You want me to buy what?

Since I was on the subject of advertising in my last post……..Seriously, this was just pure coincidence.  But it’s time for another, You want me to buy what?  I received a gift catalog today, something I rarely get. After the children played with it, and much laughter from them, I had to take a look at it myself before deciding if it would get passed on, given to the children to craft with, or simply recycled.  I hate to simply recycle things like this but I found some real  gems to share with you.  :-)

I know this might seem early to most of you, but this is a Christmas catalog.  For anyone who waits until the end of November to do their shopping will notice prices are higher in the 6 weeks leading up to Christmas than any other time of the year, especially on toys!   With that in mind, here are some items not to waste your money on.


First up, if you still use paper towels I am sure you  have a designated spot for them.  So why would you buy a holiday themed paper towel holder that will need to be stored for the rest of the year.  At $9 each I’m sure you could think of a better gift to spend that money on.


This next one is a great craft idea for your children or grand children, but don’t buy it ready-made. This ornament uses a child’s hand print and then adds the details. You can pull out your old ornaments, some paint and make your own for next to nothing.  I usually have the little ones make something here they can give to their parents on Christmas because I believe giving feels better than receiving and should be experienced as young as possible.  That said just think what a treasured memory this could be.  But don’t spend the $5 each on these.


I do have a brother and a son who collect knives. I won’t try to say I understand the lure of collecting knives but to each his own.  Now these knives to me are tacky and I know even the two men in my life who collect knives would not be happy to receive one of these.  At $10 this is just a waste of your money.


Who doesn’t love sock monkeys?  I think they are cute and would gladly add one to the toy box, but to be a sock money, no thank you. If you spent your $10 on  this lounge wear I promise you it won’t be worn.


What is more comfortable than a nice soft pillow and blanket?  One thing that wouldn’t be relaxing to me is a pillow that lights up and a matching blanket.  AT $13 and $33 dollars each respectively, think twice about a gift such as this.  Sure it’s a novelty, but would you want to be lit up like a Christmas tree?


Everything we have seems to want a unique password, do you have a multiple passwords? I do, but I have found a small notebook to be the perfect way to keep them all organized.  My notebook was found at a yard sale for free, but I have seen them in stores for .99 each. Since I don’t have that many passwords, I also use this notebook for other things such as my gift lists for the year.   So why would you buy a notebook for $6 specifically for storing your passwords? This book comes with 66 pages and is organized to have 2 passwords per page.  That’s 132 passwords, Do you need that much space? If you do, I’m sorry you must be really stressed out.  Pass on this as a gift, I’m sure everyone on your list already has a workable solution for keeping their passwords organized and handy.


My intent isn’t to spoil your festivities but here is another $6 gift that makes no sense to me.  This is a holiday themed cutting board.  and matching knife.  The problem with these type of gifts is they aren’t suitable to have out the rest of the year, which means they will take up valuable or needed storage space.  Come next year chances are good it will have been misplaced and will spend next Christmas in a secret storage location.


Now the rest of these ideas are down-right strange to me.  The first one is a set of 2 wine glasses.  What makes them unique is that they are camouflage.  That’s right, camouflage.  When did it become popular to dress in Camo other than hunting or in times of war?   I can see you laughing and shaking your head. You are ready to tell me this is a gag gift, but when did gag gifts cost $20 for 2 glasses?


We don’t just have an obsession with camouflage, we have an obsession with just about everything.  I get shocked looks when people realize I don’t have a closet full of shoes nor do i care. But someone thinks we “girls’ love our shoes enough to use precious resources so we can have our closets full of shoes and collections of shoes on display, we can’t be parted from our shoes.  We have our camo wine glasses, but now need something to hold that chilled bottle of wine we are serving.  I know a shoe!!  It only costs $15, why not


But wait, before I can start drinking my chilled wine from my camo glasses I need to put my phone on the charger, I can’t let the battery run down because I might miss an important call.  But where to put it?  I know you don’t want your loved ones to be frustrated not knowing where to store the phone while charging, but please pass this up and save yourself $9.  (by the way the only extra I believe is necessary for a phone is a protective cover on the touch screen)


Speaking of cell phones, this next item has me shaking my head.  Can we not wait until we are home or at least out of the cold to answer our phones?  Why must we be attached to them ?  I’d pass on these gloves which at $7 allow you to text without taking off your gloves.  I know some people have to answer their phones for work, but if the people on your gift list aren’t one of them, please don’t encourage this behavior.


I have one son who as a teen had to leave his shoes outside because they smelled so bad in the summer months. Luckily he outgrew that problem.  I did treat his shoes with baking soda that he simply shook around then dumped to kill odors.  I understand how truly awful smelly shoes can be, but this item while it would seem to be a good idea has inherent flaws.  First it must be activated by setting it out in the sun from time to time.  Yes, this is supposed to ‘eat’ odors in the air, but it will do nothing for the items actually causing the problem.  And around here, counting on the sun is a bit iffy.  The active ingredient is Zeolite which is controversial in itself.  Zeolite is a mineral which attracts toxic elements and holds them.  Some say they are safe others say because they are found in nature and absorb any toxin they are exposed to they are full of toxins.  Judge for yourself


This next item I have no idea what someone would do with it.  It is a 100 oz wine glass, and holds 4 full bottles of wine.   This one reads “Mommy’s sippy cup” the ad says it can be used as a centerpiece, ice bucket or goodie dish. I’m sorry it’s just tacky!  Save your $20 and skip this one.


I mentioned last week how I felt about all the gadgets available on cars.  Auto manufacturers aren’t the only ones trying to make money off of us by selling us products we need  to have in our cars.  For $5 you can buy 3 non slip dash mats.  They are advertised as a must have car accessory  You simply attach these to the dashboard or console and your phone, glasses or music player won’t move. It will be within easy reach at all times,


This next item is just strange.  When did we begin to dress our children up in strange things?  It wasn’t all that long ago when we wanted our children to look neat and appropriate.  When you squeeze the tassel these animal hats are said to “come alive”  what that means is that the ears will flop, the tails will wag and the mouth will open.   Let’s think about what this is….it’s a hat….you wear it on your head.  How is this so fun for children, they can’t see what happens, we see it. Spare your self the annoyance and the $16.


This next winter item is again one that is functional with stupid added to it…just because they can.  These black winter gloves have a Led flashing skull and bones display.  The black is said to disappear from view at night so all you see are the bones,  don’t forget you can wave them around for a cool rainbow effect.  At $12 I think this is way too much to pay for a gag gift.



If you are related to a hunter you will know they take their hunting very seriously, but we can take that too far when selecting gifts for them.   A set of 3 rolls of toilet paper for $10 seems excessive to me, but when you see this picture realize that there is nothing special about this toilet paper, it is biodegradable, septic safe, oh and soft.  the only difference is the  design on the sheets.  Just say no to this one.


This is the first installment from this catalog, all total the cost of one of each of these came to $212. I will make a mini-series from this catalog.  Next Monday I will share the remaining pictures, the following Monday I will share with you the items my grandchildren picked out and let you decide how they did (this doesn’t mean they are getting any of it), and finally I will share ideas on special or practical gifts your loved ones will really enjoy and cherish. 


From now until Christmas, each Monday I will share ideas on quality useful gift ideas, and crafts which won’t break the bank to make your home feel festive without a lot of time or money. I hope you will enjoy this series.  I would like to showcase your handmade items you have made for gifts or around the home, you can send me pictures of your designs to loisfield12 at yahoo dot com.  If you have a blog I will be happy to link to you on Mondays.  If you have a shop I would love to hear from you and see if I can’t send some business your way.


I would like to present you with a challenge: For each item you see this holiday season that you are tempted to buy, whether a gag gift or maybe something over your budget, save that money and after Christmas come back and tell us in the comments what you plan to do with the money. Maybe you can save enough for a special weekend away with your family over New Year’s or you give it to charity or a needy friend or relative. Maybe you will pay down your mortgage or debts.


I am not immune, this challenge will help me stay on budget. While I hate shopping I am often tempted to buy more for the little ones than I have budgeted for.


Will you join me and accept the challenge to stay on budget this year?



49 thoughts on “You want me to buy what?

  1. Wow Lois…what an odd assortment of gift ideas. I’m sure the marketing departments of these companies put these weird gifts out on the market solely to have a good laugh at our expense! Seriously!? Shoe wine bottle holders!? That is seriously tacky indeed!

    It’s no wonder I just offer a warm handshake or kiss on the cheek for Christmas. It’s cheaper, means more and is better appreciated. Although those LED skull gloves look cool :)

    Thanks again Lois and take care.



    • Lyle, just wait to see the items I have left to show you next week. They get worse! Some one has to get a laugh because I’m not laughing. These items take up limited natural resources to make, to ship, etc. We are so fortunate to live where we do that not only do we not need to worry where the next meal will come from we are working our butts off to throw away our money on stuff we don’t need and like you said is tacky. Can you imagine what the people trying to provide for their family the basic necessities must think of us?

      I like your Christmas gifts, a kiss or handshake. You are right I would appreciate that much more than any gift. What makes Christmas special for me each year is the opportunity to have my children and grandchildren visit me. I don’t need anything but them.

      I’ll make sure a pair of those gloves reaches you soon. :-)


  2. I too am still shaking my head at those shoes! and their uses!…. Crazy some gifts and how useless are some of them… Staying in budget for Christmas,,, I know strange as I too was thinking Oct now here, and each year I promise to space out the Christmas shopping gift list so that I do not have that last 2 week mad rush to select items for family and friends…
    This year I am hoping to do better…. this is my own set challenge :-)


    • Sue, I know you can accomplish your goal and have your shopping done early. I have faith in you. I have always tended to shop early, winter was always hard for me to get around and I don’t like the cold. Getting all the shopping done before the snow fell was easier for me.

      Aren’t those shoes tacky? Who really wants all that stuff sitting around? If you want a charging station make one from a shoe box, or anther small (free) box. They can be attractive and can charge more than one phone as well. Personally, I don’t see the point in buying a bunch of stuff to go with the phone. I keep my charger in a drawer and plug it in when needed, putting it back when done. Why would I want a bunch of accessories sitting around?


  3. Hmmm… Wasn’t it PT Barnum who once said that no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American people?

    CatMan loves to tell stories of the incredible things he’s seen people buy. When he was a kid he spent a summer working at a rock/mineral/jewelry shop in a little mountain tourist town. At the time there was a “crackled marble” earring craze. Basically, people took regular children’s marbles, heated them up, then tossed them in ice water and they would crack internally forming interesting patterns. You’d then glue the marbles to a setting and attach them to earring wires and viola, you had a pair of dangling crackled marble earrings!

    Well, apparently the company they were buying the marbles from sent them some free samples of other sizes of marbles, two of which were the size of softballs. So as a joke, they crackled the enormous marbles and made a pair of earrings out of them. Of course they were WAY too heavy to be worn, but sure enough, someone snapped them up the first day they put them on display!


    • Cat, I remember the cracked marble craze and see it’s coming back again, I wonder what in the world the people ever did with those huge earrings. Don’t forget also the pet rocks that were all the fad. I’m not sure who said that, I’ll take your word it was P.T. Barnum but how true. I can’t tell you how many people say they can’t wait till their day off to head to the mall, when asked for what, they have no idea. They just want to spend some money. My sister is the queen of the dollar stores. She has to go in everyone she drives by and comes out with bags of stuff. She will proudly show off her finds remarking how it was only a dollar, then put them in her attic for someday when she might need it….and promptly forgets what is there. Only to repeat the process several times a week. I swear I was adopted.


    • Heidi, I thought if anyone could answer that it would be you after the experiences you’ve had with the ducks. :-) I have never understood it either, why do you work to earn money then throw it away on this junk? If you can’t come up with something better than a gag gift that doesn’t say much for your relationship with that person.


      • I guess I was forgetting about the ugly gift exchange – but those generally are a result of raffle table winnings (and the raffle tickets are a charity thing). Maybe that makes me feel better about the whole thing. That, and we know that the gifts will continue to circulate amongst the regular victims. :)


        • I was joking with you. I knew the proceeds were for charity and it does sound like a lot of fun. I love when you share how you and your friends try to sneak and hide the ducks around the “victim’s” homes. :-)


  4. I always get a kick out of what people dream up. I’m making my gifts this year as well except for the books I give. I’ll do a book bag with a nighty and a book for the nieces and something practical for the rest. I have a book list on Amazon and need nothing else. I hate and had to stop the chachki gifts that had to be dusted or stuff somewhere. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with on Mondays.


    • Marlene, I had planned to make all my gifts this year, but time got away from me this summer. That said, I will still get a few finished in time. Any thing bought will be used or handmade by someone else. As the weeks pass and I finish up a few of my gifts I will show them to you.

      Ah, the wonderful Amazon wishlist. I too have books on there I can’t find at the library, and was asked today what I wanted this year. I drew a blank. My life feels right as it is, I don’t need my children spending their money on me. I’ve been fortunate that most people avoid giving me knick knacks for gifts, they would have to find a new home because I’m done storing them to pull out when the giver visits.

      Thank you, I haven’t thought too far into the Monday posts, which means I am still working them out. I would love to share pictures of some of what you have made to give the other readers and example of a gift worth giving if you are interested.


    • Alex, it amazes me too. All we hear around us is how hard things are financially for the average person. Prices of the basics are still rising, and then people buy this stuff? Glad you are going to join in the challenge, Alex.


  5. I used to receive feet worth of catalogues. That has now trickled down to a few – mostly because of the internet and online shopping I assume. But I am with you on the total ridiculousness of the products offered for sale. It is an indication of how twisted our consumer culture has become – camo printed toilette paper????? Made me laugh right out loud.

    I used to be obsessed with “decorating” for the holidays and had (and inherited) many unnecessary holiday themed objects. I have de-cluttered a lot of them and will continue to do so. Just too much trouble to put so much pressure on yourself during a season that should be more introspective and pray-filled.

    This should be a fun series of posts!


    • Elaine, this particular catalog I began receiving my neighbor asked me to order a gift for her hubby and have it mailed to me so she could surprise him last Christmas. It is the only one I’ve received in a couple of years and need to find a way to get off their mailing list. Just wait until you see the rest of the ridiculous items I still have to show you next week, what a terrible waste of resources to make this stuff.

      I too went overboard for a few years on the decorations. I never had the happy family holidays growing up and wanted to make Christmas extra special for my boys. I didn’t have a lot of money for expensive gifts, so put the time into the house and having lots of people over to celebrate over the course of Christmas week. We’d have family day on Christmas, friends on Christmas eve, and even the day after Christmas we entertained neighbors. I wanted my boys to know the holidays were about people and sharing love, not present. I think I burned out by the time the boys were in their teens and just went with simple decor instead. We still entertained, but I was more sane. :-)

      I hope you enjoy the Christmas series. It was a spur of the moment thought, I thought it would be fun to give it a try.


  6. I agree with everything, utterly ridiculous – except the dash mat.
    For a lot less than that price I got a pack of two and gave my daughter one. The other is extremely useful to me personally, not just for my phone but for small items that would otherwise be loose and most especially for the tickets when I am in a car park – but maybe all the parking in the US is free? Here, you get a ticket when you enter and have to redeem it before you can leave and there is never anywhere to put it while you drive to the barrier… so for me, a very useful gadget (and I have no horizontal shelf at the front of my car, I should say – on my last car I used a folded microfibre cloth just laid on the horizontal shelf, and that acted as a non-slip catch-all!).


    • Swiss Rose, I thought I might be stretching it with the dash mat. No, not all parking is free here, but you can avoid the paid parking in most areas where I live. I so rarely have a parking stub that one time I slid one in my purse between a metal closure so I wouldn’t lose it while on a toll road. The guy in the ticket booth was so angry, the magnet had erased the information on the ticket. Hey I didn’t see any warnings? :-) My last car had a small compartment under the radio that would hold things like a ticket so I never worried about it, plus there was the cup holder next to me.


  7. Oh no – I have a (shocking to you) shoe post queued for Thursday!! But I don’t like them enough that I would buy knick knacks shaped like them!! I don’t have any Christmas themed stuff, except for some ornaments and a small inflatable tree. It’s more than enough – like you, I think ‘that’s so single use’ that I pass over them (no matter how much I love them). I can’t believe the novelty toliet paper!! But there’s a market for gag gifts, esp when there’s not a good priced gift that will be appreciated…


    • Sarah, I will look for your Thursday shoe post. At least you don’t have the knick knacks of shoes all around your house. :-) I prefer to give a gift, but if I can’t find something appropriate I will invite the person out to lunch (my treat) as their gift or even give them cash if appropriate before giving a gag gift. Isn’t that toilet paper something? I can’t believe people pay $10 for 3 rolls of paper to wipe their butt!


  8. I totally accept the challenge :-) Things will be difficult enough while living on only the wages of my fiancé now, and (cheap, but still) wedding near.

    It would be awesome if you could link to my webshop, but only if you think it is appropriate for your blog. :)


    • Alynia, I’m glad you are going to join me in the challenge to stay on (or below budget). Can I safely assume any extra you save will go towards your wedding? When is your wedding? I will most definitely link to your shop, love it!


      • Yes, what we safe will probably go there – or, since we are trying to get pregnant too, to the baby ;-)

        We will marry on next February 10th, so we will have to make some costs for the wedding already probably. On the other hand, one of my mother’s friends can sew really well, and she is going to help me with the dress in a way that will not cost much at all =D


        • A wedding and a baby, congratulations and good luck. My youngest son and his wife wanted a honeymoon baby, she became pregnant (best guess) just days before the wedding. It was a lovely surprise for them when they got the news. I think it is wonderful you have someone who can help you make your dress, not only will it save you money but that dress will be that much more special knowing it was hand made by you and a friend of your family.


          • Me too, Alynia. I have such a wonderful group of people around me. Neighbors help each other out regularly. One provides most of our gardening tools, we share kitchen appliances, and knowledge often. The internet relationships I’ve made are an added bonus.


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