So I was asked this question last year about this time, and I didn’t really feel like I gave a satisfactory answer. A friend of mine who had recently reconnected with an old flame wanted to know what to get him for Christmas. They’d only been seeing each other again for a few months, and though they had dated in the past, it had been many years since they had parted ways. She wanted to know what I thought would be acceptable gift ideas for a fledgling reconnection. I suggested several things—CD, book, DVD of a favorite movie, cologne—but I feel like when people ask me stuff like that, I never have a good answer. The only thing I really know is what constitutes a bad gift. I have been the recipient of said gifts, and also heard several bad gift stories from friends and in my “ladies light reading” periodicals. So here’s my list of what NOT to get for that certain someone you hope to impress, or anyone that has a vagina.
1. A six-pack of Diet Coke. Yes, I read this in the December issue of one of my aforementioned periodicals. It was a story about the author at 16, hoping her adorable boyfriend would get her something rad like Bonne Belle Lip Smackers in Dr. Pepper flavor and a teensy-weensy diamond chip necklace or some shit, and instead he plops a six pack of Diet Coke in her lap like it’s the friggin’ Taj Mahal of Christmas presents. Because, he said, “he knew how much she loved to drink it.” She was crestfallen to say the least. I felt bad for her to have been in the unfortunate situation of getting such a craptacular gift, but also for the fact that she probably thought he was insinuating that she was fat. Poor girl. I will say when I was 16, I got roses. Classy move, High School Boyfriend.
2. A battery recharging station. This little gem of a story came from my aesthetician, Charmin. She’s a whiz at hair removal and, I suspect, body part removal if things get hairy in the figurative sense as well. She said that the first Christmas she and her husband were together as a married couple, he was beside himself with glee at the prospect of her opening his present. It was rectangular, about 14x6, and felt somewhat heavy. Charm, being the girly girl that she is, had all kinds of wonderful things in mind when holding this Pandora’s box of opportunity, suspecting that it might be something in the way of a jewelry coffret with some sort of glittery bauble inside. She said Hubs kept telling her “it’s for both of us” (or bofus, to use common parlance), inferring that she would be happy and he would get laid. She eagerly ripped the paper off on Christmas morning to come face to face with a BRAND NEEEEEWWWW…Battery recharging station! To say that Hubs was in the doghouse for many, many cold nights to come is an understatement.
3. Anything you’ve already eaten or have no use for yourself. My beautiful and cool Aunt Helen fell victim to myriad ridiculously vomitous gifts Yuletide after Yuletide, courtesy of her drunkard of a mother in law, God rest her soul. See, my aunt was not so popular with Mommy Dearest; and so the acrimony MD felt, coupled with her drunken shopping sprees ending in the consumption of half her purchases, left my poor auntie in the clutches of a dysfunctional round robin of horror. One year, she received a banana hanger along with a half eaten jar of cocktail nuts; another year, a base to a punch bowl, sans the actual bowl. There are a host of other poorly chosen trinkets on this list, but out of respect for the dead, I’ll let the above be a lesson to you all: Don’t drink and gift.
4. Chanel No. 5. Now I know that it may sound silly to complain about something as nice as Chanel No.5, and granted, it is a pricey gift. I mean, even Marilyn Monroe said she wore it, and only it, to bed—which is why I wonder if perhaps JFK, and RFK, and Frank Sinatra, and Arthur Miller, etc. had no olfactory nerves, because that stuff STINKS. One spritz and suddenly you smell like the unwashed underpinnings of an 88 year old European woman. And good luck trying to get it off—I think the only thing that will get that smell off of you is skunk spray. So a word to the wise when choosing perfume (and using someone else’s bathroom)—just because you like the way it smells, doesn’t mean everybody else will. Let THEM choose.
Alright, that's all I've got. Let me know what horrible gifts you've gotten in the past and let's all have a Merry Chrismakwanzakkuh!