Thursday, December 19, 2013

If it's the thought that counts, stop thinking!

Strange stuff happens this time of year. Or is it just me?

It has been a trying couple of weeks for many in my circle, myself included. Some of you may remember the awesome gift that Grannie Annie sent me recently.

Now, because I need some laughs and perhaps so do you, I want to write about some not-so-awesome gifts I have received in my lifetime. Things that demonstrate, if it truly is the thought that counts, that some people (at least those related to me) just shouldn't think.
Once again, I'm not making this up.

Let's start with my grandparents. My late grandmother, God bless her, insisted on getting everyone multiple presents each year from the Avon catalog.  Mind you, if this meant makeup, it wouldn't be so bad. You can give makeup away, because someone will want it. And likely it doesn't cost as much as the crap in the Avon catalog that your relative who lives on a fixed income is buying for you, thus adding new guilt to existing guilt. (My family is a combination of Lutheran and Jewish. My ex-boss, a Catholic, said, "Then you're a Catholic in denial.")

Avon's catalog brought my family things such as:

1. The terrorist-chic combination scarf/hat/earmuffs. It looked a bit like this, but when wrapped appropriately, you could only see eyeballs. And it was in cheetah print.

2. The bright pink suede slippers that were two sizes too big. I gave them to my at-the-time boyfriend's 8-year-old daughter, who really enjoyed them. This came with some books on the crucifixion. Oh, how I wish I could use MS Paint right about now.

3. The beer stein with a dog on the moon (my dad was the lucky winner.) Joining my aunt and uncle for Christmas one year, my dad saw that my uncle had received the same one, which made me wonder: did my grandmother buy us all the same stuff, one tacky gift per gender? They joked about exchanging them back and forth each year, but they were so hideous that they decided they didn't even want to look at them once every 365 days.

4. Gifts from my other grandmother, who I think goes shopping in fits of mania. (No, I am not kidding.) One year, I got a gold nugget to wear on a chain (I didn't), socks that came up past my knees (think Mr. Rogers' closet, rather than Avril Lavigne), and a 3X shirt that would have fit this guy.

I'm 5'3" and petite. I drowned. Goodwill did well again that year.

5. Gifts ALL YEAR ROUND from relatives who think I am still 10 years old. When I was 10, I made the mistake of telling everyone how much I liked cats. I still like cats, but once I hit 12 or so, I stopped appreciating pastel cat pillows, dishes with cartoon cats on them, and the like.

I could go on, but there's not enough space. I actually wrote a feature column about bad gifts one year, and described how my dad and I had actually talked about the dilemma of having our relatives spend money on such absolute crap that we all hated, but couldn't tell them.

Promptly, I got hate mail from people accusing me of being ungrateful, offering to adopt my grandparents, and saying it was "clear that the author and dad were related."

That, in fact, made us both laugh so much that it was worth the crucifixion books and dogs on the moon. And who knows? Over the years, we may have been helping people at Goodwill and The Salvation Army thrift store find the perfect gifts! Somewhere out there is a dog on the moon beer stein that is well-loved. I'd like to think so, anyway.


Abby said...

*moves the cat print balaclava/scarf combo beer-drinking hat for Riot Kitty from my gifts for blog friends pile*

Elephant's Child said...

My much loved youngest brother hates shopping. He developed a scheme for his Christmas shopping which caused him no pain, and gave him pleasure.
He went out and got quite drunk. Then he went shopping, buying at least one item from shop assistants who took his fancy - because they looked good, smiled at him or whatever. He came home, drank rather a lot more and wrapped the gifts. And on Christmas morning he put gift tags on them.
Lots of surprises. For him as well.

Birdie said...

My ex-husband's grandparents had very little money. He would not spend a dime to save his children's lives but she was a gentle giving soul who had a generous heart. The gifts we got from her were things we could never use but her old big heart was in the right place. She too loved Avon and all those old cataloge ordered stuff. She would also give gifts from around her home.

God bless her generous old heart. She has been gone 18 years and I still miss her.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

You know, ordering from the Avon catalogue was the old-timey equivalent of today's on-line shopping. Easy-peasy and done in the comfort of your own home. That may explain why all your gifts came from there!

Granny Annie said...

I wonder what my kids and grandkids will say about me one day. I send money and feel I am quite generous but who knows, perhaps they will gripe about that one dollar bill in their stocking every year...:) I even iron it so it will look new.

Hey, I almost got you some cat drink coasters. Whew, that was close.

Ms. CrankyPants said...

So, to be do NOT want the Costumed Cats from Around the World set of pastel plates I got you? That Swiss kitty in her lederhosen and jaunty feathered cap is ADORABLE!

Charles Gramlich said...

Some of that would definitely be worth a few pics. :)

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh, how I would love to have seen some of these things---in the flesh! They sound perfect for the "White Elephant Game"....And you write about them in such a delightfully funny way....LOVE IT!!

LL Cool Joe said...

I just think you are a really ungrateful bitch. Ha. Joking!

I was once given two pink padded satin hangers. Truly.

Anyway isn't that what ebay is for? Selling all the crap you've been given for birthday and Christmas?

Cheryl said...

I totally get the "bad gift" dilemma. Trying to be gracious is hard when you are looking at Hello Kitty sock/slippers (when you are 61 as opposed to 12) I an jinxed when it comes to gifts.

I can't believe how judgey people are in reference to your article. Perhaps to those accusing you of being ungrateful, you could send a brand new sewing kit of the same quality as a hotel gives out at the desk. I got that one year from my MIL. OR I would of offered up my Hello Kitty sock/slippers to you.

G. B. Miller said...

I used to be the giver of bad gifts, then became the recipient of bad gifts (having learned my lesson I now give out gift cards).

Such is the beauty of Christmas, eh?

Lynn said...

Yes - I found out that when you adopt cats, people automatically give you crazy cat presents. I think I've gotten rid of all of them now. :)

The same thing with angels - I collect folk art angels, but a couple of people gave me Hallmark type angels - a little too cute. I've learned to never announce I'm collecting anythings.

This post made me lol - love it. :) And quite understand - I won't even get started on the gifts my crazy ex-mother-in-law gave me. :)

Merry Christmas, my friend.

Introverted Art said...

I cant stop laughing at that miserable face!

Lee said...

Oh! Dear! After all of those, I consider myself pretty damn lucky! I've only once received a present that gave me nightmares!

My ex bought me a dress, ONCE...and I highlight "once" because he never did again. It was maxi...a garish tomato red with even more garish gold paisley print! It was so hideous I cried when I saw it! I couldn't imagine him thinking I could wear something like it! I had nothing in my wardrobe that would even give him the slightest of hints that I would do so! lol

Oh! God! I never wore it; not even around the house!

My ex and I are still good mates and we often have a laugh about that horrible creation.

I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, Riot Kitty. Enjoy it to your utmost. And may 2014 treat us all kindly. :)

Riot Kitty said...

Oh, I am totally wanting to see pics of all of the bad gifts and invented ones for me!

A Beer For The Shower said...

My Grandma's an Avon shopper also. Last year I got a deep cleansing facial scrub with moisturizer for blackheads. Is Grandma being nice, or just telling me I have really crappy skin?

And you can use MS Paint, RK. You just have to believe you can.

(That's all we ever did, and look where it got us)

Mike_D said...

Well, crucifixion books are your cross to bear....

I'm sorry.

Betty Manousos said...

over the years, i've been the recipient of many bad gifts. i mean, come on, a gift should make the recipient happy, at least not angry. gift cards are a fevorite, can't go wrong with a gift card.

can't stop laughing at that miserable cat!
thank you. more definitely something i needed today.
i want more!

big hugs!

Riot Kitty said...

ABFTS: Trade you for the beer stein?
Mike: HAHA!
Betty: "At least not angry." LOL! Seriously.

Lisa (aka Mollie's mom) said...

Wow, I so totally agree with your father. I go through this every year with my son and his wife. They give me a big box stuffed to the gills with crap that I have then got to figure out how to get rid of. One year they gave me a coin sorting bank that added up how much was stored in it...Coinstar. I would really like to ask them to get me a gift card for half of what they spend on that crap, but I'm too nice to do that. So I have a pantry full of peppered salami and sparkling fruit drink and more specialty soap than I could use in a lifetime. How I wish I'd taught them that we should not give out gifts, but each one of us buy ourselves something with the money we aren't spending on others. It seems like a perfectly logical idea to me. I know I sound like Scrooge, but we are wasting a lot of resources on things that no one really wants.

Riot Kitty said...

Lisa: THANK YOU!! Yes, exactly.