This blog post is not sponsored by anyone. It seems like half the blogs in my reader are doing sponsored posts half the time these days, and as much as I'd like a little more pocket money I am glad I decided to stop doing those. I hated bending over backward to avoid looking like a total sellout (which only made me look a sellout stuck in some stupid yoga pose). Sponsored posts pay really well (which is why it is so hard to turn them down). Whatever. It's just unfortunate that the toy store doesn't accept smugness as a form of currency. Looks like I'll be whittling the Christmas presents this year.
Another bit of meta-nonsense you probably don't care about: some time ago I ended up on all these mommyblogger e-mail lists and I get at least 200 e-mails a day addressed "Dear Mom Blogger." I always respond like this:
Dear [marketer who just called me a mom],
I have a penis.
This has had little effect on the number of these e-mails I get every day, but it does make me happy to know I've made all those marketing drones think about my penis. One time some marketer from a sex store in Berkeley offered me a free "mommy's playdate with vibrator demonstrations, cocktails, cupcakes, complimentary goodie bags and the chance to win a sexy starter kit!" This was my response:
Dear [marketer who just invited me to a playdate with vibrators],
Consider this my RSVP for the upcoming Mommy Playdate.
BTW, I have a penis (hope that's okay!).
I was sadly dis-invited to the mommy vibrator playdate. Stupid penis: I really wanted to attend that "after-hours mixer with like-minded moms who want to put the spice back in their sex lives." The marketer was a peach though; she still let me enter the drawing for the sexy starter kit (didn't win, sad trombone).
These marketing e-mails get really bad this time of year, with dozens arriving every day to suggest items for my holiday gift guide. I didn't even realize I was planning to write a holiday gift guide! I am probably the least qualified person on earth to write a gift guide. I hate pretty much everything. Do these marketers really think I am going to put something on a gift guide because they sent me an annoying e-mail about it? I wouldn't torture Al Qaeda operatives with your CGI Chipmunk Blu-Ray Release, assholes. I don't even understand what a Blu-Ray is. Is it like X-Box but not just for porn? Clearly, none of these marketers remember that I subscribe to the The Sacajawea Theory of parenting. A few years ago I decided I would never buy (or recommend that anyone else buy) anything that I learned about from an annoying, unsolicited e-mail. Happily, that means I basically don't have to buy anything ever. I began to wonder what a gift guide put together by me would actually look like, and realized there were only about six things in the world I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone.
Six Christmas Gifts Recommended by a Skinflint Erstwhile Stay-at-Home Dad Curmudgeon Who Hates Gifts
1. Grandpa's Wonder Pine Tar Soap
2. Vintage Old Spice Gift Set
I don't really shave, but I totally might if my kids were able to score me a sweet vintage Old Spice box set on eBay. Sure, you can still get these new at any Walgreens, but Old Spice aftershave---like a Grand cru Burgundy---only improves with age. Plus the old ones came with soap-on-a-rope. SOAP ON A FUCKING ROPE. See also: English Leather.
3. Filson Merino Wool Socks
There are few objects in this world I love as much as my Filson socks. They are expensive (about $20 a pair) but worth twice that. They do everything a good wool sock should do: they keep your feet warm, they soak up sweat without making your feet stink, and they never shrink in the wash. I've had mine for years and wear them year round (the lighter weight in the summer and the medium in the winter). Made in the USA.
5. Union Suit
In the olden times, men would wear the same union suit continuously all winter long, performing all necessary bodily functions through the conveniently-placed holes. The ones that started out undyed were usually a yellowish-orange by April. I think that's why they started making many of them red.
The gift of a union suit is basically a wife's way of saying, "Honey, I love you no matter what."
6. Das Boot
I was going to recommend actual boots (because no man over the age of 30 should wear sneakers unless he is actively participating in some kind of athletic contest), but I thought I should have at least one extravagant item on this list. You can get a glass boot on eBay for like $5.99, but the real gift is when you deliver it to your man full of Bitburger while wearing a dirndl. Dankeschön, honey!