1. KISS Bears
Almost certainly destined to be the next Tickle Me Pokémon, these quaint collectibles are just the thing to brighten any toddler's bedroom. One look at Gene, Ace, Paul and Peter, all done up just like life, only in cuddly plush, and those sucky Teletubbies are guaranteed to go "Bye-Bye!" $30 each, spencergifts.com.
Ideal for: KISS fans, teddy bear collectors who need a dose of reality.
Not advised for: Easily frightened children or adults.
Word of warning: Fear the crowds if these take off like some other popular holiday dolls.
2. Wearable Computer
Step into the digital age with a computer that straps, James Bond (or is that Inspector Gadget?)-style to your body. The keyboard affixes to your wrist, the battery attaches to your waist, the headset monitor makes you look like you're a telemarketer — but no matter, you can take this 233 MHz Pentium processor, with 128 MB RAM and a hard drive capacity of 4.3 GB, anywhere you can possibly go. $9,995 from www.hammacher.com.
Ideal for: Obsessed day traders.
Not advised for: Obsessive day traders, SCUBA divers.
Word of warning: Could be difficult to tell when user is online, leading to embarrassing situations.
3. Jesse Ventura Action Figures
Give someone a Minnesota governor of their very own. These come in three fashionable outfits — camouflage, sweats, jacket-and-tie — and, at 12 inches tall, will kick Ken's butt in the Barbie-impressing department. $22.95 from www.wirelesstoo.com.
Ideal for: Political junkies.
Not advised for: Junkie politicians.
Word of warning: John Engler action figures. Think about it.
4. Millennium Bra
Is it underwear or jewelry? Victoria's Secret outdoes itself every holiday season, expecting customers to outdo themselves on something they really just want to undo. This year, the Millennium Bra, encrusted in very real diamonds and sapphires, is prohibitively expensive unless you're a supermodel or a movie star — our best advice is to wait for the knock-off. $10 million from Victoria's Secret.
Ideal for: Getting people to stare near, instead of at, your cleavage.
Not recommended for: Swimming.
Word of warning: Dry-clean only. Do not iron.
Oh, those Florida manatees. Cute, cuddly, aquatic creatures. Endangered species. This is kind of a virtual gift, as the manatee you adopt through the Adopt-A-Manatee program stays in its watery home in Florida's Blue Spring State Park (makes wrapping unnecessary, anyway). The gift includes an adoption certificate, a photo and bio of the adopted manatee, a manatee book and a card. $20 from the Save the Manatee Club, www.savethemanatee.org.
Ideal for: Apartment dwellers, kids who want ponies.
Not recommended for: Anyone likely to have Cabbage Patch flashbacks.
Word of warning: Manatees weigh more than 1,000 pounds. Just so you know.
6. Swoops Headphones
These sleek headphones from AIWA are the iMacs of audio products. Not only do they keep you from getting the dreaded "headphone hair" (such a problem), they make you look like you're going really, really fast, even if all you're doing is plodding out your 20 minutes on the treadmill. The blue and silver earpieces slip over your ears and the band wraps behind your neck.
Ideal for: iMac fans, slow joggers.
Not recommended for: Wearing as a regular fashion accessory.
Word of warning: Recipient may be mistaken for a desktop computer.
7. Llovely Llama
This gift is both virtual and real, depending on how you look at it. Yes, it's a real llama, but it doesn't get delivered to your loved one's door (probably much to their relief). Instead, the llama — which is prized both for its wool and its use as a pack animal — gets delivered, in your loved one's name, to a poor family in Bolivia. Your loved one gets a card, and the family gets to use the llama to help them restore their damaged farmland. If a llama's not to your taste, you could also order up a water buffalo, a sheep or a trio of guinea pigs — they'll all be sent to families in developing countries, as part of the nonprofit Heifer Project International's development program. Llamas $150, other animals vary, from www.heifer.org.
Ideal for: Armchair farmers, animal lovers with allergies.
Not recommended for: Anyone who's going to be bummed out when they just get a card.
Word of warning: The guinea pigs are used for food.
8. Disaster Preparedness Kit
For those rare off-road adventures in the SUV, or for keeping on hand just in case — this is a three-day survival kit that includes food bars, water packets, waterproof matches, a candle, first-aid supplies and more. It'll keep one person alive and relatively comfortable for three days — a good thing if you're suddenly cut off from the grocery store and eBay. $29.95 from www.realgoods.com.
Ideal for: Those who worry about Y2K, but procrastinate about preparing; anyone living in an earthquake zone.
Not recommended for: Those who can't wait for a disaster to strike before tasting their energy bars.
Word of warning: No claims are made about the flavor of the enclosed food items.
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