- 12-pack of AA batteries: "Ashley is always talking about how she needs more batteries. That's all she ever talks about: batteries, batteries, batteries. She's always saying she has a lot of electronic devices, if only she could afford the batteries they require for use. What kind of batteries? Her digital camera from 1990 takes 15 AA batteries. I will buy her 12."
- Dental floss/toothbrush: "We no longer pay your medical bills. Plan accordingly. Also, if we keep buying her floss for Christmas every year, maybe she will actually take up flossing one day."
- Band-aids: Reiteration of the fact that I now pay my own medical costs. Basically, any injury I sustain that necessitates anything larger than a Band-aid is going to be a problem. Also, I hurt myself a lot. They should have given me two boxes.
- Ear muffs: "You can never have too many earmuffs." I know for a fact this is what they were thinking because these are the words that came out of my mom's mouth as I opened up my earbuds, which was before I had opened the earmuffs. She misidentified the current gift and prematurely unveiled the mystery of the still-wrapped gift shaped like a pair of earmuffs.
- Candy canes in the stocking, sans the usual 2.5 lbs of chocolate (a first): "Ashley's looking kind of pudgy these days. An onion and some carrots in the stocking are too obvious. Sugar-free candy canes seem like a more subtle suggestion."
- 3 kinds of lip balm: "I don't think there's anyone who likes lip balm as much as Ashley. I've known her to spend her entire bi-weekly paycheck on lip balm alone. Plus, I'm already at the check-out counter and there is a limited supply of impulse buys available."
Sidenote: can you claim gifts you buy for others on your tax returns?