Let's get real for a minute: even for grownups, the success of the holiday season hinges an awful lot on what appears under the tree come Christmas morning. Joy abounds while you're anticipating what you'll get, but disappointment often follows the unwrapping of a gift you didn't ask for and definitely didn't want. And with all of the new gadgets that Silicon Valley start-ups dreamed up this year, there are so many more opportunities to ruin Christmas than there used to be.
Journaling necklaces! Smart jars! Exploding hoverboards! If you gave your plant-killing brother the Flower Power plant sensor, you likely saw the facial manifestation of the bah humbug spirit as he realized you'd given him a fitness tracker for his half-dead ficus.
Here are the things that we really, sincerely hope you didn't get for Christmas. (And if you did, we hope that they came with a gift receipt.)
1. The Selfie Mirror
The selfie mirror comes with "professional" lighting, music-playing capabilities to get you in the selfie-shooting mood and for some reason the ability to control other internet connected devices in your home. For starters, this is one of those gifts that feels like a neg, the kind of present a frenemy might get you to hint that you're cluttering their Instagram feed.
If you are a selfie-fanatic, do you really want a photo taken every single time you look in the mirror? If the answer to that question is no, let's hope there's a return policy. If the answer to that question is yes, then the Selfie Mirror might actually be a great gift for you, and it will backfire for your frenemy who will now see even more of your selfies up in their feed.
2. The Bluetooth-Enabled Toothbrush
Nothing says love like the gift of great dental hygiene, am I right? The Oral-B SmartSeries 7000 comes with its own app and is so smart that it knows whether or not you are currently brushing your teeth. It also has a name that makes it sound like the Terminator. We can't help but imagine it saying, "I'll beat plaque," in Arnold Schwarzenegger's voice. But unless this $100 mouth computer can actually time-travel and make sure your ancestral line survives and thrives thanks to their great teeth, we'll pass on it.
3. The Smart Floss Dispenser
Apparently there is a lot to disrupt in the realm of dental arts, so while we're on the subject of teeth, let's talk about Flosstime. Flosstime is a "smart floss dispenser" that you mount on your bathroom mirror to help you remember to floss. If you don't floss, the intelligent floss machine will frown at you. It's just like giving someone the gift of their dentist mounted on their mirror, making his "I'm disappointed" grimace as he examines all the little bits of food stuck in their teeth, every single day!
4. The Regular Watch/Apple Watch Combo Watch
Are you someone who really wishes they could wear an Apple Watch and a regular fancy watch at once? Of course you aren't! Nobody is! But just in case such a fantasy human exists, the Nico Gerard Pinnacle watch satisfies just that desire, allowing you to attach an Apple Watch face to one of the company's $10,000 luxury watches. The upside: if somebody did give this to you for Christmas, you can return it for $10,000 and take a really sweet vacation.
5. The Fitness Tracker for Your Plants
Do you ever find yourself wondering things like "What is the exact air temperature surrounding my succulent right now?" or "Just how fertile is my soil?" If so, then we actually wish you did get the Flower Power plant sensor for Christmas. In addition to monitoring air temperature and soil fertility, this plant wearable tracks moisture and luminosity, and then sends alerts to your phone when your little green friend needs attention. It's the Tamagotchi-fication of your house fern, and probably not at the top of your list.
6. The Belt That Can Tighten Itself
The Belty is an activity tracker that doubles as a belt buckle, but it is also so much more than that. Belty doesn't just track your steps, or vibrate when you've been sitting for too long. It also reminds you to take power naps, guides you through breathing exercises and can automatically loosen itself if you've ignored all of its advice and binged on Netflix for six hours while eating sugar cookies.
Really, it's like a life coach and a belt buckle all rolled into one. If somebody gave this to you, consider re-gifting it to someone you really hate, because taking advice from a belt buckle basically sounds like the most aggravating thing ever.
7. The Robotic Finger
Sometimes, your human fingers just aren't available to, you know, turn on your music before you get home or start the water boiling in your dumb kettle. In those cases, the $49 Microbot Push robotic finger will come in handy.
8. The Plate That Knows What You're Eating
Every once and a while, you put something on your plate and forget what it is. You know, is this a tangerine or an orange? Did I pick up four-cheese mac n' cheese or is this just a heap of cheddar? The SmartPlate™ is "equipped with advanced object recognition and weight sensors" to solve just those kinds of problems. If somebody gave you this, it may be an attempt to trick you into developing anorexia. Permission to unfriend.
9. The Exploding Hoverboard
Hoverboards are arguably the hottest gift of the season, but sometimes they are literally the hottest gift of the season: A number of self-balancing scooters have caught on fire. So far there have been at least 12! So if somebody gave you a hoverboard, before you take it for a test ride, ask yourself first, "Is there any chance that this person is trying to light me on fire and burn down my house?" If the answer is no, have fun!