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New Wave of Christmas Gifts: High Tech to Tacky

November 28, 1985|MARK SCHWED | United Press International

Christmas used to be the holiest day of the year for Christians, but that was before marketing madmen.

This year, we go from high-tack--a computerized Christmas card--to the epitome of low-tack--a Santa Design Johnny Lid Cover toilet seat.

Somewhere in between is an unusual doll for children: a baby Jesus with day-glo halo.

God did not create Rambo. Sylvester Stallone did. What better gift to give a child than a Rambo submachine gun with serrated hacksaw knife?

There was this merry advertisement in the New York Times Sunday magazine of a cartoon cat, its eyes two small crosses, its tongue hanging out and its tail rakishly askew:

"Earl the Dead Cat lets you say farewell to smelly cat food, litter boxes, and live cats that shed and go into heat," reads the ad. "Earl is a cuddly, understuffed and very dead toy cat complete with his own death certificate.

"Earl the Dead Cat, the last cat you'll ever need."

Buy it from Mad Dog Productions in Richmond, Va., for $14.95.

Disking the Halls

And how about adults? One of the most difficult tasks of Christmas is sticking to the traditional, the true meaning and spirit of one of the holiest of holidays. Nothing suits the season like an animated holiday greeting on a floppy disk. The Jingle Disk features holiday scenes accompanied by beeping Christmas carols at $9.95 each, minimum order of 200. Disking the halls with floppies, if you will.

For the devil in you, how about the Complete Revenge Kit, a game that rips apart the notion that it is better to give than to receive. The $8.40 game is being marketed for people who have been abused, used and deceived. It is sweet revenge.

The kit is a package of 40 hoax letters, phony brochures and business correspondence that can be sent to the target of the buyer's revenge. For instance, the Meaty Tom cat food company writes to say that the recipient has just won a free supermarket spree. "All you have to do to join in the fun is dress up like a cat, go to any participating supermarket with the voucher and ask for the manager."

In Oshkosh, Wis., the Miles Kimball catalogue breaks all bounds for its 50th anniversary. First, there is the Holy Family Stik-ees set. "Adds a reverent touch to holy-day decorating," the catalogue says. Basically, you stick Baby Jesus and the rest of the holy family on windows, mirrors, patio doors or a child's bike. Buy one for $4.49 and see how holy you can get.

Then there is this: the Santa Design Johnny Lid Cover. "Add a bit of holiday dash (and chuckles from guests as well) to that ho-hum bath," reads the catalogue. "Our sizzling-red toilet seat cover boasts a jolly Santa design in bright colors. When the lid is down the merry face wears a happy grin. When it's up, the jolly old elf politely covers his eyes with his mittens. Made in the USA." All for $5.98.

Gift for Dieters

Horchow's Christmas catalogue has Diet Tools, the "perfect" gift for fat people. The forks, knives and spoons are "just about half the size of regular flatware to encourage smaller bites." Stamped right on the fork it says "Diet Tool Fork." Just $15.

Then there's the "No Smoking Ashtray." The U.S. surgeon general's warning regarding cigarette smoking is hand-decorated on a brass backed ashtray for $15. It reminds smokers every time they light up how they'll die of cancer. Nothing like a little guilt on Christmas Day.

Heavenly Dolls Inc., of Littleton, Colo., is selling Baby Jesus Dolls with glow-in-the-dark halos for $31.50.

"I believe anyone who is a Christian would want one," said creator Rita Edler. The 13-inch-long vinyl doll--in Anglo, Latino and black models--comes with a wood manger, a non-toxic glow-in-the-dark detachable halo, and a card with the words: "My name is Jesus. Jesus loves you. I am your friend. Please love me."

The artificial hay in the manger is nontoxic and non-flammable. The package is assembled by mentally handicapped workers in Denver.

For $25, one can purchase an Ebeneezer's Sweat Shirt from Joan Cook's winter 1985 catalogue. The sweat shirt features two fleecy white sheep. One says "Baa!" The other says "Humbug!"

Now that's the Christmas spirit.

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