gratitude or attitude

gratitude or attitude

This isn’t a sad story – it’s a long post with a sad setup. If you’re short on time/attention skip to the blockquote, as it’s quite funny. I stumbled across a discussion forum where people tell their worst Christmas gifts and it has been cracking me up so I had to share but I have to first say that no reader should think that their gift-giving is in any way under fire or that we are not grateful that our friends and family remember us at Christmastime. If you look at the soon-to-be-posted photo gallery, you will see how happy and pleased the Minis were with their gifts. Gift-giving is an art form, even more so long distance. That being said…

Have Yourself an Austere Little Christmas

My parents didn’t really indulge in Christmas gifts when we were growing up. They were very practical and frugal and I had no idea that any except the very richest of kids woke up to a tree surrounded by piles of wrapped gifts. Certainly there was no Santa Claus. On a good year we’d get to unwrap three presents each, and then go to a relative’s house where there might be one more we could unwrap, probably a game that the three of us could share, unless we each got socks or underwear. Christmas was all about family and food and I have wonderful memories of Christmas growing up until about high school when someone would ask me what I got and my standard reply was, “something for my room” so my friend wouldn’t feel sorry for me and I wouldn’t have to explain how we did Christmas at my house.

Then Mike came into my life and his family showed me how Christmas stockings worked. And then the Minis came into my life and the joy of giving is irrepressible. If you have ever heard the Minis say their prayers you know they express sincere gratitude for what they have and are so self-conscious about asking for things. It’s hard. I have had to pull Minimike away from a birthday party because she cried when she during the present-opening time. Christmas and birthdays are the only times when they openly hope and wish, and we gladly give in.

This Christmas both Minis dutifully wrote their thank-you lists as they opened presents without a word of protest. But there was one thing the Minis opened that made absolutely no sense at all and I’m going to have to dictate their thank-you note so the giver doesn’t realize it’s now in the Goodwill box. My Christmas history has given me an extremely high tolerance for odd gifts, even when I think the giver could and should do better. But there was no salvaging this. Really.

It is not you

You’ll have to PM me for more specifics, but all I will say is that I have chastised TxLynBee for bagging on this same giver’s gifts in the past. I figured it’s because they don’t get along and TxLynBee’s wishlist can be a little much.  This was different. This was just bottom of the Big Lots Clearance Bin. And I love Big Lots. So I know what’s at the bottom of the Big Lots Clearance Bin and I wouldn’t try to pass it off as a gift.  Yes, it is that bad. (Don’t even ask if it’s you, because you KNOW who it is, and it’s not you.)

The forum that made me laugh

Today I stumbled on the What the hell is this sh__? Terrible xmas gifts forum. I can’t stop laughing. The tone isn’t so much malicious as completely bewildered. Some of the highlights:

  • A bag of pasta shaped like Minnesota (I do not,did not, have not, ever lived in Minnesota, and neither has my aunt.)
  • I got something called “Bacon Floss“, which was apparently bacon flavored floss
  • Plastic letter openers with the handle being a little sculpture of Joseph holding baby Jesus. Little boys don’t have envelopes to open, so we were shocked and highly amused that we all got Holy Daggers. There’s video footage of me holding down my toddler cousin while raising the dagger and declaring her a sacrifice to a Higher God.
  • My brother would receive a calendar from her every year that was two-three years old. The pictures were nothing interesting for a teenager either, like a calendar of lighthouses or wind mills.
  • My brother asked for a CD called Broken Arrow by the Charlie Mars Band. He received the soundtrack to the hit movie Broken Arrow.
  • We had no idea what the f_ Menudo was. All we know was that it was creepy looking, highly posable (which was strange for a g_ action figure circa the ’80s), and came with a lovely flexible vinyl record that wouldn’t play. It didn’t matter since it came crumpled.

    Menudo became our adolescent b___. The clothes came off and we just started throwing it against stuff. Missing a ball? Menudo was our new baseball. His favorite place to land was inside our mulberry tree where a hail of stones would knock him from his perch. Magnifying glass? Menudo’s head was quickly melted into a horrifying Elephant Man like grin that helped with our abuse. But that figure was durable. He spent a few weeks in our driveway being run over before he was picked up out of the dirt, washed off, and subject to more abuse.

    His final death came out of nowhere. My cousin, in a fit of rage, knocked him deep, deep into the forest. Halfway through his arc, one of his legs flew off. The leg was found seven years later. The rest of the body was never recovered. It may still be out there.

Mea culpa

I can admit to my own many giving missteps that I know of. Sometimes I’m spot on, other times I overthink, yet other times I’m completely out to lunch. My first Christmas gift to Mike was a bedrest on which I’d appliqued a penguin. Another year I decided to be cool and do all my shopping in the Heights and I got him a broken anniversary clock. I don’t know why. I thought it was pretty and I’d never seen one before. He kept it until we moved five years ago, at which point I insisted that it could not come with us. He seemed genuinely sad to get rid of it, but I really hated that clock.

By far the worst was when I was a kid and I broke up with a boy right before the holidays. I knew he was getting me an alternate gift. Meaning, he’d gotten me a real gift so when I broke up with him he exchanged it for something else and it was important that I know that.  Nice. So I got him something too, only I got him one of a huge gourmet chocolate bar, so that he couldn’t say I didn’t get him anything for Christmas, but it would be consumed or degrade so he couldn’t hang on to it as “the last thing I gave him.” That’s awful, right? So if I ever give you anything edible for Christmas, look out.

I Do Doodle