For the last 13 years, the Courier has scoured the streets of Vancouver’s retail landscape and the lonely recesses of the internet for Christmas gift ideas that are unusual, strange and just plain wrong. In that time we’ve come to learn a few things. Moustache and bacon-adorned memorabilia no longer holds the ironic cachet it once did. TransLink might be a mess politically, but its new online gift shop is surprisingly savvy. And whoever is in charge of the “home and lifestyle” section of the Canucks’ online boutique lives in an alternate reality, or maybe just Nanaimo. Happy shopping.
Bus art throw pillow
$59 at translinkstore.ca
Bring all the majesty, stylishness and je ne sais quoi of the #10 Granville bus into your living room with this sueded micro-fibre throw pillow fashioned after everyone’s favourite vomitorium on wheels. In case you’re wondering, that “je ne sais quoi” is probably the scent of urine and Axe Body Spray from patrons of the Republic Nightclub.
Personalized amp door mat
$44.36 at uncommongoods.com
Show Canada Post, Jehovah Witnesses and the rare house guest (who are you trying to kid?) that your rock ’n’ roll cred is matched only by your love of a clean house. Or perhaps you just get off on people wiping their dirty shoes on your name. No judgement.
Mason Jar Single Station Radio Tuner
$57.04 at uncommongoods.com
If listening to a pre-tuned radio fashioned out of a Mason jar is your thing, I’m guessing you’re pre-tuning said Mason jar to the dulcet tones of CBC’s Eleanor Wachtel. There’s also a good chance you’re contemplating becoming a bee keeper and self-publishing a slim volume of poetry. Once again, no judgement.
Vancouver Blue and Shots Fired
$22.95 and $14.95 at the Vancouver Police Museum, 240 East Cordova, vancouverpolicemuseum.ca
Sadly, the Vancouver Police Museum’s once-mighty gift shop has been reduced to a meagerly stocked bookshelf in the foyer across from the ticket desk. But if books written by former VPD beat cops about the good ol’ days — or bad ol’ days, depending how you look at it — is your thing, then the Vancouver Police Museum has a bookshelf for you. Sure, titles such as Shots Fired, Vancouver Blue and Enforced Entry (I may have made that one up) sound vaguely pornographic, but your old man will probably appreciate them and maybe even finally acknowledge he’s proud of you by grunting thanks before stoically staring into the fireplace to watch the crumpled ball of wrapping paper slowly burn.
George Washington Grassroots ball cap
$64.99 at Ignite Smoke Shop, 109 West Cordova, ignitesmokeshop.ca
If the stoner character of Slater in Dazed and Confused taught us anything, it’s that George Washington enjoyed smoking a bowl or two back in the day. So why not embrace this historically questionable fact by slapping it on your dopey forehead. The hat is also made of 100 per cent hemp — a fact you’ll no doubt tell the stranger you’ve cornered at a party for 45 minutes while explaining the historical significance of your sick headgear.
Kush Nugz toque
$29.95 at Ignite Smoke Shop
I won’t even pretend to know what “kush nugz” means or even does, except probably make you want to wear baggy ass jeans and listen to Sublime. But as far as toque fashions go, you could do worse.
Sloth bikini underwear
$9.95 at Front and Co., 3772 Main St., frontandcompany.com
Next to manatees, badgers and capybaras, sloths are probably the coolest animal to have adorning a pair of bikini brief underwear. But I’ve also never seen bikini brief underwear adorned with manatees, badgers or capybaras, so maybe I’m just distracting myself in order to feel more comfortable writing about women’s underwear, which I refuse to call panties, because that also makes me uncomfortable.
55 Gallon Drum of Passion Lubes, Natural Water-Based Lubricant
$1,468.80 at amazon.com
The internet can be a terrifying place that dampens your spirit and causes you to lose faith in humanity. But then there are those times when hope gets restored and you feel everything is going to be OK. And being able to purchase a 55-gallon drum of Passion Lubes, Natural Water-Based Lubricant through amazon.com is one of those times. Not that I can even fathom why someone would need 55 gallons of lubricant, but it’s nice to know it’s there, ready to be purchased at any hour of the day. #blessed
Wolf Crotch underwear
$19.98 at amazon.com
Speaking of terrifying. Who hasn’t dreamt their crotch was a menacing wolf’s head at some point in their life. These 95 per cent cotton, five per cent polyester, 100 per cent douchey boxer briefs are a howling testament that dreams do come true. Or perhaps it’s a commentary on the predatory nature of the male species, which women unfortunately have to encounter on a daily basis. And you thought last year’s bacon gaunch was thought provoking.
I Heart Guts Pins
$6.95 at Front and Co.
Celebrate your uterus, colon, pancreas and prostate with this adorable line of I Heart Guts lapel pins and badges. More of a salivary gland fan? No problem, there’s a lapel pin for that, too. Plus it’s a lot more elegant and understated than a colon lapel pin. But you probably knew that already.
MLB Game-Used Baseball Beanie
$285.19 at uncommongoods.com
Going out on a limb here, but I’d hazard a guess that the kind of person who would wear a $285 beanie knit from the wool yarn found inside an MLB game-used baseball is also the kind of person who would go out of their way to tell you they’re wearing a $285 beanie knit from the wool found inside an MLB game-used baseball.
TransLink System Map Shower Curtain
$90 at translinkstore.ca
Map out your next trip to Port Moody while lathering up your “Port Moody.” I’m not quite sure what that even means, but if it gets more people to think about riding public transit or regularly washing their nether regions then my job here is complete.
Retro Orange SeaBus Bottle
$25.95 at translinkstore.ca
Hydration and nostalgia for public transit — together at last. Harkening back to the days when the SeaBus was orange and North Vancouver was ruled by an alcoholic mayor who dressed in a pirate suit — wait, that’s Nanaimo, my bad — these stainless steel, copper vacuum-insulated water bottles keep your favourite drinks hot for 12 hours and cold for 48 hours. No word on how room-temperature gravy holds up.
$10.08 at uncommongoods.com
In another era, this could have been society’s internet, wheel or fire, leading millennials out of the primordial darkness. Sadly, the Avocado Hugger is just a silicon cup doing the work of saranwrap or Tupperware but at a higher pay grade. It’s also a terrible name for a band.
Laptop Cat Scratching Pad
$44.36 at uncommongoods.com
Cats don’t do a whole lot besides invite you to rub their soft bellies only to scratch and bite you once you’ve emotionally committed to loving them — perhaps I’ve said too much. So why not make your ungrateful feline friend somewhat entertaining with this scratching pad made to look like a computer. Plus, when Cats Domino ignores your affections, you can tell yourself he’s too busy checking his email.
Baby Shark Tail
$38.03 at uncommongoods.com
Who hasn’t dreamt of their little one getting eaten by a shark? Crafted from soft acrylic-cotton blend yarns, this made-in-Kyrgyzstan, machine-washable charmer strikes that illusive balance between cute and creepy. Perfect for the last baby shower you’ll be invited to.
Star Wars Spa Set
$89.99 at thinkgeek.com
After a long day of LARPing, online trolling and involuntary celibacy, kick back and relax by slipping into this cozy collection of George Lucas-approved R2-D2 spa wear, which includes a robe, slippers, satin eye mask and toe separators. Why the creators of this intergalactic loungewear didn’t look to the chakra-aligning fashions of Yoda for inspiration will forever be one of the universe’s great mysteries.
$8.95 at Front and Co.
You can bet when Seattleites Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, Chris Cornell and their ilk were busy changing the course of music back in the 1990s, they had one goal in mind: to be parodied with an ultra-absorbent cleaning pad a quarter century later. Thankfully, the plaid-shirted Grunge Sponge does that and more with its “designed in Seattle” technology and its possibly copyright-infringing tag line “Smells like Clean Spirit.” Someone actually got paid to write that.
Prince and Princess For a Day Inflatable Crowns
$6 at Front and Co.
Besides draining your bank account and killing your dreams, kids are also a humble reminder that your role in life is to serve. So why not make it official with these inflatable crowns to place on little Scout or Boo Radley’s delicate head. And when that inevitable meltdown happens after said crown accidentally bursts while at a play date, Mandarin lesson or yoga for young ones class, just go out and buy another one. And another one. And another one. Children are precious.
You Are Amazing: A Help-Yourself Guide for Trusting Your Vibes + Reclaiming Your Magic
$27 at The Good Spirit Metaphysical Boutique and Tarot Studio, 309 Cambie, thegoodspirit.ca
According to the authors’ bio, best friends and sisters Sonia and Sabrina Choquette-Tully love Beyonce, chic restaurants, Snapchat and trying to figure out “What the heck is bad vibing me right now?” and “Where does my soul want to lead me next?” Thankfully, these quizzical millennials are also trained by their mom, “a world-renowned spiritual leader and visionary guide,” so you know the positive knowledge bombs they’re dropping are totally legit and backed by the universe, or whatever. YOLO!
Sextrology: The Astrology of Sex and the Sexes
$29 at The Good Spirit Metaphysical Boutique and Tarot Studio
Astrology “sexperts” Stella Starsky and Quinn Cox, a.k.a. Starsky and Cox (I’m not making this up), look skyward to help people find their perfect sexual matches through signs of the zodiac.
For instance, did you know that Capricorns are “unadulterated sybarites who put the pursuit of pleasure and laughs first in life” or that Scorpios are turned on by voyeurism and erotica? Of course you didn’t, because Mercury is in retrograde and you’re not receptive to insights from the universe right now.
Canucks Stemless Wine Glasses
$23.99 at nhlshop.ca
Classier than Trevor Linden’s future Tinder profile, these stemless wine glasses celebrate the Vancouver Canucks with style and elegance. Plus, they hold a lot of sweet, delicious booze, which you’ll need if you’re spending any significant amount of time with someone who owns a set of Vancouver Canucks stemless wine glasses.
Canucks Goalie Mask Drink Tube
$112.49 at nhlshop.ca
It sounds like a forgotten Guided by Voices album, but Goalie Mask Drink Tube is actually a mind-boggling drinking contraption that can hold 100 fluid ounces of liquid — I would suggest Rock-a-Berry Cooler — and boasts an interior ice holder, pull-down pour spout, hockey puck cup stand and goalie mask base. What a time to be alive.
Canucks Drum Sticks
$26.99 at nhlshop.ca
Everyone knows the best drummers are Oilers fans, or so they tell me on a daily basis, but these patriotic percussion pounders still do the trick, especially if you’re laying down a sick beat for your Canucks-themed tribute band Smyl the Glove.
Giant Gummy Bears Party Python
$149.95 at amazon.com
You like to party — who doesn’t. But sometimes bringing a regular old bag of gummy snakes from Bulk Barn to a party is a little on the tame side. To quote Kim Mitchell, you are a wild party. So why not bust open those party doors of perception with an eight-foot long, 26.9-pound party python. Yes, it’s a lot of sugar. And yes, not everyone will take you up on your invitation to “nibble at will.” But not everyone appreciated Citizen Kane or polio vaccinations when they were first released. This is like that, except it’s a giant party python.
Trudeau Shower Curtain
There may be no place for the state in bedrooms of the nation, but bathrooms are another thing, especially if those sets of peepers are a pair of baby blues belonging to Trudeau the Younger. Seriously, is there nothing creepy and invasive this dude can’t trick us into believing isn’t creepy and invasive? I could go on if I wasn’t so transfixed by that penetrating stare.
Donald Trump Pet wig for dog or cat
$22.28 at Etsy.com
DIY crafter website Etsy is a microcosm of the political divide going on with our neighbours to the south. For every MAGA hat, coffee mug and G-string there’s an equally poorly articulated anti-Trump pair of jogging pants, ironic T-shirt and handmade dream catcher. Which is why the Donald Trump pet wig could be the uniting force the world needs right now. Not only is it meant for both cats AND dogs, it’s equally agnostic regarding whom it’s targeting. Does a Donald Trump pet wig mock the Man Child of Mar-a-Lago or does it celebrate him? Is putting a hairpiece on your cat an act of whimsy or cruelty? As with most things, the answer is a bit more nuanced.