Forgot that you’re still finding excuses for not taking your leftover Halloween candy to the office, Oprah Magazine has revealed their annual Oprah’s Favorite Things list for 2018, and Thanksgiving has been rendered superfluous. Cue the sleigh bells and cash register ka-chings, crass commercialism season has arrived!
As in previous years, Oprah’s picks for 2018 year range from the extravagant (a $1500 E-Bike) to the ridiculous (a tin of “artisanal” popcorn for $180 which, lets be honest, should come with a card that reads “please accept this obligatory gift that my secretary picked out”). Oprah claims these are her favorite things but I don’t believe her. I think she’s gotten herself stuck in a Christmas trap she can’t get out of, like one of those finger traps my mom always put in my stocking as a filler because holiday gift giving is exhausting and stressful, yet we do it anyway. I know some people claim to love it, but there is something wrong with them. I don’t think Oprah thinks this is fun anymore either. How else do you explain her including a $125 faux fur neck warmer she describes as “part scarf, part stole, and one-hundred-percent nuzzly. — Oprah”, that’s desperation, people!
Back when Oprah started her list in 1996 on The Oprah Winfrey Show, her enjoyment of sharing her favorite things was palpable. Because if we know one thing about Oprah, it’s that she loves giving shit away for free. Even more than she loves vooooooooweeeeeeels! And she really, really loves vowels. And that spectacle used to be the big appeal: A live studio audience of salivating mid-westerners losing their fucking shit because Oprah was handing out gifts you could never afford to buy yourself FOOOOOOR FREEEEEEE!
But now even Oprah herself has admitted that bloom on the “BloemBox Organic Rose and Lavender Sachets” (OFT, 2016) has rubbed off a bit. In her introduction to this year’s list she said:
These days, choosing my Favorite Things makes me a little cuckoo. What started as an organic extension of wanting to treat people to some things I truly loved has turned into an annual list that takes a team to curate.
Oprah sounds over it, it’s a chore now, even though her minions do all the pre-discovery for her. But she still oversees the final cut. Oprah went on to say that in her personal life, she doesn’t even like giving gifts on recognized gift giving occasions, noting “I give only when the spirit of the giving is right for me”. Oprah has transcended the holiday madness. But she knows so many others cling to her list like a life vest when Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzachristmahkah or whatever, sneaks up on you, and out of sheer desperation you convince yourself that if a box of goat’s milk soap made on a farm in Upstate New York is good enough for Oprah, it’s good enough for your aunt Louise and the free 2-day shipping from Amazon and 20% discount “use code OPRAH” doesn’t hurt either.
My family opted out of holiday gift giving at my request (kids being the only exception, the greedy buggers) and it has improved my life immeasurably. But we’ve all been stuck in the machine. If you’re one of those aforementioned gifting enthusiasts, hats off to you. For me, it takes way too much time, energy, and money and I’m remarkably terrible at it. I once got my mom a 3 pack of blank cassette tapes with the promise of turning them into mix-tapes she’d never listen to, that I never got around to doing anyway. That’s the kind of monster I am. But then again, I’m exactly the right kind of person for a list like Oprah’s. Maybe my mom would have preferred a Rockin’ Santa (OFT, 1999). But I don’t think so. Because it’s the thought that counts, and I THOUGHT about making my mom some mix-tapes she might like, and even if I didn’t follow through, at least she had some good quality blank tapes on hand (which I stole from the electronics store I worked at).
So Oprah’s list endures, helping countless desperate shoppers looking for just the thing to buy their niece or nephew whom they haven’t seen in 10 years, realizing they may have outgrown One Direction or T-Ball but having no idea what they’re into now so they go with a set of 6 oversized Siena Mugs ($49.99 for set of six in mixed colors) knowing its probably not right, but it’s something.
And it’s all pointless anyway because we all know what Oprah’s real favorite thing is and she’s never once put it on her list. It’s…
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