Hard-to-Find Holiday Gifts for Hard-to-Please People

By Buck Wolf

Dec. 14, 2000 — On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me,

Four kitty toilets, three singing spatulas, two suits of armor and a portable backyard skating ring …

In this consumer-driven age, there’s no doubt you can give your true love a gaggle of geese a-layin’ without leaving your home. Problem is, so can anyone.

The push-button world of the Internet lets you finish your shopping at the speed of a keystroke. But if you want to get creative, you are going to have to move beyond the four or five obvious Web retailers — and The Wolf Files is here to help.

Herewith are some Christmas gifts that you can be certain your crotchety Uncle Leo and shrewish Aunt Ida don’t have, won’t forget — and best of all — can’t re-gift.

Professional Internet shoppers suggest you don’t just go directly to the online stores. If you don’t know what Uncle Leo is really interested in, search his name on the Internet. You might find that he’s telling his message board buddies what he really wants. (Then again, maybe you don’t want to know.)

You’re other option is plugging everything you do know about Leo into a search engine. Be as specific as possible. And the hunt begins.

“You can find clothing for any pet. I found a sweater for a pet ferret,” says Amelia Ostroff, a professional shopper at in Seal Beach, Calif.

You don’t need to be that ambitious. An Internet professional can help you find a zany, esoteric little something to create the illusion that you really devoted time trying to amuse Ida. “You might not need help for the obvious choices,” says Bonnie Bertram, editor at

“Don’t think of the right store. Start with an idea. Think of the person you are shopping for. You can find that suit of armor or that singing spatula without trudging from place to place.”

Here’s some stuff you can find with just a little bit of clicking:

Cat Toilet Training Kit

Remember Robert De Niro’s pampered cat in Meet the Parents? Now, you really can toilet train your tabby. CatSeat inventor Kevin Rymer — a banker and cat owner by day — swears he had his product in mind before the hit comedy. Rymer patented patented the first toilet seat that purportedly potty trains one or more cats within two weeks.