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Friday, December 3, 2010

Worst Gift

Earlier this week we talked about gift ideas. But the discussion quickly disintegrated into laughter when Krista Ball commented that she once gave a box of tampons as a gift to the ungrateful girlfriend of her brother-in-law. (The year before said girlfriend dissed her cookies.) 

It got me to thinking about the gifts I've received over the years. So today, let's dish together. What is the WORST present you have ever received in your life? (Next Friday, we'll do the best gift.)

I am not fussy about gifts. It doesn't matter if they're handmade, re-gifts, or from the secondhand store. As long as it's clean, I'll take it in the spirit it was given.

But the worst gift I ever received was at an ornament exchange party. I'd never been to one before and was intrigued. The rule was we were to spend no more than five dollars on an ornament. 

At the party, we set out our ornaments and the hostess starts off by exchanging the ornament she brought with someone else. We go down the line, exchanging ornaments, regardless whether the ornament had already changed hands more than once. This continues until everyone ends up with a different ornament.

In a perfect world this would have been great, except we had one guest who brought in a slap-dashed ornament. It was a clear plastic globe with a tarnished cap; inside she had filled it with shredded paper. (We even knew where she got the paper.)

When placed next to all the other ornaments, it was clear hers was a last minute thought. No one wanted to exchange with her, but of course we had to. Everyone was required to pick an ornament and keep exchanging until all had gone through the process. 

Guess who got the shredded paper globe?

It was kind of sad because everyone else at the party brought in beautiful works of art, a couple were even handmade. I cheated a little and bought a very expensive old world German glass Santa which I got on sale the year before for 75% off. But it met the $5 limit, so I felt safe in bringing it.

Anyway, that turned out to be my 'worst' gift. When Krista said she gave tampons to that ungrateful woman, I thought to myself, it could've been worse, honey. You could've ended up with a shredded paper ornament. 

Oh, yeah, did I mention the plastic globe was cracked?

So what's your worst gift ever?

44 comments:

Marianne Arkins said...

I hope that lady was ashamed of herself for doing what she did with the ornament. Seriously, that's just rude.

When I was ten years-old, I got my first bra (a training bra) in my stocking.

I ripped open the package in front of my brother and my step-dad and VOILA! A bra!!

I was MORTIFIED. I can't remember ever being that embarrassed before.

Good news is, it made for excellent story fodder -- I used it in my short story, "The Christmas Curse"! HAHAHA :-)

Ted Cross said...

One Christmas when I was in my early teens the only present I got was a bag of Doritos, and they didn't even get the kind that I like.

Maria Zannini said...

Marianne: I seriously doubt she saw it as a bad gift. That's why I don't fault her. But I'm pretty sure she'll never be invited to another party like that.

Ref: training bras
Oh, man! That's horrible. At least you made lemonade out of lemons.

Joanna St. James said...

I have to go read the tampon comment, why is this even a gift idea?

Maria Zannini said...

Ted: LOL. I didn't mean to laugh but it just struck me as so funny. I'm sorry about the Doritos.

I'm still giggling. Sorry. I'll stop. Hope all your Doritos of the future will be your favorites. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Joanna: It was in the comments. Krista knows how to bring down the house every time.

Linda Leszczuk said...

The first year we were married my husband bought me a .22 rifle. I have no idea why. Should I mention I'm one of those "Shoot Thumper?!? Eat Bambi?!?!?" kind of people. I think he just wanted a rifle. So the next year I gave him a new camera. One I wanted. Luckily we've gotten better at presents over the years.

Joanne said...

Other than a few stale fruit baskets :(, especially for this chocolate lover, I think my gifts have been pretty spot-on.

Sherri said...

I can't think of a worst present. There have been some less than ideal ones like my father-in-law giving hubby and I a turkey deep-fryer which we took back the next day, LOL. But it was something he went out and picked up himself so the spirit of the season was there.

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: :grin: But, but...he thought you would like it. :) Glad to hear the gift giving got better.

Joanne: Stale fruit baskets? Well, at least you could cut them up and give them to the woodland creatures or compost it.

I can easily see this happening though. You don't know how long those fruits have been packaged. It's easier to go to the grocery store and pick your own.

Maria Zannini said...

Sherri: Have you ever tasted deep fried turkey? OMG! It's to die for. But it's very expensive to cook because of the oil required.

I give extra points to people who go out and pick out a gift that took some thought.

Dru said...

I received an ornaments. It was pretty. But, if you know me, this is not the gift to give me. Did I re-gift said gift? No, I threw it away.

Krista D. Ball said...

I feel that I have to defend myself a little here. There was a very, very good reason for the box of tampons, I'll have you know. My honour had been insulted. And, at least it was a practical gift :p

The worst gift I got was at a work gift exchange. The way things were that year, it turned out to be my only wrapped gift. I was completely alone and thought that I'd unwrap the gift Christmas morning, so I'd have at least one thing. It was 4 random episodes of The Simpsons.

The good news is that I never got depressed over Christmas gifts again.

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: I don't expect people to always know the best gift for me, but I'll re-gift when I can. I'm sure someone somewhere will want that gift. The shredded paper globe was the only thing I never re-gifted.

Lia Bal said...

When I was getting married, I know that my husband’s family was a bit lower class so I wasn’t expecting much from them when it came to gifts. While my family spends over a grand on gifts for our wedding, his family spend collectively $50. But the worst came from my mother-in-law. I love her, but she is very stingy. When we were getting married, she said she will pay for the wedding cake. Fine, I though. I will go to a nice bakery and have a nice cake made. Something modest but tasty. NOPE! She actually drove all over town and told me where to buy the cheapest cake. Sam’s Club had cakes for $15 so she would pay for it if only I would buy it from there. When my husband found out about it, he told his mother to keep her precious $15 and he got our cake. Then after the wedding, she was telling me about how I’m her favorite in-law and so on, and then she started saying that when her other two kids were getting married, she gave them $1000 each as a wedding gift. And yet, I’m the favorite.

Did she get us anything for our wedding after we said no to the cake? NOPE!

Maria Zannini said...

Krista: No need to defend yourself. You were a riot! Even my husband loved it. He said you were his kind of girl. LOL.

I proclaim you Queen of Just Desserts. It's a shame that girl probably never learned her lesson though. Some people can't be taught manners.

Maria Zannini said...

Lia: Run! Run as far away from your in laws as you can.

Holy moley!

Thank goodness your husband was on your side.

Kimber Leszczuk. said...

When I was younger I had a grandma that always bought me sets of of nailpolish even though I never painted my nails at the time. I think she was trying to make me into more of a young lady.... LOL

Maria Zannini said...

Kimber: Grandmas are always forgiven. It's in their contract. :)

I think it's sweet.

Mike Keyton said...

Socks

Marian Perera said...

When my younger brother left the Middle East to migrate to the States, a rich family friend gave him $100 as a gift. So when it was my turn to migrate (to Canada), I hoped the friend would give me something nice too.

She gave me a pink sari. In all the years she'd known me, I had never worn a sari - I look better in Western clothes and prefer their freedom of movement. Not to mention their warmth (considering I was going to Canada). I gave the sari away.

Sondrae Bennett said...

I got a lepord print plastic poncho one year (no joke, a poncho). Pretty sure that was my worst gift.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: I love socks as gifts! Of course, they need to be colorful and fun--but that probably wouldn't do much for your wardrobe.

Check. No socks for Mike.

Maria Zannini said...

Marian: Ouch. Talk about a sari gift.

(Sorry. I couldn't help it. It's not often someone throws that word at me.) LOL.

The money would've been handier, especially in a new country.

Maria Zannini said...

Sondrae: I'm afraid you might take the prize for worst gift

If the gift had only been one of these things, it might have slid by unnoticed. But...

Leopard print. Plastic. And poncho. That would test even Santa's good humor.

Rough.

Sherri said...

Maria, I'll have to take your word on deep-fried turkey being good. My BIL did it once and it was the worst. Completely dry. Glad Mom roasted one up just in case, LOL.

Maria Zannini said...

Sherri: I don't know the secret to good fried turkey because Greg made ours, but it was the juiciest and best turkey we ever ate. It was one of those turkey dinners of legend.

I'd let him fry more often, but like I said, it was expensive to buy all that oil for one time use.

KarenG said...

I wonder if the woman who brought the ugly ornament thought it was one of those elephant gift exchanges where you bring gag gifts? Just a thought. I can't think of my worse gift ever but I wish I had the guts to give a box of tampons to a few people on my list.

Maria Zannini said...

Karen: Sadly no. She knew exactly what the party was about. What was funny was that two of the guests felt so sorry for me, they wrapped an extra ornament with my present that Christmas. Totally unexpected but that tells you how appalled the others were.

jackie b central texas said...

My "worst" gift ever was a box of "sexy" underwear for me from my MOTHER! Nice gift but worst thing to have to open in front of my father and husband when I am only a 20 year old newly married little over a year only girl child of a very over protective father... At least though Mom's heart was in the right place, but my face still turns red when I think of the mortification I felt opening that gift!


jackie >_<

Maria Zannini said...

Jackie! She didn't! OMG, I would have died.

There are some things I don't want to broach with my mother. Sexy anything is Number 1.

But now I'm curious if you ever used them. hehehe.

Krista D. Ball said...

I wish someone gave me a leopard plastic poncho. I would wear that to my contract job every day.

(I once showed up in my Live Action Role Play fur-and-leather outfit, complete with blue paint...And I'm wearing a steam punk outfit to the work gala next weekend. They wouldn't even bat an eyelash)

Cathy in AK said...

Maria, at least the plastic globe wasn't filled with tampons, shredded or otherwise : P

Clarissa Draper said...

That's so funny. I can't remember a bad gift I've received but I know I wouldn't want want a shredded paper globe.

Renee Miller said...

The ornament, I have to say is pretty bad. At least tampons have a function. Right.

The first Christmas Kurt and I spent together he bought me clothes. The thought was there and I appreciate that, but let me explain. You see, I'm not petite, I'm a little over 6 feet tall and I weigh about 175lbs. No, I'm not afraid to share my weight. I mean, one look tells you a size 1 I am not. So, I wear about a size 10 or so. Okay, think bean pole with hips.

Kurt bought me a blue sweatshirt with a giant red cardinal on it. (this is not the worst part) in a size 2XL. It gets better...he also bought me pants. Size 18. Elastic waist.

He no longer buys me clothes. He sticks to electronics.

Maria Zannini said...

Krista: Halloween must be a nightmare for you. LOL.

Cathy: Ha! Thanks for making me see the bright side.

Clarissa: The thing that gets me is that it probably would have been easier to just buy a two dollar ornament at Walmart.

Maria Zannini said...

Renee: There's a reason I didn't bring up gifts from spouses.

Greg is good, though he has bought a couple of 'un-Christmasy' gifts for wifey in the past. It's a topic of much chiding and grins at our place.

6 feet tall, eh? I don't want to stand next to you. I'd look like an angry midget. ;-)

Renee Miller said...

It's okay, most people look like angry midgets next to me. :)

Kurt tries, and I appreciate the effort, but the only gift he ever bought that was something for "me" was the ring-that-is-not-an-engagement-ring, I nagged for five years to get. I figure, I went through labor to have a child he had to convince me was a good idea (and she was a good idea but she didn't seem that way on the way out), then I should have an token of his appreciation.

Other than that I get televisions, dvd players, computers...not so bad.

Maria Zannini said...

Renee: Electronics are good. I can forgive a man for buying the wrong pants size as long as there's electronics involved.

PS If I'm in labor--I want more than a ring. He has to be my slave.

Renee Miller said...

Men don't have as long a memory as we do. I had my slave for a couple of months, then the whole event faded from his mind until he'd convinced himself it really wasn't that bad. Sigh.

Maria Zannini said...

Oh, Renee. I would've made him eat those words. LOL.

But then, I'm sure you probably did. Methinks, Kurt doesn't get away with too much around you.

Ellie said...

Worst gift? Two spring to mind: socks that had toes thingies (like gloves) from my other half and a set of nail clippers from my gran.

catie james said...

*A flashlight - from Dad: the sad part being, my father actually went to a lot of trouble in ferreting out this gift and was totally jazzed about giving it.

*A cheap manicure set - from great aunt whom I never see: the problem? Where do I begin: from my then nail-biting habit, to the fact that I couldn't have wet polish on my nails w/o smudging during the all-important "setting" time, to the fact that I'm decidedly unfeminine when it comes to hair, make-up and other pampering activities.

Multitude of crappy, inappropriate gifts over the years - from two (paternal) great aunts who refuse to accept my request that they simply send best holiday wishes instead of gifts I'll never use. Oh well, I suppose it's nice to have them acknowledge my existence every year, esp. considering my refusal to attend all family functions around age 13.

Maria Zannini said...

Ellie: I think I still have a pair of those toe socks. Never worn.

Catie: You didn't like the flashlight? You've obviously never lost power for 21 days. LOL.

PS Hope your birthday was festive--and you're over your cold.