Eight maids- a-milking, seven swans-a-swimming, six gifts-a-hating, fiiive onion riiings...
presents, gifts, christmas, bad ideas
Appropriate Eddie Izzard link.
Jane, I definitely owned that Disney Christmas album. Thank you for that!
"But then after I ate half the box and felt disgusted about myself, I realized that it was actually a mean gift. She’s not my friend, she’s jealous."
Are we CERTAIN this wasn't an Onion article?
@Ashley Lange@facebook Haha yeah I thought that lady was maaaaaaybe projecting just a LITTLE.
@Ashley Lange@facebook Yeah, she actually says "I love See's candy." So... your friend got you a gift you really love and you think she's sabotaging you? Tsk, tsk, Sheree.
You'd be surprised how mean people can get when someone they know loses a dramatic amount of weight.
Worst gift thread? Worst gift thread.
HIDEOUS cheap hair accessories designed for long hair (when mine was super short), from my then-boyfriend's mother. I was like *hisses* "she hates me! she did this on purpose to hurt me!"
@iceberg Ugh, what is that? When I went pixie-short, luckily I didn't get any of this kind of bullshit feedback, but a friend of mine said she did. Her mother gave her a bunch of long-hair accessories and then tried to rationalize by saying, "Well I got them for you before you cut it all off. And you can use them once you grow it back out. Because you are going to grow it back out, right?" Ahhhhhh
I don't have any horrible gift stories, actually. Just kind of oblivious ones. I had a dance teacher who was very sweet and would give my family a different ornamental Santa every year, even though she knew we're Jewish. She had no religious agenda at all, as far as I could tell. She just thought we'd like Santa. Or several Santas.
@iceberg I don't even know where to start. I like and collect perfumes, but my ex gave me a collection of things including three (!) fancy perfume bottles. Like, they were pretty, but... I like perfume. These are empty. What am I supposed to do with them?
Another ex gave me a suite of gifts including a memory foam pillow, and what he thought was ~$50 in the currency of the place I was travelling to the following month. It actually turned out to be like $10, because the official exchange rate was radically different than the actual exchange rate on the ground. He thought I should take the pillow, too, because that's totally a reasonable thing to take up room in my suitcase for a 3-month trip.
@iceberg I dated this guy who got me a pillow and a toothbrush holder.
"But I have a toothbrush holder..."
"Oh, that's so you can keep a toothbrush here."
"Ok, but what is the pillow for?"
"So when I sleep over I have a pillow to put between my legs."
So really, you only bought these because you benefit from both of them and didn't actually think about anything I actually wanted.
@yeah-elle Oh, man, I was a competitive figure skater for many years, and everyone always thought it was the most clever idea to give me figure skate ornaments. I have easily a dozen; some of them I have 2-3 copies of. I am also Jewish.
@iceberg The worst gift I ever received was a copy of The Dark Crystal on dvd.
@Decca STOP IT THAT WAS CLEARLY THE BEST GIFT EVER.
@iceberg Shortly after we got married, my husband knew I wanted a particular bookshelf from Ikea for our new house. On Christmas, he handed me an envelope with money in it. The money was enough for half the bookshelf, because he said we couldn't afford it right then.
@iceberg Drugstore perfume set that came with a little reading light (???) from my grandmother. Chucked the perfume, used the light until it busted a few weeks later. EITHER THAT OR the bright yellow child-size frilly crocheted poncho, when I was...15? (That one had fallout. Lots of fallout. It was also from my grandmother.)
@iceberg My worst gift was everything my ex husband (while we were married) gave to me one year. He went to the They Might Be Giants web store and bought a whole bunch of stuff. And that's all he gave me. The cds were cool but they were for him as much as me. The poster mounted on foamcore is cool, but I've never put it up. And the t-shirts were men's (they didn't have ladies' cut shirts) so I ended up giving them to him. I'm sure he put a lot more thought and effort into whatever he bought his secret girlfriend that year (I don't remember but I'm sure it was something cool).
@iceberg I once got used eye shadow from my crazy old aunt.
My in-laws are legendary in their terrible gifting because it's really hard not to read into the gifts. A couple of years ago, I got chopsticks and a candle, while my husband got a new car stereo and one of his cousins received an iPad. There's a particularly hilarious story involving another, obviously less-favoured cousin that gets floated around every year, but I don't want to tell it in case anyone I know IRL finds me. :p
Oh! I just remembered that my MIL also "regifted" a present at a White Elephant swap ... that the original gift-giver was attending. Spirit of Christmas, right there.
@iceberg I have an aunt who for three years openly admitted she was giving us things she found while cleaning out the attic.
@fondue with cheddar You won the worst. At least he is your exhusband.
@iceberg My judo teacher gave me a beautiful, detailed rabbit (my sign) candle every year for my birthday. I feel ungrateful complaining, but having something so pretty that could be burnt gave seven year old (okay, and current) me a mountain of anxiety-filled nightmares. I don't even celebrate my birthday, there was no cause for this.
I still think it weird to have such a gorgeous thing as a candle. A half-melted rabbit would look messed up.
@iceberg Sadly, almost every gift my mother has given me that I haven't specifically put on a wish list. They're overwhelmingly the "all about me" gifts and the "statement/passive-aggressive" gifts. Various clothing and accessory gifts that are in her style, not mine, exceptionally expensive (she can afford a $300 shirt and a $200 wallet, but can't afford helping me with rent), and are always between 1-4x larger than what I actually wear. She once made me a skirt without measuring me, assuming I was the largest size. A book on Meditation 101, after I'd been meditating for years. The book on how to write thank-you notes. The chocolate orange, but in dark chocolate (I am, and have always been on Team Milk Chocolate, and hate dark chocolate). The peanut butter girl scout cookies (I have never liked peanut butter, ever, and would pick the bacon off the peanut butter and bacon sandwiches she made me as a girl). Her gifts are a reminder that she cannot conceptualize me as a different person than she is, except to disapprove of who I am. They cause so much stress and hurt; I'm actually dreading this Christmas, because I'm afraid that even though I haven't talked to her in a year and a half, she'll still send me gifts and I'll have to deal with them.
@Springtime for Voldemort Take the label off the presents and take them to a shelter?
@iceberg One year my grandma gave all of us sisters cutesy packs of Christmas underwear. Both of my sisters got size M, and I got size XL.
This stung because I'm sensitive about my weight, but honestly mostly because - my sister wears a larger pants size than me! I don't get it! Was it because I'm the oldest, so that just made sense to her?? Did they only have two size M packs left in the store?? Whatever, I'm obviously over it...
@Bloodrocuted I wasn't trying to 1up anybody, but...yeah, it definitely was not a nice Christmas. I'm extremely thankful that he's my ex!
@Springtime for Voldemort Wow, that's all so horrible. Is avoiding her at Christmas even an option? She sounds pretty unhealthy for you.
@fondue with cheddar Sort of. I'm not in contact with her anymore, and haven't been for awhile, but she still gets someone in the family to deliver the presents to me (complete with instructions to have me open the presents in front of them so they can report back on the ever-increasing delight upon my face...), or will mail them to me. She's not great at boundaries.
@sandwiches I should look into that.
@Springtime for Voldemort Could you maybe not accept them? I guess that all depends on your family's take on your relationship with her. Ugh, what a terrible situation.
@fondue with cheddar Sort of? Like, if she gets her boyfriend to bring them, then yes. But if she gives them to my sister, then not really, because my sister's already been put in the middle enough, and I don't want to put her in the middle even more by making her take them back. If she mails them, I'm normally not interested in paying the return shipping.
@Springtime for Voldemort You're right, it's not fair to put your sister in the middle. Well, hopefully you can get away with not opening them. Someone's suggestion upthread of donating them was a good one.
@Bloodrocuted My freshman roommate almost burned down our dorm room by burning a Christmas tree candle that had a little wax Santa that that was part of the ensemble, but was not a candle, and was not meant to be burned. She "sacrificed" him on the half melted mass of melted tree-candle and Santa started sparking and spitting flames all over the room. Some candles should not be burned.
Ahhh, I agonize about giving gifts, and put so much thought into them. I don't want to be a terrible-gift-giver! Sometimes I end up fighting with myself over the question of whether it's better to give them a dumb little trinket that will just take up space or give them nothing--although I'll usually give food over nothing since at least food won't stick around. On the other hand, when someone gives me a gift that's not-quite-me or whatever, I tend to just feel charmed that they gave me anything, and then I pass it on to Goodwill in a quiet moment. (Thank you for the stinky candle, unnamed-relative-person!)
I'm working on gifts for this year: some kind of brooch for my mom, barbecuing spices from Penzeys for my stepdad, chocolate for my brother?, and this shirt for my boyfriend (he picked it out--Seaplane has amaaaazing weird button-fronts for dudes who've decided they like loud fashion). Probably homemade marshmallows for everybody else, depending on how hard marshmallows are to make? Or spiced almonds.
Yeah, I think it says a lot about my self-hating personality that I just read this list and thought of all the gifts I've given that are probably terrible.
@frigwiggin Ahhhhh that shirt! *I* want that shirt.
@frigwiggin Smitten Kitchen's marshmallows have never failed me! The most irritating part is trying to get it out of the pan, but everything else is super-easy.
@Reginal T. Squirge My husband still teases me about the year I got him what I thought was really nice hair product (it didn't look neon turqoise on the web site!) and he got me a Kindle.
He re-wrapped the purse? That she didn't use because she didn't want sticky child hands all over it? The things married people put up with. God bless them. Or help them. Whichever.
@JessicaLovejoy At first I read this as him buying her *another* of the same purse. As in, one she wouldn't have to worry about ruining (because she had a backup). But then I got it and was all, "NONONONONONO!"
@Tammy Pajamas Yeah I originally misread it that way as well. The reality is so passive aggressive!
So, my two broke sisters both want cash for Christmas, but I really hate the idea of giving cash. It's so boring and not really thoughtful at all. But, if I get them each something useless (or what they see as useless), that's also ridiculous. Cash for Christmas: yay or nay?
@dtowngirl I say yay, bc I am broke and would love cash, but can you also get them something cute like a cheap lil coin purse as the "wrapping"? to make you feel better about it.
@dtowngirl Agreed with iceberg--give them the cash, and also something silly and small? Or individually wrap twenty one-dollar bills and hide them around the house. (Wait, that's wasteful and more annoying than funny. I'd still do it for my brother, though.)
@dtowngirl Dittoing the previous replies. If they want cash for anything specific, you could package it with a related small accessory. Or learn money oragami...?
@TheLetterL EEK! Holy misspelling, Batman. Or-I-gami
Edit: WAIT! Now it looks like an "L." I give up.
@dtowngirl Speaking as a fellow Broke Person and Asker of Cash, pleeeeease give them cash. My mother also has the same concern of being "not thoughtful", but if money is what they genuinely want and need, it's much better than a random gift.
@TheLetterL I made a really sweet Money Bouquet for a wedding present a couple of months ago. Fold money and origami paper into little flowers, stick them on that green florist's wire, wrap cellophane around the bouquet and stick it in a cute vase! TADA
However, this worked a bit better with euros, because I got to use pink and blue bills. Hmm
@dtowngirl Every year my uncle buys something simple and inexpensive and then goes to hysterical and impressive lengths to hide a single bill in it. Once he actually created a slit in the binding of an old paperback, folded the note, ironed it so it was super flat, and tucked it in. It took me HOURS to find it. Great gift.
@dtowngirl I loooove cash for Christmas. It says "I love you enough to know that you don't need a new shirt or purse or lightsaber chopsticks, you need to make sure the Comcast bill/rent/food gets paid for." Sure, a new purse might make me squee more in the moment, but cash really makes a bigger difference on my mental health. Cash is the most thoughtful gift when it's what the person has asked for; it shows that you listen to them and their specific needs more than you listen to universalizing etiquette specialists. (I still <3 Ms. Manners, though.)
@Springtime for Voldemort
10,000x the part that it shows that you listen to and respect their request more than universalizing etiquette specialists!!!
Every year (apart from this year where I have asked for a food processor), I haven't really needed anything and asked people to make charitable donations in my name, rather then buying me something. Every year I get a pile of crap I don't need. It's really depressing because it makes me feel like I haven't been listened to or respected. :-(
What do you guys do when you give a gift and it seems underappreciated? The last couple of years I've been really excited to give a relative of mine the gifts I've gotten them, hoping they'd be happy and excited too, but they seem to be received with a sort of bland "thanks!" and mostly forgotten about. Maybe I'm just misfiring and should stop putting so much thought into their gifts? Or maybe all people don't over-express their appreciation and gratitude of things to make sure the giver knows, like I do (because I'm neurotic), and I just need to suck it up.
@frigwiggin I generally bitch about it to a friend and then feel bad about myself for clearly picking an awful gift for a while. Then I make passive agressive comments to the giftee about how they don't appreciate the things I do for them.
Hope that helps!
@frigwiggin I think you should give this person a present that they will enjoy and that you are happy to give to them. If you get to a point in the gift search where it is no longer enjoyable, or to where you are so invested in Perfection that a lukewarm response will be crushing, you are no longer happy to give this present and should maybe step back.
@frigwiggin I just stop trying so hard. I may have posted on here in the past about how my in-laws go all out for Christmas, and the kids get so many damn presents anything I buy gets lost in the pile. This year I'm not even bothering to make sure they all get the same number of gifts. It's not like they're going to dig through the pile of tags at the end to make sure it's even.
@TheLetterL Well, it's not like it's the search is hard or a lot of work--I just spring upon something where I think, "oh, that would be perfect for them!" based on past observations, but then the reception doesn't reflect what I'd expected, which weirds me out because I didn't think my observations were that off, so then I can't tell if I'm just really askew about what I think they'd like or if they're just not expressing much gratitude in general.
@frigwiggin It sounds like you are being a lovely, thoughtful, and observant person, and that the lukewarm reaction (and the "mostly forgotten about" gifts --ugh) has more to do with the recipient. If you stumble upon something great that would make you happy to give, I don't see any reason not to go for it.
And when you open said present, Garfunkel and Oates have you covered.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMWTs0YT928
is this gift idea terrible or not question: I am knitting all my coworkers gloves and I want to make my coworker who smokes gloves with half thumb/index/middle fingers (like this) but I'm worried that it might be annoying the rest of the time when he's not smoking and his fingers aren't covered? Thoughts?
@VDRE My goodness, that is a lot of small-gauge knitting! Your coworkers are very lucky. I'd say just do fingerless gloves for the smoker dude. It's probably annoying to have only part of your hand covered. Or convertible mitten/gloves if he's your favorite coworker ever and you want to spend double the time on his gift.
@dinos To be fair I only have three coworkers. Convertible is a good idea, I'll see how positively I'm feeling about him when I get to the fingers and decide what to do then.
Fiiiiiiive balls of bugs!
I still feel guilty about the time I gave my mother one of those foot-massage baths. It made her cry, and I had NO idea why. Then she told me that when her father got old, they gave him one, because he was old and his feet were gross and no one wanted to touch them anymore.
Well, that was a downer.
I'm late on this, but my grandma once gave my brother an onion for Christmas.
@baked bean Wow, and my mum whinges about the time she was given a pink plastic fish for Christmas when she was 3... You poor brother definitely wins this one. :-(
@TARDIStime LOL no, he loved it. So many stories. Our grandma is crazy, and never got us anything anyway. Usually things from dollar general. I also happened to snap a picture of his reaction when he opened it. She gave him a framed photo of this the next year for Christmas, and she didn't even care, like no reaction, lol.
@baked bean WHAAAAAAAAT?!?!? OK, this is kind of comedy gold!
Is it like a family tradition? Like "what's crazy granny got in her sack this year?" and you guys take bets?
My mum and I have family friends that we do Christmas with and one year we'd just had the basket and other containers they'd used to put their present in the year before, so we gave them their present inside the same containers - it's become a Christmas tradition with us to always trade the same Christmas packaging every year.
@TARDIStime Yeah, kind of. She's weird! She gave two of her great-grandkids tricycles the same year my brother got the onion. I don't think I got anything.
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