Fake AirPods, Santa queries, ‘Betwixtmas,’ and swinging both ways

A man in San Francisco tries out a pair of real AirPods.
A man in San Francisco tries out a pair of real AirPods.JOSH EDELSON


Remember when Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage and thousands of late-to-the-patch parents were forced to purchase hideous knockoffs and ruin Christmas? I SURE DO, DAD. Well prepare for some traumatic flashbacks, because the hottest disappointing Christmas gift of 2019 was off-brand ersatz AirPods. Well-meaning gift-givers without 200 bucks to blow on earbuds did the best they can do, which doubled as the worst they could do, and grim tales of gifted near-buds littered Twitter. Not that it matters much, as Vogue reports that wired headphones are making a serious comeback, which is what you call it when your fake AirPods don’t work.



If you have precocious kids whom you allow to read the newspaper but who still believe in Santa, first consider whether that’s really a tenable situation, and then go ahead and Sharpie out this item which is about to report a whole bunch of Santa-related inquiries that consumed Twitter last week. Like: “Was our modern Santa really invented in New York by Washington Irving in the early 1800s?” (Possibly!) “Would Santa’s reindeer vaporize and disintegrate were they to travel at the speed required to visit 240 million homes in one night?” (Yes!) “Is Santa secretly Bill Gates?” (For one lucky person, he was.) And “Why would Santa have his elves make fake AirPods when they could just make real ones?” (Ask your folks.)


Once Christmas was wrapped (or returned), denizens of the Internet drifted onto their couches and into that disorienting stretch of time between Christmas and New Year’s, known variously as “Betwixtmas,” “Void Week,” “Snowman’s Land,” and (this one’s kinda gross) “The Merrineum.” Some spent this in-between time corralling positive thoughts for the approaching new year; some spent it trying to determine what day it is; some just spent it drinking and pondering existence; and some spent it exchanging sweaters you’ll never wear for new sweaters you’ll never wear. (Be extra nice to that last group, please.)



“Which way is that guy swinging?” isn’t just the most common question asked whenever I leave a room, it’s also the inquiry at the heart of the latest “trivial yet all consuming debate” online. A TikTok clip of a distant figure on a swingset went viral and flummoxed viewers who squinted and squabbled trying to ascertain whether said swinger was swinging toward the camera or away from it. They posed theories, they drew diagrams, and they suffered flashbacks of a certain blue (or white) dress that similarly split public opinion/perception. But most importantly, it brought people together for that most treasured of family holiday traditions: being wrong.


Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at mbrodeur@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MBrodeur.