Clockwise from the top left:
Remote control holder. My niece and nephew have a cool little shopping program at their grade school where they get to buy real presents—like the things you'd find in a real store—at a deep discount. And since their parents don't shop with them for these gifts, the kids get to enjoy an element of surprise when their families open their gifts. Last year they got me a ceramic snowgrandmother figurine and a wooden nutcracker in a faux Cubs uniform. So I won't complain about the more functional things they got me this year. Like a red wooden remote-control holder with a built-in lazy susan.
Tupperware container. My sister also takes her kids to the dollar store every year with a list of people they have to buy for. In theory it's a great idea because the kids get to buy gifts for a ton of family members and friends and it costs my sister only twenty bucks. But the selection at the dollar store must be pretty limited. Because this year my niece bought the domestic partner this resealable plastic food container.
Back scratcher. I must look itchy. Or unlimber. Or maybe both. Because of all the things packed onto the dollar store shelves, this is what my nephew decided I needed the most.
iPod speakers. This gift is pretty cool. And since I actually own an iPod, it's also potentially useful. My nephew got it for me at the abovementioned school shopping program. Unfortunately, it takes a ton of batteries. And we keep forgetting to buy batteries. Even worse, I also keep forgetting to listen to my iPod.
Sword. The niece and nephew have discovered woodworking. And those little handicraft prodigies made everyone in the family a custom-designed wooden gift this year. My sister got a recipe holder that takes up more counter space than all her recipe books combined. My mom got a Jesus cross with the nails helpfully pre-pounded in. The domestic partner got a toy airplane that is, quite frankly, hopelessly non-aerodynamic and will never get FAA clearance. And I got a sword. With glitter on it. But not because I'm a big homo; I think the glitter is supposed to represent the metal part of the sword. And the duct tape, contrary to popular opinion, does not represent a handle sheathed in intricately braided strips of leather but rather an emergency patch-up job when the glue failed to hold the cross-parts of the handle in place. And do you know why they made me a sword? Because the little darlings paid attention when we went to Disney World and they know that Pirates of the Caribbean is my favorite ride ever. So, naturally, I needed a sword for Christmas. And now the domestic partner and I have a weapon in the house. A sparkly weapon. And if some swarthy bad guys break in and try to steal my back scratcher, they're gonna get a swift, sparkly trip to Davy Jones' Locker, Mateys!