Join 3,551 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Crappy NYC White Elephant gift?
December 18, 2012 8:16 PM   Subscribe

Ideas for a Crappy White Elephant - Yankee Gift Swap "Buy Local" NYC gift?

I'm headed to a Yankee Gift Swap this weekend and need to bring an under $25 gift for a "Buy Local" theme. I live in NYC and would prefer to bring a real stinker of a gift that will be horrible, silly or otherwise undesirable.

Ideas on where to go? I'm thinking that I can find some kind of horrible NYC Taxi sculpture or something at the Union Square holiday market, but worried that it won't be as crappy as I want. Thoughts?
posted by moedym to Human Relations (33 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
We just did this at my NYC office and...we didn't stick to buy local or even terrible but we did have a few people buy lottery tickets. And someone gave a matted, framed picture of someone on our team which was hilarious. The person whose picture it was stole it from me.
posted by sweetkid at 8:27 PM on December 18, 2012 [7 favorites]


You can buy one of the super-cheap NYC T-shirts at one of the Times Square tourist trap stores...or buy multiples (since a lot of them are around 5 for $10) in a range of sizes.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:33 PM on December 18, 2012


Buy a street map of NYC. The big large kind that you'd imagine a caricature of a tourist to be holding right before they're mugged.
posted by saraindc at 8:37 PM on December 18, 2012


$25 worth of Key Food brand toilet paper
posted by Greg Nog at 8:38 PM on December 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


How comfortable are you with the crowd of people at this party? If you're very comfortable, I would just grab a handful of NYC condoms from your local dive bar. That's a shitty present on multiple levels :)
posted by greta simone at 8:39 PM on December 18, 2012


Two pizzas.
posted by Sara C. at 9:08 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


A "gift certificate" to a lame bodega.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:10 PM on December 18, 2012


Does Dr. Zizmor offer gift certificates? Because that would be perfect. I honestly would be surprised if he did not.

Otherwise, a gift certificate to the most mediocre and far-flung restaurant you could think of. Think Coney Island or Yonkers or, heaven forbid, Staten Island.
posted by mochapickle at 9:14 PM on December 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


A garden gnome holding a mushroom like it's his wang that is battery operated and whistles when you walk past it. Oh wait, that's what I'm getting for my office. My back up plan was toilet paper.

How about a NYC snowglobe and a voucher for a local bingo hall.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 9:23 PM on December 18, 2012


20 lbs of chicken thighs from Western Beef. That was another idea that was kicking around. It comes to about $10, which was our limit.
posted by sweetkid at 9:24 PM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


A ticket on one of those godforsaken bus tours.
posted by jessca84 at 10:33 PM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


May I humbly suggest Guy Fieri's "Fork Yeah!" t-shirt?

Throw in the Naked Cowboy's calendar or Christmas single if you wanna REALLY get the crowd going.
posted by argonauta at 11:58 PM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's probably a little late to order, but how about a ceramic Anthora cup?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:11 AM on December 19, 2012


A pack of batteries: very lame, but surprisingly very useful. Perhaps some locally procured rechargeable batteries? Or something that references Battery Park?
posted by nikkorizz at 4:12 AM on December 19, 2012


Foam Statue of Liberty crown.
Just head down to the Battery (Bowling Green station or Rector St station). They also have ugly hats. Plexi statues of liberty and so on.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:32 AM on December 19, 2012


My wife got a doozy of one at her white-elephant party this year. Her office is 90% female, which might not apply to you, but if it does: gift certificate to a Russian bathhouse. At the one in Revere, MA, Tuesday is ladies' night!
posted by Mayor West at 5:03 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh! And the other winner on the night: box wrapped extremely heavily in packing tape, as though to make it watertight. Upon opening, contains 2 live lobsters.
posted by Mayor West at 5:05 AM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I brought this can of intelligence from the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company to my work holiday exchange. Funds go to support 826 NYC. Warning: turns out coworkers do not appreciate any implication that they could use more intelligence.
posted by Dr. Regardless at 5:20 AM on December 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


My family has a field day with white elephant gifts for Christmas. We will look all year for ugly and weird. My favorite places to go are Goodwill and thrift shops. These places will have some of the strangest things you will ever find.
posted by sybarite09 at 5:45 AM on December 19, 2012


Gift card to Guy's!
posted by JoanArkham at 6:02 AM on December 19, 2012


A 16x20 glossy photo of Grumpy Cat. You can buy a frame locally...
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 6:17 AM on December 19, 2012


Where I come from, the traditional joke gift for any gift swap is a bottle of utterly hideous scent that nobody would ever wear.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:49 AM on December 19, 2012


Giant statue of the Empire State Building? Extra points if it's made of crystal or lights up...
posted by acm at 6:50 AM on December 19, 2012


At the Union Sq holiday market, you can buy these framed portraits of sock puppets.
posted by xo at 7:04 AM on December 19, 2012


I brought this can of intelligence from the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company to my work holiday exchange. Funds go to support 826 NYC. Warning: turns out coworkers do not appreciate any implication that they could use more intelligence.

I wish I had known about this for mine! I think my coworkers would have dug it.
posted by sweetkid at 7:39 AM on December 19, 2012


I second the Brooklyn Superhero Supply suggestion. They have tons of stuff - perhaps a gallon of vengeance or a spray can of x-ray vision might be just what you're looking for?
posted by miskatonic at 8:18 AM on December 19, 2012


My wife got a doozy of one at her white-elephant party this year. Her office is 90% female, which might not apply to you, but if it does: gift certificate to a Russian bathhouse.

This is actually not a joke idea at all. There are a lot of fantastic Russian and Korean bathhouses all over the city. They operate more as day spas than places to bathe. You can definitely get a gift certificate to some of them.

Try the Brooklyn Banya in Ditmas Park, Body By Brooklyn in Clinton Hill, Spa 88 in the Financial District, or Spa Castle in Queens. These places are more like water parks for grownups, with pools, jacuzzis, schvitzes, massages, and other spa services. A day pass should run about $30 in most of these places.

There's also the Russian And Turkish Baths in the East Village, but I think that one still has a relatively unsavory reputation. No idea whether it's deserved or not.
posted by Sara C. at 8:23 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


What do you call those custom-made signs vendors sell on the sidewalk? The ones with, like, Disney princesses where you get your name or whatever calligraphed on. There are so many possibilities for what you could get written on it!
posted by R a c h e l at 8:58 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obviously the New York City Fireman's Calendar.
posted by Katine at 9:40 AM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Things I would actively swap to get rid of:
A grain of rice necklace with "Sucker" written on it
25 metrocards with only 1 dollar or less on each- bonus points if they expire soon too
Ticket/Gift cert to Jeckyll and Hyde or Ninja OR to Medieval Times in NJ
Black and white cookies (ymmv)
$25 gift cert to some really high end NYC designer store/salon where it couldn't possibly buy you anything and you'd have to spend your own money
posted by rmless at 10:10 AM on December 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


bottled Brooklyn - it's awful on so many levels, and worse - they might even think you're sincere.
posted by peagood at 10:30 AM on December 19, 2012


Oooh, Black And White cookies are a good idea, because they're such a love it or hate it type of food.

It's possible that you could have an office full of people who hate them, but there's a decent shot that two or three people you work with really like them, which will inspire much hilarious trading as some people are desperate to get the B&W's whereas others are desperate to get rid of them.
posted by Sara C. at 12:22 PM on December 19, 2012


Thank you all for the amazing responses. I decided on the NYC Firefighter's Calendar.

Brooklyn Superhero is amazing, but arguably too good a present. Also, I got my dad a can of immortality for his 60th Birthday which he found...interesting. So not right for this occasion, but still a great idea.

Black and White cookies: I had no idea they were so galvanizing.

Guy Fieri related schwag: very good idea, my stepbrother actually looks a little too much like Guy that it may read as a comment on him. He is also a chef. OKAY HE'S GUY FIERI (not really).

So the calendar: I figure that it's a little outrageous, a little naughty for the puritans living in MA that I am visiting. It will be a terrible thing to open for straight men and an hilarious/wrong thing for straight women, and there may be prude attempts to get rid of it or saucy attempts to grab it. In short: perfect!

I'll report back if anything funny happens. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays all!
posted by moedym at 5:10 PM on December 20, 2012


« Older I'm traveling to Moscow (and l...   |  Seeking scholarly and otherwis... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.