Do you have any bad gift stories?
Once a year, the world goes into a gift-giving frenzy, slaving away at overcrowded malls and seeing their bonuses lessen and lessen with each transaction. This strange occurrence is called the Christmas season. It’s funny though, because even if malls and stores are filled to maximum capacity, some of us still end up with bad gift stories at the end of the year.
A mother gives her daughter a dress that’s one size too small—intentionally and out of love. “You’ll fit into it next year,” she says subtly. A husband gets his wife tickets to Phantom of the Opera, completely forgetting that she hates operatic music. Well, now that we’re bidding the first month of 2019 goodbye, we think there’s been enough time to talk about our own experiences. We’ve all recovered, right?
The worst Christmas present I got was from one of my former bosses; she has this reputation of recycling really, really bad gifts.
So last Christmas, she calls me in her office and gives me a small gift, and she tells me to open it in front of her (which is super awkward). So when I do open it, it’s one of those cheap mini flashlights and I have to act super impressed as she tells me that it’s from the States (with a big Made in China sign) and how nice it was.
It was my first Christmas with my boyfriend. I made such an effort to give him an entire gift package with personalized stuff and everything. I spent so much time trying to make it the best and he didn't give me anything at all.
He wasn't even sorry.
—Poor One, 24
I forgot to give gifts to my friends
I got one of those ceramic dolls for Christmas before. My grandmother was very proud of it, very happy to give it to me. The doll was dressed in red, had curly brown hair and bright green eyes. Ceramic dolls creeped me out. They still do.
My young face was forced to smile.
During our yearly family gathering on Christmas, I received a gift from an aunt of mine whom I only see once a year. Opened it at home and it was a musty teddy bear. Embroidered on its foot was the year 2004. The year my aunt gave it to me was 2008.
Personally, I didn’t get any gifts from family last year, none good and none bad. No packages underneath our Christmas tree had my name on it—not on the “to” portion of the tag, anyway. Did I mind? No, not really. Blame it on my age or blame it on the years of getting gifts that didn’t do anything for my happiness anyway.
I did get gifts from friends though: two books that I enjoyed thoroughly and some makeup I use on the daily. And isn’t that the point of gift giving, so that the receiver actually enjoys what you give them? Everyone always says that it’s the thought that counts, but how much thought do you really put into repackaging an old gift/item/freebie for a distant relative? How much thought goes into buying 30 mugs, 30 face towels and 30 pens?
Part of this year’s new year resolution list should be: Do not give crappy gifts that you know are crappy; opt not to give gifts when you don’t know what to give; or—you know—give food instead.
Art Alexandra Lara