Edward Southerland: Back of the closet
Dec 23, 2016
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Some Christmas gifts are doomed to languish in the back of a dark closet, slowly working their way to the front of the shelf as gifts that are more recent go in behind them. Eventually they emerge onto the front row for a brief moment in the spotlight before moving on to garage sales and the “This week only! Any item only $.25—No returns or refunds!” table at the Goodwill.

The International Hall of Fame for “What could have possessed them?” Christmas Gifts, located in beautiful downtown Nutley, New Jersey, boasts such stalwarts as the fondue pot, several varieties of crepe makers, any thing that peels vegetables or cuts them into fancy shapes, the double sided sandwich griller and the brass plated executive tic tac toe sets. In fact, almost any items with the word “executive” in its name or description is suspect.

Then there are the battery operated rotating tie racks, lava lamps (Granted these have made a nostalgic come back of late, but it only a matter of time before they go back on the closet shelf.), battery operated swizzle sticks, and those delightful plastic hula hula girls that shake cocktails at the switch of a switch. The operative word for the aforementioned goodies is “battery.” Almost everything that works on batteries, except flashlights and portable audio devices, are assigned to closet status as soon as they come out of the sweatshop.

The list could go on, no doubt bringing memories of holidays past to the patient reader, but, as the ghost of Christmas in Flatbush would say, “Leave us move on to the season on which we are presently coming into.”

First, there is good news on the tie front. A quick trip through the men’s department of the better stores everywhere, suggests that the era of the acid rock, tangerine florescent neckwear designed by people with only one name is over. Stripes, conservative reps and muted solids seem to have returned. But not to worry, it’s a big retail world out there, an it is filled with objects no one really wants or needs.

Take the lint shaver. No you take it; I like lint. Pick enough of it off your clothes and you can stuff a throw pillow. How about the virtual vision fake fish tank or the three-dimensional dolphin light? It is a Flipper that glows aqua marine when you plug him in.

Not into the wildlife scene? Okay, for you would be chefs and chefettes there is the quesadilla maker or the George Forman mini-rotisserie. Just imagine going home every night for a feast of roast chicken quesadillas. In a part of the country where the eleventh commandment might as well be “Chicken ain’t chicken til it’s lickin’ good fried.”-- Roger Miller, I can’t see any place for these two items come January 1, except the back of the closet.