Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? No? What’s wrong with you? The World Series is finished. Halloween is done. Thanksgiving is already planned. Costco has had fully lighted trees displayed since mid-September. In less than eight weeks you’re going to be throwing away gift wrapping that litters the living room floor. It’s time to get with it.

As a public service, I’ve done extensive research to help you in selecting presents for friends and family. Some may be gender specific, others not so much. The Blume Doll probably skews toward young lasses. It comes in a flowerpot. You water it (using the enclosed watering can). The doll magically grows (there are many different varieties each with different clothes and hairstyles), the pot becomes its home, and there are sticker sheets and fashion accessories available.

To get your kids started early on becoming dot-com gazillionaires, try Artie 3000 the Coding Robot. Artie is a Wi-Fi-enabled bot that draws lines from code designed by the user. Don’t pretend to understand how it works. Your average 7-year-old will show you how to operate the thing. A kissin’ cousin of Artie is Code ’n Learn Kinderbot. It’s for preschoolers to make you feel even more computer illiterate.

For teenage girls, clothes and electronics are always in vogue. Could be a hoodie sweatshirt with pockets (very large and loose-fitting), a glow-in-the-dark constellation blanket, an Apple iPad, an Echo Spot, a Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera, etc. Apparently, a set of six donuts wall art is also popular, as is make-up called Urban Decay Naked, and, I kid you not, Unicorn poop earrings. Oh, and a temporary tattoo kit.

Speaking of non-gender specific, that last one would probably work for teenage boys as well. Slightly different tats, to be sure. (I wonder if any of them say “Mom?”) Another popular item is a QCopter Green Drone Quadcopter. A Day of the Dead 40-inch skateboard is frighteningly colorful. A wireless speaker, Xbox (a must-have), table-top air-hockey game, peace sign neon lamp, a hammock chair, and a DIY guitar pick punch apparently would make the young males (and/or others) in the household quite happy.

For men, there’s a sleep aid device. It purports to teach the user how to fall asleep naturally. Freezable pint beer glasses would no doubt be welcome for the hops and barley lovers in the family. (And surely they can be used for any beverage really.) A Daddy Shark T-shirt would be good for grandfathers looking for a cool factor with their grandchildren. There’s a handy device you can attach to whatever you keep losing that allows you to track it down with your smartphone. (Problem is, where did you leave your phone?) For the hirsute, there’s the Official Beard Bib to catch the remains of a trim. How about a magnetic wristband for Mr. Fix-it? Strap it on and hold all the screws, nuts, nails, bolts, et al, you need. Indoor skydiving lessons are also available for the adventuresome. Personalized socks round out the well-dressed man. A wireless Bluetooth hat will add to his techno side. And a Playstation in a slim console version may really make his day.

For the ladies, when it’s time to put the boots away, there’s a new Ugg sneaker. There’s also a heart-shaped succulent plant comes in a ceramic pot and saucer. Best part for the green-thumb-challenged? It has a one-year guarantee. How about a hair dryer and volumizer hot air brush in one? Maybe earrings that send a message. Could be your name, or a phrase that suits your mood (I’ll leave that part up to your imagination). Abstract vases, garden nesting mixing bowls, capri pants suitable for working out or just hanging around. A yoga mat that locks into place. And you can never go wrong with an Apple Watch, airpods, or, especially for young moms, noise-cancelling headphones. An indoor smokeless air fryer/electric grill might be perfect for home chefs as well.

And for your politically incorrect friends, two items of note: A tree ornament with a picture of Donald Trump and “Make Christmas Great Again!” written on it. Or, one with “Dear Santa, please bring us a new President this Christmas. The one we have is broken,” as the message.

You’ll notice there are no price tags associated with these many fine suggestions. Some are quite reasonable, while others may mean nobody else gets any presents. Of course, this list just tickles the tip of the iceberg. But if you haven’t yet started your shopping, at least these might give you a few ideas. (By the way, if anyone should be so inclined, I’d like a new Macbook Pro please.)

Bill Lewis is a freelance writer in Marietta.

See more of his work at www.wordsmith-at-large.com.


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