Christmas is sooooo close! It's a time for loving, giving, sharing, laughing...and taking a few pokes at the holiday's unofficial whipping boy - the fruitcake. Yes, the fruitcake! I refer to it adoringly as "Grandma's Revenge." Despite a failed congressional effort to outlaw this abomination of a dessert, the fruitcake remains alive and well in 2011. Rumor has it, there's really only one, and that it just keeps getting passed around. We can't say for sure. Fruitcakes actually date back to Roman times. Our early colonists, however, are credited with the version closest to the one we know and love today. They discovered that lots of sugar with a little help from (liquid) spirits, could preserve their fruit very nicely. Thus, the scourge of Christmas was born. Just in case someone decides to bestow one upon you this holiday season, we've come up with a few ways to put it to good use.

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    Have too many people on your Christmas list to buy for? Looking for a way to ditch that friendly but unwanted acquaintance? Well, nothing says "It's been a good run," or "We'll get together sometime...or never," like a good old-fashioned fruitcake. Once your victim, er...former friend, sees that you cared enough to actually present them with one, they'll get the hint faster than Sherlock Holmes at an obvious convention. Problem solved.

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    How many times have you gone out to relax with a nice game of Curling, only to discover that you either left your stone at home or they've all been rented out? Worry no more! Your unopened fruitcake is the answer. The alcohol content coupled with the sheer weight gives your new stone a fast and smooth bottom that will slide across the ice effortlessly. Plus, since you leave it in the car to avoid potential embarrassment, it's always handy.

    Reinout van Rees. Flickr
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    Anyone who lives in Casper can tell you that the wind wreaks havoc on just about everything and a fence is one of them. The better your supports are, generally the stronger your fence. Scientific studies have concluded (and this is perfect if you're a regular recipient) that fence posts with concrete reinforced by three month old fruitcake are up to 47% stronger than regular fences. This use is also a terrific way to remove any and all traces of the concoction, thus making people believe that you really did eat the thing.

    Andrea_44, Flickr
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    Here's another great outdoor use for the fruitcake - window boxes. The applications and benefits are so many, this actually should be the first use of a fruitcake! The fruitcake's unique texture and density make it not only impervious to the Wyoming elements, but provide sustenance and a nurturing environment to any sort of plant, flower, or bulb. Throw out that old bird feeder. Those sparrows will be coming right to your window. Another pro is that squirrels are about as happy to eat fruitcake as humans. Con: hummingbirds have been known to OD.

    Forestedpath, Flickr
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    This idea will give your front yard Christmas display a little more substance. To add authenticity, replace your fake reindeer droppings with fruitcake. You'll save money and be more than pleased with the results. You might also try sprucing up your Nativity scene. Fruitcake is an acceptable alternative for fake sheep, donkey, and camel scat, too. All that's stopping you is your imagination.

    goingslo, flickr
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    This is another exciting and practical use for the much-maligned fruitcake. Our climate and constant temperature fluctuations make potholes a regular part of life...a part that irritates us to no end and damages our vehicles. That can all be eliminated with a few well-placed fruitcakes. Not only do they taste like road tar, but they provide a long-lasting and pliable support while at the same time soaking up excess moisture and bonding to the existing asphalt. This really is a no-brainer.

    MSVG, Flickr
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    Speaking of no-brainer. How 'bout setting your sights on an unsightly rum-soaked target? Just take a fruitcake to your favorite shooting range. Squeeze off a few rounds, improve your aim, and never again worry about finding your bullet. Yeah, it's in there! Raise the skill level by trying to put a round right in the center of a cherry, fig, or one of those "green" things. And unlike paper, can, or glass targets, your fruitcake can never be destroyed; at least not by anything short of a bazooka.

    gcfairch, flickr
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    With New Year's and all of those pending resolutions on the way, you might be thinking about getting back in shape. Why not add a fruitcake station to your existing weight-training regimen? We all know that @!&$ is heavy! It's simple, effective, and greatly improves the smell of the gym. Increase the weight by adding more alcohol or syrup to the fruitcake, or decrease it by taking out a few bites. You're no dumbbell! Your friends will be amazed at your new fruitcake-enhanced physique.

    BozDoz, Flickr
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    Normally we receive fruitcakes from our elderly relatives, but maybe this year we should actually give them one. As it turns out, the adhesive properties of fruitcake trump even the strongest denture creams and gels. Do you know someone that can't get their teeth out after a full day of bonding? Have 'em bite into a fruitcake. Presto! Just like magic, dentures come free with just a little gum tissue. The preserving nature of the fruitcake will also sterilize, freshen, and protect your dentures until you're ready to wear them again.

    Spider.Dog, Flickr
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    Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, and the size of the fruitcake, these spongebombs make pretty good spare tires. In fact, Consumer Reports compared fruitcake tires to other forms of cake, and the results were staggering. The fruitcake held its form for an average of 120 miles and was resilient to rocks, ice, and spike strips. While we're not advocating them as a permanent rubber tire replacement, should an emergency arise...

    Jack Zalium, Flickr
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    For years, I thought it was just a myth. As it turns out, we humans can actually consume fruitcake with little or no side effects. Advanced clinical trials are needed to determine long-term damage, because so far no one has been able to consume it for the amount of time needed. Care to try? Just grab yourself some courage, a huge glass of milk or egg nog, a garden trowel, a honkin' heap of fruitcake, and have at it! Please be sure to remove any dentures or dead hummingbirds first. Wait, on second thought that might just improve the taste.

    Brett Jordan, Flickr