SkyMall: Best and Worst Holiday Gifts for Travelers

Say what you will about SkyMall, but it does seem to have something for everyone.

Living-large folks can enjoy the 7-foot-tall Boris the Brontosaurus statue ("sure to impress") for $1,950, while practical types may succumb to the lures of a $29.95 cast iron giraffe toilet paper holder ("functional and fun"). Then there's the Star of David tree topper ornament ("must-have for interfaith marriages") attractively priced at just $19.99.

They have a few things for travelers too. Things you may not even know you need! But that's why I'm here.

Take a look at this list of best and worst holiday gifts from SkyMall - the catalog you've been pulling out of your plane's seatback pocket and flipping through for the past two decades. Now get ready to choose a gift to make a loved one smile (or vow to get revenge).

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Best and Worst Holiday Travel Gifts from SkyMall

Oh, did I mention? In many cases a "best" and "worst" gift are one and the same. I'll point out the products' good points and bad points, and you be the judge.

1. SkyRest Pillow - $29.95

A lot of people love this cushy naptime device. It's a large, inflatable wedge-shaped pillow that sits on your open tray table and takes up most of the room between your chest and the seatback in front of you (the SkyRest is an impressive 17 inches tall and 14 inches wide).

Bad point: One size does not fit all. While most shoppers who posted comments on SkyMall's online site seemed thrilled with the thing, one poor guy noted that it was "Uncomfortable for my body type - big tummy."

Good point: The sheer size of this sleeping aid may intimidate a lavatory-bound seatmate into thinking twice before annoying you with requests to let him "sneak by" you.

2. Thundershirt - Large size, $44.95

This is a snug, jacket-like outfit used to soothe a trembling canine; you might want to consider such an accessory the next time you fly with Fifi. According to the Thundershirt's description, its "gentle constant pressure has a profound calming effect for most dogs when anxious, fearful or overexcited."

Good point: Your hound will love the wide array of colors and styles such as Pink Rugby.

Bad point: You will get thrown off the plane if you give into the temptation to wrap it around the nearest screaming kid.

3. iGrow Hair Rejuvenation Laser - $695

I make no claims whatsoever about whether this "advanced" hair growth product actually works or not, but it certainly looks futuristic. Picture a kind of space-age bicycle helmet that perches just above your scalp while inside the helmet. iGrow's "proprietary dual light Laser/LED design" with 51 diodes gets to work.

Good point: Built-in headphones with iPod/MP3 interface.

Better point: Wear this thing on a plane, and I don't think you'll have to worry about anyone trying to engage you in mindless chit-chat.

4. Nano UV Wand - $159.99

Once again, I can make no claims for the effectiveness of this product, but if you believe the SkyMall description, this wand will "kill dust mites, lice and flea and bed bug eggs in pillows, bedding and carpet."

Bad point: What kind of self-respecting Road Warrior stays in such a flea bag hotel in the first place?

Good point: Not just for hotels, according to one commenter: "It works great on any fleas my cats may leave on the bed."

Better point: When bored on the road, turn on the hotel TV, find a channel showing the latest Harry Potter movie and use the wand to pretend you're part of the action.

5. Bigfoot the Garden Yeti Statue - $89.95 to $115

Yes, I wrote about the Garden Yeti last year, and I'm pleased to say my old friend still seems to be a popular draw at SkyMall. This smallish sculpture (20 inches tall) is a cross between the legendary Bigfoot, the mythical Abominable Snowman and your everyday ape. Not only is it 12 pounds of "quality designer resin" - it's also hand painted for "startling realism."

Bad point: Backyard may get crowded with camera-toting tourists.

Good point: While out of town, that startling realism could come in handy to scare away burglars.

Better point: Should you find yourself heading to Kathmandu on Nepal-based Yeti Airlines (company logo: a large foot), you and the locals will have plenty to talk about.

Happy travels and happy shopping.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and does not reflect the opinion of ABC News.

Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations that include ABC News, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the Associated Press and Bloomberg. His website,, offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deals.