'Tis The Season For . . . Say What??


December 06, 1992|By ELISE ARMACOST

The day after Thanksgiving, I walked into the office and found Marley Station mall's annual holiday kick-off press release waiting for me.

I haven't stopped laughing since.

I've got visions of sugarplums, and what is Marley Station Mall offering us?

Books on juicing. "Sonic the Hedgehog 2." Musical dart boards. And -- from Frederick's of Hollywood, no less -- a his-and-her jock-and-thong set.

These clearly fall far outside the realm of Classic Christmas Gifts, a hallowed category that includes jewelry, sweaters, leather gloves, dolls (and I don't mean "Talking Baby Alive"), children's hobby horses, trains and nutcrackers. These are the great gifts, the kind you see under the gorgeous, glowing trees in House Beautiful magazine or read about in Christmas stories.

Just stop for a minute, and try to imagine Herr Drosselmyer giving Clara "My Little Pony" instead of the Nutcracker Prince. Not a pretty picture, is it?

Before I am advised to join the real world, let me say I just bought computer "Battle Chess" for one relative and a set of knives for another. You'll never see either one of those under the trees in House Beautiful.

I did some shopping at Marley Station after work the other day, so I can testify that its stores are full of Classic Christmas Gifts. Which is why I can't figure out why the mall would deliberately highlight such a weird selection of merchandise.

These items, the press release advises, are so hot we must shop early or risk facing empty shelves. "There could be shortages for those who wait until the last few days to shop," it warns.

It's the thought that counts, of course. But I hope nobody's rushing out to buy me some of these goodies:

* A pink rose carousel water globe ($39.95) with a prancing pony that plays "Somewhere Out There."

The one thing I can say about this is that it would be a great yard sale item. * Bread machine and juicing books. (Juicing is very big this year. Now, a juicer for lemonade or orangeade would be nice. But these new contraptions are made to extract liquid from a spinach leaf, and that's just too disgusting.)

* Rush Limbaugh's book. Would make a good gift if paired with Madonna's "Sex," though.

* Feather boas in black, white or red. (Heaven help us, the Zsa Zsa Gabor look is back.)

* Frederick's pre-packaged novelty his-and-hers jock and thong set.

* Platform shoes.

You know, these were big when I was in high school, but I never had a pair. I thought they were ugly then. They're still ugly now. Those fashion people have no conscience. Can bell bottoms be far behind?

* A dolphin-shaped razor. A portion of the profits goes to environmental causes.

* A carousel waffle iron that makes five different merry-go-round waffle horses ($50; let's hope the waffles only look like horses.)

* Eddie Bauer's chocolate fishing creel, "a Swiss chocolate fish-toting, flip-top fish basket with foil-wrapped fish inside."

As long as we're talking about bizarre gifts, I have to mention those dolls in The Franklin Mint, the giant Scarletts and Marilyns that sell for a small fortune and look like death masks. Who buys those things? I'll admit, they exert a strange fascination when you see them in the window, but the idea of Mammy, Scarlett and Rhett all sitting around the living room gives me the creeps.

And besides, what practical purpose do they serve?

A gold necklace, a little diamond pin -- now there are gifts you can use.

Elise Armacost is The Baltimore Sun's editorial writer in Anne Arundel County.

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