Welcome to Gift Guide Week at Gawker, where we instruct on how best to fritter away your hard-won dollars on meaningless tokens of consumerism, because a bastard baby was born in a pile of hay on a clear night 2000 years ago. Let's start with the people you want to cross off your shopping list: people you hate.
As is true of all religious and family-oriented events, the passive-aggressive landmines are numerous, particularly if yours is the type of family that sits in a circle opening gifts one by one, while Grandma takes pictures of everyone's reaction faces. Here's a guide to the gifts we use to undermine each other, with a wink and a nudge.
The easiest and most obvious way to tell a loved one that he is living his life wrong. Bonus hate points if it's a diet book. Double-dip hate bonus with a sugar-free cherry on top if it's part of the humiliating "Hungry Girl" series. Hungry Girl Supermarket Survival: $10.39 [Amazon]
Goes Great With: Work-out videos.
Extraordinary Hair Removal Devices
A fancy shaving kit is one thing. A back shaver, nose-hair trimmer, or ladies' depilatory mustache remover is quite another. These are the hairs we do not speak of.
Goes Great With: Crest White Strips.
Judgmental Magazine Subscriptions
For the single lady: Brides magazine with a note saying, "After all these years supporting Rex through med school, I have a feeling this will be your year!" Brides: $16.95/year [Brides]
For the single lady whose Brides subscription just ran out: Cat Fancy with a note saying, "You were too good for Rex, anyway. Here's to the loyal men in your life: Mr. Boots and Lord Whiskerston." Cat Fancy: $13/year [Cat Fancy]
Goes Great With: Alumni magazine from college she wishes she went to.
Dating Site Subscriptions
Belonging to a dating service is not a bad thing. Telling someone else to belong to a dating service, however, can be. Particularly if the chosen dating service has an underlying message about the recipient's personal deficits and/or dating choices. The Gift of J-Date: $24.99-$39.99/month [J-Date]
Goes Great With: J-Date for your Jewish nephew who just proposed to a gentile.
Video Fitness Games
Recipient's internal monologue: "Oh, so you think I'm fat? And too lazy to do anything but play video games? A fat, lazy gamer who can't get out of the house long enough to move my legs, without animated stars and patronizing sound effects to motivate me? Yeah, well— oh— oh, this is pretty fun— wait, there's Lady Gaga dance mix extension pack? OK, fine, this a pretty good gift, but I am so not kissing you at midnight on New Year's, even if I am super fit and sexy by then, because of this gift set." Wii Fit Plus: $99.99 [Best Buy]
Goes Great With: Ab belt.
Books from Junior High Reading Lists
There's no better way to say "You're an illiterate ignoramus" than the gift of a book that every 9th grader in America reads. If you're feeling feisty, go for an abridged illustrated edition. The Last of the Mohicans: $7.55 [Great Illustrated Classics]
Goes Great With: Anything from the "for Dummies" series.
This only works for someone you don't know, but see regularly. Workplace Secret Santa, for instance. The recipient will be left wondering, "Does she smoke crack? Does she think I smoke crack? Does she think I should smoke crack? Is everyone else smoking crack, and I just don't know it?" Tinfoil, stolen from office kitchen: Free [image via TMZ]
Goes Great With: Tinfoil hat.
Did we forget your favorite undermining gift? What's the worst crap your passive-aggressive Aunt Edna ever gave you? Guide us, gifted commenters.