Things That Make You Go…Huh? Wha? Seriously? (Christmas edition)

It never ceases to amaze me, the ideas that get through marketing departments these days…

And I should know: I used to work in an advertising agency. And the chain of approvals that even a podunk local practically invisible small inconsequential highly targeted ad goes through seems mind-numbingly infinite.

Knowing this endless road of checks and balances, I can’t even imagine the process a new-to-launch national product must endure — the constant vetting and scrutiny and revisions that follows a product from idea to marketplace.

But then there are some — that seem to go from early inspiration to Walmart shelves without any intervention whatsoever. Because even my 9-year-old daughter, if asked in the formative stages of said product, would say, “Um, ‘scuse me, but that’s bat-shit crazy.”

Case in point: A hat. Resembling Dora the Explorer. In which your head goes up Dora’s skirt. And her head rests on your head.

Not even kidding.

I’m walking through Walgreens the other night with the family, and the Dora hat catches my eye.

“Try it on,” I ask my son.

“I’m not putting my head — IN THERE,” he responds suspiciously.

I look at my daughter, and she’s already shaking her head, visibly shuddering at the thought.

Shoulda guessed Brett would be a willing participant.

Is anyone else disturbed by the anatomy of this hat? I mean, just imagine the storyboard session in the Dora marketing department:

Product Pitcher: OK everyone, listen up. So there’ll be this hat, and Dora’s legs will be spread around this person’s head. Or, um, er, you put your head up Dora’s skirt, and her legs immediately spread wide open. Or — well, you get the idea.

Scrutinizing Campaign Vetting Committee Member: So the person’s forehead is essentially, well, you know, ‘down there’?

PP: Sure, you can look at it that way. But trust me no one will notice, because it’s Dora. And she’s happy about it! (I mean, look at that smile!)

SCVCM: So you’re saying the person wearing this hat will be too excited because their head is INSIDE of a very happy Dora, between her legs?

PP: Yip. Between her legs. Sex sells. Moving on…now our next holiday product is a Dora Dildo…

And I don’t think I’m just “outside of the demographic” here. My entire family was creeped out by the Dora hat. Well, except Brett, of course.

Moving on to the topic of Christmas ornaments. I realize that we all have our proclivities and preferences, but I dunno: I kinda thought that just meant I like silver and red on my tree (big surprise, right?) whereas you prefer green and gold.

I didn’t think it meant there are people out there who flock to their local Target in search of the perfect crazy-eyed, camo-wearing, rifle-wielding, sparkly duck to accessorize O Tanenbaum:

…or Sher-dog Holmes:

Or the creepiest clown ornament ever whose mouth has clearly been stitched from side to side in order to shut him the fuck up (one wonders: WHAT DID HE SEE to inspire such morbid mutification?):

(Yip, if you haven’t noticed: The eyes are following you on this one, too. Creepy Egg Man has NOTHIN’ on Creepy Clown Man.)

And then there’s this, which is obviously a one-armed, tutu-clad cow who has clearly just learned that this Christmas — SURPRISE!!! — she’s getting a breast exam:

Got Milk?

So the ornaments probably come and go based on supply and demand — perhaps next year, we’ll have fewer mamogram-prepping bovines, for example — but there is one marketing ploy that is absolutely here to stay: The Inflatable.

And the only problem I have with inflatables is the horrifying scene that results when inflatables deflate.

Because it looks like this:

It’s like a Christmas massacre, people: Gingy, Frosty and Santa, DOA. Cause of death: smooshing.

When my daughter was younger, I distinctly recall a time when she burst into tears upon passing one of these horrific scenes. She was inconsolable. I can’t be the only parent whose child had this response to deflated inflatables…right?

Apart from decorations, another puzzling perplexity to ponder for me this year? This card:

THE HELL? It’s like wonk-eyed cat-meets-Amadeus-meets-loopy Aunt Edna after too much egg nog-meets-pink Christmas tree.

Let’s think about the reactions that our (normal) Christmas cards are intended to elicit in our recipients:

  1. Ahhh. How sweet.
  2. That warms my heart.
  3. So thoughtful.
  4. I love them, too.

Not: Oh my holy FUCK what IS that?

And finally, I hope Boyfriend Brett will not be reading this Postito, because if he is — his Christmas present will be totally spoiled.

Because I happened upon these on display in Barnes & Noble yesterday, side-by-side books that reflected an inherent and alarming non-sequitur — but both at bargain-basement prices:

…and guess which book will be under the tree this year?

Hint: They’re not just ordinary chickens, after all. They’re extraordinary. How could I resist?

So: Your reactions to Dora, odd ornaments, Amadeus kitty, deflated inflatables or “Extraordinary chickens”? Have you seen anything bat-shit crazy this holiday season? Please please PLEASE add to the insanity…and assure me I’m not the only one encountering crazy on a daily basis…

77 thoughts on “Things That Make You Go…Huh? Wha? Seriously? (Christmas edition)

  1. Ruth says:

    I can’t breathe. Tooooo funny. Next can you pick apart Chanukah, cuz that’s my holiday. Granted, it’s not nearly as commercialized, but there is so much to ridicule! Oily potato pancakes; spinning tops called Dreydls; our insecurity driving us to distribute gifts even though it has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the holiday (completely guilt-driven because of the proximity to Christmas). Go for it. On behalf of Jews everywhere, I give you permission!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Haha … good to know that I have your permission, Ruth. I’d hate to tackle the topic without sign-off of some kind. The Universe already hates me — I’d hate to see what happens if I really piss off someone in “power.” 😉

      I do have a funny Chanukah story that I definitely need to share — thanks for the reminder. And I’ll be on the look-out for crazy quirky, Amadeus-catlike, breast-exam bovine-type craziness…

  2. Patrice Kyger says:

    Postitos? Gee, I really liked the idea of the Postettes – you know, that doo-wop girl group of itty-bitty posts?

    Moving on… yes, Dora hat is utterly awful.

    I’m saddened by the book display. Both books were discounted? No one wants red hot sex? (Or thinks they need no additional suggestions, because their lovemaking is already too darn hot?) Hey, married/partnered/SO’d people out there! Save some bucks on couples counseling – buy Cosmo’s book! Oh, and chickens, too.

    A point: This may be of interest only to me, the one who’s writing a nonfiction book called Too Much Yang: How Asian Gendercide And Bachelor Nations Threaten The West . . . but if you’ll flip over your new ornament purchases from WalMart, K-Mart, Pier 1, and the rest, you’ll see a tag that is almost 100% likely to read “Made in China”, when it *should* read “Made in China by young women who work long hours for little pay and are often migrants to the towns where these items are manufactured, often berated and sometimes beaten by their managers, and factory owners prefer to hire them because they cost less and won’t, unlike men, cause much trouble/use alcohol or drugs/engage in workplace violence/foment trouble.”


    Those girls and young women are sort of, though, the last of their kind. Asian gendercide (sons are preferred, ultrasound machines are everywhere – the new blood tests accurate at only seven weeks of pregnancy are coming – and abortion of female fetuses is still rising) is creating a land where fewer and fewer children are girls.

    My point being that in just a few years, China (and India, and southeast Asia is following suit) will be the proud possessor of excess young males numbering in the tens of millions. The “missing girl phenomenon” will have become that of “missing young women”, an imbalance never before seen in the history of the world, leading to near-constant disruptions, violence, enormous gangs and riots that will make this past summer’s antisocial behavior in English cities look like a walk in the park. Which in turn will affect first-world countries. Yes, that still means us.

    Stock up on Chinese-made ornaments now, because they won’t be around for long.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Wow, Patrice, way to totally highlight a crazy problem — and kill my Christmas cheery ho-ho-ho mood.

      (Actually, not so much: I found your comment to be amazingly insightful — I’m just giving you a hard time.)

      I look at my own daughter, and to know this is going on with little girls very much like her in a parallel town on the other side of the globe is sickening. Such lack of value in one gender makes my heart hurt.

      Thanks for providing perspective. At first, it made me want to do anything but collect these ornaments, knowing who is toiling to make them and having just the tiniest snapshot into their conditions. But then, there is value in symbolically supporting what these women are doing.

      Thanks for the commentito on my Postette. Definitely makes us think…

  3. Tori Nelson says:

    I think giving someone the sex book AND the chicken book would be double the awesome. Nothing says Christmas like a confusing gift that makes you question your role in the gift giver’s life 🙂

  4. John says:

    Ha… I could not agree more about those inflatables. My friend has (used to have) a greeting card company, and he turned a pic of a deflated Frosty into a Christmas card that reads “Christmas got you down?”

    I kind of want to own the Extraordinary Chickens book. Actually, I try to buy the most obscure, ridiculous thing I can find each year for my brother, and that may just be a winner. Other gifts to my brother in years past include “Rosie Grier’s Guide to Needlepointing… FOR MEN!” and a Connie Chung autograph, addressed with “To Pat, BEST WISHES!, Connie Chung”.

    I never underestimate the chicanery of product or ad pitches. Somewhere in this world, there’s an ad agency employee who said “You know what would help sell a lot of Mucinex? A talking booger who sounds like Ralph Kramden”, and then they acted on that pitch. The same goes for the Charmin pooping bears.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Oh the Charmin pooping bears!!! You’re SO right: They are the epitome of bat-shit-crazy ad pitches, aren’t they?

      I love your obscure gift exchange with your brother. It sounds like something my brother and I used to do: We would send each other a card for a random holiday (Christmas, Halloween, Passover, etc.) with the same “Steak-Ums” coupon always enclosed. I have no idea who was the one to drop the ball on the Steak-Ums coupon, but it makes me sad not to receive it anymore…

      I would love a Connie Chung autograph addressed to Pat. That rocks.

  5. Robin says:

    I live in east Texas – so I actually know a lot of people who would love the hunting duck ornament (I’m embarrassed for them but it doesn’t make it any less true). I have no clue what to say about the other ornaments…WTF seems to sum it up nicely, although I feel strongly that the cat card had to have involved alcohol. I am actually the one who was traumatized by the massacre of the blow up yard art. I drive past a house regularly that started about five years ago with one and now has twelve. I thought they were appalling and tacky, but I DIDN’T know they deflated, and as I rounded the corner and saw the carnage, I admit that a little scream escaped. I actually thought someone had slaughtered them all!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      WTF, indeed — and I absolutely agree about the involvement of alcohol in the cat card. Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if weed and/or alcohol was involved in any (or all) of the ornaments, either…

      Good to know I’m not alone in my feelings of sadness and alarm when passing massacred inflatables. Just today on the way back from dropping my daughter at school, I passed many a sight — and I felt the urge to bury each and every one of them.

  6. goingroundandround says:

    We passed a display of deflated inflatables today and I thought the same thing, “Eeee, they’re dead.” If you’re going to display them, people, keep them inflated ALL THE TIME so we can enjoy their jolly aliveness!

    And the Dora hat? Even without the obvious nasty overtones, it is just…well…dumb.

    I find Patrice’s comment very interesting. I now understand why there are so many weird ornaments – they seem to have been designed by abusive, heartless Chinese men who are denigrating the Christmas holiday. Well, that explains the horrid-ness of the ornaments, but it doesn’t explain why stores in this country would sell them.

    The dog ornament would be cute to a person who had an identical-looking dog, but I think it would be lots more fun to put a hat on your own dog and take a photo.

    Great post 😀

  7. smh05j says:

    I do have to say, I would send that crazy Aunt Edna cat card to my friends. I’m pretty sure they would die when they opened it. Maybe it’s intended to be a joke card?

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I would agree, but it was in the section with all the Baby Jesus and Santa-in-a-sleigh and holly-trimmed cards. Not the joke section. But perhaps that was someone’s idea of a joke?

      I loved the card. Just crazy and bizarre enough to be fun and memorable. It would definitely be a conversation-starter at your holiday parties, right?

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Them are some fightin’ words — bat-shit ugly Christmas hell?!?! I’m SHOCKED

      Yeah, not so much. But for what it’s worth, so sorry for stealing your idea. Was it an ugly ornament post? Deflated inflatables? Because really, you’re just welcome to contribute to the digest of all things crazy Christmas, if you ask me…

  8. jaredblakedicroce says:

    I don’t know anyone’s particular religious predilections toward this holiday season, but i have to say, no matter what they are — the cause of the event itself is WAY CRAZIER than the things they sell to promote it. 😉
    Also, Oh-CatEmBaum was sooo cute!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I don’t know — how can one try to take on a classic? That seems awfully bold.

      And thanks for reminding me: I need to watch that movie again (for probably the 32nd time in my life). Brett and I were trying to figure out at what age we can share it with the kids … if I recall, many of the innuendo jokes would go way over their heads, but there’s some amazing slapstick humor that I think my son (especially) would love!

  9. Anne Schilde says:

    ♫♪ I’m the hat, I’m the hat, I’m the HAT! ♫♪

    There is something kind of funny about holding up an ornament while you decorate the tree and hollering, “DUCK!” Okay, no there’s not.

    I was pretty sure that clown ornament was Creepy Eggman in disguise, so I’m glad you made the same association!

    Damn! That’s one helluva a push-up bra!

    Those inflatables look like they’re from Oakland, CA. 🙂

    5. “Say man, got any more of that catnip?”

    Bwahahahaha… Which came first the chicken or…

  10. Bob says:

    Sweet merciful Cairo, and I thought that we Canadians were bonkers during the season.

    I would get someone to check the water and stamps, I suspect acid, and for Gods sake don’t touch the cool aid.

  11. trailertrashdeluxe says:

    The spelling police would say that Christmas cards do not usually elicit an illicit response, though I’m betting that yours would.
    Yeah, the inflatables look ridiculous when down, though the Santas that are falling over backwards drunk, not tied down very well, and half-inflated are almost as bad. I always wanted to do something where Santa was falling backwards off the roof, with those oversized beer-bottle piggy banks falling out of his bag and laying all over the yard. Except that kids would be traumatized.
    Are you sure those aren’t actually the same book?

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Oh my GOD what an egregious error — but probably Freudian at its roots. But thanks for pointing out proof of my unintentional dirty mind.

      And yeah, I’d think you’d traumatize the kiddos with your adaptation.


  12. Harold says:

    I am not going between Dora’s legs. I saw the hat before reading and said WUH? Just who is Cosmo? Who made him special? If they can’t keep the inflatables up, don’t put them out! That hat on that cat must have come from an acid rush! The cow is udderly shocking. I would think any book that has extraordinary animals in it would be a seller.

  13. monicastangledweb says:

    I don’t know if it’s my browser but I’m not seeing the deflated inflatable photo. But, seriously, you can write a book–with lots of photos–of the tacky side of Christmas. Call it something like Christmas: Commercialism Gone to Hell in a Hand Basket. I know, it’s long but you’re so clever, you’ll come up with something. So how long did it take you to come across all this crap? That Dora hat! OMG, but I love your imagined product pitch discussion. Hilarious. You hit the jackpot with this one. Love, love it. 😉

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      You know what’s bizarre? I read my posts on a Kindle, on my computer, on Brett’s computer — and then on my iPhone. The only version that is undoubtedly screwed up is my iPhone’s version. Are you using Safari? Because most of my pix turn out 180 degrees off on my iPhone. Damn Steve Jobs and his damn proprietary software. (I may want to curtail the damning of a dead man, but whatev.)

      Anyhow, love your idea, and to be honest this collection only took a few days. That’s proof that an entire book is a possibility!

  14. jcabsep says:

    I can’t believe I’m missing all this- Imagine the reaction from Afghans if I showed them this stuff. I think it would create more insurgents pledged to keep this thinking from invading their country. Maybe they are smarter than we think…

  15. groovyrick says:

    I guess I would be more disturbed if Dora were a ski mask. Let’s face it…Christmas is no longer a holiday, it’s business. As George Carlin once said, “If you nail two things together that have never been nailed together before, some schmuck will buy it.” Are there really NO new ideas? No new GOOD ideas? I can’t believe some of the crap that’s out there…and some schmuck will buy it! BTW, the Extraordinary Chickens book looks like a good read. It’s probably the follow up to the Extraordinary Cattle book I received last year. I’m waiting for the movie.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I would guess the Dora face mask may have followed the Dora Dildo in the pitch meeting. Maybe that’s why the hat made the cut — it was better than the alternative!

      And yeah, we’re a crazy, consumer-driven bunch. But it’s sure fun blog fodder!


  16. wordsfallfrommyeyes says:

    What a great vibe to your site! 🙂 I noticed your comment on the wordpress Christmas theme thingy, and thought I’d see what you’re about. There’s so much Christmas funny going on you can’t help but smile 🙂

    Thanks for making me smile today!

  17. Rayme Wells @ A Clean Surface says:

    I have seen some extraordinary chickens in real life, at a county fair, as a child. I don’t see the need for a coffee table book about them, however.
    Have you seen the Cake Wrecks website, ridiculing ugly and inexplicable cake designs? That is what this post reminds me of. =)

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I can only imagine there are people in this world with odd fascinations/fetishes. :-/

      I have not seen the Cake Wrecks website, but I did see a funny book in Barnes & Noble a while back (do we see a theme here?) about cake craziness. Perhaps it’s the same book/web site? I’ll have to check into it, because I was practically ROFLMAO with that book…

  18. Shawn Griffin says:

    The only person that should be allowed to wear that Dora hat is “Where’s Waldo”? Of course, Maggie & the Ferocious Beast might be the next BSC marketing campaign.

    Is anyone else seriously annoyed by the Best Buy Christmas commmercials? Santa has competition this year?

    Grrrr ….

    Definitely creeped out by the cat (and a little by the Chicken, Holy Drumsticks)!

    Here are some other great (terrible) Christmas Cards.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Maggie and the Ferocious Beast…oh my GOD the opportunities there…

      I haven’t seen the Best Buy commercials; but they sound annoying! I tend to DVR everything I watch, so I happily skip through the commercials — though I have accidentally stopped on the TJ Maxx/Marshalls commercial too many times in the past few weeks to not be annoyed by those singing dipshits.

      LOVE awkward family photos — and LOVE those cards! The silhouetted cat? The bacon suit? You just can’t make that shit up, right?

  19. kk50 says:

    When we lived at our old house, before the ex took everything(but I’m not bitter), one of our neighbors had a yard full of those inflatable decorations. One of them was a huge Tigger and I don’t know if there was a flaw in it or it was the way it was anchored down but it always looked like it was straining to go the the bathroom. My kids called it “Crappin Tigger” and it sort of became a tradition to look for it every year. I drove past the house this month but it was gone…another tradition down the tubes.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Haha! Crappin’ Tigger sounds awesome. Maybe we should create a line of inflatables (similar to my cups or Valentine’s Day card ideas) for those of us with a sense of humor. Crappin’ Tigger could be our mascot!

  20. mj monaghan says:

    I’m over here at the table – CHOKING!! My wife’s doing some work stuff on her laptop, and I can barely hold back the tears I’m laughing so hard. I’m just glad you saw those, umm, “holiday” items before I did, because I couldn’t do it the justice that you did.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Totally. Can’t you imagine it?

      Of course, I have been getting various “dildo” types in search engine key word searches today. I guess I’ve taken the blog in a new direction. My favorite today: “Christmas tree shaped dildo.”

      Um. Ouch?

  21. SammyDee says:

    That clown really is the stuff of nightmares! The more I look at it the more it freaks me out!

    That chicken book would have made z great stocking filler. I want to know what’s so extraordinary about them. 🙂

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