8 Holiday Gifts for People You Dislike

PHOTO: A jigsaw puzzle missing a crucial piece.
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Nothing quite says the holidays like having to spend time with people you don't like -- the cousin who smokes green cigars, the not-even-an-acquaintance who insists on a big, wet kiss underneath the mistletoe.

True, you could convey your dislike for them by getting them no gift at all. But why not kick it up a notch? This year get them something you know they will actively dislike -- something broken, cheap or frustrating. Not something so insulting, of course, that it lands you in court before you can say, "Dash away all!" But something that leaves the recipient with less doubt where he or she stands with you. The suggestions that follow are merely that -- suggestions. We're sure you can do better, if you put your mind to it. To give these gifts may not make you blessed, but you can revel in the knowledge that your message to recipients will have been received.

PHOTO: A very frustrating game or puzzle that is impossible to solve.
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Frustrating Game

If the instruction book for it runs to 154 pages of small print, then that's the game you want to give. If it involves string or yarn or, better yet, something sticky in which the player can become entangled, then add it to your special gifting list now.

PHOTO: A piano that is impossible to tune.
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Untunable Piano

Is there a music-lover on your list of least-liked people? Then get him or her an instrument impossible to tune. A nice big one, say, like a piano. There may not be any such company as TuneMeNot Pianos of Laredo, Texas. But given the availability of old pianos with overstretched strings, we bet you can find one on your own. Or perhaps an accordion in perfect working order would suffice.

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PHOTO: A jigsaw puzzle missing crucian pieces.
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Puzzle With Missing Piece

No need to wonder what to get the Susan Alexander Kane in your life. Movie buffs will recall her as the puzzle-obsessed wife of Citizen Kane in the movie of the same name who whiled away the loveless hours putting together complex jigsaw puzzles. Imagine the frustration of your disliked gift-recipient when, after logging 16 hours assembling The Battle of Antietam (or whatever), they discover that one piece is missing. Here again, it's easy enough to create your own gift, simply by removing a random piece or two.

PHOTO: Jewelry made out of tin or coal.
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Tin Necklace

With matching bracelet, no less! You easily can make your own version of the jewelry depicted here, just by saving up some old Del Monte pineapple can lids. Or, for a more professional result, you can commission various jewelry makers on the Internet, who, can opener in hand, can whip you up a little gem.

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PHOTO:Some very unappetizing candy.
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Bug Lollipop

Candy and the holidays naturally go together -- or at least go together more naturally than do lollipops and bugs. Don't let that dissonance, though, prevent your giving that special someone a bug-filled pop. The example shown here allows the recipient to see the bug.

PHOTO:Some wilted flowers.
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Wilted Flowers

What better says, "I don't particularly care for you," than wilted flowers. It's easy enough to create your own, of course. But for $24.99, a dozen wilted roses can be sent to anyone you specify via thepayback.com or other sites like it. It's probably worth $24.99 to have someone else deliver it, thus saving you the risk of bodily harm.

PHOTO: A magic trick that backfires.
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Magic Trick That Doesn't Work

The question they'll be asking themselves after the 34th time they try get the coin to disappear (as shown on the box) will be: "What on earth am I doing wrong?" In truth, they are doing nothing wrong. The trick is made not to work. Were Houdini himself to attempt it, it would prove to be a dud every time.

PHOTO: Lumoback is a posture sensor that gently vibrates when you slouch.
Courtesy Lumoback
Electronic Noodge

Sit Up Straight! The LUMOback posture and activity sensor does what Mrs. Gunther, your sixth-grade home room teacher, did so unremittingly: nudge you to sit up straight. "Don't slouch!" it says, by giving you a vibration when it finds you slumping. A next-generation LUMO may someday add, "And take that gum out of your mouth!"

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