I know the holidays are closing in on me when I need a hand truck to empty my post office box. Last week alone, I collected 14 catalogs advertising merchandise ranging from “whimsical” Mah-jongg guest soaps to a creepy two-and-a-half foot “traditional Santa head” with poinsettia.
Judging by the pounds of catalogs I see in the post office’s trash bin, I am guessing that many of my fellow postal patrons don’t have the time or interest in armchair shopping. I lust after these truly inspiring gift magazines. I rarely order anything, but the sheer volume and originality of the stuff available never ceases to amaze me.
So as a pre-holiday gift to “Coastal Breeze” readers, I poured over piles of catalogs along with my double-duty wine and martini glass given to me last year by a thoughtful friend. This elegantly crafted two-sided goblet paired with a smooth Merlot was the perfect accompaniment for an evening of page-turning fun. Here are my Top 10 Picks for the 2014 holiday season:
- Learn how to pan for gold with this educational kit and video link that includes one pound of Klondike pay dirt guaranteed to contain “real gold.” Only $39.99!
- Musical Pancho the Chihuahua, press his tiny paw for a rendition of “Feliz Navidad.” This perky pup comes with his own poncho and sombrero. Only $29.95.
- For your Northern friends and family members, how about a 22-inch-wide roof rake for snow removal? No more climbing on the roof for Uncle Fred! Only $69.99.
- No need to chop firewood to stoke the old wood stove when you have the easy-to-use newspaper press! Recycle old papers into perfectly-crafted “bricks.” Ash-free and economical at $29.99.
- Every car-owner should have the under-hood animal repeller. I have had small rodents take refuge in my air-conditioning system and chew threw engine wiring, and I could have prevented it with the “repeller.” Comes with straps. Only $29.99.
- For the anti-electronic buffs on your list, order up a couple desktop phone directories. Compact and portable, these handy devices provide phone numbers with just a slide and a click. No need for scrolling and pressing microscopic icons on the phone! A real steal, two or more $11.99 each. Refill pages just $4.99.
- The Weber grill cannot always fit in the two-seater. That’s when it’s time to pack the barbecue grill in a briefcase! Made of stainless steel, this little beauty holds a grill, top, ash catcher and support legs. Broil up your fresh catch! Only $79.99.
- T-shirts imprinted with catchy sayings can always fill the gift bill for distant cousins and golf buddies. Joke gifts anyone? Here are some originals: “We’ll be friends until we’re old and senile then we’ll be new friends.” “Walk a day in my head, and you’ll completely understand.” “Sometimes I laugh so hard tears run down my legs.” Just $17.99.
- Security-minded friends will love the hanging closet safe. (You can even make one yourself.) This clever combination-free safe looks just like a tank top but unzips to reveal see-thru pockets for stashing cash and jewels. For additional security, add another cover-up shirt. Only $12.99. Really?
- And the best thing since artificial trees — pre-lit decorations. Choose from polar bears, Star Wars characters, Nativity, boughs of fir and holly, and giant gift boxes. No alcohol required. Price range $59.99 to priceless.