What a Grooovy Gift—The Best of Unusual Presents | The Best of Unusual and Quirky Holiday Presents


Need an unusual gift? How about a quarter hour with an Irish wolfhound? (Illustration by Kate Larson)

Ever since that frosty December morning Bernie gifted Bridget a Tang-colored sunrise in the Berkshires for HanuChristmas, human beings have searched for that special, one-of-a-kind holiday bestowment for their beloved. I have a few suggestions myself—some real, some that I wish were real, and some that with elaborate planning and ridiculous resolve could perhaps be made real.

Who Doesn’t Need Grandma?

I know there are real rent-a-grandma businesses out there, but they all involve babysitting and cooking for the kiddies. What I’m talking about are gram-gram benefits for the life-worn or the middle-aged-to-older person.

Let’s say for a monthly premium of $300 your gift recipient would receive periodic goodies and notes of sweet encouragement from one’s own rented babushka. You may be pushing the age limit yourself, but you still need care packages of home-baked chocolate chip cookies, don’t you? And what about that stick of Doublemint gum and a whole quarter taped inside a birthday card and delivered  to your mailbox?

Oh, the warm glow. And yes, you have been a good boy or girl, and yes, you have eaten all your vegetables, and yes, you promise to give your grammie a kiss on the cheek the next time you see her, which will be scheduled four times a year at a location convenient to you!

So dust off those checkers or that game of Stratego—your own rent-a-grandma and a home-cooked meal of chicken paprikash and dumplings await you.

Nifty Cat Clothing

I have viewed hundreds of internet photos of cats wearing crocheted sweaters and nearly every cat has this “Have you lost your mind?” look on its face. Oh, here’s a good one: two cats. One has a sweater, the other one does not. The sweaterless cat looks all smug and pleased with itself. The cat with the sweater is looking at the camera with wide, horror-stricken eyes, mewing “Why? Why?!!!” Imagine the fun you’ll have as you watch your own feline friend try to escape his stretchy little prison. If you crochet, this gift is a snap.

A Quick Romp with an Irish Wolfhound

For $75 you can have 15 minutes of super-sized canine fame and adventure and leave the mess behind. Roughly the size of a city bus, Irish Wolfhounds are “gentle when stroked; fierce when provoked,” as the old Irish proverb says. These Irish Wolfhounds symbolize honor, fidelity, and huge food and vet bills to the people of Ireland. Once bred to serve only royalty, this giant can give you a royal romp through the swamp chasing down an elk, Sasquatch, or rubber ball for 15 minutes—and then you get to go home. Don’t forget your camera.

What Kind of Earth?

I have a bag of diatomaceous earth in my kitchen. It’s been there for quite some time and I’m thinking of giving away batches of it as Christmas presents. I could give scoops of it inside pieces of the colorful handmade ceramic ware that has also been mysteriously accumulating in my central parlor. 

What is diatomaceous earth good for? Mommypotamus.com says there are “15 Uses For Diatomaceous Earth,” from deodorant, toothpaste, and garbage-can deodorizer to facial scrub and cockroach control.

I think I’m going to give the editors and staff of The Iowa Source each a batch of diatomaceous earth for Christmas. I can just hear it now.

“What’s this, Rustin?”  “Oh, it’s organic deodorant!” 

“What’s this, Rustin?” “Oh, it’s a really neat organic toothpaste!” 

“What’s this, Rustin?” “Something really groovy!” 

Here’s wishing you the best in unique holiday gifting.