After his resounding loss to Barack Obama, Mitt Romney famously complained to his donors that he had been defeated because his opponent had handed out "gifts" to various constituencies in an effort to win votes. True, it might be difficult to put a bow on the Affordable Care Act and leave it under the Christmas tree, but that doesn't mean you can't give gifts in the style of the 44th president. Just visit his official store, give mom something to wear to the inauguration, and tell her this is her payment for voting for Barry.
Got a Grinch on your list this year? Send them packing to the third annual Coal Investors Conference and Exhibition in Mongolia. With passes to the conference in the thousands of dollars, however, it's worth noting that this would be one expensive lump of coal. The conference is occurring against the background of a Mongolian economic bubble. GDP was up 17.5 percent in 2011, a spike in output largely driven by the country's coal, copper, and gold boom. But there are dark clouds on the horizon for future economic growth in the country, so punch your coal enthusiast's ticket to the country before Mongolia's boom withers away.
Clothes from Karimova
It seems like the world's authoritarian rulers are falling fast these days, but Islam Karimov, the president of Uzbekistan, is still standing strong. And his daughter, Gulnara Karimova, has cashed in on her father's status by launching her own fashion line, which is available online. But her father's reputation -- human rights groups have accused his government of harsh crackdowns on opposition groups and using torture extensively -- has made it difficult to get her line off the ground. She was disinvited from New York Fashion Week after human rights groups pressured the organizers (never mind that the show, which she moved to the restaurant Cipriani, was panned). It might not be your ticket, but it's big in Moscow.
Know someone who's sunk into a depression now that the second Homeland season is over? Cheer them up with official gear from the show. For the wannabe undercover agents on your list, Showtime offers a T-shirt emblazoned with the words, "What Would Carrie Do?" Just make it clear to whomever you give it to that bursting into tears or gulping down pills Carrie-style over Christmas dinner is not an option.
Seats don't go on sale until August 2013, but who cares? A promised ticket to soccer's biggest stage is undoubtedly the best present any soccer fan could receive. Never mind the geopolitical implications -- like the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the 2014 World Cup will mark Brazil's arrival on the world stage -- or the rampant violence in Rio de Janeiro's favelas, into which the police have launched repeated military-style assaults to reclaim the neighborhoods from druglords; a trip to soccer's Mecca in 2014 will be a pilgrimage for soccer fans to one of the sport's holiest sites. Set that against the backdrop of the hype that will surround Lionel Messi -- the greatest player of his generation (and perhaps of all time) who hasn't yet won a World Cup -- and the months of June and July in Brazil will be a spectacle unlike any other.
Of course, if that seems a bit pricey and your tastes are a bit more refined, we may have just the thing.