Is the anxiety of seasonal consumer obligation weighing heavy upon your soul? Lay your head in my lap, gentle reader, for I have been editorially obliged to compile a list of perfect (cheap) gifts for every member of your family. Bonus feature: since I am a sensitive liberal guy, I've left out all the specifically Jesusy gifts, so these should work even if you celebrate one of the Weird Ethnic Christmases.


Years ago, I was browsing a big-box store when an older woman approached me for some holiday shopping advice (this happens a lot, since I have a trustworthy face and the defeated posture of a retail employee). She held up a 3 Doors Down CD and posed a horrifying question: "Do young people still like music with loud guitars?"

She was trying to find a gift for her grandson, whose taste she seemed to know nothing about. Imagine being that poor kid, sitting there on Christmas morning in his Cure T-shirt, looking at the CD-shaped package from Nana with mounting dread, knowing it couldn't possibly be anything but the lamest shit ever. It broke my heart; I steered Grandma toward the sock aisle and gave her the same advice I'll give to you: never buy music for anyone unless you know exactly what they want. If you're looking for advice in a Holiday Gift Guide, you shouldn't be buying music. Even if you impeccably curate a selection of thoughtful music for the people you know best in the world, there's a 75 percent chance that you're actually Clueless Costco Grandma. Don't risk it.

Then again, CD box sets make perfect gifts due to their easy-wrapping rectangular shape, so I'll steer you toward something everyone can enjoy: please consider The Right Stuff Duck or Geese Calling Instructional CD Box Set ($39.99 from by way of Mack's Prairie Wings — please note that you must choose either duck or goose). Each box set includes four CDs, taking you from the basic "Fundamentals of Success" all the way through the "Advanced Techniques." Whether or not your loved one is the sporting type, what could be more amusing than four solid hours of some guy explaining how to make goofy sex honks at wild fowl?

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