Tacky Gift Party

One of the highlights of my holiday season is the Tacky Gift Party. For years, my friends and I have scoured the world for the most useless, ugliest, most sick and wrong gifts we can find for less than $5. Then we wrap them up nicely and exchange.

In days of old, the Friendly Toast restaurant, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, home to some of the worst art ever created, served as the backdrop to Tacky Gift. Our wait person would judge the contest (we tipped well). Times change, however, and this year Tacky Gift will be held at a friend’s house. The host has instructed guests to bring the items like Twinkies, Tab, spray cheese, cocktail weenies, Boone’s Farm “wine,” Natty Ice, and Devil Dogs for the festivities. We won’t eat or drink, but merry we shall be.

A continual work in progress, there are no hard and fast rules to Tacky Gift. The following guidelines, however, are enforced:

  • The lower the cost, the higher the Tackiness Quotient. Tie will go to the cheapest gift. Hence, re-gifting always lends an advantage.
  • Kitsch is not the same thing as Tacky. Kitsch is too cool to be truly tacky.
  • In order to qualify, gifts must be something that people can conceivably imagine someone giving as a present.
  • The Uselessness Factor is always appreciated. A puzzled “What is it?” uttered upon opening is a sign of a truly tacky gift.

Memorable prize-winning gifts have included an orb of undetermined substance and origin; a clear Lucite rose ring holder, with hideous blue perfume in the flower—this thing also lit up and played a tinny, electronic Für Elise; a gigantic portrait of a copule’s eldest son; and a two-videotape set of the Left Behind movies, starring ex-child actor Kirk Cameron of Growing Pains fame and badly based on the biblical book of Revelation.

The recipient of the tackiest gift pledges to display the gift in a semi-prominent place for a year (that plastic flower gizmo was an eyesore, but I really feel bad for my friend who had to display Left Behind for an entire year), and the giver of the tackiest gift gets to bring home the plastic drunken Santa wine goblet as a trophy. The trophy is currently in my possession. I’m fairly confident that I will get to keep it, because here is my gift.

    I discovered this patriotic Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light™, bear, clearance price $2.99, while taking one for the team. If you don’t know about him, Thomas Kinkade is a strange bird. He’s an “artist” of the cheesiest order known for some bizarre outbursts. Take this story from his Wikipedia entry.

    “In 2006 John Dandois, Media Arts Group executive, recounted a story that on one occasion (“about six years ago”) Kinkade became drunk at a Siegfried and Roy magic show in Las Vegas and began shouting ‘Codpiece! Codpiece!’ at the performers. Eventually he was calmed by his mother.”

    Like I said, I’m going to win. If a patriotic bear designed by a drunken Siegfried and Roy fan obsessed with codpieces and his mother isn’t tacky, then I don’t know what is.

    18 responses to “Tacky Gift Party

    1. and what exactly is a codpiece – Could you describe this for me please?

    2. Clearly there are a lot of people out there who are absolute experts in this field, but are completely unaware of it!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment on my blog by the way :)

    3. Its a bit of fish Rich.
      I have scoffed at Kincade for years, you have won. Thanks for taking the time to read this comment.

      having trouble getting round due to Blooper trying to make me a master Beta so a fake I shall be for a while.

    4. OH, that bear is the ugliest saddest Kincade thing ever. Surely, you will win. I will have to read the Wikipedia article because I am always looking for reasons not to like him.

      I don’t need any more reasons not to like Left Behind. The films were a disgrace, and the books were insanely dull. I tried reading the first one, and didn’t make it through three chapters.Ack.

      And, I didn’t know Tab was still around.

    5. Rich, think male ballet dancers. If you want to see them mocked, check out Top Secret, starring a young Val Kilmer. It’s hilarious.

      Kim Ayres, happy to comment. The joy of Tacky Gift comes from the fact that people aren’t aware of it. I suppose it’s not the nicest activity, but we feel that we take some of the worst gifts off the market, sparing the recipients.

      Fake Knudesn, I hope you are real again soon enough. My sister’s hatred of Kinkade makes me want to give her one of these bears just to see the look on her face.

      Robyn, I thought I’d seen everything, but when I saw this, I knew that it was the tackiest thing ever. I’ve never tried to read or watch Left Behind, but after having to watch A Thief in the Night as a child, I already knew how tacky the movies were. Ack is right. Tab can now be found in specialty stores and sometimes in the soda/pop/tonic (not sure what you say) isle.

    6. Rarely have I perceived an object of such unsurpassed beauty and elegance.
      I must have one!

    7. Oh Dear God, A Thief in the Night!!!! I had forgotten about that film, and now you’ve brought back to haunt me. In college, I took an audio visual class, and we did a segment on the absolutely hideous Christian films–that was held up as the all-time worst. Remember the scene when the man is shaving and is raptured, and his razor is left buzzing in the sink?

    8. About that AV class, in contrast we watched Truce in the Forest about the WWII American soldiers who were separated from the regiment somewhere in Germany during Christmas. A German family took them in, along with some German soldiers, and they all spent Christmas Eve together in peace. And the next morning, they soluted each other and walked away. It was very well done, and not even a hint of propoganda (spell?)

    9. Dive, for a mere $2.99, plush shipping and handling, this bear can be yours. I’d give you the link, but I’d fear the consequences.

      Robyn, sometime I’ll write a post about the End Times Movie Festival. None of us can stand the sight of melting butter or a busy tone.

      I’ve seen that movie. There are a few stories like that.

    10. Dude top secret! that movie’s so classic.

      And for and even more humorous venture from our favorite “painter of light” check this out

    11. I sense some undealt with issues in our dear Painter of Light.

    12. Ummm.

      A teddy bear?
      A tattooed teddy bear?
      A Thomas Kincade tattooed teddy bear?
      A Thomas Kincade country’s capital tattooed teddy bear?

      Head hurts . . .

      AM recommends baby’s first Christmas wrapping to hide the hiddeous thing in a manner advantageous to Tacky Gift victory.

      In the meantime, single malt to wash away the rousing chorus of that Advent carol “I Wish We’d All Been Ready,” the spectre of which you’ve all so kindly raised from the recesses of terrified Five-Year-Old Me’s mind. Bzzzt. Bzzzzt.

    13. Oh, Adult Me. That’s a scary, scary song.

    14. I had done so well in erradicating these old movies and songs from my Baptist-raised self, and now you’ve stirred it all up again. Another 20 years of therapuetic though…

    15. That was what the festival was all about—getting rid of all of that fear and garbage heaped on us by our parents.

      Plus, if you watch those things as an adult, they are hilarious. The “special effects” are worse than 50s B-flicks.

    16. dude, seriously. we should get together with a twelve-pack of beer and all watch the Thief in the Night trilogy. That would be awesome!

    17. I must admit I’d never heard of Thomas Kincade until today.
      I made the mistake of googling him …
      First thing tomorrow, I’m off to the west coast of Britland with a spade and I’m gonna start digging the Atlantic Ocean wider.

      Please … Keep him over there … Nail him down if necessary …

    18. James, I’m all in favor of a repeat of the End Times Movie Festival. The only problem is that we’d need to rent them. I checked—Thief in the Night is actually really expensive.

      Dive, he’s a freak, that’s for sure. We don’t like him, either.

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