1. Candles– Whether it’s an enormously large, cinnamon roll scented candle from the Yankee Candle company or ironic prayer candles you grabbed from the bodega down the street, candles are the perfect way to say “This gift is an obligation”.
2. Gift cards-Slightly more thoughtful than cash, gift cards are a great way to say “I remembered to get you a gift in line at the grocery store.” When that cousin you always forget about is trying to find anything to buy at a Michael’s Craft Store with their gift card, they will think of you. And wish you had just given them 15 dollars.
3. Weird amounts of cash- Less thoughtful than gift cards, but any amount of cash you give can be considered a gift. Remember when you stopped by that gas station on the way over to pick up a Snickers bar? Give your nephew the leftover change. $5, $17, $23 in nickels, no one is going to turn down money. The weirder the amount, the more you keep ‘em guessing.
4. An Ornament- What better way to say “I don’t know anything about you, but I do want you to be smothered under the crushing burden of guilt every time you decorate your Christmas tree”, than with an ornament.
5. A Re-gift – You probably have a bunch of crap laying around your house that you’ve been meaning to sell on eBay. Unload that pile of junk on some unsuspecting uncle. Anything works: from that golf club cleaning kit you got in the office Secret Santa to that box of Cherry Cordials you meant to give to the mailman but you forgot and it would just be weird to give it him at this point. Extra points if it is the same gift they gave you the year before.
6. Cheez-Its- I mean, why not. They’re delicious.
7. A Piece of Your Mind- Get a little holiday spirit in you not to mention a whole bottle of whiskey. Then you can give the gift you always wanted to give. A piece of your mind.
8. You Left It At Home-The greatest lie that has ever existed. Your relatives won’t believe the perfect gift you got them and how upset you are that you forgot it at home. They won’t remind you about it later and you will forget you lied about it in the first place. Holiday jackpot.
Geoff Garlock is a writer in NYC who teaches sketch comedy at the UCB. You can sample his wares at UCB’s monthly show, “Night Late” or @GGarlock.