MPb's Holiday Gift Guide 2003
We know how great it is to get gifts this time of year, and we know the dirty looks we'll get if we don't give gifts either. Our favorite part of the holidays is getting drunk on eggnog and praying we don't get in trouble for I digress... our real favorite part of the holidays is giving gifts to those girls we don't quite have a relationship with, but are surely hoping for. Here you have the opportunity to present your soft side, your giving personality, and perhaps your boyfriend potential, all under the guise of jolly ole' Saint Nick. So grab your tacky Santa hat, put some mistle toe on your belt, and see what we recommend for this year's holiday season.
We're going to put these gifts into natural categories... Gifts for You, Gifts for Her, and what the hell to get your Parents (and little kids) that don't quite understand your toy collecting hobby. But we've also come up with little icons to help point out things that belong in other categories. Man, we're thoughtful.
Here is the symbol guide: (if you hover your mouse over the image later down the page, it'll explain what it means)
Gift is Appropriate For:
Guys like us
Older folks and non-collectors
Be Warned, the Gifts may:
Get you in trouble
Be hard to find
Not be touched
Make you look weird
I love presents just as much as the next guy, so let's see what's under the MPb tree. We're giving and all, but what is more inspiring of the giving spirit than dreaming about what booty we can expect? Let's look at
Presents for Guys Like Us
Mattel's Masters of the Universe ($6-50)
Yeah, the ones you want are tough to find, and there's more He-Men and Skeletors than you could shake a rams-head staff at, but this new Snakemen line is going to revitalize the line, hopefully. So help us all out and pick up some MOTU figures, and we also recommend getting these for the youngsters (4 and up) on your list. They may be crying for Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers, but trust me, you put a Mutant Slime Pit in their hands, and they'll be happier than Paris Hilton with a new mirror.
McFarlane's Matrix Series II Sentinel Box Set ($30)
The Sentinel from the Matrix trilogy is impressively detailed in a form that's just over two feet long. Actually, scratch that. I am not recognizing any films other than the first Matrix. McFarlane ups the ante with supreme detailing and gasp articulation. (Well, all of the tentacles are bendy, so that's good.) I bought the N2 Toyz Sentinel back in the day. It was like a poorly made dog toy. That and the internal wires started poking out of the ends, scratching me when I took it into the tub. This new one is beautiful, and completes what should have been the first time. Ironic, that the second toy almost made me forget the first version because it was so good, the movie sequels almost made me forget the first film because they were so bad.
These are at Suncoast, but the sweetest deal ever is $30 at ActionFigureXpress.com (for $1 more you can get their exclusive Bullet-Dodge Neo, check out our photos here.
Mezco's Alien Mez-Its ($13)
You know I have a love affair with Mini-Mates, so I was a little reluctant to check out the Mez-Its, but this Alien three pack is pretty sweet. The Alien is a good hybrid of cute block-style and real-Alien design convetions. A happy marriage of the two looks. He has an action feature, press the small leve at the back of his head, and his inner jaw pops out from his spring loaded outer jaw. Sweet. The non-specific astronaut is also pretty bad ass. Turn the lamp on his helmet around and the head rotates to reveal a sculpted-on face hugger. The third piece is a detailed "statue" of the space jockey. It rotates on its base, and features a cylindrical head to mirror the Mez-It design, but otherwise looks straight from the movie. And by that, I mean, a weiner.
Check out our review, where we pit them against the Japanese Alien Kubricks
The AOME line has been really successful, and they're great for any LOTR fan on your list. Each figure is incredibly detailed for their size. We're going to recommend the Helm's Deep Warrior 10 Pack for anyone that's just getting started. The individual characters are great, but with this set you can get started right away with setting up your battles. If you know they already have a few, but not sure which ones, get an Orc 3 pack... with army building toys, you can never really have too many of these guys. Helms Deep would be a great present, but it's $50. Which is a great price for such a large, detailed castle, but I've never spent $50 on another dude before.
These too have been out for some time, however the price keeps getting lower and lower. $14 at Target, making them a great gift now. Also good for the younger set, these things have been a complete riot. And if you already own a set, now's a good time to pick up a second pair, so you can actually fight someone with them. Oooh! Or put one pair on the cat, and it'll finally be that fair fight you've been looking for.
Check out Jager's review and useful photos, and see how often they pop up in our summer BBQ
We have a mighty big review coming on this puppy. This is one of the best action figures I've played with all year. Here's a good idea: give this figure to a long time collector that is rethinking the hobby, lost his faith, so to say. From the infinate possible positions; to the sturdy, solid (not hollow) construction; to the articulated fingers; this will bring any wayward soul back into the fold.
Stay tuned, we'll have loads to show you coming soon.
This guy is hard to track down. Commonly sold-out. Sweatyfrog.com has him for $10.50.
Palisades' Muppet Figures ($6-40)
Again, we can only sing the praises enough for this great line of toys. They're durable, they're detailed, they have loads of accessories, and they really look like your beloved Muppet characters. Perhaps the longest anticipated playset in my entire 26 years of existance, the Pigs In Space playset is now available. Sweet!
Tim Burton's Tragic Toys for Boys and Girls (Dark Horse)
These little PVCs are dead-on to the illustration in Tim Burton's book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories. They come in three packs and look pretty sweet on the shelf or on your desk. I would limit the recipients to fans of Tim Burton though. Someone who didn't dig Tim Burton might not get this... Check out our review with loads of pics.
There are three 3-packs, each costs $15 at your local comic shop.
Art Asylum's Marvel Mini-Mates ($5-10)
The first three waves of Marvel Mini-Mates were immensely popular, and for good reason. With a fun likeness, a good pocket-size, and great variety, you could collect one or go for them all. Their small size is great for large collections, and tight orifices.
Check out our coverage including an animated fight between Spidey and Venom, and a cool desktop wallpaper.
Presents for Girls Either significant others, or potential hook-ups
Bath and Body Works Seasonal Soap Thingies ($5-15)
So there's this girl... is how many conversations go when you're talking about her. She's not quite in your life as much as you'd like. Maybe you playfully flirt at work, maybe you quietly notice her in the cafeteria. You want to make a move, but not sure how. Thanks to Bath and Body Works, you can pick up a small seasonal soap thingie, like a shampoo bottle in the shape of a snowman, or scrubby poofs with animal faces to give to your lady friend. Here are the benefits:
If she already has one, she can always use more
You don't have to worry about clothing sizes or styles
It's small, so it's not a financial risk, or going to throw you on the psycho-stalker level
She will be thinking of you when she uses it, which is when she is A) naked and B) touching her naughty spots.
And you don't have to get a seasonal thing, they have everything from shampoo, to facial scrubs, to body creams that come in different colored themes. Girls dig things that match, and often times, B&BW will have deals where you get 3 items for a lower price. You can grab 3 or 4 things of one color, and be in the clear.
Fun tid-bit: B&BW is owned by the folks who own Victoria's Secret, so gift certificates work both places.
the later you wait to go, the slimmer the picken's at the store
Bed Bath & Beyond Gift Basket ($25)
This is a little larger than something you'd give a girl you're not in a relationship with, but if you are in a relationship with a girl, this is one of those no-fail gifts. Even if she has tons of soap, she can always use more of the crap. The thing is that somebody else went to the trouble of picking out a good ensemble gift here, so you look thoughtful, and intelligent. May also help her forget (but not remove all memory of) the fact you blew your budget on DVDs and not jewelry. These things also take up lots of space, so if you wrap it and stick it under the tree, she'll feel guilty and go out and buy you a Matrix APU.
BB&B also has massagers and kitchen gadgets that would be nice presents. Never buy a Chop Chop veggie slicer for Valentine's day however.
Get off your ass and go to Bed Bath and Beyond to pick this up.
you should know allergens and favorite scents by now
Godiva Chocolate ($19)
Most girls enjoy chocolate. Most girls require chocolate at least once a month, but chocolate is usually a good gift idea. But because it's a gift, I'd make it fancy chocolate. Godiva is a good place to start, unless you've heard them say they don't like Godiva or chocolate. Chocolate also sparks the same receptors that sex does in their brain, so by giving them good chocolate, their brain associates you with good sex. Kind of.
Another safety is anything plush. The softer, the better. Right now you can either go with a plush of a favorite character (hey, spend $100 at Toys R Us, get a free large Lion King plush...), or sometimes you can score a really nice plush doll from Hallmark or other gift store when you spend a certain amount on cards and ornaments and crap.
be sure this isn't the only gift you're giving to your significant other. Even if you spend $100 on a FAO Schwarz hippo or something, sig-o's expect a bit more.
it helps if you know something about the girl, don't get just whatever, try to come up with some reason why your chosen animal fits. Unless its just so gawldern adorable you had to buy it for her.
Candles are an any occasion safety gift. The only risk is getting something that A) she doesn't like smelling, or B) you don't like smelling. If you want to spend time with this girl, hence the gift giving, do yourself a favor and pick up a scent (haha) that you can both tolerate. I would have said enjoy, however I cannot find Bacon or Hops scented candles yet.
They are everywhere, but if you don't leave the house, ever, you could pick up this set from Amazon for $20.
no real warnings except that candle stores smell bad
Some Type of Sexy Gift (see below)
I would only venture into the sexy gifts when you're in a good spot in your relationship. If you hardly know the girl, you will most likely flip her out. If this is your first sexy purchase for your girlfriend, there is a whole host of trouble you can get into. My first bit of advice or the first-time shopper is to keep it low in price. There is a good chance it won't be well received, or well received but never used. Start off with something small and unintimidating.
massage book, this shows her you're looking to make her feel good, and something to do together, sometimes you'll totally score and get a book with loads of naughty pictures
massage oils, again, this shows an effort to want to add to the sexual experience rather than simply improve your 3.89 minutes of fun
cuddly romance book, maybe a bit tamer than what you're hoping for, but if she wants to start reading it with you, she knows what follows. It's hard to offend with these books too
dinner someplace romantic, the sweetest thing about making up a coupon for one night on the town is that you can get away with not spending that money until you actually set the date. Could be months from now. Pick something nicer than you usually go to however, being it's a gift. And also spend the $2 for a stinkin' card to present said coupon
lingerie, unless you really know what you're doing, you could screw up the size (bad), or give the wrong impression (worse), some women feel that lingerie is to help boring sex. I know, those women ought to be locked up and not allowed to spread their crazy ideas
paddle, we all know that you love to give a good ole' spanking, and we all know the little lady in our lives could use a good couple a' playful licks, however unless she has specifically said, in writing, buy me a paddle for use in sexual purposes, do not buy a paddle for use in sexual purposes
porn, we're all curious as to what type of porn our women enjoy, but the holidays are not the time to try and find out
anything that plugs into the wall, we've all seen those videos, and we all know they can be a pain in the ass
do a lot of research first
Lite Brite ($15)
The Princess of Power loves her Lite Brite. It's nostalgic, its fun, it's both an activity and a display. I like the fact that you buy the thing for $15, that's it. It comes with a bulb, all the pegs and doesn't need batteries because it plugs into the wall (oh no!) Maybe a little iffy if you only hardly know the girl. Then you could definately come off as weird, but this is something fun you can find all over the place without spending a lot.
Click here to see one of the Princess of Power's designs. Oooh!
Ah, the expensive present. This is the one that helps you get laid when you want to get laid. Speaking of which, giving a gift that's deemed too expensive to a girl you're not dating, can be freaky, so avoid it. However, no girl you are dating will think a present is too expensive. If she does think it's too expensive, its because she remembers you share a bank account, and you're only trying to get laid.
So, what are some great expensive gifts to look original and full of thought? Here we go:
Jewelry: they all love jewelry, the problem is, I'm overwhelmed by the choices, and know there is a whole load of stuff the PoP would never wear. Pros: if you have received the hints, and are getting something you know she wants, she will be happy to receive. hint hint. Cons: really expensive, so if you get the wrong kind, or something hideous, it's gone to waste.
Spa Gift Certificate: This one is a guaranteed hit. You can dig up
a nice package for about $75, but most packages above foot rub are $100+. Pros: they never sell out so you can buy at the last minute. Cons: really expensive, and though she'll be happy, you're really not a part of it when it happens.
Fancy vacation: Cruise ship, Disney, Europe; if you have lots of money to blow, there's no quicker way than traveling. [Ed note: Except ofcourse, buying and snorting "blow" itself] Pros: very sexy, can practically garuantee sex. Cons: so many places end up sucking, you could get sick, flying sucks, driving sucks, it's a crap shoot sometimes.
The Perfect Gift
That brings us to the perfect gift. Men have been searching a long time to find that instant gift that:
A) forgives us of all transgressions of the past year B) gets her horny. Like now. C) repeats this even when it's not Christmas.
D) does not cost as much as a diamond.
So what does that leave us? Not much... but in said quest, we've found some things that are close.
Puppy or Kitten: definately has to be young, so young and cute she can't remember any of the other presents she got, or the fact you made a comment like that about her sister. Pros: if you poke around, you can find one for free, and very few people can resist widdle kiddy paws. Cons: having to clean up after it will not make her horny. That means you will be cleaning up after the little shit machine with fur.
Nice Vacation: doesn't have to be some tropical get away, you can find a decent log cabin, or bed and breakfast not too far from you. Hell, go to the nearest moderately priced hotel. It's not so much where and how much you spend, but that it's with you and it's not your skeevy bed. Pros: you can really take advantage of the vacation naughtiness mentality. Cons: though not very expensive, it will take some money and planning.
Flowers: seem to do the trick a lot more times than we'd ever thought they could. Flowers (to me anyway) always look like more than I really spent. I don't understand the whole flowers thing, but maybe its my terribly painful childhood association with flowers. Pros: you can get flowers anywhere, even while at a stop light! Low cost, high yield. Cons: if this is the only gift, you may get in trouble. C'mon dude, it's flowers. These are good for sprucing up your relatively small pile of presents for her.
Presents for Kids, Grown-Ups and Others Who Don't Want Toys Or think they don't want toys
Silver Lit's X-Trek Race Track ($50)
Need to impress with a present? This one has the most bang for the buck. We played with this last summer, and its finally hit the US. The cars by themselves are super sweet. You can race them on the track, or you can do complex tricks and manuvering. One downside is that it takes a few hours to get the track set up. But the cars don't need the track to run. You can race them on kitchen tile, hardwood floors, etc. Check out our lengthy review with loads of pics of the cars and the track. The track is completely modular so you can make many designs. They even have built in battery charger pit stops so you drive your car right into the recharger.
Here's one racing car and controller for $20 at BedBathandBeyond.com. They are all sold out of the track at BBE but you can pick up smaller track sets (and put them together) from Amazon.com. Cannot go wrong.
Playmobil Vikings ($15)
Playmobil is one of my favorite toy systems ever. I've written often about the less than appropriate figures they've made, however you can get a perfectly appropriate set for little kids. I recommend the "Super Sets" they sell now with a suit-case type handle. You get a few figures, some great accessories and a play environment. It all packs up into the suit-case box, and they're between $15-20 at Wal-Mart and Target. They have Pirates, Knights, Farming and now a Viking set. If you have to buy something for a kid under 12 and don't know what to get, try playmobil. They'll be playing with it for hours. Could cause addiction.
Not for households with wee little kids that put toys in their mouth. Small pieces
Playvision's Neutron Stunt Top ($15)
This gyroscope powered top is not just a science-looking toy. Perfect for the office, place the top in the middle of the paddle (what did I say about those?!) and it will start spinning. Once you've reached the desired RPM, a quick flick of the wrist will pop it up and keep it spinning on just about any surface. I had fun "juggling" it in my hand. By juggling I mean dropping it repeatedly because I'm clumsy. It comes with a battery, and pretty much could not be put down at my birthday party. It even spins on carpet.
This great because you know your recipient doesn't have one, and there's no way they can be bored with it. Good Secret Santa idea.
Check Discovery Channel Store
Cranium Games ($15-20)
One of the many smart decisions by the brains behind Cranium is that they've expanded and made games for every age group. They didn't just crap out dumbed-down versions of their bestseller Cranium, they took the time to think 'em out and make really great games for younger kids, older kids, and tweens. I'll tell you one thing I've learned about these games, you're going to be hard-pressed finding someone that doesn't like them. This is one of those no-fail presents. Have a 10 year old you have to buy for? Get Cranium Cadoo, a teen-ager that thinks everything sucks? Put a copy of Original Cranium in their hands. They'll still think everything sucks, there's just no changing that, but at least you didn't make their world view any worse. One time I had to sculpt a nipple out of clay for the Original Cranium. The little kids' Caribou was pretty fun for me, and I'm way over the intended age. A hyped-up Memory style game. Look at the chart below, and pick out the appropriate game.
Cranium - $25 - Ages 12 and up... and seriously, people in their 30s and over will dig it.
Pressman's Electronic Talking Gooey Louie ($15)
This is one of my favorite games ever. You can read about my love affair with Louie here (lots of great pics too). There's nothing like wiggling your fingers around a tight spot until someone's brain blows. I've found that most adults will pull up a chair and play if you bring it to a fancy dinner or business meeting, however, mainly only younger kids like getting it as a present.
We thought this would be a good idea on the day we heard about DVD players. We've played a few rounds and the best part (besides diversity and selection of clips and trivia) is the versatility. Have a group of hard-core gamers? Play the long version. Want to do something quick and light while waiting for the pizza to arrive? Fold the board for a short game. Or if you have a bunch of people over for a party, you can play just watching clips and figuring out the puzzles. It's also a great gift for someone who just got a DVD player, or is a die-hard movie buff. We also found that the casual movie enthusiast didn't get too lost.
I looove Karaoke. I especially love owning my own Karaoke machine so I can perform whenever my heart desires. For best results add alcohol. Ok, there are lots of Karaoke machines available now, but from what we've seen, the cheese-fest music videos that come with iKTV's vast library make it worth it. Here is our full review with pics of Mr. Stinkhead and The Toad in action.
This is a great gift. You put in your own MP3 player, CD player, walkman, whatever, snap it closed, and you can hang it in the shower and let it play. Or, since it's all contained, you can take it to the beach, on the road, etc. without worrying about wires, getting your player banged up... It's compact and water resistant... check out our full review with pics! (in the shower!) oooh! she'll be thinking about you in the shower... again!
(unless you order it right here!)
Far Side Compendium ($95)
Whoo doggy, Gary Larsen is releasing every Far Side ever in a large volume format. This is a great gift because not only is it fun (being cartoons), it's classy (being archival). And nothing says class like cows and women with beehive hair-dos.
So not only do you get two versions of each of the four films, Alien, Aliens, Alien III, and Alien Ressurection, but you get 45 hours of bonus material. Included is Sigourney Weaver's screen test. If you spent every minute that you're at work watching this box set, it would take you more than a week to finish it. If you spent every minute that you actually work while at work, it would take three weeks.
Season 4 just recently came out, so if your recipient has the other seasons, this is a good time to get them the fourth. However, this is also a good time to get someone started on The Sopranos with the first season. Believe it or not, there are still people out there who have not seen a single episode. Let's help them out, together. Fun tid-bit: Tony's boat The Stugatz is Italian for balls.
One of the most long awaited DVD sets ever, Indiana Jones is now available in a four disc set. Containing all three movies and oen whole disc of extras, it should be a requirement of American citizenship to own this beaut. And at just around $10 a movie, how can you go wrong?
Though its not every Looney Tunes cartoon ever, it's pretty close with 56 remastered shorts. Almost all of your favorites are contained in this four disc set, and they're loaded with extras; commentaries, filmographies, anamorphic transfer, and other words that have entered common lexicon since the advent of the DVD player.