Gift ideas for the hard-to-buy-for

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Some people suck when it comes to buying gifts for them. There are those who have everything and those who don’t want anything.

Sure, gift cards and cash work, but such lazy, easy-way-out options are for those who are devoid of creativity and aren’t worried about exhibiting the null set in the thoughtfulness department.

Take the higher road: The following suggestions are guaranteed to work for these types of toughies, but also for any "white elephant," "Yankee swap" or "nasty Christmas" gift exchange.

If genuine satisfaction isn’t a factor, a photograph of one’s self cannot be trumped: What are they going to say? They don’t like it? Self-portraits are easily mass-produced and can be distributed liberally.

Pole-vaulting poles and jousting lances are novel, but these are most conveniently stored by those who live in trailers.

Pets are often discouraged as gifts, but that’s because people usually give dumb animals, like dogs or rabbits: But if one wishes to be revered through New Year’s, one might give a "sugar glider," perhaps the strangest creature on Earth.

And if a nocturnal, flying-squirrel-like beastie isn’t the right fit, win big points with a low-maintenance, pet walking stick.
Nobody really knows where Sri Lanka is, so give the world by giving a globe.

There’s nothing cooler than a scorpion entombed as a paperweight, except for a baby great white shark sealed in a jar of formaldehyde.

Strangely colored ceramic livestock seems to be making a comeback … finally. Such pieces are especially conducive to naming: The bull in the photo is "Fu Man Chu."

And a new BB gun with a bag of plastic Army figures (which is not a political statement) yields hours of entertainment outdoors. Slingshots are fun, too, but accuracy and ammunition can be problematic.

Foucault pendulums are fancy but are rather high maintenance; and high ceilings are prerequisite.

Speaking of ceilings, find a taxidermist and hire him or her to stuff a cat and request that it is straight-legged. Mount the stuffed cat upside-down on that hard-to-buy-for person’s ceiling. (This works especially well in vehicles.)

Ah, Aerobie, perhaps the best thing ever invented … it flies 100 miles farther than any Frisbee, but is, admittedly, a better summertime gift.

Why do we always forget about Lite Brite, Fun Dip, Big League Chew and kaleidoscopes?

Fire extinguishers are smart, but a weird wig is much more stimulating.

Begin a relentless tradition: Each year, without mercy, buy him or her a nutcracker.

Look on eBay for Loopin’ Louie, which is without question, the greatest "board game" ever made.

A drink mixer (aka "milkshake maker") never fails, particularly as a wedding present.

Two life-changing children’s books that are absolute musts: THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH (1961) by Norton Juster and THAT DOG! (1983) by Nanette Newman. (If a kid doesn’t have these literary necessities, the parents have failed.)

Oh, and a couple of bottles of all-purpose Hershey’s Syrup are invariably useful.

And if one tends to be a prankster (or simply isn’t fond of this hard-to-buy-for person), one could build a small, wooden Trojan horse and fill it with termites.

Photos credit: Jason Pyles
cut-lines options:

for "money shot" photo and "menagerie" photo:
   A menagerie of gift ideas for that hard-to-buy-for person

for "scorpion closeup" photo:
   The Han Solo of arachnids, with "Fu Man Chu" in the background