Thursday, December 17, 2009

In View of the Holiday: The Just Plain Awful

Christmas is nine days away and I'm getting a little desperate. I still have most of my Christmas shopping to do. Now before you completely panic for me, I have to say that our main Christmas gift this year is one big gift for everyone. Then the presents under the tree will be things they need, like jeans and underwear. But still, someone has to buy it. And I'm not sure when I'm going to get the chance.

But my last minute scramble for presents brings to mind one of the true horrors of the Christmas season. Those dreaded gifts that you get (or give) when the giver is absolutely desperate. The deadline is fast approaching and you have to give something. There's nothing worse than the obligatory gift you must give to someone whose on your Christmas list, not because you like them, but because you must give something. then there's the people you really love, perhaps are related to by marriage, but you have no idea what to give them.

How often have you given the desperation gift? There was no satisfaction when you purchased that gift, thinking of the happy look on the face of the recipient. Instead, there was a relief that at least you would not be empty handed when the gift giving began. With the last week before Christmas looming, I just want to remind of several things that you need to steer clear of when giving those obligatory gifts.

1. The self-improvement gift. Just because Aunt Reamie needs to lose weight doesn't mean that she will appreciate the exercise ball or the gym membership. Nothing says Merry Christmas like a gift that points out the flaws in your life.

2. The gift masquerading as a treasure. This would be the remote control caddie that has a spot for a family picture. Or the caddie made of material that drapes over the arm of a favorite chair. They may be convenient. They may be used. But neither caddie is going to be a trigger that makes the recipient think of you every time he changes the channel.

3. The food gift. Hey, I liked baked goods as much as the next person. But for the most part a Christmas gift of food says, "I had no idea what else to give you" or "thinking of you makes me hungry". Not the most positive message to send.

4. The multiple gift. This one is where you find a real bargain and pick up dozens to give to all the unimportant people in your life. Like the B grade movie on DVD that you wrap for your mail person (a seventy-year-old balding male in shorts and knee socks), your hair dresser (a seventy-year old blue haired lady that leaves you reeking of her perfume), and your babysitter a seventeen year old that reeks of your perfume). They have nothing in common so why would you give them a common gift?

5. The underwear gift. Just don't. I don't care who it's for. Unless you gave birth to them and they still live in your house, undergarments are never appropriate presents.

6. The if-it's-good-enough-for-me gift. There's not a whole lot of truth to the idea of giving a gift you want for yourself. I'd love a gift certificate that gives me a free pedicure at a spa, but that doesn't mean it's the right present for my boss. Especially since he doesn't often wear sandals.

7. The making life easier gift. Just because grandpa finally stepped into the twentieth century and bought a DVD player, doesn't mean he's ready for the universal all-in-one remote that will turn on his television, play his DVD's, help him choose his music and turn off his ceiling fan. All those buttons are confusing. Besides, at his age getting out of his chair and walking to the DVD player to hit the button gives him some much needed exercise.

8. The age inappropriate gift. Grandpa doesn't need an ipod either. 'Nuff said.

9. The sequined gift. Sequins are just not a good idea. Some people are okay with it, but it's a judgment call. And nine times out of ten it's the wrong call.

10. The live gift. Let's face it. Lady and the Tramp was cute, but how many people in real life will be thrilled to see something breathing when they pull off the wrapping paper?

So what about you? What kind of panic does this last shopping week raise in you? Have you ever received (or given) a gift that didn't quite fit?


  1. It's so good to know I'm not the only lost soul still ambling down the toy store aisles!

    I really enjoy giving gifts, and thankfully even though most of my shopping is at the end I always find the gift I want to give.

    Giving because I want to gives the gift its sparkle!

  2. Oh I have plenty left to do so you have some company.

    Have a great day!

  3. I can't believe there's only nine days left! Ya, we've got a little panic/stress this year. I think it's most financially challenging Christmas we've had and we've had some broke ones. I am slowly realizing that I just need to change my expectation of what 'celebrating' means this year and enjoy each moment I have.

    Your what not to give list was GREAT! By the way, I saw sequined pants being promoted as a good 'holiday' outfit. What?

    I hope you get all of your shopping done!

  4. LOL! Great post! And so true. I do sometimes fall into that spot, where what I've giving just doesn't feel right.

    I was panicked this time last week, but it all came together and I got the rest (about half) of my shopping done in one evening this week. I feel so much better!

    Hope you find a good, easy time of it, too.

  5. You always make me laugh! And I'm still giving Hubby those two packages of underwear for Christmas! ;)

  6. oh man.. let me count the ways! haha

    I think that´s part of the ministry. Last year we walked and walked the isles trying to find something for the men in our church mission. It was to of none avail.


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