Dec. 5, 2001

Tips for the Shopping-Impaired

By Roy Rivenburg
Downsized Santa Bureau: Looking to save some bucks this Christmas? Our North Pole advisory board offers handy tips for finding the perfect gift in tough economic times.

Tip No. 1: Hold out for the bargains. For instance, if you’ve got your eye on the new Victoria’s Secret Heavenly Star Bra, which is adorned with a 90-carat diamond and 1,200 pink sapphires, don’t buy it right away. Wait until just before Christmas, when the $12.5 million price tag is bound to be marked down to a reasonable $12.4 million.

Tip No. 2: Beware of scams. For example, the Chicago Sun-Times recently promoted a CD of the minute of silence that followed Princess Diana’s funeral. Don’t be fooled! We listened to it and we’re pretty sure it’s actually the minute of silence from John Lennon’s death.

Tip No. 3: Choose practical gifts. Examples include a cast worn by Michael Jordan after he broke his leg ($17,000), a urinal once used by rock stars Jon Bon Jovi and Bryan Adams (recently auctioned on eBay), and a ‘‘personal disco dance floor’’ from Hammacher Schlemmer that emits 48 multicolored light beams whenever you shake your groove thing ($900).

Tip No. 4: When in doubt, give the gift of motor oil. We got this idea from a press release titled ‘‘Pennzoil-Quaker State Co. Offers Holiday Gift Ideas.’’ Because nothing says ‘‘I love you’’ like a quart of 10W-40.

Tip No. 5: Express your patriotism with a stocking stuffer like the Tweeze with Pride Tweezers from Studded with hand-cut red, white and blue Swarovski crystals, these $23 tweezers allow you to go pluck yourself with pride. (Thanks to Claire Martin for sending us this item.)

Tip No. 6: Don’t waste your money on expensive Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model calendars. Instead, get your guy drooling with the new Butterball Turkey ‘‘Ladies of the Talk-Line’’ 2002 Calendar, featuring photos of the women who dispense cooking advice on the company’s toll-free hotline. Not only is the calendar scintillating, it’s free. Call 800-BUTTERBALL or download a copy at

Tip No. 7: For the teenager on your list, vintage clothing is always a good bet. At the Butterfields auction house, you can pick up a green velvet jacket, pants and rhinestone knee-breech buckles worn by George Washington -- all for just $300,000. Your teen will be the envy of his classmates.

Alarming Trends Alert: Babar the elephant is learning to meditate. In his next book, ‘‘Babar’s Yoga for Elephants,’’ the 70-year-old pachyderm will demonstrate various yoga positions.

Weird Polls: The average shopping mall Santa has a 43-inch waist, according to a survey of 130 Santas conducted by General Growth Properties.

Gilligan Redux Bureau: Many were disappointed this week when the heavily hyped mystery invention ‘‘Ginger’’ was finally unveiled and turned out to be an overpriced scooter. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. We always liked mystery invention ‘‘Mary Ann’’ much better.

Celebrity Birthday Bureau: Lincoln Logs are 85 years old this month. Alka-Seltzer is 70. Donny Osmond is 44.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘Severed Leg Hops to Hospital! Accident Victim’s Runaway Limb is Reattached in 7-Hour Operation!’’ (Weekly World News)

Bonus headline from WWN: ‘‘There’s An Alien Implant in J.Lo’s Butt’’

Unpaid Informants: Arizona Daily Star, Wireless Flash News Service,, PR Newswire,, Joel Harrison.

Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by
Creators Syndicate