Consumer Nation

Are These Holiday Gifts Stupid or Cool?

Is holiday shopping bringing you down? Are you sifting through countless gift ideas trying to find something unique for the person who has everything?

Dress for Dinner Necktie Napkins

Well, there's a good chance they don't have the stuff on this list!

But buyers beware — there's a fine line between stupid and cool, and this group of products teeters on that edge.

So after scouring the Web to find the most, umm...unique gifts out there, we want you to weigh in and decide.

From tools to keep your golf game afloat, to a way to ensure you never have to buy another pair of underwear, the choice is yours: Are these gifts stupid, or cool?

Men's Underwear Repair Kit: Stupid or Cool?

Men's Underwear Repair Kit, $9.95 on

Men’s Underwear Repair Kit

It's often said that men buy fewer pairs of underwear during a recession. If you're sick of looking at unattractive rips or tears in your husband's undies, consider theMen's Underwear Repair Kit — a way to get your "unsightly undershorts back into presentable shape," according to

The kit comes with a needle and thread, iron-on patches to cover holes, safety pins, an elastic waistband and duct tape.

And since most men are more accustomed to repairing cars than undergarments, it comes with a 32-page Instruction Man-u-al — Get it?

Also included in the kit is underwear white-out: Gross.

If it gets to that point, I'd suggest heading to Wal-Mart , where you can pick up a five-pack of Hanes briefs for a comparable $10 — and save yourself the trouble of a divorce.

Nakation in a Box: Stupid or Cool?

Nakation in a Box, $74 from the American Association for Nude Recreation

Nakation in a Box
Source: American Association for Nude Recreation

If underwear isn't really your thing, do we have the gift for you! Leave your dirty drawers at home and take a Nakation — a naked vacation — with the help of the American Association for Nude Recreation's Nakation in a Box.

For $74, naked travelers will receive a kit that includes the AANR's North American Guide to Nude Recreation — complete with tips for all you first timers out there — an "I'm on Nakation" towel, temporary tattoos (classy) and sunscreen (ouch!)

$74? That seems pretty steep for a kit that doesn't come with any clothes! But, according to the AANR Web site, it's a small price to pay for "the passport to your best vacation ever."

Nothing says it better than the group's slogan: "Put a little naked in your next vacation — you're going to love it!"

Golf Ball Life Vest: Stupid or Cool?

Golf Ball Life Vest, $7.49 on

Golf Ball Life Vest


The next time your shiny, new golf ball is headed for a water hazard, dress it up in the Golf Ball Life Vest, designed to keep your ball afloat when it doesn't quite make it to the green.

Though admits it isn't sure how the neon orange flotation device fits in with the strict and never-evolving rules of golf, it even comes with a real golf ball!

The only drawback: You have to put the jacket on the ball before you swing. If you're that sure you're about to send your brand-new Titleist into the fish-filled abyss, maybe it's time to reconsider your club choice.

Oh, and make sure to keep an eye out for alligators.

Designer Mousetraps: Stupid or Cool?

Designer Mousetraps, from $3 to $13.50 on

Designer Mousetraps

For those of you sick of looking at unattractive mousetraps in your rat-infested city apartments, there's Mousesnaps — hand-painted mousetraps designed to take some of the ugliness out of catching those wily rodents.

They started in 2008 as a hobby for an aspiring artist who was sick of looking at unsightly traps in her New York apartment. When visitors came over and saw the devices, they offered to buy them right off the floor.

So in May 2009, creator Nova Halliwell and her business partner, Mimi Davis, decided to launch the idea as an official business.

You can order holiday-themed traps, playing card traps and floral-patterned devices. No mice? Remember, they can also be used as Christmas ornaments!

"I realize that we're not exactly selling our product by the truckloads yet, but we've grown substantially in 11 months and we're committed to the idea and the company," Halliwell said.

The Racktrap: Stupid or Cool?

The Racktrap, $19.95 for a set of four on

The Racktrap

Speaking of traps, here's a solution for women who are sick of forgetting their clutch purses at the bar, or who hate bringing a large bag on a quick trip to the grocery store.

The Racktrap is a pocket designed for women to insert into their bra and stuff with cash, credit cards, driver's licenses — anything that fits. Just stuff it, slide it in and align it with the edge of your bra. (Click here to see an instructional video)

How convenient!

You can buy the Racktrap in Special Edition Gold for $7.95, or purchase a Fashion Fourpack, complete with White Lace, Nude Lace, Black Lace and a sweat-proof Sports Version. (Just try not to do any crazy upside-down aerobics.)

And guys — not to sway the voting too much — but how great would it be to see your date reach into her bra to grab some cash to buy you a drink?

Electronic Rock Guitar Shirt: Stupid or Cool?

Electronic Rock Guitar Shirt, $29.99 on

Electronic Rock Guitar Shirt

If you're suffering separation anxiety every time you step away from your plastic Guitar Hero guitar, now you can take it on the road — kind of.

The guys at ThinkGeek created a T-shirt with a built in guitar, accompanied by two magnetic picks, a miniature amplifier and a volume knob. Just pop in four AAA-batteries, turn up the volume and start strumming.

The sounds were recorded from an actual electric guitar, and it's easy to play because each button corresponds to a major chord.

And for those of you who get really good, ThinkGeek is joining up with Neversoft, the developer of Guitar Hero, to find the baddest T-Shirt guitar rocker around. You can upload a video of yourself rocking out on the shirt to YouTube until January 15 to enter the contest.

First-, second- and third-place winners will receive gift certificates to ThinkGeek, and the winning video will be featured on the site's home page.

Rock on!

Dress for Dinner Necktie Napkins: Stupid or Cool?

Dress for Dinner Necktie Napkins, $6.49 on

Dress for Dinner Necktie Napkins

If you're too classy for a musical shirt, accessorize your nicest suit with the Dress For Dinner Necktie Napkin, a "high-quality paper napkin" with four different necktie designs, according to

Each package comes with 20 napkins, which range from blue polka dots to classic black. That way, you can match nearly any outfit!

Or, as the Web site recommends, you can wear whichever option most closely resembles the food you're eating, to minimize the appearance of spills.

In the mood for spaghetti? Grab the red-striped tie! Have a craving for dark chocolate cake? Go for the more formal black option.

After all, you're probably not going to want to take this fashion statement off after you're finished with your filet!

Dog DNA Kit: Stupid or Cool?

Dog DNA Testing Kit, On Sale for $99.95 on

Dog DNA kit

In an era when mixed-breed dogs have evolved from "mutts" into posh "hybrids" with adorable names (think Puggle, Cockapoo or Labradoodle,) knowing your dog's heritage is more important than ever.

So what better gift to buy your favorite dog lover than the Dog DNA Testing Kit, which can identify more than 100 potential breeds?

You'll receive a nylon cheek swab brush to collect a sample from Fido's mouth (thankfully, no blood samples are necessary,) a tube to submit the specimen and a list of frequently asked questions about the pain-free process.

Once you submit the sample, wait four to six weeks, and you'll receive an official certificate that includes your dog's genetic makeup, as well as a picture!

Don't worry — we won't tell him he's adopted.

Knife and Fork Lift: Stupid or Cool?

Knife and Fork Lift, $24.95 a set on

Knife and Fork Lift

Is someone you know having trouble losing weight? Do they mindlessly shovel food into their mouths without thinking about the repercussions?

With the Knife and Fork Lift, that's no longer a problem!

These industrial-sized utensils are attached to 1.5-pound weights, to remind people to watch what they eat.

"By lifting these heavy utensils, even a dumbbell gets the message that what you eat puts weight on," according to the product's Web site.

And for those of you who were planning on switching to foods that only require a spoon, the joke's on you — the company also manufactures the fork's curvy counterpart.

They've also considered adding chopsticks to the lineup — What a workout!

Swine Flu Plush Microbe: Stupid or Cool?

Swine Flu Plush Microbe, $7.99 on

Swine Flu Plush Microbe

While most people are trying to avoid the Swine Flu this winter, why not give it to someone!

A new addition to ThinkGeek's plush microbe line, which includes stuffed versions of the kissing disease, chicken pox and malaria, the company enlarges the H1N1 specimen1,000,000 times, transforming it into an "infectuously cute" cuddly plush toy, according to the Web site.

An informational card, as well as a picture, also accompanies each microbe, making the product both educational and fun.

H1N1 is the perfect addition for every toy lover's collection. And while you're at it, why don’t you pick up a flesh-eating disease or mange — How cute!

Xtensor Gamer Hand Exerciser: Stupid or Cool?

Xtensor Gamer Hand Exerciser, $39.99 on

Xtensor Hand Exerciser

Just one more level to go! You've almost saved Princess Peach from Bower's Castle when, Ouch! Hand cramp!

For all you serious gamers who are plagued by carpal tunnel  after six straight hours of storming the castle, ThinkGeek has the solution.

The Xtensor Gamer Hand Exerciser is designed to stimulate the muscles and tendons in your hands, wrists and elbows after spending long hours bent over the controller.

According to the Web site, "Repetitive gripping and squeezing of your game-controller or mouse forces extended isometric contractions of the flexor muscles of the hands and fingers, producing an unnatural imbalance over time." (Well obviously — Everybody knows that.)

But by sliding the Xtensor over your hand and flexing every so often, you can increase your reaction time and reduce cramping, according to ThinkGeek.

The device even won the 2007 Medical Design Excellence Award.

With that kind of credibility, you'll definitely save the princess! Oh darn — flying fireball.

Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap: Stupid or Cool?

Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap, $6.99 for one bar on

Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap

Tired of spending $5 on a latte? Can't wait until you're out of the shower to enjoy a hot cup of coffee?

Enter the Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap, a bar of peppermint-scented cleanliness infused with 200 milligrams of caffeine that are released each time you bathe.

Because caffeine can be absorbed through the skin, this novelty item will give your day the immediate kick it needs, without requiring you to bring your coffee cup into the tub.

And with each 4-ounce bar of soap good for 12 showers, it's a much cheaper way to feed your caffeine addiction than waiting in line at Starbucks every morning.

There's also a more feminine option for women, the Shower Shock Body Wash, for only $12.99.

Finally, a way to feel and smell refreshed — And without the drag of coffee breath!

Sock Subscription: Stupid or Cool?

Blacksocks Subscription, $89 a year on


How many times have you gone to grab your favorite pair of socks from the dryer, only to discover a lone, orphaned stocking?

Now, you can order a sockscription through Blacksocks, a company that mails you three pairs of socks every four months to ensure your supply never runs thin.

According to the Web site, the idea was born when co-founder Samy Liechti, who worked at an advertising firm, went on a business dinner with Japanese executives.

After eating, the group headed to a Japanese tea house, where it's customary to remove your shoes. Once Liechti shedded his shoes and looked down at his sock-covered feet, he noticed he was wearing mismatching socks, and his right big toe was protruding out of the fabric.

Since that embarrassing day, Blacksocks has sold more than 1 million pairs of socks in 74 countries.

The socks are made in Northern Italy, with the "highest quality yarns with long fibers that pill less and are more durable," according to the company.

Sockscribers can choose from calf, knee and cashmere silk socks. The company also manufactures T-shirts via subscription.

"You don't ever have to waste another minute shopping for socks. Your sock drawer will replenish itself," Liechti said.

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