Guest Blogger: More Than a Catalog

My friend Claudia had some great things to say in a coversation we had the other night about our mutual love of the Sky Mall. She offered to share them and I gladly accepted. Here you go:

For most americans, the holiday season involves two, often expensive, components: travel and shopping. Even though I’m from Milwaukee, a mere five hour drive from the cities, I prefer to fly home when I can afford it. It saves wear and tear on my junker car and I actually enjoy the hustle and bustle of the airport. Plus, it only takes an hour to get there.

Ironically, I despise the hustle and bustle of the typical holiday shopping experience. I refuse to go anywhere near a mall between thanksgiving and christmas, and even browsing in smaller shops during the holiday season makes me understand why the suicide rate spikes during the month of December.

There is one place where my love of airline travel and hatred of christmas shopping come together to form a perfect compromise. The Sky Mall Catalog. I know the sky mall catalog has a reputation for being full of ridiculous and over-priced merchandise. The publication’s existence hinges primarily on the amusement of captive airline travelers. I’ve never known of anyone actually buying anything from Sky Mall, but last month on my flight home for Thanksgiving I saw Sky Mall through a fresh set of eyes. In the hour it took me to get from the Lindberg Terminal to Mitchell International Airport I found an array of practical, reasonably-priced gifts for most of my family and friends. I also found some completely outrageous stuff that could only be found in a place like Sky Mall. For each of my loved ones I’ve listed one reasonable gift (under $50) and one signature Sky Mall gift (the sky’s the limit!).

For my mom, who deserves to be pampered, a head spa massager ($50). Although what better gift for a proud mother than a photo of me turned into a painted portrait ($75-$400)?

For dad, who likes gadgets, a hand held lie detector ($40). My favorite gift in the whole catalog is a remote control robot shark ($100), which dad would think was much cooler.

For my sister, the wine connoisseur, a cork trivet kit ($25). Even though she would get plenty of use out of an oxygen displacing and cooling wine vault ($300).

For my brother-in-law, always the practical one, an ice scraper/mitten ($20) or maybe a personalized BBQ branding iron ($90). You never know when someone is going to try and steal your steak!

For my darling niece, who only has one aunt to spoil her, a twilight turtle ($35), which projects lighted constellations onto her ceiling at night. But what kind of aunt would I be if I didn’t get her her own popcorn cart ($1600)? And maybe a cotton candy machine ($400) to go with it.

For my grandma, who is always cold, a cuddle blanket ($45) or heat and misting patio palm ($1000).

For my favorite feline, I’m sure she would appreciate a remote control mouse ($25) as much as I would appreciate a no touch cat litter box ($300).

Please note that all my selections came from the paper catalog. Their online catalog is more extensive. I strongly suggest getting all your shopping done in one place: 30,000 feet up.