gift Guide, starting with:



The Gift Guide thanks:

Thanks to the following people who helped out with the 2012 Dave Barry Gift Guide:, Blake Batchelder, Connor Batchelder, Ellie Brecher, Michaella Cavari, Emily Cavari, Colleen Cavari, Michael Cavari, Rory Clarke, Mark Dickstein, John Dorschner, Wendy Doscher-Smith, Nancy Foster, Kim Friedlander, Howard Friedlander, Benjamin Friedlander, Kristy Haffer, Bob Harksel, Gino Jensen, Julia Jensen, Jeff Kleinman, Rochelle Koff, Randy McCafferty, A Christmas Place Ft. Lauderdale, Steve Rothaus, Edan Shekar, Adee Shekar, Meep Shekar, Felice Shekar, Judi Smith, Mimi Whitefield, Marc Workman, Vincent Workman, and David Workman.

Read more Dave Barry Gift Guide stories from the Miami Herald


    You've probably seen the TV commercials for Perfect Polly, the battery-operated pretend parakeet manufactured in China from genuine plastic.


    These are special glasses that use an amazing scientific principle — possibly photosynthesis — to bend light beams at a 90-degree angle. This means that when you put these glasses on, instead of seeing what's in front of you, you're actually looking straight down.


    If you are not putting a brassiere on your hen (or self-mutilating parrot) (which would be a good name for a rock band) you could very well be contributing to its DEATH.

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