OK, this is my final holiday post.
As always, there is the gift hall of shame. Before you get ready to send me a comment about it being the thought that counts, I want to say: I agree. It is the thought that counts. But the hall of shame is reserved for those gifts where it is clear there was no thought involved. Gifts that make you wonder, “Do you even know who the hell I am?” Gifts that make you feel embarrassed for the giver. Gifts that make it clear that, sometimes, no gift really is better.
This year’s gift-giving winner, and current reigning champion, is my Great Aunt Dorothy.
Aunt Dot has a knack for seeking out and collecting junk. If it’s on clearance and marked down 99.9%, well then, it must be PERFECT for a gift. Past award winners have included: slippers that were 5 sizes too small, Reese’s cups that were so old they were white, a set of mismatched silverware for only 3 place settings, a bag of generic toilet paper (yes, seriously), and a Santa Claus for my Jewish husband. She also set a new record for bad birthday gifts earlier this year when she gave Cordelia a beat-up, half-broken, downright filthy ride-on toy that she proudly told us she had pulled out of the dumpster.
This year’s bad gifts:
The “Overall Worst” and “Most Random Gift” winner:
It’s a map of Millersburg, OH for Aaron. I have no idea where Millersburg is located. According to the map, it’s somewhere in Amish country. We’ve never been there before or heard of it. I don’t even think Aunt Dot has been there either. There was no explanation for it being in his gift bag, but it was clear that it was supposed to be there. We’re still pondering just what she’s trying to tell Aaron by giving him a map of a city we’ve never seen.
The “Clearly You Must Hate Us” award is a tie this year, but both of them are from Aunt Dot for Cordelia. First up:
It’s a Nutcracker. And it sings. And dances. It is clearly a masculine figure (note the moustache), yet it sings with a feminine, childish voice. Thank God she didn’t get us more than one, since the box claims that if you put two or more together, they use infrared sensors to sing in harmony and dance in unison. I wish I knew how to post video on the web, because you really can’t get the full experience without hearing it sing. Loudly, I might add.
And the other winner:
It’s a singing, dancing Santa hat. Again, a video would do more justice to this one. The music is tinny, shrill, and loud. Amazingly, even through the loud music, you can hear the mechanics straining to make this little hat dance back and forth with enough force to make the little bell on top jingle. Even the cats are terrified of this thing.
And while we’re on the subject of Aunt Dot, she also gets the “Grinch” award this year for upsetting Cordelia and constantly teasing her the entire day. Her favorite game was to take Cordy’s bunny (a bunny head lovey that is her security object, and something that Cordy adores as much or more than mommy and daddy) and dangle it just out of reach. Cordy would reach for it, making her “unh! unh!” begging sounds, but Aunt Dot would then move it further away, saying, “Come on, get the bunny! Show me you can walk!”
Cordy had a sad, urgent look on her face, upset that she couldn’t get to this precious object. She looked around, as if she was trying to find someone to help her, and it broke my heart. Yes, I should have stepped in sooner, but even I didn’t think Aunt Dot would continue this cruel game for so long. Finally, after asking her several times to give Cordy her bunny, I ordered Aunt Dot to give it back.
Even my grandmother, who normally tries to make excuses for Aunt Dot’s rude behavior, scolded her and told her not to tease Cordy. Aunt Dot later kept trying to poke Cordy, but I’d pick my daughter up and move her away each time. When it was time for everyone to leave (and while my aunts were arguing over which of them had to take Aunt Dot home), I practically shoved Aunt Dot out the door with her bags full of leftovers (because she always demands as much of the leftovers as she can get). Sigh. There’s one in every family, right?
So, once again Aunt Dot sweeps the Hall of Shame awards this Christmas. I’m scared to think of what she’s gathering for Easter: if I have to smile and eat another handful of stale, rubbery, chewy cashews and thank her for remembering that I like cashews, I might just explode.