Saturday, December 01, 2007

You Shouldn't Have... No, You REALLY Shouldn't Have

This month, I'm hoping to do more blogging than I've been doing. But I'm also going to re-edit and rerun some Christmas classics from the past. Re-enjoy. And shop Amazon ------------>

Every once in awhile you get a Christmas gift that really makes you wonder. Early in my marriage to Tony, we'd go to his parents' house every year for a huge Christmas Eve extravaganza. He had six brothers and sisters, all married with a billion kids, so for the adults we did the "Kris Kringle" routine (pick names out of a hat and only have to buy a present for that one person.)

This being Tony's family (all fabulously wealthy except for him), they'd set the spending limit at $50, but inevitably they'd "randomly" select each other and buy $500 leather jackets and the like. (Call me paranoid, but I also think they rigged the name-drawing.)

Part of the routine involved making a wishlist for your Kris Kringe to reference, so when I drew the name of a sister-in-law who wanted Calvin Klein Obsession and/or the related toiletries, I bought her a few of those items thinking I'd be safe with that. Instead, after the festive gift-giving orgy, I was cornered in a bedroom and told that she had seen the item on sale and thought I "cheated" and spent less than $50. Ho ho've gotta be fucking kidding me.

Somehow, every single year, a particularly loony sister-in-law would draw my name (see above suspicion about the rigged name selection). A crazy artist from Poland, she would give me the WORST GIFTS you've ever seen. The first year it was ginormous black "jewel" earrings, the kind you'd expect to see on Lucy Ricardo and no one else. The following year she gave me a huge homemade, super-fugly black dog sculpture (which we had to remember to drag out every time they'd come to visit). But by far, the most puzzling gift of all were these:

Now, I realize there's a big market for Doc Martens. And while I'm not particularly a huge Doc Marten fan, I am even LESS of a red patent leather Doc Marten fan. Is it just me, or do these look like they belong on a stick and eaten at the county fair? Who buys these (or any shoes for that matter) for someone they don't know very well? What goes on in the mind of a crazy woman who hands me these as though they were the Holy Grail? Worse yet, I couldn't even fake a good "Oh, you SHOULDN'T have!" She knew I meant it.

By far, though, the very worst present I ever got came from none other than my very own mother. She has a history of rotten gift giving (control top pantyhose when I weighed about 110 pounds, pens and paper that say "Seminole County Savings and Loan", you know...thoughtful things like that.) The best came a year that I was living in Manhattan by myself after my parents had moved to Florida. I was about 23 years old, perfectly happy and planning to enjoy the day having dinner with friends, when a large box arrived at my apartment. Inside was a note that said "Enjoy this Christmas Dinner", along with a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, a can of tuna fish, a can of button mushrooms and a Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix.

I guess she didn't want me to miss out on one of her "gourmet" meals. And thankfully, I still had the control top pantyhose in case I packed on a couple of pounds after this feast!