Every year the Courier scours the streets of Vancouver and the lonely recesses of the internet for Christmas gift ideas that are unusual, strange and just plain wrong.
You’d think after 14 years, we’d run out of things to write about.
For every pair of bacon boxer briefs, Golden Girls action figure set and R2D2 laundry hamper no longer on the shelves, there’s a sloth neck pillow, meat covered socks and breast milk lollipops to take their place.
It truly is a wonderful life.
$29 at Front and Co., 3772 Main St.,
Why narwhals aren’t called unicorn whales remains one of life’s great mysteries next to “What happens when we die?” and “Who let the dogs out?” They also make exceptionally good-looking wine bottle openers. Incidentally, in my hometown Nanaimo, a “narwhal corkscrew” refers to a certain act between two consenting adults in the bathroom stall of a Tim Hortons.
$20 at Front and Co.
Take cooking Kraft Dinner for that special someone to the next level with these pot holders that resemble lobster claws. Made out of heat resistant silicone, Pot Pinchers won’t be the only things in your kitchen forced to withstand intense temperatures. You’re going to spill scolding hot pasta water all over your bare forearms. It’s a given.
Sperm and Egg Flare skirt
$55.26 at etsy.com
Made in Canada from 88 per cent polyester and 12 per cent spandex performance-knit fabric, these eye-catching flared skirts aim to make reproduction seem fashionable instead of the worst decision of your once awesome, diaper-free life.
Breast milk lollipops
$8 US for four at lollyphile.com
The creative team behind hipster candy company Lollyphile have done their homework. They’ve even gone so far as thanking “all the mothers who kept sharing their breast milk with our flavor specialists until we were able to candify it.” Sadly, or wisely, no breast milk was actually used in the making of these lollipops. That said, a word of advice: loving the flavour of breast milk is not going to do your Tinder profile any favours.
Portable Infrared Sauna
$199 at amazon.com
Don’t have time to get to the spa but enjoy looking like a human head affixed to a strange robot body from a 1970s sci-fi show? Then this is the portable sweat box for you. Perfect for those busy days at the office when you want to detoxify, shed a few pounds and be the envy of your coworkers who’ve stopped talking to you for some reason.
Bob Ross Soap
$6 at Front and Co.
PBS’s afro-ed host of The Joy of Painting died more than 20 years ago, but his legacy and money-making image lives on. The Joy of Bathing Soap lathers up clean and crisp with a hint of honey and oatmeal, which is kind of weird because I always assumed Bob Ross smelled like coffee breath and patchouli.
Sloth Travel Pillow
$26 at Front and Co.
Your grey sweat pants and oversized, drool-speckled T-shirt tell the world you like to travel in the utmost comfort with little if any self-awareness. So why not embrace the real you with this beige, bead-filled neck pillow designed to look like a sloth. Made of 85 per cent polyester, 15 per cent spandex and zero per cent chances of getting laid, the Sloth Travel Pillow is also machine washable. But what are the chances you’re ever going to wash the thing, anyway.
Hanwei Sword Oil
$13.95 at Academie Duello, 412 West Hastings, academieduello.com
“Specially formulated to provide corrosion protection for high-carbon steel blades and other edged weapons,” Hanwei Sword Oil is also probably the sexiest sounding thing that’s ever contained “petroleum distillates.” And I know a thing or two about petroleum distillates. Perhaps I’ve shared too much.
Introduction to the Italian Longsword DVD
$24.95 at Academie Duello
It might sound like part of an inappropriate pickup line you’d hear at a nightclub on the Granville Strip — is there any other kind? — but Introduction to Italian Longsword is actually a made-in-Vancouver DVD about the finer points of two-handed swordsmanship. Is it getting hot in here?
Nice to Meat You Socks
$11.95 at Front and Co.
You’ve always craved the finer things in life: machine washable slacks with extra pockets, white Velcro runners with good arch support, a freezer full of pizza pops in case guests come over. Now you can add socks covered in various types of meat to your exclusive list. Besides, who can resist a little meat on one’s feet? Surely not the hundreds of potential lovers you’ve deprived of your affections and mad doing it skills over the years in your constant pursuit of excellence and ironic socks.
Raise Your Vibration: 111 Practices to Increase Your Spiritual Connection by Kyle Gray
$23.99 at The Good Spirit, 309 Cambie St., thegoodspirit.ca
Low vibration got you down? Heavily tattooed, millennial psychic from Scotland, Kyle Gray is here to help with such things as “trusting and developing your inner guidance,” “manifesting and creating a life you love and deserve” and “living after midnight, rockin’ to the dawn, lovin’ ‘til the morning, then I’m gone, I’m gone.” That last one might be lyrics from a Judas Priest song, but my vibrational levels are so off the charts right now I can’t be certain.
Avocado Squeeze Toy
$9.95 at Front and Co.
Perfect for relieving stress because life is like, really, really hard and stuff, the Avocado Squeeze Toy also looks really cool when you use the Valencia filter on Instagram, unless you want something more warm and saturated like Amaro or Clarendon. Whatevs… you do you.
$5 at Ignite Smoke Shop, 109 West Cordova St., ignitesmokeshop.ca
Containing hemp hearts but absolutely no THC, Taste Buds is a chocolate cookie-like snack made to look like actual marijuana buds. Because who doesn’t like to eat marijuana buds.
Canadian Weed Guitar Bag
$14.99 at Ignite Smoke Shop
Few things say “duuude” more than a vinyl shoulder bag shaped like a guitar decorated in the colours of the Canadian flag and tiny pot leaves. To paraphrase Premier John Horgan, if you were more woke you’d know that this bag was lit. And if you were more high, you’d know how awesome it would be if you could sleep on a bed made entirely of bread. Think about how soft bread is and then imagine sleeping on a stack of bread mattresses. I’d never want to wake up.
Wu Tang pot logo sweatshirt
$70 at Ignite Smoke Shop
Marijuana buds formed in the shape of the Wu Tang Clan logo emblazoned on a comfortable crew neck sweat shirt. Just typing that gave me a contact high.
Cold Finger Ice Tongs
$14 at Front and Co.
Tired of feeling the chill of ice cubes when they touch your precious fingers? Need another reason for your spouse to mentally calculate all the potential partners he or she turned down before choosing you for some inexplicable reason? Cold Finger Ice Tongs have you covered on both chilly fronts. Plus they look like two adorable little red mittens that you can use to caress your tear-strewn cheek in the dark, lonely night.
Crystal Muse: Everyday Rituals to Tune in to the Real You by Heather Askinosie
$35.99 at The Good Spirit
It might sound like the name of a Crystal Gayle tribute act, but Crystal Muse is a book on the healing powers of crystals and “transforming life’s challenges into opportunities for growth by being equipped with the right crystals and mindset.” I could go on, but I’ve got an amethyst inserted in a part of my body that’s not very conducive to typing right now. Namaste.
“Rosin, shatter, budder, terps, sause, gravy, dabs” tank top
$35 at Ignite Smoke Shop
Regardless if you know what rosin, shatter, budder, terps, sause, gravy or dabs is, this locally made tank top tells the world, especially the high school you’ll never substitute teach at again, that you are one woke mofo.
Sugar Spoon Skull
$8 at prezzybox.com
Sugar Spoon Skull isn’t just the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ worst album, it’s also a stainless steel reminder that sugar can kill you. Sure, trans fats, aspartame and bears can kill you as well, but they make for lousy eating utensils. Actually a bear spoon would be pretty cool, so scrap that. But Sugar Spoon Skull is without a doubt a terrible album.
Punching Bag Laundry Bag
$54 at Front and Co.
Give your three-week’s worth of dirty laundry the drubbing it deserves when you stuff it in what’s made to look like a punching bag. Who cares that your six-pack is more of a pony keg. If perspiration is the cologne of accomplishment, then your clothes smell like sweet, pungent victory.
Bare chested hoodie
$12.30 US (65 per cent off!) at gamiss.com
It’s a bold move wearing one of these bad boys in public. But bold is your middle name, if your real middle name wasn’t Gary, which it probably is judging by your fondness for hooded sweatshirts that look like disturbingly hairy torsos.
Hushme Voice Mask
$149 US at gethushme.com
For anyone who needs to conduct private phone conversations but lacks the clout to have their own office or proactive mentality to get up and leave the room, Hushme is here to help. Described as the world’s first voice mask for smartphones, Hushme uses “innovative insulation materials” to keep your conversations muffled and your office persona a little creepy. It also looks like a futuristic ball gag that you’d wear in outer space. Just sayin’.
Pimple Popping Toy
$27.10 at gearbest.com
Move over, stress ball. This technological marvel is billed as a “creative acne toy” and uses soft, eco-friendly silicone material to provide users “a real acne removal experience” when the real thing somehow isn’t available. What a time to be alive.
$99 US at ostrichpillow.com
This “ultimate cocoon pillow” allows users to sleep at their desks, on public transit or at the dinner table with the in-laws, all the while looking like a human squid. For the fashion conscious, the Ostrich Pillow comes in a variety of colours, including sleepy blue, midnight grey and, presumably, celibacy beige.
$36 at prezzybox.com
If I had more ambition, I’d probably start an alt-country band called Moonlight Cushion. But for now, I’ll just write about how the Moonlight Cushion’s ultra-soft plush fur casing hides low-energy LED lights that cycle through the relaxing hues of pink, purple, yellow and green, turning your living room in a dojo of chill. Incidentally, Dojo of Chill would’ve been Moonlight Cushion’s debut album.
Vancouver Canucks Acoustic Guitar
$397.49 at nhlshop.ca
Nothing says you’re a serious musician more than playing an instrument done up in your favourite hockey team’s colours and logo. Plus think of all the wicked tunes you’ll be inspired to write with this thing, such as “Can You Smyl the Love Tonight?,” “He’s Not Heavy, He’s My Brodeur,” “Linden Be,” “Hunka Hunka Bure Love” and “Baby’s Got Kurtenbach.” I haven’t watched a Canucks game in 20 years.
Women’s Canucks Mini Boots
$59.99 at nhlshop.ca
For anyone who enjoys the sloppy comfort of UGG-style boots but also the armchair athleticism of passively watching professional sports. They’re also easy to slip on and off because they don’t come with any of those pesky things like laces or self-respect.
Men’s Canucks Bodysuit
$89.99 at nhlshop.ca
Truly terrifying, but undeniably comfortable, the Men’s Canucks Body Suit comes with two front pockets, a hood with drawstring and is made of 100 per cent flammable polyester. So be extra careful when you fill your boudoir with dozens of lit candles for a romantic evening with yourself.
Canucks Steak Knives
$26.99 at nhlshop.ca
Slice through meat like Elias Pettersson through the opposing team’s defensive zone, or something like that, with this set of officially licensed, kitchen-grade serrated blades. The lack of official Canucks sporks, chopsticks or tiffins, however, indicates the team’s merchandise department needs to expand its multicultural horizons if they really want to corner the lucrative sports utensils market.
Station Map Coasters
$14 at translinkstore.ca
What better way to be reminded of your soul-crushing SkyTrain commute than by placing a large tumbler of Baja Rosa down on one of four high-density, styrene laminated coasters commemorating the transit stations you curse daily under your boozy breath.
Taxidermy Grunge Ducks
$62.16 at etsy.com
Jazz, punk and hip hop are all fine and dandy, but have they ever been reduced to an assortment of clichés worn by taxidermy ducklings? Sporting mini Starbucks coffee cups, toques and Sub Pop Records/Nirvana T-shirts, these downy soft odes to the Seattle music scene of the 1990s are undeniably cute if you forget for a moment they’re made of actual dead baby ducks. Merry Christmas!