Since my childhood I’ve gotten excited about the holidays because people seemed enjoyably different, more social, less negative, and, of course, I woke up and found stuff with my name on it under the Christmas tree that dad and I selected. Most of the packages contained items that I may have nonchalantly mentioned to my parents as being possible gift partialities. They often added a few great selections on their own. 

Conversely, as we get older it becomes increasingly difficult to surprise us with presents that we really need and appreciate. For example, giving a husband a necktie is like giving a wife a thousand piece set of power tools. Some of our friends and relatives have the mistaken idea that trendy things are always of interest to us and take it personal when they learn we didn’t truly appreciate their unique gift and secretly donated it to the first charity making the rounds in our neighborhood in early January or in some cases quickly “regifted” it to someone else.

Like it or not seniors, especially retired ones, should ease the shopping process for our habitual gift giving relatives and friends by offering them a list of items that we really don’t want for Christmas, or for that matter, not ever. Here are the top ten things that I don’t want as Christmas gifts this year and will never use – ever.

Smart gloves. I’m not a texter. But if you text so much and so often that you’re irritating your fingertips or causing issues with your fake nails, then you need to step back and rethink how you’re spending your time. And if you happen to be an avid texting driver, knock it off immediately!

Wool. I don’t own anything made completely of wool, and only a couple of “I just can’t get rid of them” clothing items that contain a slight amount of wool because it makes me itch. What I could use is a comfortable cotton sweat shirt with an “I don’t itch” phrase monogrammed on it. 

Head lamp baseball cap. I enjoy a comfortable fitting baseball cap, most guys do. However, I don’t typically wonder around the house wearing one, especially at night. We have electricity, indoor plumbing and ample lighting in every room, and as far as I know all of the on/off switches still work. Worst case, there’s a flashlight on the nightstand with multiple LED bulbs that might be able to start a fire if aimed directly onto something for a few minutes—it’s blindingly bright, and I don’t need a hat in order to use it. 

Arm pit tester. This one almost defies belief, but I saw one and wasn’t cheap. Here’s a thought; how about stepping into the shower, and promptly after drying off, roll on some deodorant that you can easily purchase in a two pack at one of the ultra-discount stores for about $.50. 

Bedside sleep timer. I’ve gotta let you in on a little secret, and let’s keep it between us. There’s an electronic device that’s proven fairly accurate over the ages—it’s called a clock. But there is a catch; you actually have to look at it before going to bed, grab a glance when you wake up, and quickly calculate the duration of elapsed time. Trust me, you can do this.

Radio/mp3 cycling helmet combination. I used to ride a bike avidly, and I always wore a helmet. But mine was manufactured for protecting my skull, not for entertainment or as a musical distraction while rolling along. As a matter of fact, there were always ample distractions with various forms of debris on the road, marginally competent riders, and an endless stream of inattentive texting drivers to be aware of along the way. Occasionally, I’d find a stretch of road that was empty and clean for as far as I could see, and the last thing I wanted to hear was anything other than the tinnitus hissing in my ears and the gentle wind blowing on my face. 

Remotely activated squealing vehicle location chip. I tend to be relatively aware of where I park my car most of the time, and I abhor those screeching noises emanated by drivers who don’t know how to activate/deactivate their security systems. So introducing yet another parking lot noise that will become synonymous with “Duh, who moved my vehicle?” isn’t for me. If it gets to the point that I routinely misplace my car whenever I use a public lot, then it’s probably time to re-evaluate my capacity to function behind the wheel as well. 

Waterproof camera. Remember, if I’m in the water for recreational purposes, especially if it’s an ocean where sharks are prevalent, I could care less about getting a quick snapshot of it immediately before it clamps down on some part of my body. 

Wristwatch with multi-country time options. I often don’t know the exact date of the month, and that goes for days of the week as well. But so far I have a handle on the correct year, although New Year’s sometimes poses a challenge for the first several weeks thereafter. Given this current mindset, I really couldn’t give a rip about what the time may be in some country that would be challenging to locate on a world map.

An “i” anything. I don’t own a fancy iPhone or any other “i” kind of device because I wouldn’t use it. I’ve dinked around with them in various electronics stores and simply don’t see the need unless you’re employed in a business that requires you to be away from home much of the time and rely on a computer for getting the job done. I most often use my perfectly suitable, novice-friendly cell phone for calls to my wife when I can’t decipher an item or items on the grocery shopping list she gave to me. And I have an inexpensive tablet computer because I thought it might be an interesting way to add a few new wrinkles to my brain, but it turns out that only comes in handy for playing games when nothing on any of the 285 TV channels interests me.  

As you can see, this list can save you a lot of time during your diligent shopping spree for me. Obviously, I’m easy to satisfy when receiving holiday gifts. But please ensure that whatever you select for my seasonal surprise doesn’t require the combined use of electricity and water or demand the expenditure of any form of orthopedic-related movement. Other than these minimal guidelines, please, enjoy your shopping. I’m already anxious to see your creativity come to fruition.

Happy holidays!

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