Nov. 30, 2012 -- intro: 'Tis the season to give…bacon-shaped Christmas tree ornaments? Stocking-stuffer candy simulating black lumps of coal? Crime scene tape for wrapping packages? How about a dreidel with Santa's picture on it?
Yes to all these and more, say fans of quirky gifts.
Online retailers specializing in leg-lamps--the kind made famous by the movie "A Christmas Story"--and in Emergency Santa Kits say business is brisk.
Seattle novelty-seller Archie McPhee, for instance, which makes the Emergency Santa Kit, reports its business is up 20 percent from last year. Each Kit contains an inflatable white beard and red hat. "It's in case you're ever on an airplane flight and you suddenly have to play Santa," explains McPhee's spokesperson and self-styled Director of Awesomeness, David Wall.
Anything involving bacon, he says, has been selling well—so well that McPhee dedicates a portion of its website to bacon-inspired items, including candy canes, ornaments and toothpaste.
"People just naturally enjoy bacon," he says. "At a time when everybody is so health-conscious, it's become a kind of 'rebel' food. It seems naughty. To our customers, bacon has become a sign of rebellion against the status quo."
Online retailer Perpetual Kid sells black, lump-shaped candy-coal. Says vice president Wendy Paula, "We're definitely seeing people looking for silly products this year—things you buy for their 'smile value.' Candy coal has been Christmas season favorite for us for years." She herself grew up with it. "It's just got to be in your stocking."
Unlike some novelty purveyors, says Paula, Perpetual Kid, shies away from anything that could be considered offensive or in bad taste. Not so Things You Never Knew Existed, a website that appears to have cornered the market on flatulent-Santa items. These include a Pull My Finger Santa' and a spherical ornament simulating Santa's buttocks.
For a slideshow of quirky items appropriate (or not) for holiday giving, read on.
quicklist: 1title: Beardomedia: 17836623text: "The world's only beanie with a built-in beard," trumpets website Fab.com. The tightly-knit cap and attached face-warmer is perfect for snowball fights, says the site, and will keep any chin warm on the coldest of days. "A great gift for the facial-hair challenged." ($29)
quicklist: 2title: Coal Candymedia: 17836674text: Website for Perpetual Kid calls this cinnamon-flavored candy coal the perfect stocking stuffer: "You can always tell who has been naughty Christmas morning, since this candy will temporarily turn your mouth blue! Great for office parties and gift exchanges." ($4.49)
quicklist: 3media:17836726title: Santa Dreideltext:The dreidel depicts Santa on one side, a Christmas tree on the other. "Don't choose between Christmas and Hanukkah," says Archie McPhee's website. "Choose Chrismukkah! Imagine the fun you'll have playing the dreidel game by the light of the menorah while waiting for Santa and his reindeer to arrive." ($4.50)
quicklist: 4media:17836772title: Bacon Candy-Canetext: "Big bacon flavor in a candy cane," promises Archie McPhee. Canes come in both regular size and colossal. Of the collosal, the site says, "If there were a king of bacon, this would be his scepter. It's bacon-y Christmas perfection." For proper dental hygiene, you'll want to brush afterwards with bacon-flavored toothpaste, also available on the website. (Colossal cane, $5.00)
quicklist: 5media:17836842title: Crime Scene Tapetext: Archie McPhee doesn't explicitly recommend this tape for sealing up the seams of wrapping paper you have used to decorate your gifts—but just think how festive and disturbing it will look underneath the tree. Alternatively, says the website, you can use it to "mark off the scene of an itty-bitty murder." ($4.50).
quicklist: 6media:17836852title: Emergency Santa Kittext: Christmas-in-a-tin, Archie McPhee calls its Emergency Santa Kit. "Let's say you're on a long flight, and everyone around you is frowning and grumpy," says the site. Each Kit contains an inflatable white beard and jaunty Santa hat. "Just open the tin, inflate the beard, put on the hat, and shake your belly like a bowl full o' jelly." Before you know it, "Everyone will be sitting on your lap." ($12.00)
quicklist: 7media: 17836882title: 'Clocky' Rolling Clocktext: The morning after Christmas you'll run no risk of oversleeping if someone has been kind enough to give you this especially aggressive alarm clock. Hit its snooze button once too often, and Clocky takes matters into its own hands (or feet) by rolling away from you on powered wheels. "It will literally jump off your nightstand and scurry way, forcing you to get up out of bed and go get it to turn it off," says a spokesperson for novelty retailer Fab.com. ($45.00)