Smuggled Rubber Duckies and Weird Stocking Stuffers

Holiday Rubber Duck confiscated by U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Holiday Rubber Duck confiscated by U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Thank goodness that port strike is over. Now criminals can get back to the business of smuggling illegal stuff into the United States.

Like rubber ducks wearing Santa hats.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection say they've intercepted nearly 36,000 seasonal toys from China which contain harmful amounts of Phthalates (just trying to spell that word made me ill). "Phthalates are a group of chemicals--oily, colorless liquids--that are used among other things to make vinyl and other plastics soft and flexible."

It's a cruel day in Whoville when the Grinch has even poisoned your bath toys.

(Read More: Hot Holiday Toys for 2012)

Contraband rubber duckies
Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Contraband rubber duckies

The contraband rubber duckies have an estimated "street value" of $18,522. CBP says the shipment was seized at the port on December 4, the last day of a strike at most of the port's terminals, meaning this cargo of horror was on one of the few ships getting through while real holiday gifts sat out at sea.


Mind you, federal agents catch a lot of weird stuff coming into Los Angeles. There was the Vietnamese guy smuggling live birds taped to his legs, a German man was convicted of shipping hundreds of tarantulas to the City of Angels.

We're not called the land of fruits and nuts for nothin'.

But nothin' may compare to the volume of toxic toys. CBP says working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, they've stopped more than 8.5 million illegal toys and children's products from getting into U.S. stores over the last four years.

That's a lot of toys. Somebody's being very naughty, not nice.

Speaking of Santa…

(Read More: Wear That Ugly Sweater With Pride)


Let me end with alternative stocking stuffer suggestions to murderous rubber ducks. I have found two other items which won't poison anyone. I think.

First, Poo~Pourri, "The before-you-go bathroom spray".

This is a real product, and I have heard from at least one person who raves about it.

"When you spray Poo~Pourri into the bowl, our proprietary formula creates a protective barrier on the water's surface," says the product description. "The barrier keeps unpleasant odors from coming into contact with the air. All you'll smell is a refreshing bouquet of essential oils."


"This product changed my life," quotes the beautiful young woman staring up at you on the website's home page.

I always wonder about the photos of people they use for testimonials—"Hey, hon, I just landed a fantastic advertising gig. I'm going to be the model on the front page of an anti-poo-smell company!" It makes me think of the men in Viagra and Cialis ads. How much do you think they get teased at the gym?

Pizza perfume
Source: Pizza Hut
Pizza perfume

The second stocking stuffer is also related to odor and may require a spritzing of Poo~Pourri: Pizza Hut's Pizza Scent cologne.

The marketing team at the Yum! Brands-owned chain was joking around onFacebook last summer wondering what a pizza perfume might smell like. "Do you love the smell of a box of Pizza Hut pizza being opened? We thought so. If that smell was a perfume, what would it be called?"

The response was so strong the company created a limited edition of the scent which smells of "freshly baked dough and pizza seasonings."

And you thought people only wanted to smell like bacon.

(Read More: Par-ty! Office Holiday Parties Return)

—By CNBC's Jane Wells; Follow her on Twitter: @janewells