Friday, November 14, 2014


Does thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale? (Shakespeare, Twelfth Night)

WHAT A CRAPPY YEAR THIS HAS BEEN. All 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse are galloping around at full tilt and everyone is broke and anxious and OH LOOK! It's almost Christmas again! Which means that I will now write my fingers into bloody stubs, writing about Oprah's yearly over-the-top O List.

Oprah was the first of the Extravagant Ladies Gift Lists that I was aware of but now that there are many pretenders to her throne (I MEAN GOOP), Oprah's list still remains my favourite - no one else has the right mix of well-meant disconnect, objects I can't imagine anyone ever wanting, and actual charm. And she looks amazing on the cover, too.

Now that I've said some nice things, let us proceed to this year's list.

Right off the bat: Golden Beats Headphone and Beats Pill Speaker Set. They're $700! They're gold (-coloured)!
Seven hundred dollar gold headphones (and a speaker)! This sounds like something I should object to COMPLETELY, but eh. My quite expensive headphones make my life delightful. Have fun with your gold headphones, Marie Antoinette. I wonder how that's going to work out for you.

Big O Key Ring $55 and Ossential and Big Ossential Card Cases $65 and $75 each
It's a bracelet that has a dangling card case and a keychain on it. I thought it was a good idea in a please-don't-give-me-this-for-Christmas sort of way when I thought the whole thing was $55 but it's actually $125. Can you imagine getting this for Christmas? "Thank you," you'd whisper in hushed tones while everyone else opened up books and video games and Lego sets and you had a thing to hold your keys and your bank card while you jogged. Being an adult is AMAZING.

What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey $25
If I had written a book of my collected wisdom (1. Living off candy is a bad idea. 2. It's easy to wash your dishes before they pile up but I still probably won't. 3. If you start writing novelty posts goofing about Oprah's Christmas Gift list, people will expect you to keep doing it until you are dead.) and I ALSO was writing a list of my suggested gift items for this year, you may be certain that I would put my book of wisdom on my list.

Ginger Beauty and Wellness Collection $265
Here we have ginger powder, ginger body scrub and ginger bath soak.
First off: my gracious, I do love ginger. I'm not sure if I want to rub ginger all over me, but I would still declare myself to be a ginger FAN. I frequently buy nubby ginger roots and powdered ginger and ginger tea, even, and yet I still doubt that my total lifetime expenditure of ginger adds up to $265.
Second: you know what your genitals do not want? To be steeped in ginger, probably.

French Bistro Coffee Mug $120 for set of 4
Handmade coffee mugs in frog belly green. One of the reasons we started mass-producing mugs was because the actual fair cost of hand-crafting a nice mug probably IS about $30 and yet I'd probably still break it within two weeks.

No Matchy-Matchy Initial Stud Earrings $80 per earring without diamonds, $150 with diamonds
These make "a perfect present for the teen on your list," writes Oprah. And since most teens I know have MULTIPLE ear piercings, you can very expensively spell out whole words!

Deluxe Gardenia Vine and Bloom Box $189
... okay, as far as I can tell, it's a box of fresh gardenias. Which is alright, I guess. I hate the smell of gardenias, and this seems like a lot of money but maybe you're both rich and fond of stinky flowers.

Sheepy Fleece Robe $84
"This is fantastic for $84!" said Oprah. $84 is not a bargain robe. For the vast majority of people, $84 is an expensive robe. An $84 robe SHOULD BE NICE BECAUSE IT IS EXPENSIVE. Still, it does come in a variety of pleasant colours, unlike most robes which are either white or terrible shades of burgundy.

Moscow Mule Tray and Six Mug Set $365
What is a Moscow Mule? Why does it need such expensive copper mugs? This is a lot of money. And yet the website is a coppery delight to look through, so I suggest that, although probably not while drinking a Moscow Mule, whatever that is.

Classic Plain Travel Collection $289

Petal Lane "Be Bright" and "Surprise and Delight" Magnet Boards $65
Is a magnet board's earnest exhortations really going to change someone's innate character? The delightful tend to be delightful and the glum tend to be glum and I don't think being cheerful is always appropriate, anyhow. Still, a cute magnet board might be a nice thing to put up in a teenager's room, although these are on the impractically expensive side.

Comfort Zone Body Butter Trio $93 or $15 to $56 each
The whole SET is expensive but two of the body butters are actually affordable, if someone on your list needs/wants something like that. I struggle with really dry skin so I have nothing all that snarky to say about good moisturizers.

Yoga Tablet 2 Pro $500
This is... fine? It has a projector built into it, which is kind of cool. What I'm finding totally distracting though is that it was developed by Ashton Kutcher. When did he become an innovative captain of industry? This is like when I found out that Jessica Simpson was a billionaire because of her fashion line and life is an unsolvable mystery, never to be understood.

Kate Spade Refillable Ballpoint Pens $36
Kate Spade is really great at a certain kind of restrained, tasteful and expensive adult whimsy that I really don't enjoy much. This is a case in point: it's a refillable, somewhat expensive pen so it's ADULT but it's colourful so it's WHIMSICAL and it's also not much fun because we're GROWN-UPS now and a blue and green pen is about as much of  good time as we're going to get.

Heart Snapshot Mix Photo Art - $42 with frame
This is genuinely a great idea, I think, and probably just the thing for the Grandmas on your gift list.

Footnanny Wellness Gift Set $144
If this was - half the price? No, then it would still be $72. - if this was maybe $45, this would be a tremendous present but as it is, it's only for rich people. And I don't know, but giving people foot care gifts seems a bit odd to me. Maybe your sister complains a lot about her feet, and then it would be a thoughtful choice, but if it's someone you have a romantic relationship with, "Please fix your feet" seems like a dangerous gift-giving path.

Nate Berkus at Target Dessert Plate Set $20
These are pretty cute. I don't tend to give anyone dessert plates, and strongly suspect this is not actually an item given as a gift, but it's affordable and attractive.

Lacquered Box To Hold Your Glasses $250
WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL? Who has that many glasses? Who needs a $250 box to keep them all in?

Vineyard Cuff Links $68
Perhaps you wear shirts with cuffs or perhaps a guy in your life does and I can't quite imagine this but it happens and these are alright, certainly. There are a lot of colour options, which is good news for your formal shirt-wearing friend.

Lurin Long Pajama Set $155
Every year - every year! - Oprah adds perfectly fine, very tasteful pajamas to her list and they're fine. They're great. They're also expensive.
But these are the greatest pajamas ever:

They're from Marks, they're about as sexy as wearing a fleece bear costume, they cost $40 and they are AMAZING.

Oprah Chai Set $90
Every year, there's one thing on Oprah's list that I quietly pine for and this year, this is it. How I long for this, with its glass prettiness that I would almost certainly break and ruin.

Morelle and Co. Pullout Jewelry Box $135
This is like a colourful version of one of those old-timey train boxes, and might be a fun gift for someone who really likes jewelry and who is not me.

Ultimate Welcome Home Basket $125
JIMMY KIMMEL, I KNOW WHAT OPRAH IS GIVING YOUR BABY. And this is actually a rather dreamy baby present - all soft colours and pretty baskets and lots of little wee things and hang on, I'm going to go broodily rock the cat for a while while weeping.

Edward Bess Black Sea Precious Pearl Perfector $78
There is just something about the idea of rich aging ladies rubbing ground-up pearls on their faces that... okay, I'm stopping this here. You're reading this for fun.

Our aging faces are not a problem. Giving someone a jar of $78 face cream IS problematic. Don't ever, ever do this.

Lafco Complete Holiday Candle Collection $240 for set of 4
GEE WHIZ, these are expensive candles. One thing I've found in my discussions with friends is that husbands, as a group, tend to be unreasonably irritated by those very nice $30 candles in jars. Spending $240 on 4 candles just seems unnecessarily husband-goading.

Star Map Necklaces $48
On the plus side, these are reasonably priced and quite pretty and wearing a subtle astrological star map isn't quite the same as wearing, let's say, a magnet bracelet. Still, if you're a grown-up and you wear astrological jewelry, I worry somewhat about you.

Le Creuset French Oven $280 French Oven $65 Baking Dish $65 Au Gratin Dish $60
One time I found a Le Creuset pot at a yard sale for TWENTY FIVE CENTS. I was so delighted! Bill was delighted because he'd heard they were unbreakable. They are not, it turns out.

Warby Parker Eyeglasses and Sunglasses $95 to $395 each
BILL HAS GLASSES JUST LIKE THIS. These are fine, attractive, Bill-pleasing glasses and a commendable cause but does anyone ever anywhere give another person glasses for Christmas? Is this a thing people do?

Electra Lot 7D Ladies Bike $550
While I can't find the Ladies Bikes anywhere on this page, they do seem quite nice. Of course, I already know which bike I want - THIS ONE:

Jessica Fletcher, by the way, would never have dreamed of rubbing a cream made of ground up pearls on her face. Let's age more like Jessica Fletcher, Fictional Lady.

Victorinox Swiss Army Works Traveler 20-inch Dual Caster Expandable Carry-On $350, Wheeled Large Capacity Duffle $370 27-inch Dual Caster Expandable Upright $440
The set listed on Oprah's list are in her favourite shade of what I find to be unattractively lurid green, but the set comes in many colours and I'm sure is dandy.

Custom Portrait Dog Beds $445 to $710

Most years, I would just find this hilariously unnecessary.
I know you love your pets.
And I know suffering humanity will always be with us and I know that an argument could be made - and it's one I make myself, a lot - that anything other than the basics are an unnecessary luxury and so why get ANYTHING? But the difference between this and almost everything else on this list is that your dog LITERALLY does not care Your dog does not want or need this and it will not make your dog happier.

And you know, I don't think in any way that I should get any sort of say in anything you do. Maybe you do a lot of active good in this world and this is the one thing that will make you happier than anything and maybe you are Oprah herself, who has certainly given far more than I will ever be able to and in that case it's fine and dandy but your dog still does not care. My dad's dog loves sleeping on my dad's workjacket and that is his idea of perfect bliss and it costs nothing.

Let's keep moving.

Character Hats $40
Aren't those cute? Those are so cute. I wish I could get them for my kids.

Tory Burch Reva Watch $395
Ah, Tory Burch. Another one of those tasteful, expensive, preppy-type designers. Either you like this aesthetic or you are me. And I think watches are, by their very nature, completely boring. But this is probably fine, if you are wealthy and like watches and good taste and can't think of something better to do with $400.

Charlie V-Neck $214 for set of 3
Follow me as I go on an emotional journey with these shirts:
1. That's expensive for three long sleeve shirts. No.
2. They're for a charity? Huh, what charity is that?
3. AGH they're raising money so pets can stay with their dying owners?
4. *donates all my money so I never have to think about this again*

Fancy Notebooks $14 to $22 each
Spiffy notebooks or agendas that you can personalize - picking the pattern and monogram styles and I designed this one for myself that says everything about me:
Mainly that I am Canadian and named Beck and that I like both fun stationary products and things with my name on them. WHAT MORE COULD THERE BE?

Alena Ugg Slippers $120
Mentioning that these are ugly is beside the point, because of course they're ugly. They look immensely comfortable and I worry, personally, that if I was given something like this, I would forswear regular footwear and just walk around with my feet in hideous, pillow-like, desire-quenching comfort forever.

VertuoLine Single Serve Brewer and Espresso Maker $430
My favourite recent grifter is whatever clever huckster convinced everyone that those little expensive freeze-dried coffees in their enviromentally-crappy pods are substantially better than instant coffee and that it is then ALSO reasonable  to ALSO buy $430 machines to use with them. How did this happen? I feel like the guy yelling at the army trucks at the end of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.

I know that most people disagree with me about this. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

White Fake Fur Velvet Lined Hooded Coat $499
OPRAH LOOKS AMAZING IN THIS and I would also like one. I could swan around like whatshername in Doctor Zhivago. Tragically for me, I am not in the $500 fake fur coat income bracket, which seems like a pity.

The Hundred-Foot Journey Blu-Ray Combo Pack $40
I actually can't find the $40 one listed, but this one is $22 and your aunt would probably really like this movie. It has all the components of a real aunt-pleaser. Oprah co-produced it, too, which your aunt will also probably enjoy knowing.

Wide Headbands $10
Actually they're $8 right now and I love wide headbands so YES PLEASE.

La Cienga Wedge Boots $245
Not content to merely be the sort of boots I don't like much, they also have a hidden wedge heel so I can sneakily make myself VERY VERY TALL.This seems both fun and also rather dangerous while I'm staggering around in snowbanks.

Cote Nail Polish Gift Set $144
"Leave the trendy colours to the teens," Oprah says. I'm so depressed by this that I'm going to take my purple nails and go lay down for a while.

I'm back. Rage hard against a world that wants to subdue you into tasteful neutrals.

Khepri Large Drop Earrings $155
These are pretty and I like reading about how they're made to be lightweight. I also like the illustrations on the website showing how big they are: REALLY BIG! I don't even have pierced ears, but these seem nice for someone who does and who likes big, elaborate earrings.

Touch Quilted Cuff Gloves $78
These are spiffy - you can still text constantly while wearing them, they're warm, AND they have giant ornate puffy cuffs so you can wear them to your medieval cosplaying events on those winter weekends, too.

GoPro Hero Camera $130
Oh, these are fun. Bill and a friend went kayaking and took turns wearing one of these little video cameras on a helmet as they kayaked down various things and risked making me a very attractive widow.

Peace Love World I Love Sundays Long Sleeve T-shirt $98
I don't love Sundays, really. They drift, somewhat pointlessly, into Mondays and tend to be rather dull. Also, this is a nearly $98 shirt. I don't love that, either.

365 Gathered Truths Box $85
So this is a faux-weathered wooden box with 365 inspirational quotes in it. Like Jody Foster in Contact, I have no words, and they should have sent a poet.

Are you someone who finds Inspirational Pinterest Boards actually inspiring? Then I guess this is for you, and I wonder how you accidentally read this far in this post?

Waring Popcorn Maker with Melting Pot $130
This is a popcorn maker with an attached heated metal pot for warming your butter.
It costs $130.

This is an $18 popcorn maker that you can get at Target.

And this is a microwave. It is ALREADY IN YOUR KITCHEN. You can use it to warm butter for your popcorn.

12 Days of Christmas Sterling Silver Bangle and Swarovski Crystal Charm Set $500
The problem here is me. I don't like jewelry so I'm just sitting here frowning at this.

Oprah and Deepak's Meditation Transformation Trilogy $100

Forte 13-piece Cutlery Block Set $130
These are nice, I guess, and the block itself is magnetic "to showcase the entire dishwasher-safe collection." DO PEOPLE WANT TO LOOK AT MY KNIVES WHEN THEY COME TO MY HOUSE?

NX Mini Camera $450
This features "a flip-up LCD screen that makes taking the perfect selfie easier than ever." My 15 year old told me about a friend taking ONE HUNDRED SELFIES while getting ready for school one morning. ONE HUNDRED!

You can also send pictures to your phone or tablet with it too. Well, that's smart. If I had $450 to spend, I would get this for my kid's friend to help her speed things up in the morning.

O Gift Tier Membership $79
A subscription to O magazine, with a box of luxury cosmetics samples, a weekly newsletter and discounts at O-affiliated stores. If you think this sounds PERFECT, here it is.

Vitamix $409
A REALLY REALLY expensive blender so rich people can feel expensively like they're making healthy choices! I'm sure it's a dandy blender too, and the portable cup attachment is smart.

Charter Club Cashmere Hoody $169
Most of the time, when cashmere sweaters are on this list, I just gently roll my eyes and move on but this one has a zipper, a hood, many colour options, and a bunny-hug, so now I am cursing my impecunious state and farewell, cruel worlding. And this is, of course, the ultimate point of luxury items, to really delineate the difference between Us and Them.

Also, this is a very nice sweater.

Hadley Tote $79
It's fine.

Beauty Express Brow Kit $40
After a big chat with a bunch of ladies on Twitter the other day, I've decided that every woman I know needs this for Christmas. ONE FOR ALL MY FRIENDS. Won't someone rid me of these troublesome eyebrows?

Chocolate Bark Holiday Tins $42 for Set of Two
I wouldn't buy this but I would happily eat it which indicates a certain lack of moral will, doesn't it?

Mini Filled Bagel Balls Variety Pack $36 for 36 Bagels
I'm not a big fan of bread-y things, but I'm sure these are fine.

Premium Fruit Syrups $7
This actually sounds very appealing. We're into the winding-down food portion of the list now, where I love everything because I'm always so desperately hungry.

Mocha, Triple Berry, and Princess Cakes $30 each
Cake is PROBABLY my favourite thing.
And look how pretty those are!

Smoked Salmon Sampler Git Box $195
I love smoked fish with an inhuman, bear-like hunger. I get all MY smoked fish from Purvis Fisheries. (mostly trout, thanks for asking.)

Holiday Cheese Collection $60
A big fancy stack of cheeses means that I would go on the all-cheese diet until my heart packed up and walked right out of me.

Holiday Statement Chocolate Box $70
I find the colours on these slightly off-putting. Do you want to eat painted chocolates? Hm.

Truffle Oil Holiday set $59
"Since I crossed truffle hunting in Italy off my bucket list," writes Oprah and that is a splendid, evocative sentence and I wish Oprah had a beautiful golden-hued book about her adventures truffle hunting and the love that could not be with the handsome young truffle hunting guide in Tuscany or wherever it is that one hunts! for! truffles!

Truffles taste gross. But here is a fancy set of truffley oil, if you'd like.

Handcrafted Caramel Mix Assortment Box $49
This looks fantastic.

Jam Sampler Git Set $55
I've written about my thoughts on jam before and feel put out that I'm expected to do so again. Homemade jam is a fine, splendid thing to give one's friends. By all means, do that.

Tequila Blanco $70

Tequila. Yuck.

Pasta of the Month Club $75 for three months
For three months, your recipient will get a bag of locally sourced, seasonal pasta (what? How is pasta seasonal? I do not know.), a bag of organic handmade pasta and a recipe and wine suggestions. It's at least an interesting concept, even if I'm not sure it's entirely worth $25 a month.

Happy Holiday Loaf - $150

European Salami sampler $60
"Consider it the United Nations of cured meat," Oprah writes and I will! I will consider it this thing! Salami is, like cheese, something I unfortunately cannot stop eating once I have it around and so I never DO have it around, and this is a delicious and lethal-looking amount of internationally-administering salami.

Petit Quiche Assortment $42
THE LAST THING! I DID IT! And the final thing is.... wee quiches. I DO NOT CARE. Eat them if you'd like. I am DONE.

And so ends this year's Oprah's Gift List. A fair number of things left a sour taste in my mouth this year, and yet overall, it felt like a subdued list, lacking some of the wackier items from years gone by. But writing this monster list every year marks the true beginning of my Christmas season, and I hope that reading it has brought you some holiday merriment, too. xo


  1. It's not Christmas until Beck eviscerates the Oprah list.

    I do, however, want to know more about how you BROKE a Le Creuset pot.

    1. Okay. It already had a crack inside, on the ceramic lining - and I burnt something onto it so badly that in trying to clean it, the entire ceramic lining CAME OFF.

  2. Candles in jars are scent pornography and it it entirely reasonable for husbands as a class to find them irritating. I do too. If you want your house to smell like blueberries, BAKE A PIE. Everyone will love you for pie. No one will love you for a candle.

  3. Ah, Beck, you most certainly are in the $500 fur coat category - not having the spare $500 is just a trivial inconvenience. I love you!

    1. Thank you, Anne! I'll wear my imaginary fur coat with pride.

  4. if it makes your bloody stubs of fingers feel better, I LOL'd though most of this. You have a gift woman.

  5. Thank you for giving into the pressure. Great job. This brings me tidings of great joy.

  6. "Being an adult is awesome!" HA HA HA HA HA.
    Kate Spade is way too tasteful and restrained for me too. I'd love to see a Kate Spade bedazzled thong - that's what will show us that she's finally snapped.

    *quietly removes Gemini bracelet*


    Bagel.... balls?

    1. I'm a virgo, so I'm naturally critical.
      I actually do like the Kate Spade eyeglasses bracelet but no one will ever, ever get it for me, so there's that.

  7. I KNOW WHAT A MOSCOW MULE IS!! And you'll never believe this, Beck, but it's true - it's full of ginger.

    When Michael and I stayed overnight in a Venerable Olde Hotel, we splurged on one drink each in the very fancy pub. And he ordered a Moscow Mule, because it sounded intriguing. They come in a copper mug, and they are vodka, ginger beer (not the sweet stuff, the stuff that just tastes like fizzy ginger), and lime juice with a mint leaf.

    It was... pretty godawful, actually. And made my darling husband adorably drunk. However, that's a stupid amount of money to pay for drinks mugs you'll only use once & then never again once you find out the drink tastes like burning.

    1. THAT SOUNDS DISGUSTING! Thank you for clearing that up for me!

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  10. We laughed at your GoPro write up. Love it.
    Tammy and Todd Courtemanch. Merry Christmas to you!

  11. Thank you, Beck! "Being an adult is AMAZING." Ha!

  12. Jessica Fletcher's disapproving headshake made my entire day.

  13. it feels like Christmas now. thanks Beck!

  14. I was up all night with a puking kid and have been feeling like hell all day. So sitting down with a cup of coffee and this post has pretty much turned it all around. I love you for doing this and I laughed my ass off all the way through it.