what is this i don't even
November 10, 2010 8:06 AM   Subscribe

“What is this thing supposed to be? Damned if I even know. It weighs about 6 pounds and it is a horse with seven different dogs painted on it. I don’t own dogs or cats, I’m allergic to them. And I have never been on a horse in my lifetime." Celebrate the holidays with Why Did You Buy Me That. Or why not check out this (Previously) to get even more inspiration?
posted by mippy (67 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I want about half of the things on that page. Five foot tall Betty Boop umbrella holder? How much is shipping?
posted by keratacon at 8:12 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure my grandmother owns all of those things.
posted by ghharr at 8:13 AM on November 10, 2010


I like the site concept, but some of these people are whiners. I've gotten MUCH worse gifts than some of those.

I mean, my grandma gave me things like an Earth Wind and Fire Greatest Hits album (in 1985, and I'd never mentioned the band in any context as a favorite), and my favorite, a long, long-sleeved fleece nightgown with a giant flocked mallard duck on the chest. When I was 12. And lived in Texas. Along with various hideous ceremic whatnots.

A pink leather jacket? At least you can take that to the resale shop. A handmade quilt done entirely in 70s polyester fabrics in shades of vomit brown, puke green, sickly yellow, and electric orange--given to you in 1987? That's a much bigger problem.
posted by emjaybee at 8:16 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


'Tis the season for Present Face.
posted by bondcliff at 8:18 AM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


regretsy anyone?
posted by fuzzypantalones at 8:19 AM on November 10, 2010


Ah. The poor misbegotten purple Snuggie. Rimbaud should write a vicious poem about it, if Rimbaud were able to travel through time.
posted by blucevalo at 8:19 AM on November 10, 2010


My dad gave me a stapler for christmas one year. I'm pretty sure it was one he had around anyway.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:23 AM on November 10, 2010


Oh, I have one of these. Someone brought us this garrishly-painted bizarre teapot-fruit-wall-hanging-clay... thing... from el Salvador a while back. It's so ghastly we just sort of stared in amazement for a while, then we hung the damn thing on the wall. I love it when people come over and do a double-take as they try to parse what the hell is entering their eyeballs via reflected light. That, and the giant plastic Nipper on top of the fridge make our kitchen a sort of surreal portal to the rest of the house.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:23 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


My dad gave me a stapler for christmas one year. I'm pretty sure it was one he had around anyway.

Unless it was a red Swingline, in which case you have The Most Awesome Dad Ever.
posted by bondcliff at 8:24 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is beyond "bad gift" and well into the realm of "sheer twisted genius". I want to get one for every person on my Christmas list just to watch their reactions!
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:26 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, man, I wish I had taken pictures of some of the things I've gotten.

For presentation, it'd have to be the size 24W sweater (I was a size 14; my MIL and SIL were much larger) that my in-laws gave me, stating that if I didn't like it, it had cost them $3 at a flea market and I was free to use it as a shammy for my car.

I think the winner, though, would have to be from my dad. He's a public health educator, and the year I got married (or perhaps the next) he gave me a key chain with a little mirror on it, saying "I Am The Face of Abstinence." Completely unironically.
posted by Madamina at 8:28 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't know about anyone else, but I think that Elvis duckie is all kinds of awesome.
posted by slogger at 8:28 AM on November 10, 2010


Obligatory Harry Potter Obama the Hedgehog #10 backpack.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:29 AM on November 10, 2010 [11 favorites]


I kind of wish I had saved the stained glass rainforest themed cheesy window hanging thing that someone obviously re-gifted to me for my wedding. It was the sort of thing a 7th grade girl would buy at the county fair. It was... horrible, yet wonderful.
posted by bondcliff at 8:29 AM on November 10, 2010


My family has a Christmas tradition revolving around aping the present-giving style of a (sadly deceased) great aunt, who would give a small selection of gifts to the family as a whole each year, each of which would be quite at home on this website. My personal favourite: a pair of foot-long scissors. Who doesn't need a really long pair of scissors every now and again?
posted by thoughtless at 8:30 AM on November 10, 2010


I once gave a gift of Kopi Luwak coffee (Cat Poo coffee). I thought it was a great idea - it was expensive and apparently it tastes great. It even came with a sample of the "unprocessed" beans (in other words, cat poo) encased in a transparent block, that you could use as a converation piece or something.

Anyways, the recipient first looked confused, then grossed out, and finally disappointed.

From then on, I decided to give gift cards.
posted by bitteroldman at 8:31 AM on November 10, 2010


I love questionable mug. Mainly just cause of the title 'questionable mug'.
posted by permafrost at 8:31 AM on November 10, 2010


I've been given things that were obviously thoughtful but not quite right - it was only sad if it was from someone who ought to know me better, because I'd think 'I'd rather you just got me a bar of nice chocolate than a pound-shop makeup kit'.

My favourite bad presents:

- black 10 denier hold-up stockings with purple lace trim, from my auntie. When I was aged twelve. Last year she gave my mother a cross-stitch kit that had already been started.
- a book from my then-boyfriend. I unwrapped it to see a 'Help The Aged 29p' sticker on the back - I don't mind charity shop presents as I like unusual things, but something was off. Turned over the cover to see an illustration of three uncomfortable monkeys and the title 'Coping with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.' I waited for my real present, and it didn't come. 'Was this to make me laugh?' He had previously bought me a cassingle of Roland Rat as a novelty Valentine gift, so it was likely. 'Well, you were talking about it the other day, so I thought you might be interested!' he said, with a straight face.
posted by mippy at 8:35 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like the site concept, but some of these people are whiners. I've gotten MUCH worse gifts than some of those.

Agreed. A Snuggie is nothing to flip out about, and they definitely have "Makes a great gift" plastered all over them, even if they don't require much thought or care as a gift. And what about the ugly mug that was specifically purchased in a "buy the ugliest mug you can find" ritual? Or the joke "coal" gift from Archie McPhee or wherever, that was seriously the "worst gift you ever got"? Lucky you. Or the ice-skating polar bears blanket that the submitter is grumbling will "keep all members of the opposite sex away!" So keep it in your linen closet, doofus, and just break it out when you're SLEEPING ALONE. IN THE COLD.

My sister-in-law once gave me a bizarre candle-holder for Christmas; she'd obviously bought it at some craft fair. It consisted of a small, rough log of wood, with a hole carved in the center for putting a candle in it, and some fake pine branches and fake holly with fake berries surrounding the hole. What's up with people who give Christmas decorations as Christmas presents, anyway?

Anyway, paging Tod Browning, Mr. Browning to the white courtesy phone.
posted by Gator at 8:39 AM on November 10, 2010


For Christmas this year I got you a sense of entitlement.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:47 AM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


For Christmas this year I got you a sense of entitlement.

By the time I'd opened the box though, it had decayed into a sense of unease.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:53 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


The worst gift ever for me--which seemed to almost cross the border from passive aggressive to aggressive aggressive--was the clock which projected the time in red, two foot high numbers...on your ceiling at night. So a known insomniac/frequent waker like myself could glance up at any time and see that it was 3 f'ing o'clock in the morning in BOLD 2 FOOT HIGH NUMBERS.

Then there are the clothes you get sized for the giver instead of the recipient, leading to much awkwardness when you have to ask for a gift receipt to exchange it for the same style 4 sizes smaller, and you get a snappy, barbed comeback about WELL WHY DON'T YOU JUST SHOP IN THE GIRLS DEPARTMENT THEN HA HA. (Maybe that's just a female relative thing.)
posted by availablelight at 8:57 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Elvis duck is bangin', I don't know why that person is complaining. The rest of that shit is shite though.
posted by Mister_A at 8:59 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


For your terrible holiday gifts, hold a metafilter gift swap! I got an awesome frog teapot!
posted by fontophilic at 9:00 AM on November 10, 2010


One birthday I was given a neon pink, contractor-grade extension cord. By my wife. Stressful time for Mrs. Ev
posted by everichon at 9:03 AM on November 10, 2010


One birthday I was given a neon pink, contractor-grade extension cord. By my wife.

Are you not aware that your wife is AWESOME??
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:13 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


The further into this site's pages I go, the sadder they make me. The more recent stuff is clearly outlandish, but some of the earlier things might have been sincerely thought out by the giver. I can't say what tips it over into uneasiness for me, but I had to stop looking at the page. It was reminding me of well-meant but terrible gifts I've gotten in the past.
posted by maryr at 9:15 AM on November 10, 2010


So the value and appropriateness of the gift is more important than the fact that somebody cared enough about you to think about a unique gift?

I must have been doing things wrong, then.
posted by DreamerFi at 9:18 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


My mother once gave me a large L.L. Bean suitcase for Christmas. Very nice, just the thing for a nice long trip somewhere. Trouble is, we had no money or time for travel and were barely hanging on to our home (forget health insurance etc.). Trying to afford anything at all was a daily nightmare. My mother knew this, and although she had plenty of money, and had us constantly running errands and doing housework for her, she offered not a penny of help. That suitcase was a bad present in so many ways... it rubbed our faces in our poverty. So depressing. For half the cost she could have bought us a load of groceries, or something we actually needed, like socks. Worst present ever.

Whenever I'm in the attic and see that damned suitcase, I flinch. I think I store seasonal clothes in it. It's not photogenic so wouldn't work on that site. Not every bad present looks that way.
posted by kinnakeet at 9:22 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I definitely seen the questionable mug in real life. If only I can remember where and when... only thing I remember if being bloody awful to drink out of.

Ah yeah, some hideousness aside, there's loads of people there that are far too whiney. Better anything than no present at all (yes miserable old mean bastard of a relative I'm looking at you)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:22 AM on November 10, 2010


A gifting tip to everyone: If in doubt, BAKE SOME COOKIES.

Holy shit do I like getting home-made Xmas cookies.
posted by everichon at 9:29 AM on November 10, 2010


You know who would give me this as a present?

SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS ME.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:30 AM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


Scary bunny is going to haunt my dreams.
posted by ukdanae at 9:33 AM on November 10, 2010


The Elvis duck is a CelebriDuck. I never got the Elvis, but I have Carmen Miranda, a Mona Lisa, a Groucho, and a first-edition James Brown.

Um, among others.
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:37 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


So the value and appropriateness of the gift is more important than the fact that somebody cared enough about you to think about a unique gift?

While I see your point, I don't think those two things are mutually exclusive. You can care enough about somebody to give them a unique AND appropriate gift.
posted by kingbenny at 9:37 AM on November 10, 2010


So the value and appropriateness of the gift is more important than the fact that somebody cared enough about you to think about a unique gift?

I must have been doing things wrong, then.


It's s difficult balance, to tell you the truth. I used to insist on giving gifts for that reason - the gift represents me and my understanding of you and my relationship with you. Going back to my cat poo coffee gift - I wanted to get something exotic for this person, who to me, had everything he ever needed. I wanted to get him something that would wow him, that was high class, etc.

But if you are going to drop any kind of money on something, you don't want it to go to waste - I spent about $150 on that coffee - and it's money in the garbage now - with the coffee sitting in this guys pantry - he can't even find it to give to me so that I can try it!

At least with the gift certificates or money you know they have a better chance of getting spent (provided that the GC is a visa card or at a store where the person goes). Or for someone who doesn't care about gifts, you can donate to his/her favourite charity.

Besides you get some gifts and you know that the person didn't put much time into it. Like the disposable razor I got one time from a very close family member. Or the time that all three of the males in my extended family got the same brand and colour wallet because the person admitted (and was proud of the fact) that she killed three birds with one stone.
posted by bitteroldman at 9:38 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


A gifting tip to everyone: If in doubt, BAKE SOME COOKIES.

My family receives cookies each year from a longtime family friend.

They always have hairs in them.
posted by orme at 9:38 AM on November 10, 2010


So the value and appropriateness of the gift is more important than the fact that somebody cared enough about you to think about a unique gift?

Not always, DreamerFi.

I asked for a portable radio for my 14th birthday, and my (lovely) stepfather got me a cockatoo - because that's what he "definitely" heard me say.

I felt genuinely awful asking him to take the (totally not wanted) cockatoo back. I realized he had gone to some special trouble to find the bird, in a London pet shop. (Even though it was annoying that he continued to insist he was absolutely sure I'd said "a cockatoo".)

(I so, so wish we had found it funny at the time. But we didn't. Total sense of humor failure on both sides, ridiculously!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 9:38 AM on November 10, 2010


I am amused at a lot of these. An awful lot of them are photographed with stuff in the background. A lot of the stuff in the background looks (to my eyes anyway) pretty much the same as the OMG HORRIBLE GIFT in the foreground.

The deformed reindeer candleholder? The whole photo is full of chintzy, old-lady-style holiday knickknack crap. The reindeer fits in with the rest, long nose or not.

The dog horse? The photo makes it pretty clear that the horse in question is in a display case with a lot of other horse figurines.

It makes me think one of two things is going on: Either people are just submitting shots of tacky shit they saw in display cases in stores, or they are the recipients of a gift that was carefully thought out by the giver, but one that narrowly missed their personal definition of awesome.

The first option would make the submission a lie. The second option makes the complainer look like a whiny bastard with no regard for the effort the gift giver may have put into finding the gift.

Regardless, this site is fodder for hurt feelings, for sure. The gifts posted here are generally unique enough that a gift giver would have no trouble recognizing his or her personal contribution if it showed up. And after reading the shitty comments left by the recipient, I am sure that the gift giver is going to be removing a name from his or her holiday shopping list.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:43 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most of these presents are awesome! Haters gotta hate, I guess.
posted by brundlefly at 9:45 AM on November 10, 2010


Bunch of ungrateful bastards on that site.

Also, "regift{ing}" is not a word, no matter how hard people try to make it one.
posted by madajb at 9:54 AM on November 10, 2010


Also, "regift{ing}" is not a word, no matter how hard people try to make it one.

Define 'word.'
posted by shakespeherian at 10:10 AM on November 10, 2010


This site was so much fun to browse, thanks for posting!

Quite a number of these gifts would be the perfect gift for the right sort of person. If I gave that pink leather coat, which has very nice lines and appears to be a nice quality, to my pink-loving niece, she'd be beside herself with joy. And a lot of people like kitschy or ironic stuff. It's just a matter of knowing someone's taste. I had a sister-in-law (she and my brother have since split up) who used to give me stuff that just wasn't right for me, and sometimes was undeniably ugly. One year she gave me a ceramic clock with teddy bears on it. It wasn't terrible, but it just wasn't my taste and didn't work in my home. But I thought it was exactly the sort of thing one particular friend of mine would like for her nursery when she had a baby as I knew she intended to do soonish. Sure enough, just a few years later she had a baby and decorated the nursery in a teddy bear theme. I sent her the clock, plus a toy and an outfit that I'd made.

But I’m having flashbacks to the truly tacky things I’ve gotten on occasion.

My sister once gave me a kind of summer pajama set — shorts and t-shirt, in hot pink, with glue-like appliqué things on them in white and royal blue. Not my style at all. I said thanks, and secretly took them to the thrift shop shortly thereafter. A few months later my sister asked me very pointedly whether I’d worn them. I tried to wiggle out of answering, but she kept after me until I had to admit I hadn’t. Then she beamed and said, “I knew it! I thought when I bought them for you that you would never wear them, because they were so ugly.”

Wha…..?

A college classmate of mine had a habit of only wearing four colours: black, wine, white and navy blue. Her parents went away on a trip one time and brought her back a present. Knowing that she liked dark colours, they bought her… a ceramic clown that sat on a swing, and that was dressed in camouflage. Claire said she knew her parents had honestly tried to please her and the clown probably cost a lot, so she said thank you and hung it up in her room. But it had this manic grin that creeped her out, and always seemed to be watching her. This all came up in conversation because she said our Canadian studies teacher had a similar smile.
posted by orange swan at 10:11 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, "regift{ing}" is not a word, no matter how hard people try to make it one.

*sirens*

PRESCRIPTIVIST IN THE SHARK TANK!!

*sirens*
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:14 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wish I could laugh at these, but after growing up with a mom who has an uncanny talent for giving the worst gifts, putting on a self-deprecating "It's okay if you don't like this" act, and then acting like a kicked puppy if you're less than effusive, I'm pretty much breaking out in hives. I mean, really, what was I going to do with a plastic purse shaped like a tulip on my 20th birthday, mom?! Can I have a paper bag to breathe into?
posted by oinopaponton at 10:26 AM on November 10, 2010


My favorite aunt once bought me an old fashioned loom for Xmas. I was 7. Spreading the Xmas cheer by encouraging child labor.
posted by stormpooper at 10:26 AM on November 10, 2010


Define 'word.'

Let me look it up with my transpondster.
posted by Gator at 10:29 AM on November 10, 2010


Better anything than no present at all (yes miserable old mean bastard of a relative I'm looking at you

I totally disagree here. As someone who doesn't have a lot of space, I really get stressed out at Christmas time because there are members of my family that insist on buying things for the sake of buying things. I try to tell them that I honestly don't want anything, a phone call is fine and if you're still not convinced go with a donation to charity or a gift certificate or a bottle of booze. But there's no use, gift people are seriously committed to this shit. We often get Christmas-themed things, that in order to get any use out of I need to store somewhere and wait until next year, or knick knacks that I immediately have to put in storage or throw out for lack of anywhere to put them. Even worse is the current trend of buying us wall-hangings. My wife and I both paint, so the current thinking seems to be "they like art, let's buy them something for their wall," when the truth of the matter is that because we paint our walls are pretty much covered already. Not everybody needs or wants more stuff, and we're not upset if we don't get it. Some of us are totally OK skipping the having-cash-spent-on-us part, and would much prefer just having a visit or phone call or a meal or a drink with you.
posted by Hoopo at 10:50 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


People give these as gifts? we buy them and then sneak them into other people's houses. We call it "decorating for others."
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:52 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not a horse covered in dogs - that wouldn't make any sense! It's a doberman covered in dogs.
posted by moxiedoll at 11:04 AM on November 10, 2010


People give these as gifts? we buy them and then sneak them into other people's houses.

My old band had a pez dispenser that made the rounds for almost 5 years. The keyboardist found it under his gas-cap cover once.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:15 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


The site is missing out on some real money -- each and every one of the things submitted should be linked to a ebay auction for the item in question.
posted by fings at 11:18 AM on November 10, 2010


I kinda like this clock.

The wedding monkey painting has got to go, though.
posted by misha at 11:19 AM on November 10, 2010


I love this!
posted by Splunge at 11:23 AM on November 10, 2010


Nothing beats the year I got a shoehorn for Christmas. I was ten.

A SHOEHORN.
posted by sonika at 11:25 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can understand that, Hoopo. But some people genuinely love giving gifts and some equate giving or receiving gifts with love.

Last year I went home fully determined to talk my family into committing to a gift draw this year. I had my scheme all matured. I figured it was too hard to coordinate a Secret Santa, and we could all just show up with one nice generic gift each that cost, say, $30 max, and then do a Snitch and Grab (aka Yankee Swap). This would apply to everyone 18 years or older, and no one need take part if they didn't want to. And then.... I just didn't even broach the topic.

I watched everyone get very specifically chosen gifts from everyone else, and saw how much that meant. My oldest brother got a box set of John Wayne movies, a bio of Ronald Reagan, and a Hee-Haw DVD, for crying out loud, and he was all BEST. CHRISTMAS. EVER. It just wouldn't be the same to do a snitch and grab.
posted by orange swan at 11:26 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


My boyfriend and I get a lot of gifts lately in our hospitality-based expat location. Some of them are so clearly heartfelt and so clearly inappropriate that we've invented a new word: regrateful. I'm really glad you are thinking of me and want to make me happy, but man do I regret someone leading you into thinking I'd like this.

The latest regrateful gift was a sparkly white bra. In the wrong size. From my language teacher. I'm not sure what she was going for, but it sure was nice of her to think of me.
posted by lauranesson at 12:14 PM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


we've invented a new word: regrateful. I'm really glad you are thinking of me and want to make me happy, but man do I regret someone leading you into thinking I'd like this.

That is the perfect word to describe every gift my husband's aunt has given me. They're all very heartfelt and very... WHY G-D, WHY?! Some of them can't even be adequately described in words. Like the silver & purple plastic hanging object that was shaped like a cat and maybe could go on a keychain? Except for it being the size of a baby's head? But, hey, someone obviously told her I have a cat. And so. It made her think of me. And really, it shouldn't have.

(Yes, the perfect occasion for the phrase "You really shouldn't have.")
posted by sonika at 12:30 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some of them are so clearly heartfelt and so clearly inappropriate that we've invented a new word: regrateful. I'm really glad you are thinking of me and want to make me happy, but man do I regret someone leading you into thinking I'd like this.

Where were you when I asked this question?
posted by bondcliff at 12:39 PM on November 10, 2010


Aw, crap, bondcliff! I clearly dropped the ball. If I hand it to you three years late with raised-up "sorry..." eyebrows, can we still be friends?
posted by lauranesson at 12:44 PM on November 10, 2010


Well, ok.

Here, I got you a little something. I hope you like Precious Moments™.
posted by bondcliff at 1:12 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


What I fear is when you just happen to have, say, a potholder shaped like a pig because you needed a potholder and the only one at Goodwill was shaped like a pig. And then someone visits you and sees it and decides that you must collect pigs, and gets you some pig-themed thing for the next gift-giving occasion. And then someone sees that you have two pigs, and before you know it? House full of pigs.

This is why I, much like Muslims, refuse to have anything in the house that has creatures pictured on it lest someone think I collect whatever thing is represented. This is why all of my potholders are plain black squares. That's right; I collect plain black squares.
posted by staggering termagant at 1:14 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


For you!
posted by Splunge at 1:20 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I do get the "it's an act of love, you soulless snob!" response to this. My grandma, god rest her soul, obviously worked hard on the set of 8 glazed ceramic coffee mugs with naked baby angels that she glazed herself and gave us as a wedding present. Glazed so badly (because her eyesight was failing) that the glaze was lumpy and got fired into sharp deadly points that would cut your lip. And also you weren't entirely sure any of them were safe to wash. Which was ok because you couldn't really drink out of them anyway.

I loved my grandma, so the cups sat on my shelf till she died. But later, when we had to get rid of stuff to move to a smaller space, I had two choices; try to give a deadly, unsafe, and disturbing mug-set to someone, or let each and every mug have an "accident" and fall into the trash can.

That was the day I vowed that my grandkids, if I ever have any, will get cash once they get past the toy age. I will not know what they like, and my sense of what's cool will be decades out of style and that will be ok. Cash is always good and they'll never have to feel guilty while throwing away my unusable gifts.
posted by emjaybee at 1:23 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Better anything than no present at all

No. Nonononononono. Especially when it's someone I don't WANT to exchange gifts with, wasn't expecting a gift from, don't *want* to be involved with, but family pressure will make for strife if I don't rush out and find something to give back in exchange for the horrible thing that's going straight to Goodwill.

I got a set of big letters one year from one such person, a holiday decoration that you set on the mantle with a hook hanging off for hanging stockings. Okay. There's no way to wrangle it so that the number of people in our family matched the number of letters. Not if you do or don't include pets. Not to mention that we don't *have* a mantle. Nor do we decorate for Christmas. Nor are we interested in a set of decorations we only pull out once a year. Further--although, this, she couldn't have known--the letters spell out my (estranged) mother's name.

I would so, so much have preferred that she just left me alone.
posted by galadriel at 2:35 PM on November 10, 2010


This is why I, much like Muslims, refuse to have anything in the house that has creatures pictured on it lest someone think I collect whatever thing is represented. This is why all of my potholders are plain black squares.

I collect swans, but I'm very picky about what I buy, which has kept my collection small and hopefully interesting. Just a few pieces in some of the rooms of my house is enough. I don't want to be like Christine Taylor's character in Dodgeball. A friend of mine warned me not to tell people because I'd get deluged with swan stuff, and most swan stuff is tacky. Sage advice.
posted by orange swan at 7:11 PM on November 10, 2010


The year that I got that horrible $3 sweater, I managed to tough it out for a couple of days before breaking down completely. My in-laws were just clueless, period. They were very specific about how much money they'd spend on each person, but they literally thought that the quantity was more important. I ranted over and over to whoever would listen that I would have been MUCH happier with nothing, because it was clear that they actively didn't care about what was important to me, and that really hurt.

This year, my dad is into these weird giant birdhouse mailbox things that he devised that are supposed to act as neighborhood libraries, like those leave-a-book, take-a-book shelves. The point of them (if there is one) is that they can be built in kits, and you can raise funds by buying the kits, and you can also use money to name them after somebody like you're naming a star or a brick on some fundraiser walkway. And we were already in a bit of a snit with each other, but as he described this fricking ridiculous idea to me one afternoon, he said, "Wouldn't this be great? You could give this to people for graduation!"

Now, I have three male cousins who had just graduated from high school, and I thought, "Seriously? You'd say, 'Happy graduation! Here -- I named a birdhouse shelf thing after you! Woooo' and that's it?" And it dawned on me: the thing about my dad, and about my mom's equally crazy craft project gifts (anybody need a half-finished button quilt that's the wrong size for sleeping or hanging, or a rickety two-foot bench with pictures of shoes painted on it?), is that they are so totally focused on using the gifts to show how unique and special THEY are, not the recipient.

And that's just sad. Selfish, rude and sad.
posted by Madamina at 8:33 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


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