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Harris Blackwood: Bad gifts abound this time of year
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

I know that it is important to be a cheerful giver, but I think being a cheerful receiver only carries over until the giver is out of sight.

There are just a few gifts on my list that I hope I don’t receive in this or any year.

For example, anything that includes the word “Chia,” as in “Chia-pet.” This year they have Chia-pets that are supposed to resemble members of the cast of “The Golden Girls” and President Donald Trump.

I am not going to say anything disparaging about the president’s hair, but replacing it with a green plant substance does not help.

I am also hoping not to receive any thing from Ronco. The company’s patriarch, Ron Popeil, brought us such wonderful things as the “Pocket Fisherman” and the ever-popular “Veg-a-matic.” I always did find his commercials amusing. Just when you thought he couldn’t include anything else, the announcer would intone, “But wait, that’s not all.”

More recently, Ronco has brought us things that will cook a turkey, make freeze-dried food or beef jerky.

I am also hoping for no beef jerky, homemade or otherwise.

I also get a little weary of boxes of assorted chocolates. I tend to select the one that is chocolate on the outside and has a pink gooey substance on the inside.

An interpretation of what is “good” plays into the holiday gift-giving season. One year, someone gave me a compact disc of music sung by somebody who sang at his or her church. If singing on pitch was measured in terms of an airport, this guy landed on the wrong runway.

When I was a kid, somebody made me a sock monkey. That is something you can keep around for just so many years. I don’t know where my sock monkey ended up, nor do I miss it.

We did have a relative who made a lot of things. We had to drag them out when she came to visit. My favorite was always the snowman, whose lower section served as a cover for an extra roll of toilet paper on the back of the commode.

We also had an artificial ball of mistletoe, which we hung in the opening between the living room and dining room. Back in the day when people would smoke inside the house, I always seemed to get a wet kiss that blended the enjoyable combination of bright red lipstick, cheap perfume and stale cigarette smoke. The woman using her thumb to rub the lipstick traces off my cheek followed this.

I guess the bottom line is that if you are considering any of these gifts for me, it’s OK. Don’t worry about it. I would rather that you use unspent Chia-pet money on someone more deserving.

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year and I hope you and your family enjoy it, bad gifts and all.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on