SURPRISE! You may say I'm a little late, but I think I have pretty great timing! The holidays are stressful, you know, and what's better for stress than laughing at someone and their lame attempts to be funny! Because there is nothing funnier and more awkward than the holiday season in my home, I figure I'll share some tales from the years past- I will be writing about the three worst Christmas presents I've ever received.
#1) A Christmas on the Homestead- My Great Aunt Norma and Great Aunt Karen are two of the most wonderful women I've ever met and I'm positive that most people would agree with that. They're sweet, creative, and they make some very beautiful things, like quilts, Christmas ornaments, and pot holders. Since my sister and I have progressed into adulthood, we usually find a simple card with a $10 bill stuffed into the envelope, but in our younger years, I think our aunts knew that if they made it, we'd be forced to wear it with a smile on our faces. When I was 6 years old, a large package arrived a few days before Christmas and it was specifically addressed to Alyssa and I; we were excited. My dad must have known its contents because he had his patented "Dad Smirk" going on over on the sidelines, anticipating the sheer embarrassment that would haunt us for years to come. We shredded the box with glee, waiting for copious amounts of toys, candy, and fun hiding in the bottom of the cardboard. There we found two white bonnets with floral pattern, paired with matching aprons for each of us. Suited up in our homestead gear and dreading the day when someone else would see the photo, we faked a smile and acted like the miniature housewives we were dressed to be. As I'm complaining about this gift, I remember that I asked my sister for an apron this year...
#2) The Sweater Heard 'Round the World- Grannies give the best presents: they get you the things mom won't, they spend half of their retirement money to make you smile, and they don't quite understand when gifts are not a good idea. Grannies aren't perfect though...they make mistakes just like the rest of us. When I was 8 years old, my sister and I were playing with our Hot Wheels in the living room when my mom brought out two identically wrapped packages and placed them under the tree. Immediately after she had left the room, we were shaking, smelling, and weighing the packages to guess their contents; the package was jingling. "Everything that jingles is fucking awesome", I said to my sister, "Granny gives better presents than mom, so I'm opening this bitch first." A few days later on Christmas, that is exactly what I did...just like the stupid, little bastard I was. Made with dark black, very fuzzy yarn, laid a knitted sweater in the bottom of my box. Picking the lump of fabric up with hesitation and fear, I unfolded the mystery. Two pointy ears, two giant eyes, a little pink nose, and a curved smile sat above a jingly bell: I was holding a kitty-cat sweater. I met my sister's eyes with horror when I realized what had just happened. "Put it on, put it on, put it on", my mother cooed, "I want to take a picture for your Granny!" Alyssa and I came tromping out of our bedroom, jingling like two awkward-looking, scrawny, rejected reindeer with frowns on or faces. "Meowwww", we mumbled as my mother snapped the photo.
#3) Hindsight is always 20/20- I resent that 10 years ago, this gift would have made my "Best Gifts Ever" list. As I unwrapped the small shirt-box, I was expecting a sweater or a pair of jeans from JC Penney like every other box under the tree probably contained. When I pulled the denim overalls out of the box, I was immediately stoked, but as I unfolded them and discovered the Looney Toons embellishments lining the pockets and straps, I peed my pants in excitement. "I am going to be the coolest girl in all of third grade", I said outloud, "I'll wear my hair in pigtails and I'll wear my favorite purple t-shirt underneath". When I see pictures of me wearing these Tweety Bird overalls, I cannot help but cringe. A comforting fact is that I recognize the distaste of Looney Toons (or Disney) embellished clothing and I'd rather view photos of myself at 10 years old wearing it than be seen in a Walmart wearing the same pair at 30 years old.
These are all bad gifts, but they must have had some kind of meaning because I still remember every detail to this day. The truth is that sometimes a thoughtful, ugly gift is much more meaningful than a gift card or some body spray from the dollar store. And in regards to grannies, they must be able to predict the future...how did she know I'd grow up to be a cat lady?
Happy Holidays, everyone. Welcome back! :)