I realize this is coming a tad late for those who are of the Jewish persuasion, as this is the seventh night of Chanukah, but I wanted to provide my readership with some creative holiday gift ideas for the special ones in your lives.
One Christmas, an in-law (who shall remain nameless) gave the gift of influenza to her husband and daughter, who then opted to spread the joy to her other daughter. I was the sole family member who wasn't a beneficiary of the contagion. I felt left out; I was relegated to watching The Matrix, Zoolander, and Christmas Vacation while the others laid in bed, moaning feebly, occasionally ingesting small amounts of Jello. I determined that I was excluded from sharing in the blight due to my lack of blood status. I don't hold it against them. I had only been a family member for a few short months. I'm sure if it happened again, they'd share the virus with me.
If you've always wanted to give your loved one influenza (or HIV or gonorrhea or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever) without the associated symptoms or stigma, today is your lucky day, for at your very fingertips, you have the opportunity to confer said maladies to your kith and kin without the icky rash. Consider bestowing BioBoxers gilded with the microorganisms closest to your heart to those on your holiday shopping list. Here's a staph infection to drape 'round their waists (keep away from open wounds).
If disease-laden underwear doesn't suit the personalities of those on your list, you can give some of these very same ailments in necktie form. For the Purdue alum in your life, why not give a Boilermaker black-and-gold West Nile Virus necktie (pictured at left)? Also available for the scruffs of those special someones are anthrax in black and red, chlamydia in burgundy and gray, and mad cow disease in a lovely burnt orange.
One final option for sharing diseases this winter are plush Giant Microbes. These lovely stuffed bugs provide a rare and cuddly glimpse of the friendly microorganisms at 1,000,000x magnification that afflict millions around the globe. I already own the non-pathogenic Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast), and you (or Santa Claus or Chanukah Harry) can transmit ebola virus, flesh-eating bacteria, or the black death (known in some circles as the plague) to family and friends. If you're giving a holiday present to that special someone this season, consider giving "Mono", the kissing disease (also known as the Epstein-Barr virus), shown here.
If diseases aren't your thing (or the things of your giftees), maybe gray matter is. What do you get for that thinker in your life who's always on the go? Give that walking brain a walking brain. Finally, a tangle of neurons to keep up with your favorite genius. For a video of the wind-up walking brain in action, click here. And the best part is that this mobile encephalon can be yours for less than the price of a triple Venti non-fat no-whip white chocolate peppermint mocha.
Finally, for the emasculated dogs in your lives, there are Neuticles (not pictured here). Nothing says "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Chanukah" to man's best neutered friend like implants, starting at a mere $73 a pair. The official website advertises a range of sizes; this is not a one-size-fits-all sort of product. The Neuticles website also sells a variety of merchandise that will please the whole family, including Neuticles t-shirts and hoodies, ball caps, aprons, bathrobes, beach towels, key chains, and necklaces... certainly enough paraphernalia for a themed holiday gift exchange. You can even buy an autographed copy of Going... Going... Nuts! The Story Had to Be Told... by Gregg Miller, the inventor and developer of Neuticles. (Under no circumstances should Neuticles be used in humans; the website makes this clear in the very fine print).
For the record, this is not a personal holiday wish-list. I am not trying to suggest (even subliminally) that my readers purchase these items for me (except for the walking brain).
To give credit where credit is due, I first learned about the microbe apparel here, walking brain here, and neuticles here.