By Jason Wright
Merry Christmas! It's time for the obligatory office parties, Christmas music, Grandma's re-gifted fruitcake and another installment of Oprah's Favorite Things. Her 2012 edition features 68 all-new gifts, including a $3,000 Elliptical Trainer, Black Truffle Sausage and a Jetson E-Bike. No doubt, these are must-haves for every television network owner.
As in years' past, her list is notable for the items that just barely missed the cut. Her fans call them her second-favorite things, and for the third consecutive year (2010, 2011), it's my pleasure to present the completely unauthorized list.
Here are 10 more gift ideas Oprah has no idea she wants you to have in 2012.
1. Hostess Twinkies Bake Set: When dealing with
the loss of a loved-one, there are either five or seven stages of grief, depending on your school of thought. But when dealing with the death of an
iconic, beloved American treat, there is only one: "Make your own." This Twinkie baking set is the perfect gift for the snack-cake mourner in your life.
2. You Can Keep Him: Lessons My Five-year-old Son Taught Me About Life, by Matt Birch (ebook): If you spend any of your Christmas budget on books, set aside just $2.99 for this inspirational memoir about a young man who succumbed to cancer, but did not let it beat him. The Deseret News called it "a story of love, life and liberation coupled with faith and understanding of God's gifts."
3. Hedbanz: Hedbanz is one of the few games all ages can enjoy equally. The goal is to guess what object is pictured on a card mounted to a headband that everyone sees but you. The downside? It's such a simple and enjoyable concept, you'll wish you'd thought of it.
4. Real Estate from LunarLand.com: If your loved-one is a stargazer, surprise them with an acre of land on the moon. The folks at LunarLand.com claim to be "the only company to possess a legal claim and copyright for the sale of celestial land." Consider packaging it with a block of their favorite cheese.
5. Noel: Carols of Christmas Past, by Jenny Oaks Baker (CD): With her latest project, Grammy-nominated and world-renowned violinist Jenny Oaks Baker proves that she doesn't just want to entertain you, she wants you to be moved by the spirit of heaven. That's fitting, since her talents with the violin are truly heavenly.
6. The Furby: It's back! The furry creature that ignited brawls in understocked toy stores in 1998 has been updated and reintroduced. The new and improved models will interact with your computer and smartphone and can be trained to do everything your kids won't.
7. Gummy Python: This 27-pound, 36,000-calorie gummy treat is more than the most delicious reptile on earth - it could also an important addition to your food storage and emergency preparedness plan. Minimum caloric intake levels vary by gender, age and weight, but an average adult could live as long as three weeks on this gummy python.
8. 12 Dogs of Christmas: Great Puppy Rescue (DVD): Oscar-winner Kieth Merrill and company are back with a sweet film your kids will love. It's a follow-up to their surprise 2004 DVD hit, "The 12 Dogs of Christmas," and it delivers all of the smiles and inspiration and none of the trashy bathroom humor packed into so many Hollywood holiday films.
9. Shari's Berries: I'm not sure if Shari is a real person or not, but if she is, I owe her a hug. The eponymous website offers treats from gingerbread houses to cake pops, but it's their chocolate covered strawberries that should come with a warning label. "Eating this irrevocably changes the way you think of all other berries and will prompt you to laugh and call them names."
10. Retro Brick iPhone Case: Remember the giant brick cell
phone you used to carry? The geniuses at ThinkGeek.com have brought them out of retirement with one of the most clever iPhone cases on the market.
Stuff a stocking with a 2012 case that will make your loved-one look like they're living back in 1990.
Jason F. Wright is a New York Times best-selling author of 10 books, including "Christmas Jars," "The Wednesday Letters" and "The 13th Day of Christmas." He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or jasonfwright.com.