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Friday, December 5, 2014

A Very Target Christmas: Gifts That'll Wreck Your Holiday

Posted By on Fri, Dec 5, 2014 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge DAVID L. GARCIA
  • David L. Garcia

Mom and pop shops have their place, but cut the crap; everybody secretly loves the cheap, simple, comforting experience of going to Target. As a kid from the 'burbs, I remember calling friends on lazy summer mornings, asking if they wanted to meet at Target, as if it were an enormous clubhouse with an odd red and white color scheme. As a kid in college, Target is a gift, a place where the $15 dollars I could have spent on one meal at Super Duper Burger will provide snackage for most of the week. When the Target on Masonic (at Geary) had its grand opening last year, cheery USF students flocked to that thing like moths to a flame. "The Target's open, the Target's open!"

That said, there's plenty to hate about shopping at Targét. The clothes are usually forgettable (ever accidentally buy a pair of One-Star Converse?), and it's probably not a good idea to buy anything that looks on trend, because you'll see three people wearing the exact same thing on the bus ride home. That fresh-food section they're always bragging about offers a selection that rivals a medium-sized convenience store, and the employees always seem to offer the most polarized customer service possible. You'll either get the guy who every 10 minutes is asking you if you've found what you're looking for, or that one idiot unpacking boxes of macaroni and cheese who has no idea what hummus is, let alone where you can find it in the store.

Wandering around City Target a couple of days before Thanksgiving, I realized the incredible lows the store sinks to around the holidays. The big red-and-green displays, the toys at children's eye level, the lights, the candy, the inevitable variants on Santa Hats and candy canes, the endless rows of cards, boxes, bags, and wrapping paper, sentiment dripping down on you like maple syrup — cheesy doesn't even begin to cover it. The schlock Target is hawking right now is truly ridiculous.

I wandered through the aisles as if in a sort of Christmasy fever dream. There's so much there that you could put on your own Target Christmas, a new holiday, full of pointless decorations, made-up traditions, and lame jokes — a holiday that splits the difference between a spiral cut ham and an ABC Family Original Movie.

Want to have your own Target Christmas? Here are some things you'll definitely need. 

Ironic Ornaments ($4.00-6.00)
  • David L. Garcia
Why would't you want your tree (which is already not the evergreen masterpiece you envisioned on Black Friday) covered in wacky, pop-culture ornaments? The thing's already being strangled by lights and leaning at a concerning angle. Why not make it look tackier? These ornaments should do the trick.

Look, I understand the appeal of putting the Batman logo, or a Cat In The Hat bust, or a miniature bottle of champagne on your tree. They're cute, fun, totally you, whatever. But a fire hydrant? A salted pretzel? A frying pan of eggs and bacon? (You could make the argument that they're for businesses, but a diner is gonna have a hard time finding any other breakfast food ornaments, and I doubt that the veterinary offices hanging that hydrant make up a huge part of Target's demographic.) Who in their right mind is going to hang up a travel coffee mug ornament? Yeah, no one.

Ginger Bread House Kit ($9.99)
click to enlarge img_0945.jpg
No. Not this year. I'm not going to be a pawn in your game anymore, Gingerbread House Kit. What do you take me for? A third grader? I know it will look nothing like the picture on the box. I know that I'm probably going to run out of frosting cement just as I'm trying to put the roof on. I know that my fingers are going to slowly get more and more sticky, making the construction less and less precise. I know that I'm not gonna eat the damn thing once its assembled, because I just spent two hours putting the thing together. I know that the candy bits I'm going to pull off it the day after Christmas will be stale, and I know that I'm just going to throw the thing out sometime in January.

Ten bucks? Screw you, you sugary cardboard.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Adhesive Bandages ($1.00)
click to enlarge DAVID L. GARCIA
  • David L. Garcia
I suppose this is something of a steal, especially compared to the Frozen adhesive bandages, which are going for eight bucks a box! Got an extra dollar? These'll go great with a tube of Abominable Snowman chapstick.

Christmas Themed Alcohol Paraphernalia ($4.00-6.00)
  • David L. Garcia
For the record, there's very little chance of an actual alcoholic using any of these things. They not going to waste time being ironic. That said, if you'd like to pretend you're a lonely older relative who's chosen Christmas dinner as the appropriate moment to fall off the wagon, why not invest in one of these? That adorable bottle sweater, the knit one that says "Santa's Helper," is sure to make getting plastered at your grandma's house seem cute.

The dumbest one of the bunch is the flask, mainly because flasks, in their normal state, are actually pretty cool. Add a Christmas Light design, and all of that suave mystery disappears. If you're the type of person who uses a flask, you are not going to go to the trouble of coordinating your flask to the season. Get Lit!

Mini Tree Skirts ($8.00)
  • David L. Garcia
The word basic gets tossed around a lot these days, as if the idea of being a basic bitch is some novel idea. I feel like if we were living in the Jazz Age, we could use the same word to describe those mini sequined tree skirts. Pretty basic, Daisy Bucchanan.

That pink cheetah stripe needs no explanation. Ugh.

Prank Gift Box ($4.00-5.00)
click to enlarge DAVID L. GARCIA
  • David L. Garcia
This is just a huge waste of money, more than anything. You put your present in one of these boxes, and you trick your loved one into thinking you bought them a ridiculously bad gift. That's it. The punchline lasts for about 20 seconds.

You're also never going to be able to use the Prank Box again, because everyone in the room watching your brother unwrap a Crib Dribbler, or the Pet Sweep, or Extreme Chores (the video game!) will be in on the joke next year. 

There's also a selection of prank gift card holders. Please don't give someone one of those and a prank box. Know your limits.

Ho Ho Ho Santa Beard Card ($8.00)
click to enlarge DAVID L. GARCIA
  • David L. Garcia
This card is creepy. I mean, just look at it. It gives you chills. Jeez.

Ugly Sweater Kit ($5.00)
  • David L. Garcia
I think this dude is smiling so much because he just gave someone a present inside a Crib Dribbler Prank Box.

Party Awards ($4.00)

click to enlarge img_0977.jpg
This is the Campbell's Condensed Chicken Noodle of party games. It's easy to prepare and very few people are going to complain if you have it. This doesn't mean its what you should have at your next party.Its like your admitting that you're not capable of any real creativity. You have to buy it prepackaged at Target.

Maybe I'm being cynical. Still, can someone explain to me which is a better award to receive? "Just Too Pretty" or "Still Pretty Ugly"? Which is the runner up award? I guess it doesn't matter. Your winners are probably going to throw them away around the same time the tree comes down.

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David L. Garcia

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