By: Geneva Kelly
Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love the decorations, the lights, the music, and the sales. I love the giving; and let’s be real, even Santa knows, I love the presents! My parents taught me to say thank you and appreciate everything I get; but I’ll admit, there were times I was faking. Was I a spoiled brat? Could I possibly be ungrateful; or does everyone have the same reaction to gifts that feel meaningless?
I asked at least twenty five people what their worst presents were, and half said they got something they didn’t understand. A girl at work told me her mother always manages to get her the wrong thing. She said, “One year it was a fancy pen; I don’t collect pens, and I’m not a writer. Along with that, my mom got me a soda maker, but the only soda I drink is Sprite.” “To top it off, the next year she got me an ice-cream maker. That might sound cool, but I’m lactose intolerant, have been my whole life!”
I asked her how she reacted, and she said, “What could I do? It’s my mom.”
My mother and I would need to talk after that. It’s one thing if it’s a distant relative, or a Secret Santa, but when your mom fouls out, no way…
Sadly, grandmothers were next in line for horrible gift giving. This one had me reminiscing. Some complained about clothes being two sizes too big, or small. I laughed. Then, a handful followed with knitted Christmas sweaters or vests that screamed, “My Grandmother made this!”
“How bout a bright orange sweater, because at seven, you couldn’t possibly care what you look like,” one girl complained.
“What about a yellow knit dress that lets everyone know you hate your life, because your parents actually made you wear it?” her friend chimes in.
My friend in California told me her grandmother got her a Barbie. Had she not been 16 at the time, it wouldn’t have been so bad.
After hearing several childhood memories, I couldn’t help but think mine still won. It wasn’t just that I got socks from my grandmother, it was the awkward feeling I had watching my cousins opening pretty dresses from her. Of course, I gave my thank you kiss, and half grinned; but subconsciously, I was learning what re-gifting meant. I spent years thinking it was just me. After all, my brother and sister never complained about their socks, or ceramic toys. But I, being curious about everything, wanted it to make sense.
Needless to say, when a guy at work told me he got a ceramic mermaid, it was great for me to hear I wasn’t alone. He showed me a picture he saved in his phone because it was so horrible, he had to laugh. Did I mention he was gay? No, because he isn’t. I couldn’t believe his boss gave it to him. But as horrible as it was, it made me feel better about my cold, un-huggable, ceramic teddy bear.
To sum things up, and so you don’t end up on the list for the worst gift givers, you may want to take notes. Dollar store gifts, (unless you are making a package out of them) are never a good thing. Jewelry that is supposed to be real, but then turns your skin colors; unfortunate. Hand towels if you’re not old enough to have your own place, not okay. And though I never heard of “The Ding King,” until now, apparently that is a bad present too.
A lucky few said they never got a bad present. But it begs the question, “Is it worse to get nothing, or to get something with no thought at all, and then re-gift?” What do you think?