It never ceases to amaze me, the ideas that get through marketing departments these days…

And I should know: I used to work in an advertising agency. And the chain of approvals that even a podunk local practically invisible small inconsequential highly targeted ad goes through seems mind-numbingly infinite.

Knowing this endless road of checks and balances, I can’t even imagine the process a new-to-launch national product must endure — the constant vetting and scrutiny and revisions that follows a product from idea to marketplace.

But then there are some — that seem to go from early inspiration to Walmart shelves without any intervention whatsoever. Because even my 9-year-old daughter, if asked in the formative stages of said product, would say, “Um, ‘scuse me, but that’s bat-shit crazy.”

Case in point: A hat. Resembling Dora the Explorer. In which your head goes up Dora’s skirt. And her head rests on your head.

Not even kidding.

I’m walking through Walgreens the other night with the family, and the Dora hat catches my eye.

“Try it on,” I ask my son.

“I’m not putting my head — IN THERE,” he responds suspiciously.

I look at my daughter, and she’s already shaking her head, visibly shuddering at the thought.

Shoulda guessed Brett would be a willing participant.

Is anyone else disturbed by the anatomy of this hat? I mean, just imagine the storyboard session in the Dora marketing department:

Product Pitcher: OK everyone, listen up. So there’ll be this hat, and Dora’s legs will be spread around this person’s head. Or, um, er, you put your head up Dora’s skirt, and her legs immediately spread wide open. Or — well, you get the idea.

Scrutinizing Campaign Vetting Committee Member: So the person’s forehead is essentially, well, you know, ‘down there’?

PP: Sure, you can look at it that way. But trust me no one will notice, because it’s Dora. And she’s happy about it! (I mean, look at that smile!)

SCVCM: So you’re saying the person wearing this hat will be too excited because their head is INSIDE of a very happy Dora, between her legs?

PP: Yip. Between her legs. Sex sells. Moving on…now our next holiday product is a Dora Dildo…

And I don’t think I’m just “outside of the demographic” here. My entire family was creeped out by the Dora hat. Well, except Brett, of course.

Moving on to the topic of Christmas ornaments. I realize that we all have our proclivities and preferences, but I dunno: I kinda thought that just meant I like silver and red on my tree (big surprise, right?) whereas you prefer green and gold.

I didn’t think it meant there are people out there who flock to their local Target in search of the perfect crazy-eyed, camo-wearing, rifle-wielding, sparkly duck to accessorize O Tanenbaum:

…or Sher-dog Holmes:

Or the creepiest clown ornament ever whose mouth has clearly been stitched from side to side in order to shut him the fuck up (one wonders: WHAT DID HE SEE to inspire such morbid mutification?):

(Yip, if you haven’t noticed: The eyes are following you on this one, too. Creepy Egg Man has NOTHIN’ on Creepy Clown Man.)

And then there’s this, which is obviously a one-armed, tutu-clad cow who has clearly just learned that this Christmas — SURPRISE!!! — she’s getting a breast exam:

Got Milk?

So the ornaments probably come and go based on supply and demand — perhaps next year, we’ll have fewer mamogram-prepping bovines, for example — but there is one marketing ploy that is absolutely here to stay: The Inflatable.

And the only problem I have with inflatables is the horrifying scene that results when inflatables deflate.

Because it looks like this:

It’s like a Christmas massacre, people: Gingy, Frosty and Santa, DOA. Cause of death: smooshing.

When my daughter was younger, I distinctly recall a time when she burst into tears upon passing one of these horrific scenes. She was inconsolable. I can’t be the only parent whose child had this response to deflated inflatables…right?

Apart from decorations, another puzzling perplexity to ponder for me this year? This card:

THE HELL? It’s like wonk-eyed cat-meets-Amadeus-meets-loopy Aunt Edna after too much egg nog-meets-pink Christmas tree.

Let’s think about the reactions that our (normal) Christmas cards are intended to elicit in our recipients:

  1. Ahhh. How sweet.
  2. That warms my heart.
  3. So thoughtful.
  4. I love them, too.

Not: Oh my holy FUCK what IS that?

And finally, I hope Boyfriend Brett will not be reading this Postito, because if he is — his Christmas present will be totally spoiled.

Because I happened upon these on display in Barnes & Noble yesterday, side-by-side books that reflected an inherent and alarming non-sequitur — but both at bargain-basement prices:

…and guess which book will be under the tree this year?

Hint: They’re not just ordinary chickens, after all. They’re extraordinary. How could I resist?

So: Your reactions to Dora, odd ornaments, Amadeus kitty, deflated inflatables or “Extraordinary chickens”? Have you seen anything bat-shit crazy this holiday season? Please please PLEASE add to the insanity…and assure me I’m not the only one encountering crazy on a daily basis…