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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What to buy for Christmas: Gifty stuff

A few years ago I was planning some life changes that involved the purchase and eventual wearing of ties. The plans fell through - that is a tale that I'm not quite ready to tell yet - but the ties remain. Even then I was confronted with a monumental question: what am I gonna do with all these ties when I'm not wearing them?

The answer seemed obvious: get a tie rack. I wasn't entirely sure what a tie rack was or what it would look like, but I figured that they might be on display near the ties. I went to our newly-opened Kaufmann's (which has now become a Macy's) to have a look. No such luck.

I found a clerk who looked like the sort who might know about ties and tie accessories. "Excuse me," I said. "Where would I find a tie rack?"

"Ummm..." he said. "If we have them, they would be over...nope. No tie racks. They're really more a seasonal item."

"Seasonal?"

"Yeah. We have them for Christmas, but that's about it."

Tie racks. Nose hair trimmers. Electric carving knives. Air compressors that go in your trunk for emergency tire inflation. Little hammers with points designed to smash windshield glass and special hooked blades for cutting through seatbelts. These are things that are wheeled out at Christmastime and put on sale for a few weeks. After Christmas they retreat to whatever stasis box they are kept in for most of the year. Some - not many - are wheeled out again a few months later for Father's Day, but they are quickly swept away to make room for the Summer collections that are posted each Spring.

Some of these things are really, really useful. If you're over 30 I probably don't need to tell you the importance of a "personal groomer" - a nose hair trimmer. Other items seem less immediately useful, but they are the sort of things that you don't realize you need until you need them. I carried my emergency air compressor for five years before I ran over a screw and needed to reinflate my tire several times on the way to get it replaced. And a crash hammer - well, I'd be happy if I never needed to use one of those. But if I ever needed it, I'd be glad to have it.

So there you are. With less than a week to go before Christmas, if you're stuck for gift ideas why not make your way to the "gift" section of your favorite department store? You may find something that will be appreciated very much, and is available for a limited time only.

1 comment:

anne said...

Seasonal indeed. I don't think I can remember an episode of MacGyver where he didn't need his personal groomer and tie rack. Fools.

Anyway, you can make a simple tie rack by nailing finish nails into a piece of wood in a staggered pattern and then just hang it on the inside of your closet door. Or maybe check Martha's site. I'm sure she has something.