On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,
Four kitty toilets, three singing spatulas, two suits of armor and a portable backyard skating ring …
In this consumer-driven age, there’s no doubt you can give your true love a gaggle of geese a-layin’ without leaving your home. Problem is, so can anyone.
The push-button world of the Internet lets you finish your shopping at the speed of a keystroke. But if you want to get creative, you are going to have to move beyond the four or five obvious Web retailers — and The Wolf Files is here to help.
Herewith are some Christmas gifts that you can be certain your crotchety Uncle Leo and shrewish Aunt Ida don’t have, won’t forget — and best of all — can’t re-gift.
Professional Internet shoppers suggest you don’t just go directly to the online stores. If you don’t know what Uncle Leo is really interested in, search his name on the Internet. You might find that he’s telling his message board buddies what he really wants. (Then again, maybe you don’t want to know.)
You’re other option is plugging everything you do know about Leo into a search engine. Be as specific as possible. And the hunt begins.
“You can find clothing for any pet. I found a sweater for a pet ferret,” says Amelia Ostroff, a professional shopper at Itsthethought.com in Seal Beach, Calif.
You don’t need to be that ambitious. An Internet professional can help you find a zany, esoteric little something to create the illusion that you really devoted time trying to amuse Ida. “You might not need help for the obvious choices,” says Bonnie Bertram, editor at eTour.com.
“Don’t think of the right store. Start with an idea. Think of the person you are shopping for. You can find that suit of armor or that singing spatula without trudging from place to place.”
Here’s some stuff you can find with just a little bit of clicking:
Cat Toilet Training Kit
Remember Robert De Niro’s pampered cat in Meet the Parents? Now, you really can toilet train your tabby. CatSeat inventor Kevin Rymer — a banker and cat owner by day — swears he had his product in mind before the hit comedy. Rymer patented patented the first toilet seat that purportedly potty trains one or more cats within two weeks.
For those of you who want to be really close to your kitty, you two can share the seat with just a push of the button. The gizmo sells for $99.95 and comes with a training video. Not a bad deal, if you consider the average cat owner goes through $3,000 of litter over the life of his or her pet. Suggested Celebrity Endorsement: Ben Stiller.
Bulletproof Briefcase What do you buy that potty-mouthed rapper pal who insists on kicking with his well-armed homiez, yet won’t compromise on style? How about a $1,600 Kevlar-lined, bulletproof Montblanc briefcase. Maybe if Eminem had one of these babies, he wouldn’t be losing his Britney Spears notebooks with the lyrics for his next album. Suggested Celebrity Endorsement: Puff Daddy.
Portable Cotton Candy Machine Now you can be a carnie in your very own home. For year-round amusement park enjoyment, the 30-Second Cotton Candy Maker turns a tablespoon of sugar into teeth-rotting junk food in just 30 seconds Suggested celebrity endorsement: Rosie O’Donnell.
Mother always told you not to waste food. Now you’re an adult perpetually teetering on a full-blown eating disorder. It’s payback time. Buy her an entire buffalo, head and hide included. It’s butchered, portioned and shipped to order for $15,000. “The skin makes for good slippers and the head is good for mounting,” says Heartland Buffalo spokeswoman Vicki Garfinkel. You can actually eat dinner and gaze proudly over the fireplace to lock eyes with your supper.
For those of you who keep score, an entire buffalo yields 20 filet mignon steaks, 40 New York strip steaks, 40 rib eye steaks, two standing rib roasts, 100 pounds of buffalo hot dogs, 100 pounds of ground burger, 50 pounds of minute steak, 50 pounds of fajita meat and 40 pounds of London broil.
Don’t worry about the beast rotting under the Christmas tree — Heartland Buffalo will ship it over to you in 20-pound increments. Suggested Celebrity Endorsement: Ted Nugent.
Foldable Lamp What do you get your weirdo New York City friends who have no creature comforts in the roach-infested shoebox they call home? They have nothing and nowhere to put it. Well, this foldable, moldable lamp fits into any crack in the wall. Suggested celebrity endorsement: Sarah Jessica Parker.
Liqueur and Underwear Ensemble Generally, the idea is to ply the lady with alcohol and get her undies off. But all that has changed in the era of the thong and G-string. Galliano liqueurs is now selling Christmas spirits with inspirational underwear. Suggested Celebrity Endorsement: Monica Lewinsky or Sisqo.
Portable Skating Rink Yes, you can turn your backyard into a skating rink, provided the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. For as little as $179, you can have a 17-by-25-foot frozen wonderland. Blue and red lines mark hockey zones just like professional ice hockey rinks. Adjustable design accommodates backyards with uneven terrain and landscaping obstacles. Suggested celebrity endorsement: Tonya Harding.
You’ve never been to Switzerland or Holland. But you can have those little water-filled clear plastic statuettes that you shake up and watch snow fall. With the right souvenirs, the world will think you’re a world traveler. Suggested Celebrity Endorsement: Martha Stewart.
Nanny Cam Holidays are about the kids. But you can’t be around the kids all the time. Or can you? Go ahead. Keep tabs on the baby sitter with a Nanny Cam. Spycompany.com offers a variety of clocks, pictures and signs that hide small video cameras for just a few hundred dollars. Suggested Celebrity Endorsement: Louise Woodward.
The $15 Million Bikini
Want to look like a million bucks? Now you can. With this $15 million bikini, studded with 1,300 rubies diamonds and other precious stones. If you are the type who really hates it when someone else wears the same outfit you do, Victoria’s Secret can deliver. No one has ever ordered one. Suggested Celebrity Endorsement: Bill Gates.
Human Bones Are you spending an arm and a leg for Christmas gifts? Well, a real human arm and a leg can be yours for as little as $515 (hand included). If you want to go for a full human skeleton, that’s $2,000. Suggested Celebrity Endorsement: Jack Kevorkian.
Bug killing is a national sport. This gadget combines the athleticism of tennis with the obsessiveness of pest control. It’s an $18 racket that gives you all the sizzle and spark of frying mosquitoes at a Fourth of July feast. Double-A batteries not included. Suggested Celebrity Endorsement: Richard Hatch or Venus Williams.
Jack Daniels Barrel If you’re only having one this Christmas, how’s this: a 500-pound barrel of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, straight from the distillery with your name on it. It yields 5,160 shots. For a mere $7,500, it’s the answer for the ultimate keg party. “The barrel won’t be completely full. Some of the contents evaporates in the aging process,” says spokesman Rob Hoskins. “We call that part the angels’ share.” Suggested Celebrity Endorsement: Jack Nicholson or the ghost of Dean Martin.
Portable Toilet Handle
Here’s a $3.95 stocking stuffer for the germ phobe in your life: It’s a portable clip that allows any potty dancer to easily lift the seat or lid without ever touching the toilet. The easy-to-conceal Hopper Popper slips into a purse or portable case. Just in case you are not yet afraid of public restrooms, company literature quotes from health department documents indicating the following diseases can be contracted when hands come into contact with infected toilet seats: E. coli, cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis, hepatitis A, shigellosis and campylobacter. Suggested Celebrity Endorsement: Tom Green
Home Weatherman Kit Everybody likes to talk about the weather. Especially at Christmas. Now you really can with the WS-2000 WeatherStation, a fully integrated, $990 sensor system that calibrates wind, temperature, relative humidity, and barometric pressure and links up with the National Institute of Standards and Technology. You’ll soon be ready to do the five-day forecast on local TV. Bad toupee and stilted jokes not included. Suggested Celebrity Endorsement: Al Roker or Tony Perkins.
Buck Wolf is a producer at ABCNEWS.com. The Wolf Files is a weekly feature. If you want to receive weekly notice when a new column is published, join the e-mail list.