Finding the perfect Christmas gifts for your friends and family is a real challenge. And as you struggle to find things they might like, don't forget they're trying to do the same for you. So when you open that bright pink sweater, or the coffee maker they already got you last year, just smile politely and remember to hold onto that gift receipt.
Odds are you won't be able to return those items for cash, but if you find yourself with a handful of Macy's gift cards after a few exchanges, here are some suitable alternatives that should've been under the tree in the first place.
Chopping garlic thankfully isn't the same eye-burning ordeal as hacking away at an onion, but it can leave your fingers and cutting board smelling pretty terrible.
So if you don't want to spend the rest of the evening smelling like dinner, just toss a couple of peeled cloves into this press and roll it back and forth across your kitchen counter. A set of blades inside will reduce them to a cooking-friendly pulp in just seconds, and if you've got kids who love Hot Wheels cars, it's an easy way to put them to work. $10
There's something so satisfying about grinding your own salt and pepper onto your meal, instead of just dumping either spice out of a shaker. And thanks to the over-sized handles on this matching pair of grinders, reducing peppercorns or chunks of salt to a satisfying seasoning takes little to no effort.
You can also adjust the coarseness of your grind, if you prefer to accentuate both the texture and taste of your food, and there's nothing stopping you from putting whatever you want in each grinder. From hot pepper flakes, to cinnamon, to cloves. $20
It seems there are more iPhone cases on the market than stars in the sky, but if you want something that both protects and enhances your handset, Case-Mate's Snap case is a nice solution.
Its pop-up rubberized kick stand is a little phallic, but it's easy to extend or retract like those 'slap-wrap' metal bracelets that were popular in the nineties. It also supports your iPhone 5 in either portrait or landscape orientations, in a small assortment of bright and cheery colors. $30
There's nothing like a gift that keeps on giving, so consider trading up that giant novelty-sized TV remote for this haircutting kit that means you'll never have to pay for a barber again.
Its rotary design flies in the face of traditional razor engineering, but it makes self-barbering easier and safer with stainless steel blades and a set of locking combs that allow for six different style settings—as long as it's a shaved head you're after because this thing takes an all or nothing approach to trimming. $60
Touchscreen devices are terrible for action-based games that rely on a joystick and buttons for precise control. So if you find yourself getting hooked on iOS games, the iCade Core might be right up your alley.
It promises arcade-quality controls, but in a package that's slightly more portable than a real gaming cabinet since it relies on your iPad for its display. It's particularly wonderful if retro gaming is your thing, but unlike the Nintendo consoles we grew up with, it manages to cut any and all cables with a wireless Bluetooth connection. Now that's progress. $85
There might be a talented artist hiding inside you but how will you ever know if you spend your time using that foot massager you got? Exchange it for this Wacom tablet that provides a creative experience that feels just like wielding a brush—except there's no paint to spill and you can undo every stroke.
The Bamboo Create Tablet also doubles as an ergonomic alternative to a mouse, and if you've ever had to sign a digital document, you'll be happy to have access to its lightweight stylus which ensures your John Hancock doesn't look like it was scribbled by a toddler. $200