J: "Just junk" When we were kids, my grandmother would take us out to dinner for our birthdays (just the two of us) and she would give us a bunch of little presents. When she gave us the little presents she would always say, "It's nothing, just junk."
When we were little, we loved getting just junk. It was all those glittery and sparkly and feathery things that would catch your eye in the gift shop or five and dime that your mother would never buy for you. It was awesome. I remember, though, when I hit the age when "just junk" wasn't so awesome anymore. My grandmother had bought me a giant peach feather pen, like one you'd use for a guest book at a wedding. I was about 15, and this junk didn't hold appeal for me any more.
When I stitched my sister her Shepherd's Bush stocking, I filled it with little trinkets, and attached a note "Just Junk." She loved it. I think it was partly the sentimentality, but also, I chose better junk. One thing I remember putting in was a rhinestone belt buckle that I bought in the jewelry district in L.A. for $5. Rhinestone belt buckles were hot (attributed to Sex and the City, I think).
One year my grandmother bought my sister these shopworn candles that were in the shape of Christmas pastries. They smelled so rancid. They looked used, like some little kid had stuck his fingernails in them. They were awful. (To be fair, my grandmother is losing her eyesight.) Auntie Em took grannie aside and told her, "no more junk." But she just can't help herself, and she has bought a few gifts that she wraps and doesn't put names on. She'll foist them on guests, or if we're unlucky, on us.