Fitrack gift basket
Fitrack
A present for the plus-sized: The Fitrack gift basket can help work off those Christmas calories.
By Brian Tracey Business Editor
msnbc.com
COMMENTARY

It's that time of year again, where the joy of gift-giving starts visions of big profits dancing in retailers' heads. So we of course couldn't resist in all the merry-making with our own humble selection of unique and interesting items for your holiday consideration:

Do you know a friend or relative that consumed a few too many helpings of stuffing this past Thanksgiving? Well a California company has just thing for those on your Christmas list with widening waistlines — a line of health and fitness gift baskets.

“We realized, of the thousands of Web sites and stores selling gift baskets, none could be found selling baskets for health and fitness-minded people,” says Greg Perez, CEO of Chino Hills, Calif.-based Fitrack. “Our gift baskets are filled with workout belts, gloves, towel, water bottle, laundry tote, pedometer, jump rope, stretch bands, yoga mats, anything and everything one needs to start and maintain a fitness program.”

A perfect gift the plus-sized people in your life, we think. Just avoid attaching a snarky card saying something like, "Happy Holidays Hefty!" or "Merry carb-conscious Christmas."

Not-so-bad ideas

  • For those of us lucky enough not to have to watch our weight, one the best things about the season is partaking in holiday-themed cookies adorning coffee tables and cubicles everywhere. But what about our canine companions — don't they deserve a holiday treat too?

Well, a Richmond, Va. food firm has the answer — The Baker’s Lady Family Pack, which includes a dozen cookies for you and an equal number of "handmade peanut butter Doggie Delights, so that no one has to lick the crumbs," their press release barks.

We just hope the packages are clearly marked, otherwise accidentally switching the cookies and kibble could result in your kids retching and Rover going into diabetic shock.

  • Speaking of furry four-legged friends, it's hard to argue that the panda doesn't top our most-adorable list. So it should not surprise anyone that a wildlife park in Thailand is hoping to capitalize on our cuteness compulsion by selling a line of paper products made out of panda poop.

When keepers of the country's only panda couple — Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui — got tired of disposing the 55 pounds of feces daily produced by the duo, Prasertsak Buntragulpoontawee, the head of Chiang Mai Zoo's panda unit, came up with the idea of turning it all into notebooks, fans, bookmarks and key chains.

Panda-poop paper production involves a daylong process of cleaning the feces, boiling it in a soda solution, bleaching it with chlorine and drying it under the sun. Experimentation continues on how to reduce the chemicals now used.

We see a business opportunity using other cute-and-cuddly animals' excrement. For example, imagine of the profit potential of a line of Kitten Crap Christmas Cards.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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