I tend to give gifts that are fun, but somewhat useful. For example, my step-dad is a Loctor (an MD who is also a Lawyer) and a rabid sci-fi geek. If there’s a better way to keep him organized than a Darth Vader Desk Tidy I haven’t found it.
Snarky’s Note: I didn’t get him this.
The worst gift I probably gave him was a TIE. Totally fail on my part, as ties are clearly thoughtless Father’s Day gifts. In my defense, the tie did have the Rebel Insignia pattern. While generally a loving man, I’m fairly certain the idea of mind-choking occurred to him.
I miss the mark as much as anyone, but I tried really hard this year to come up with creative gifts that wouldn’t be returned, re-gifted or resold at some future yard sale.
Best gift I ever received: A Little Mermaid Coloring book/crayons with cash tucked inside. I was 16; we’d moved back to the states. (from Europe when my parents divorced) La Mommie (sung to the tune of La Bamba) worked long hours while attending graduate school full time. She told us we weren’t really Christmas people and waited for the pouting and whining to commence. Instead my sister and I cheered and did a booty dance! Then we decorated the infamous Christmas Chair (a nondescript armless office chair) and went on about our business.
I was moved by the coloring book not merely because I’m a rabid office/art supply addict – though certainly that should be factored in – but it was truly the embodiment of It’s the thought that counts. It was one of the few times in my life where that sentiment accurately captured the moment and wasn’t an admonishment to circumvent ungratefulness.
Whoa, I didn’t mean to go all Sappy’s Machine on you!
Worst gift I ever received: Blueberry scented Yankee Candle from a coworker in an office gift swap. I knew I was done for when I could smell the gift before I actually opened it. Sitting in a crowded Cheesecake Factory with coworkers cackling about the calorie count of various desserts while receiving such a terrible gift was more than I could stand. I remember wistfully gazing at my gift recipient fondling her $25 certificate to Sanrio and feeling very much the personification of No good deed goes unpunished.
I’m not pop psychologist, but it’s my observation terrible gifts tend to be more memorable because like bad haircuts they require more time and attention. A great gift immediately becomes a part of your life. You wear it, eat it, bath in it or drive it with the top down. Bad gifts are Zombie Playas, possessing an uncanny ability to pop up just when you thought they were gone. Open a closet door and that horrible quilted vest falls off the top shelf or you stub your toe on that set of hot pink tools only slightly less useful than a Fisher-Price set. All the work required to rid yourself of the disappointing gift, coupled with the conga beat of it’s the thought that counts usually results in frothing amounts of bitterness and more clutter. Whenever I happen upon terrible gift of years past I find my lips automatically curve into the same Lee Press-On smile used when I initially received the item, despite being alone.
Shapelings, best/worst gifts you’ve received or given. This is an open-ish thread, but let’s keep centered on holiday gifting. I especially want to hear how people are handling the economic downturn and what effect it’s had on your gifting. Among my friends we’re doing a “Oh, no they didn’t” swap of all the really craptastic gifts we’ve received. I got a diversity activity set COMPLETE with diversity crayons. The same ones my partner and I spied at a crafting store that oddly enough was going out of business.