If you’re on the hunt for unusual gifts this holiday season, we’ve got a few weird and whacky recommendations.

Whether you’re shopping for a straight-laced co-worker or your crazy great aunt Betsy, there’s nothing like watching someone’s reaction when they open a gift, that’s well, unexpected. Gift cards, winter gloves and chocolates are a dime a dozen but squirrel underpants and canned unicorn meat? We think not.

Here are a few unusual gift ideas to get you started:

Canned Unicorn Meat ($11.99) @ ThinkGeek

A meat and cheese assortment from Hickory Farms? How impossibly passé. A Dean and DeLuca holiday basket? How 2005. A plate of homemade cookies? Don’t even think about it …

If you’re shopping for pick epicureans this holiday season, why not pick up a few cans of delicious and nutritious unicorn meat? When you think about it, $12 is quite the bargain for 14 ounces of sparkly, Grade-A Canned Unicorn Meat imported from a small cannery in County Meath, Ireland. Tasting like “rotisserie chicken with a hint of marshmallow sweetness” and promising “magic in every bite,” unicorn flesh is healthy (it helps lower “bad” cholesterol) and is perfect for entertaining as it’s easily spreadable on hors’ oeuvres and sandwiches.

Okay, okay … in reality, $12 will get you a cheeky can with a dismembered stuffed unicorn inside. Although Canned Unicorn Meat is an upsetting gift for ‘corn-loving’ kids it’s ideal for adults with a wicked sense of humor.


Hide ‘Yo Kids Mug ($4.99) @ District Lines

Inspired by accidental culture folk hero and Internet sensation Antoine Dodson, this coffee mug is an ideal gift for any pop-culture obsessed holiday host or hostess. Or, include as part of an Antoine Dodson-themed stocking along with a Hide Yo’ Kids tree ornament and You Are So Dumb wristband.

A Christmas Story Votive Candle Holder ($19.99) @ PerpetualKid

Is your sister’s home exclusively outfitted with furniture and accessories from Design Within Reach and Anthropologie? Help her out (read: horrify) by bestowing her with this most tasteful holiday table centerpiece: a Leg Lamp Votive Candle Holder inspired by the classic holiday film, “A Christmas Story.”

Although actual Leg Lamp reproductions are available, we recommend starting with the votive candle holder and working your way up.

Stiletto Succulent Planter ($60) @ Cargoh

From purveyor of “cheeky modern home décor” Giddy Spinster, comes this reclaimed dominatrix shoe transformed into an eye-catching succulent planter. The perfect gift for the footwear fetishist or skanky horticulturist in your life or anyone you’ve caught dancing to “Private Dancer” when they thought no one was looking, the planter has a “few scuffs from its former life” while the included succulent plant and soil are organic.

Also be sure to check out Giddy Spinster’s Etsy storefront for even more upcycled stiletto curiosities.

Boskk eSky Planters ($35, small; $75, large) @ UncommonGoods

If you don’t think anyone on your holiday gift list would appreciate a planter made from an old stripper heel, don’t fret. There are plenty of unusual planters out there that don’t make use of Jenny Farley’s reject shoe pile.

We at MNN are partial to Sky Planters, a line of ingenious upside-down ceramic planters from designer Patrick Morris. Ideal for space-strapped greenthumbs living in urban apartments, these self-watering planters reduce watering by 80 percent thanks to a built-in reservoir system. And no worries, a locking disc and mesh keeps the plant hydrated without gravity stepping in and making an unholy mess.

Squirrel Underpants ($8) @ fredflare.com

And finally, a gift that truly gives back to the furry, acorn-eating lodgers that call your backyard home: a pair of squirrel underpants. These 95 percent cotton, 5 percent spandex tighty-whiteys will also fit common household pets like hamsters, frogs and gerbils in the event that a squirrel doesn’t cooperate in a fitting.

Got other ideas about unusual gifts? Leave us a note in the comments below.

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Unusual gifts
If you’re on the hunt for unusual gifts this holiday season, we’ve got a few weird and whacky recommendations.