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#2569816 - 12/13/13 10:49 PM Really Bad Christmas Gifts...
Christina11 Offline


Registered: 12/31/07
Loc: kstep
TIME Magazine ran this story in 2012, and I pulled out the parts that talk about the worst gifts ever and the 6 gifts you should never give...it was based on comments from readers.

The All About Me Gift
Many women would be overjoyed with the gift of diamond earrings from their husbands. Not Patty, 58, who said that her husband Bill’s choice for her of flashy, pricey jewelry was the worst gift she’s ever been given. “We couldn’t afford them,” she said. “We had a new baby, a new house, and the last thing I needed was diamond earrings. Bill got them to impress his parents and to compete with his brother. Those stupid earrings didn’t have a thing to do with me or what I wanted or needed.” That was nearly 30 years ago. Bill’s gift prowess has improved since then, and he and Patty are still happily married. The earrings didn’t survive, though—Patty returned them the day after she received them.

Several people that I interviewed felt that charity donations given in their names also fell into the “All About Me” category. “If it was to one of MY favorite charities that would be different,” says Glenn, a 50-something manager. “Sometimes I think it’s not even about the charity, they think they’ll look altruistic. Either way, it’s not really a gift if you ask me.”

The Obvious Regift
Andrew, 32, was initially delighted to get an elegant Italian dress shirt from his father. “Then I saw that it had his initials monogrammed on the cuff. He hadn’t unfolded it, so maybe didn’t know. Thoughtless.”

Unless it’s a family heirloom, most people feel belittled by a regift. Sometimes the gift itself is great, but what hurts is the knowledge that it wasn’t chosen especially for them. Or that little to no thought at all was put into the gift.

On the other hand, nearly everyone I spoke with had regifted a present at some point. The key to successful regifting is to ask yourself if you would have picked that gift out for that person in the first place — and then be really careful to remove any evidence that this was something that had been given to you.

Pete’s mom would not be classified as a successful regifter. “She had this book on her coffee table for years. Then one year she wrapped it up and gave it to me for Christmas,” related Pete, 62, who unsurprisingly describes his mother as “cheap.” And that’s the most common reason behind the unsuccessful regift. Others resort to regifting due to poor planning — for example, grabbing something from the closet on your way to the post office or party, out of desperation.

The Statement Gift
In a bizarre twist on the regift, Chelsea’s husband gave her the same Gucci purse — literally the same exact purse — two years in a row. “I loved that purse, it was the best gift I’d ever gotten. I loved it so much I didn’t want to use it because I had two small kids and you know, it would get dirty,” Chelsea, 38, explained. The next year, her husband rewrapped the purse and gave it to her again. “He said since I hadn’t used it, he might as well just give it to me again — now maybe this year I’d use it.”

Chelsea’s husband made his point, and that’s what the statement gift is all about. While gifts are intended to communicate a message of some sort, the story is normally one of affection and caring. Statement gifts, on the other hand, typically offer disapproval or some kind of judgmental commentary aimed at the recipient.

Lori, 40, has received a gorgeous, expensive nightgown from her mother for the last three Christmases. She hasn’t actually been able to wear them though because the nightgowns aren’t really gifts; they’re opportunities for her mother to deliver a message. “It’s always a size or two too small for me,” says Lori, who says she is maybe 15 or 20 pounds overweight. “Then my mother rips it out of my hands and says, ‘Oh that won’t fit will it? You know honey, you’ll never find a husband if you don’t lose weight.’”

Terri, 64, remembers with crystal clarity the last Christmas of her high school year. “I dropped hints for over a month about this suede fringe handbag that I wanted so badly,” she recalled. “My parents gave me a set of dishes for my ‘dowry’ instead. They had said they were supportive of my going to college, but this told me that the real goal should be a husband.”

The Well-Meant Misfire
“My best friend gave me an acne solution kit,” shared Jan, 26. “She was absolutely trying to be helpful and thoughtful. She and I had talked about my skin problems. But still, who wants an acne kit for Christmas? At least she gave it to me in private instead of having me unwrap it in front of other people.”

Misfires most often occur when the giver experiences a momentary deficiency of empathy. They weren’t thinking from the point of view of the recipient, but their own. This sort of mistake is easy to make during the rush and stress of the holidays.

“My wife gave me a stuffed teddy bear the first year we were dating. It completely threw me, I thought maybe she was saying I was a little boy or something,” said Alex, 33. “Between that and my poor reaction to the gift, it’s a wonder we made it.”

The worst misfires are those with lasting consequences. Like a living creature. Erin, 34, recalled the Christmas her single mom brought home a puppy. “I think she thought that all kids should have a puppy, but she hadn’t thought it through. Nobody in the house had time to care for a puppy — the training, the vet. It was a mistake. We did love that dog and he lived to 14, but still.”

The Passive-Aggressive Gift
“My mother-in-law takes the cake,” complained Theresa, a 40-something accountant. “One year for Christmas she gave my husband a thick, beautiful cashmere sweater and she gave me a mug that said ‘Scott’s Wife.’ Of course she was smiling and laughing when I opened it, and saying what a great joke it was. But I think it was meant to hurt.”

Passive aggression is hostility wrapped in soft bunting. It is a special breed of the Statement Gift, and when it is handed over, it is in effect as a weapon meant to deliver blows to the recipient’s ego.

“Last year, I lost almost 25 pounds, and then my so-called friend gives me two pounds of See’s candy for Christmas?” Sheree, 30, griped. “At first I thanked her and was thinking it was a really nice gift. I love See’s candy. 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.”

“When her dad and I first married, my stepdaughter got me a hideous top in a size XL,” recalled Sue, 50, who typically wears a medium. “Frankly I wondered if her mother actually picked it out to take a little swipe at me.”

The Non-Gift
In households with shared finances, if it was something you would have purchased anyway, it doesn’t count as a gift. Socks, frying pans, and hair brushes have all achieved the “worst gift” designation by the people I’ve spoken with. But the baddest of bad in the non-gift category are major purchases that were made without input from the recipient and laced with a touch of the “all about me” gift.

Lucy, 54, offered one example of such a present: “After I was accepted into graduate school, I spent months researching which computer to buy and was about to get a Mac when my now-ex husband comes home with a Tandy from Radio Shack. He said it was an early Christmas gift. That gift was awful in so many ways. I felt cheated out of a real Christmas gift, plus it wasn’t what I wanted. He pranced around acting like he was so generous, bragged to his parents and our friends. It was in my school budget all along.”

“Have you ever seen those ads with the car with the big bow and wondered, who would buy someone a car for Christmas?” said 30-something Sara. “My husband did. In fact I think it might have been ads like that that gave him the idea. Anyway, I’m still making the payments on my Christmas gift that WE are driving. He’s usually not that dense. I think he thought he’d look like a hero getting that bow and all.”

**************

These is from the updated story for this year...


The Passive-Aggressive (a.k.a Mother-in-Law) Gift
Misbehaving mothers-in-law pop up whenever the subject of worst gifts arises, and they especially dominate the passive-aggressive category. Apparently, some in-laws feel the holiday season is the perfect time of year to communicate their displeasure with a child’s choice of partner. Santa would not be pleased.

“My ex-boyfriend’s mother gave me a Hello Kitty coloring book and a battery-operated cellulite massager,” commented a user going by the name Zara118. “I was 26 and weighted 100lbs.”

“My mother-in-law once bought me a toilet, tank and all,” chime in ralphthesquirrel1. “To make it much more interesting she also paired it up with a matching toilet bowl coffee cup. Passive aggressive to the limit!”

“My mother-in-law bought me a tin of cookies, ate the cookies, and gave me the empty, except for the crumbs, tin,” wrote frankiegogo.

“My mother-in-law for years bought the other daughter-in-law the expensive makeup or perfume,” another reader said. “And I always got the free gift that came with it.”

It’s not always the mother-in-law doing out passive-aggressive gifts. “A relative gave my spouse and I ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families,’” one reader recalled. “Giving someone a self-help book implies you think they need it.”

The Well-Meant Misfire
Last year, an acne solution kit given by a best friend led the way in the “well-intentioned but ultimately awkward” gift category. Here are a few more misfires.

“My husband bought me a toilet roll holder,” says AnthrostericalCU. “It was nice, wrought iron, and had a dagger-like point which I refrained from using on him.”

Someone with the username Chrigid received a bottle of Cointreau. The giver handed it over and said, “I thought you’d like this. It tastes like kerosene.”

One husband decided that the perfect Christmas gift for his wife (username: Inhumor) would be a post hole digger, used to make holes for fences, deck footings, and such.

The All-About-Me Gift
If it’s the thought that counts, then “all about me” givers think an awful lot—about themselves.

One wife received a waffle iron from her husband. That wouldn’t be the worst gift ever except for what was implied by the present in this relationship. “He thought if we had a waffle iron I could make waffles for him.”

JamieSpeckNugent says the worst gift she’s ever received was a framed, blown-up snapshot of her father-in-law, which her mother-in-law insisted should be hung in her bedroom.

“My mother would give me clothes in her style and size so that she could ‘borrow’ from me and we could ‘share,’” wrote a reader with the username ssss08.

The Super Cheap Gift
We have a new category this year, the incredibly cheap gift. It might be tempting to think that people who are disappointed by cheap gifts are materialistic or greedy. In fact, most are responding to what that cheap gift says about their relationships—specifically, how thoughtless and selfish some of the people in their lives are.

“I was once given a manila file folder (yes, just one),” wrote draska.

ScienceIsFunStuff says she was confused about why a friend sent her a Barbara Streisand CD. Then she went to Victoria’s Secret and saw that the CD came free with a purchase.

A reader known as AlikiKinimaka received as a gift a package of Press-On-Nails and a lone scrunchie (they normally come in packages of six).

When Rihannk’s houseguests began handing out gifts it became clear they had forgotten to bring a gift for the host, until suddenly one of the guests came up with a present out of the blue. “With a very suave gesture he announced, ‘I have one for you!’ and handed me his shower gel.”

Soccermom’s husband never buys her holiday gifts, saying that “things will be cheaper in the after Christmas sales.” That would be bad enough. The real problem is that “the gift, of course, never comes. Just an ‘owe you one babe,’” from her husband.

2013 Worst Gift Award Winners
The Scrooge of the Year Award goes to super cheap gift giver “eornom” who proudly wrote that he’s given the following gifts to people over the years: a belly button lint brush, cheap porn, transmission fluid, an air mattress pump, chipped coffee mugs and a “candom,” which is a can cooler shaped like a condom.

The Truly Worst Gift of the Year Award is a flame-throwing weed killer, given, of course, by a mother-in-law—a passive-aggressive, possibly psychopathic one at that. According to Greekgeek, “The English instructions said it was for killing weeds, but warned that if you didn’t hold it absolutely upright it was liable to back up and explode. It came from a mother-in-law who really had been doing subtle things to make the daughter-in-law know she wasn’t welcome at all for years.”


_________________________
"If you keep your feathers well oiled the water of criticism will run off as from a duck's back."

- Ellen Swallow Richards

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#2569832 - 12/13/13 10:58 PM Re: Really Bad Christmas Gifts... [Re: Christina11]
BeardedWierdo Offline

Gliding monkeys!

Registered: 11/14/07
Loc: Delaware County, PA
I want the weed killer.
_________________________
The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too. -- Oscar Levant

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#2569846 - 12/13/13 11:23 PM Re: Really Bad Christmas Gifts... [Re: BeardedWierdo]
eesmith60 Online   happy


Registered: 09/04/12
Loc: Long Island, NY, USA
My ex could be on that list. One year, we went to Wal-Mart 2 days before Christmas. You know how you just comment on stuff you see? "Oh, that's pretty" or "That's interesting" or just "Cool". We went in just for extra paper. He went to a "friends" later that day and on Christmas morning, I opened the "pretty" wall clock, the "interesting" Barometer, and the "Cool" sneakers. He bought everything I commented on. If I knew that's what he was thinking, we would have made a few trips around the jewelery counter.
_________________________
Just stand closer to the Rhino. grin
Age and treachery beat youth and enthusiasm every time. wink
I trace my family history so I know who to blame. laugh

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#2569863 - 12/13/13 11:36 PM Re: Really Bad Christmas Gifts... [Re: eesmith60]
BlytheSpirit Offline


Registered: 02/12/04
Loc: So Cal
Really bad Christmas gifts were anything I gave my former husband. It didn't matter what I gave, and I listened for hints, outright asked. No matter what he would return everything. You would think after 35 years I would have found something he would like.
_________________________
*~~~~~~*When in doubt dance*~~~~~~*


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#2569872 - 12/13/13 11:42 PM Re: Really Bad Christmas Gifts... [Re: eesmith60]
bugaboo Offline


Registered: 10/15/05
Loc: anywhere but here
Originally Posted By: eesmith60
My ex could be on that list. One year, we went to Wal-Mart 2 days before Christmas. You know how you just comment on stuff you see? "Oh, that's pretty" or "That's interesting" or just "Cool". We went in just for extra paper. He went to a "friends" later that day and on Christmas morning, I opened the "pretty" wall clock, the "interesting" Barometer, and the "Cool" sneakers. He bought everything I commented on. If I knew that's what he was thinking, we would have made a few trips around the jewelery counter.
Which is why I just buy my own gifts. My husband said tonight to let him know which tri-pod I wanted for Christmas. Uhm, OK, so there's no need to wrap it up if I'm going to show you what I want, you have me order it and then you wrap it and smile as I open it on Christmas. crazy I wish for once he would actually go shopping and get me something that I would really like without me telling him what to buy.
_________________________
"They haven't got brains, any of them, only grey fluff that's blown into their heads by mistake, and they don't Think."

The House at the Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

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#2569880 - 12/13/13 11:51 PM Re: Really Bad Christmas Gifts... [Re: bugaboo]
eesmith60 Online   happy


Registered: 09/04/12
Loc: Long Island, NY, USA
I finally made a list of 10 things I'd be happy to get as a gift. He was under orders to pick three, wrap them so I couldn't identify what the hell it was. I wanted to be surprised dammit...lol
_________________________
Just stand closer to the Rhino. grin
Age and treachery beat youth and enthusiasm every time. wink
I trace my family history so I know who to blame. laugh

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#2569882 - 12/13/13 11:56 PM Re: Really Bad Christmas Gifts... [Re: eesmith60]
Christina11 Offline


Registered: 12/31/07
Loc: kstep
I have never, and will never, respond to the question asking me what I would like as a gift. I am not comfortable with that and I feel if someone wants to get me something it should be something of their choosing. The husband learned not to ask me that question, and I never ask him.

That said, I can't think of anything he has ever given for me my birthday or Christmas that I didn't like. A few weeks ago I told him I didn't care if he got me anything because we don't need anything. He won't listen.
_________________________
"If you keep your feathers well oiled the water of criticism will run off as from a duck's back."

- Ellen Swallow Richards

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#2569885 - 12/14/13 12:00 AM Re: Really Bad Christmas Gifts... [Re: bugaboo]
kapri64 Offline


Registered: 04/16/13
Loc: California
I once got an empty bottle of Chanel perfume and was told by the giver: "It's a decanter you can put your own perfume in!"
(I'm fragrance sensitive and can't use perfume anyway... just as well it was empty)
_________________________
"They are not dead who live in the hearts they leave behind"
~ Native American Proverb, Tuscarora

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#2569888 - 12/14/13 12:02 AM Re: Really Bad Christmas Gifts... [Re: kapri64]
Christina11 Offline


Registered: 12/31/07
Loc: kstep
Originally Posted By: kapri64
I once got an empty bottle of Chanel perfume and was told by the giver: "It's a decanter you can put your own perfume in!"
(I'm fragrance sensitive and can't use perfume anyway... just as well it was empty)


Like giving someone a cookie/popcorn tin after you eat all the contents. It would just never occur to me.
_________________________
"If you keep your feathers well oiled the water of criticism will run off as from a duck's back."

- Ellen Swallow Richards

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#2569889 - 12/14/13 12:02 AM Re: Really Bad Christmas Gifts... [Re: Christina11]
BlytheSpirit Offline


Registered: 02/12/04
Loc: So Cal
After having everything returned, I asked because I thought I was missing something he may have really liked to receive.
I never returned anything unless it was to exchange an article of clothing for a size change.
_________________________
*~~~~~~*When in doubt dance*~~~~~~*


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