Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Few of My Favorite Things...

A favorite gift from the past, this bubbling
Christmas bulb nightlight, from Jennie Tonic.

I recently went to a birthday dinner for a coffee-shop acquaintance, with a lot of people I did not know, and one or two that I did. The Birthday Girl is a sweet but dynamic 28-year-old reflexologist, and she was good at keeping conversation going with her friends that didn't know one another. At one point she asked us to go around the table and tell the most bizarre gift we'd ever received.

First up was our friend Ilaiy, who received a bag of diapers at a white elephant Christmas exchange last year. Every young bachelor's dream gift!

I was next, and had no problem coming up with my answer: My friend Jennie Tonic sent me a Gargoyle made out of cow manure. I loved that Poo-Goyle, and dreaded putting it in the flowerbed, where it was meant to go, to eventually turn into...well, just poo. Looking back, I should have just kept it on the mantle, the only respectable place of honor for any manure sculpture.

The problem with spouting off the words "Manure" and "Poo" at a dinner table full of people you don't know is that...well...you just don't know them. Birthday girl and her boyfriend seemed amused, but crickets were chirping around the rest of the table.

I was amazed at what happened next: Nothing. Not another soul at the table (of 16) could think of any weird gift they'd ever had. "I'll pass." "Well, nothing weird, but my best gift ever was..."

Well, aren't people different one from another then!

C'MON, you have to have received something besides pajamas and socks and DVDs at least ONCE in your life!

I'm placing an APB, right NOW! Please send me your comments of any crazy gifts you've received in your life, good or bad. All of you! Anyone reading this, and I know you're out there, because you TELL me you read, but you never comment...


  1. Mine was a picture of my half-sister and her family. I knew what they looked like, and wondered why she'd done it. They were all sitting together looking everso presentable and successful, like the successful barbie family, 'smug marrieds', as Vixen would say. Next Christmas I sent her a picture of me. She got the message. ;-)

  2. You don't know me, but you did ask for comments. I got a CD of Burt Bacharach trumpet instrumentals from a good friend of mine for my 17th birthday. Love Burt as I do, the trumpet voluntary of "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" that they had chosen as Track One was enough to put me off and hide it back in the bargain bin, no doubt from whence it came.

  3. Anonymous9:03 AM

    My aunt Beulah (may she rest in peace) lived in Florida where she kept busy doing craft projects. Whenever she came back to C-U for a visit she would bring her hand-made prizes for my sister, my mom and me. The most notorious were the necklace pendants she made by melting plastic medicine bottles in the oven and letting them flow into grotesque shapes, and then she put chains on them for us to wear around our necks.

  4. One year my brother (in college and flat broke) wrote a thirty-five page opus entitled WHY CHUCK SHOULD BE KING. Turns out it read like the novel from the Shining. I still have it lying around here somewhere, and my brother is doing much better now.

  5. A professor at my university gave me a 45-record of The Police's "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" with a love note. It sure was weird at the time!

    Possibly off topic, but my ex-brother-in-law gave me a toast at my wedding calling me animated. That was the best he could do. I considered that quite a gift.

    I know, lame. I'll keep thinking!

  6. Anonymous3:47 PM

    Wow! I don't know what's worse, being unable to pick the worst of the worst from a vast array of weird, tasteless and sometimes scary Christmas gifts or the fact that I have GOTTEN so many weird, tasteless and sometimes scary Christmas gifts. That said, one of my favorites would be a Christmas sweater from my inlaws. This atrocity was cherry red with jingle bells all over it. Not just a couple but approximately 150 little jingle bells hand sewn front, back, sleeves, cuffs, everywhere jingle bells. It weighed about 10lbs and certainly deprived a junior high band of a percussion instrument. It's been over 10 years since opening that package and it still makes me shake my head in wonder. On a side note, this "gift" came from the same woman who wore a black veil at my wedding. Go figure.

  7. Anonymous5:03 PM

    I had forgotten all about both those gifts! Honestly, I wouldn't have given those things to anyone else at that table.

    It's so hard to remember weird gifts offhand, but my husband always liked to shop from the Archie McPhee catalog, and the "Pez in Fez" was a classic: a fez, filled with Pez dispensers.

  8. FJL: I hope you got out your big Sharpie and autographed that photo!

    Sven, well, I know you now. Ah, Burt Bacharach, the fruitcake of all CDS, second only to Englebert Humperdink.

    Anonymous: I don't even know what to say, after I catch my breath from laughing. Send us a pic of that necklace! I usually like the smell of christmas baking...

    Chuckie: No excerpt? C'monnnnn

    Wendy: Every little thing you do IS magic! Ok, that could be a bit of an uncomfortable gift. I'm sure you toned down your "come hither" eyes after that gift!

    I think Animated is a compliment, the judges will accept that answer!

    Anon2: I hate to break it to you, but that wasn't a sweater. It was a christmas tree skirt. With sleeves. Just put the tree trunk through the neck hole...

    I have an ankle bracelet with one tiny bell on it, and it drives me bonkers after a day of walking around in it.

    Start a blog, girl, and tell us about that black-veiled she-devil at your wedding! [It was a she, yes?]

  9. What was up with the repressed people at that party??

    Anyway, my weirdest gift came from my mother when I was a kid. I was about 9-10 yrs. old and for Christmas I got a toy "teaching" clock. The kind where you can set the dial, and it had the big feet and hands, and it tells you the time. I couldn't figure out why she gave that to me. Did she not think I could tell time? I just don't know. To this day I don't know. My feelings were hurt, but I couldn't even explain why . . .

  10. Boy did this blog entry bring back a bad memory...of my ex-mother-in-law.

    She's a Southern belle, all grown up. She was (and surely still is) completely obsessed with Christmas. And she loves pink at Christmas. She's also cheap.

    She used to have ornaments on her Christmas tree which were called "Cloud Babies". They were little pastel babies supposedly sleeping on little puffy clouds. 'WAY too cutsie for me, but they suited her to a T.

    The last Christmas that my ex and I were married, she MADE me her own version of a Cloud Baby. But it wasn't small and cute. She used a gigantic wad of cotton and glued a small jointed baby doll on top.

    It was the most hilarious yet hideous gift I've ever received. And the first Christmas after I was single again, I destroyed the homemade ornament in a ceremony witnessed by my best friends.

    And that's MY story!


  11. Tracy: Yah, some people have a hard time figuring out age-appropriate gifts; if I remember right, my ex's nephew got a kids' Alf sleeping bag from his grandmother, when he was in college; it came up to his waist.

    Janet: Hilarious! And you smiled through it and gushed how precious a gift it was, didn't you? Don't you love that?

  12. Anonymous11:33 AM

    My weirdest gift ever, and mind you this was brought to a party and all, was a full thing of pads. My best friend had already gotten me something, but she felt she had to bring something to the party. And Luckily that was it! She said it would make up for all the times she borrowed a pad. Gotta love her.


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