Page last updated at 16:16 GMT, Sunday, 28 December 2008

All you don't want for Christmas

By Stephen Robb
BBC News

Jeremy Clarkson
A rejected Jeremy Clarkson book has attracted zero bids

A quick search on auction site eBay for the words "Christmas" and "unwanted" already brings up hundreds of results.

And with many eccentric relatives and limpet-like family friends only just departing this weekend, many more people will soon be online to rid themselves of undesirable Christmas tat.

"Grab a sick bag," warns the seller of what appears to be a small china ornament of two bright green pea-pod creatures.

"What uses do these have?" continues an unconventional sales pitch that has in four days generated one bid at the starting price of 99p.

Whether it is purely a reaction to their unwanted gift, or the result of "quality time" with family, Christmas spirit seems to have deserted the seller of a golf club brush set.

"Santa must have left this in error, I'll give him error when I get my hands on him," they write.

"Do people who play golf scrub their things then? The mind boggles." Not least at how such a specific gift was so wrongly directed.

Bidding up to 1.04 seems unlikely to offer a calming effect.

I'm a girl with absolutely no interest in cars whatsoever, can identify a Mini at a push, and yet someone gave me this

"Well I'm not sure what happened here," writes another seller, capturing the familiar bemusement at the most misjudged Christmas gifts.

"I'm a girl with absolutely no interest in cars whatsoever, can identify a Mini at a push, and yet someone gave me this as a Chrimbo pressie," she says.

The book by Jeremy Clarkson is being sold to free up shelf space "for some Serious Chick Lit", she says.

But Clarkson's Don't Stop Me Now has so far failed to get any bidders started, even priced at under 1.


Meanwhile, a faithful recreation of the Christmas Day present-receiving experience can be secured on eBay with an unopened "secret Santa" gift.

"Remember I don't know what's in here as I don't want to open it to check," the seller writes.

Few clues are offered by the additional statement: "The gift measures about 20cm, tried shaking it, there's not a lot of movement."

Brussels sprouts
There are numerous offerings of unwanted cooked sprouts on eBay
Whether it delivers a delightful surprise or another unwanted Christmas present, at least buying on eBay requires no forced smile and fake gratitude.

Elsewhere, a seller is looking to cash in on the unpopularity among his loved ones of certain items from the traditional sweets tin.

Bidding for the "yummy gold-wrapped toffees" has reached a dizzying 55p, from a starting price of a penny.

But there is a warning of an additional 100 payable in dentistry fees after the sweets "yank out your fillings".

Pie buy

A lively debate has sprung up around the auction of a half-eaten mince pie, with queries about accompanying sauces, its metal container, and a possible swap for other leftovers.

Bidding has reached 6p for the pie portion, deliverable by the usual methods or "food fight", the seller advises.

There also appears to be a trend developing for eBay's use as a means of disposal for that most divisive of seasonal foods, Brussels sprouts.

One seller is hoping to sweeten the deal on four sprouts by throwing in some peas - precisely 83, in fact - a little gravy, and even the orange plate on which they were photographed.

The lack of bids for this item suggests that in the area of auctioned sprouts, less may be more.

Bidding has reached more than 15 for a lot comprising just two unwanted sprouts.

"Luckily for them, they stayed together with only each other as company, and despite them being quite upset, they would love a new home," the seller writes.

Excitement is building as the auction nears its end on 1 January.

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