Dear Santa, please pay no attention to this list

12/05/2009 1:00 PM

02/22/2010 11:32 AM

In these troubled economic times, when money is scarce for many people, it's important that we remind ourselves, and our loved ones, that the holiday season is not about buying things.

Then we and our loved ones can enjoy a hearty laugh, because, of COURSE the holiday season is about buying things. Now more than ever, the U.S. retail economy depends on consumers spending money they don't actually have on gifts that nobody actually needs. That is the thinking behind the federal government's recently passed $783-billion Emergency Holiday Retail Stimulus Act, which will be used to purchase, among other things, what the White House has described as ``a cheese log the size of the Chrysler Building.''

When it comes to gifts that nobody needs, you will not find a better source than our annual Holiday Gift Guide, which we have produced every single year without a break since the discovery of America. As you might imagine, it's a major effort. The process begins in early spring, when we contact leading lifestyle trendsetter celebrities such as Beyoncé, Bret Favre and Queen Elizabeth II to ask them what gift ideas they believe will be ``hot'' this holiday season. Within hours -- such is the prestige of this Gift Guide -- we get a personal response from every single one of these celebrities' legal representatives, informing us that we have violated our restraining order. Then we take eight months off.

Approximately two weeks before our deadline, we return to work, refreshed, and get on the Internet to order a batch of products that meet the three strict criteria for inclusion in the Holiday Gift Guide:

CRITERION ONE: The item is in stock.

CRITERION TWO: The item makes us wonder what kind of idiot, aside from us, would ever actually buy it.

CRITERION THREE: Now that we think about it, there really are just the two criteria.

As the gift items arrive at the Gift Guide Command Center, our trained professional staff, Judi, puts them through a rigorous testing procedure consisting of putting them on the floor next to her desk. When they have all arrived, we turn the items over to Bob the photographer, who takes pictures of them with models selected on the basis of being people Bob can talk into posing with embarrassing products in exchange for no money.

Yes, it's a lot of work, but it's work that we feel we must do if we are going to continue to avoid doing anything productive. And it is because of this rigorous procedure that we are able to offer you our exclusive:


If you purchase any item featured in this Gift Guide, and you are, for any reason -- such as permanent disfigurement -- not 100 percent satisfied, simply place the item in a one-quart resealable clear plastic bag, take it to any municipal airport and put it on the moving belt going into the X-ray machine. Then give the ``thumbs-up'' signal to the TSA personnel operating the machine. They will know what to do.

Confident? You bet we are. And you'll understand why once you take a gander at this year's Gift Guide lineup:

  Dave Barry's 2009 Gift Guide

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