Christmas is a time for joy.
But sadly, I can’t trust you people not to take my joy away by making the wrong decision when it comes to Christmas gifts.
I’ve seen firsthand what an unacceptable gift can do to the holidays. When I was twelve, I bounded down the stairs Christmas morning to find a brand spankin’ new … mattress.
That’s it. Just a mattress, propped up against the fireplace. They didn’t even have the decency to include a box springs along with it.
(My parents have a sick sense of humor, giving an unsuspecting preteen a large, thick pad filled with resilient material and coiled metal on the most exhilarating, hope-filled morning of the year. Just sick. I hadn’t asked for a mattress, nor had I ever even considered the fact that a mattress could pass as any sort of suitable gift. In fact, what did anyone even need with a mattress at all? At that point in my life, I would’ve gladly slept on the kitchen counter using a dishrag for a blanket if it meant I would’ve been able to get a motorized scooter instead.
After they got their jollies from, first, the look of utter, unadulterated grief on my crestfallen face, then the look of blind outrage burning deep in my retinas, they finally brought out the real presents from their bedroom, chuckling to themselves the entire way to and from my mom’s closet. But it was too late; the damage had already been done. Coincidentally, that following year I bought my mom a Snickers bar for her birthday. And it was a day late. Probably the result of some latent resentment festering in my subconscious. Tit for tat, Trudy. Tit for tat.)
Anyway, my entire holiday season that year, and every year after, was tainted by that calamitous memory. I still shudder every time I pass a Mattress Firm.
So, with my vast experience of giving and receiving highly intolerable gifts, I feel the need to put out a few preemptive paragraphs surrounding the issue, before it’s too late. Moreover, since most of you reading this are sports fanatics, that adds an even graver element of risk—there’s no telling what’s going through a sports fanatic’s unbalanced mind at any given moment. Case in point: if you can spend eleven hours straight on a Saturday watching grown men gallivant around on an enclosed rectangle of artificial grass while you scream at inanimate objects and pound your clenched fist into the air and/or the other dudes around you and drink enough cheap beer to put you in a coma, then I’d venture to assume you lack the skilled discretion necessary for successful gift-making decisions.
For this reason, I’ve compiled a Holiday Sports Gift Guide for your convenience. All of the below gifts are real items that have been pulled from actual sports gift websites.
Warning: This is not your typical Gift Guide. Do not come here looking for creative, unique, sports-related Christmas present ideas. Anyone can do that. We have enough of that in this world. What we don’t have is a handy list of things that will absolutely not be tolerated this gift-giving season–which is where I come in.
With that said, men, you shouldn’t be asking for any of the below items. And ladies, your role is to not be the enabler: you shouldn’t be buying the men in your lives any of the following, nor should you condone the exchange of any of these items between your man and his friends (should they so bravely choose to engage in a (totally heterosexual) BroManDude gift swap). If on the off-chance one of you doesn’t heed my warnings, resulting in one of the below items sitting under your Christmas tree, silently mocking me and everyone else who encounters it, immediately return it to wherever it came from and try never to speak of it again.
So, here we go:
Sports-themed flip flops.
If you’ve ever had so much as a seven-minute conversation with me before, then you know I don’t tolerate these.
If you think these sandals are appropriate, you’re wrong. If you are wearing these sandals while reading this, you’re wrong again. These are not a reasonable choice in footwear.
And please, save your arguments. I get that they might be comfortable. I get that they might be convenient for the active, sporty man, going to and from his sports practices. I get that they might make you feel like Shaquille O’Neal. But what about the way they make me feel?
Honestly, the real danger with them is that they will probably be worn with tall socks. The only people who can wear these sandals with tall socks are black people—particularly ones who get paid millions of dollars to dribble a basketball up and down a court—simply because they already love to wear this and, from what I can tell, there is no way of stopping them now.
See? No stoppin’ ’em.
Urban Dictionary defines “Socks and Sandals” (yes, it is apparently a definable term) as: “The gangsta way for wearing sandals.”
I define it as: “The impolite, obscene and highly offensive way for you to get away with wearing glorified slippers disguised as footwear.”
It is resigned apathy in the form of Velcro and a rubber sole.
It’s like you just gave up.
It’s not too late for you…please, don’t give up.
Chips and Dip Football Helmet
This gift is telling you to take an ugly football helmet, fill it with some sort of cholesterol-raising, artery-blocking substance like queso, then place it haphazardly in the middle of your wife’s Pier 1 Imports Boss Mahogany coffee table. This gift is the embodiment of all that is wrong with America. Not only is this encouraging unhealthy eating habits, but we are now saying it’s acceptable to incorporate obnoxious sports paraphernalia into our everyday necessities, such as serving dishes and other essential kitchen utensils. As a general rule, football helmets should stay on the large, greasy heads of barbarian meathead football players and out of the décor color-scheme your wife or girlfriend worked so hard to design.
Foamhead hats (team doesn’t matter)
You can’t just make everything into a hat.
You just can’t do it.
Some things are simply meant to remain on tables or shelves, not absurdly perched atop your skull. And a foam mascot is indubitably one of those things.
Single Beer Holster
If you publicly wear this beer holster strapped to the right side of your body, then I can confidently assume that there’s a Velcro cellphone holster strapped to your belt-loop on the left side.
And we all know what kind of a person wears a Velcro cellphone holster.
Although, the silver lining here is that if you do decide to wear this beer holster, you’re telling the world that you possess the admirable quality of dedication. I mean, this thing is solidly strapped to your thigh, visibly. By fastening those sturdy straps, you are dedicating your entire upper leg to being a vehicle for a Bud Light bottle while also dedicating your entire reputation to being “That Guy” who has a Bud Light bottle strapped to his thigh.
6-Pack Beer Holster
The only thing worse than a single beer holster strapped around your upper thigh is a 6-pack beer holster strapped around your waist. Ladies, I know it may be tempting to provide your man with a contraption that allows him to wander around a football tailgate armed with enough beers to guarantee you won’t have to see him for at least a couple hours, thus sparing you from having to witness him drunkenly shove hotdogs into his mouth while he gives you his riveting commentary on game stats from seven years ago.
Yes, I can definitely see the appeal there.
However, the only other person I’ve ever seen sport a beer fanny-pack is my Uncle Sammy. Uncle Sammy buffs cars at red lights for a living (unsolicited by the driver, mind you), and his hair is enviably longer than mine. He also has fake teeth that he occasionally will drop out to expose his naked gums; he refers to this move as his “conversation-starter.”
So, let’s just keep the beer in the cooler where it belongs.
A Fathead of any player or team.
I recently discovered that these existed. My initial thoughts:
Fatheads are terrifying.
Why are there such things in the world as fatheads?
Why do we have to call them fatheads?
And, once more for good measure, fatheads are terrifying.
If used correctly, I suppose I could see the appeal: a life-size Tom Brady wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen to my bedroom. But a life-size Dennis Rodman can’t be good for anyone to wake up to in the mornings.
Also, is it acceptable for grown men who are “straight” to have life-size images of other grown men hanging on their walls? I’m just not sure.
And while I’m on the subject, let me also make it clear to you, men, that you are not to have this sort of fathead on your bedroom wall either:
The absolute only exception in the case of fatheads is if I choose to put this on my wall, dangerously close to my bed:
(Yes, I know this isn’t a fathead. I also know that these aren’t even real football players. But it gets the job done, and I’m the one writing this column, so the body-hairless men in tight pants and exposed boxer-briefs will stay, damnit.)
This list doesn’t even begin to encompass all of the potential disastrous sporty gifts floating around out there. If I missed something, or if you’re ever unsure about a certain item you’ve been eyeing this season, please do not hesitate to ask me.
I’ll leave you guys with the one and only item on my mom Trudy’s Christmas Wish List this year: