What are the rudenesses you've experienced around gift-giving? And do you have any pleasant surprises you can talk about or advice for good conduct in this area?
Christmas in our house when we still practiced it as a gift-giving occasion was always strange at our house. The Japanese generally eat fried chicken (ovens too small to cook turkey, no taste for turkey culturally etc) and strawberry shortcake 9don't ask me why :-D) on the 24th and that's it. Well I started making the cookies, coffee cake etc that my family had always made and we started to have Christmas when our son was about 2.
DH always got a new sweater, DS always got a new toy and yours truly always got something from MILs dresser, unwrapped. One year she gave me gloves that I had given her a few months ago. Once she gave me a coat(!) and I thought 'Wow! She actually bought me something!' only to get a call two weeks after Christmas asking me to give it back because she had a friend to give it to. What the hell!? She's a beaut, I'll tell you.
Posted by: crella
at September 2, 2010 1:14 AM
I'm sorry, my typing/ thought are all jumbled today. Wish I could edit :-)
Posted by: crella
at September 2, 2010 1:15 AM
My first marriage I sent out a few invitations to the people I worked with. One woman verbally told me she wouldn't be attending the ceremony or the reception. However, she told me that she did have a gift for me. I followed her out to her car one evening and she opened her trunk. She rummaged inside, and brought out a wooden breadbox, unwrapped. I was shocked, yet kept my composure and thanked her.
When I got home and opened it up, there were actual bread crumbs inside.
I threw it in the trash.
Posted by: Willa
at September 2, 2010 4:34 PM
Willa, did you, like, follow-up with her and ask where your gift was? And then the whole trunk debacle ensued? You were the rude one if you asked about your gift, and frankly even if that's not the situation it just sounds to me like she gave you what she could. I never understand people who bitch about the quality of gifts they receive - when a gift has malice behind it, like crella's mother-in-laws hand-me-downs, that's one thing but complaining that someone's gift wasn't good enough baffles me.
Posted by: Sam
at September 3, 2010 9:49 AM
One year my grandmother gave me a scarf for Christmas. It was odd, because I'd never had or worn a scarf (I was 7 or so), and I don't remember finding it particularly pretty, but it felt nice.
And my grandmother was never without a scarf (she said it hurt her ears to ride in a car without a scarf on), so I thought she was just giving me something that she liked, and therefore thought I would like.
And then it was time for her to go home. Hrrrmmmm... Turns out the grandmother who never went anywhere without a scarf forgot her scarf on the day she gave me one! Could she borrow it, just for the ride home?
I might have been young, but I wasn't stupid. I knew when I handed it to her that I'd never see it again (except on her). I was right.
Posted by: jen
at September 3, 2010 2:05 PM
Sam, I don't see where you read that Willa kept mentioning her gift. Giving someone a used breadbox isn't exactly the classiest thing to do....
I've never knocked a present, I am glad someone thinks of me, and I figure people give what they comfortably can, but a used item for a wedding gift is more than a bit odd.
Or are you thinking that asking about the gift prompted the used gift as a way to end the issue? That's a lot to infer from one short post.
Posted by: crella
at September 4, 2010 12:23 AM
Jen, I don't know how old your grandmother was at that time, but I'm caring for my second family member with dementia and I can't help but wonder if your grandmother perhaps forgot to get you a present and gave you the scarf to somehow save face, or if she had a touch of cognitive impairment and it made perfect sense to her?
MIL has no excuse, she was doing that stuff in her 50s. We stopped celebrating Christmas when our son was in high school, it just isn't part of the culture here for adults to exchange gifts at Christmas or birthdays. I now have an open house for the neighbors with tons of cookies and cakes. It's a lot less aggravating than MIL going on about how Japanese people don't do this or that, and getting "presents" out of her dresser drawers :-D
Posted by: crella
at September 4, 2010 12:26 AM
One of my biggest pet peeves is not receiving acknowledgment for gifts I've sent for birthdays or the arrival of a new child.
One second cousin got around to sending a thank you card 10 months after she had her first baby. She chose to be a stay at home mom, so I have a hard time understanding why it took her so long to even write a card.
Even if she had picked up the phone to give me a call, it would have been much better than wondering for 10 months if she ever received my gift.
Posted by: Jen Wading
at September 4, 2010 6:03 PM
Heres some advice - if you dont know the person well enough to get them a gift you know they will like GIVE CASH or a gift card.
On year for my birthday I got a battery powered waliking spider about the size of a cantalope, a bottle of cologne, and a shaving kit.
I was 10, and was at the time(still am to tell the truth) arachnaphobic.
Posted by: lujlp
at September 7, 2010 12:59 AM
Not sure where you exactly read that I asked the woman about my wedding gift. If you can copy and paste where I asked her, I'd be interested to see the sentence.
I sent out wedding invitations in the mail. A few days later I was told verbally by this woman that she would not be attending my wedding nor my reception. I accepted what she told me. I did not receive an RSVP by mail from her. I had included RSVP cards with stamped envelopes for the guests' convenience.
A few weeks later she took it upon herself to verbally tell me she had a wedding gift for me. A few days later she said she had the gift with her and asked me to walk out with her to her car where it was.
The rest is history, exactly as I first wrote about it.
Posted by: Willa
at September 7, 2010 9:25 PM
My step mother in law is incredibly hard to shop for. No matter what you get for her, she very obviously and grudgingly says the minimum possible thanks, or more often, gets very angry at how you've slighted her. One Christmas my husband and I dropped by on our way to a movie to say hi, and got corralled into watching her two elementary age kids while she and hubby's dad went "for half an hour" to get a tree. Three hours later, after their sit-down dinner and errands, we escaped, far too late for our movie. A week later, we dropped off Christmas presents while they weren't home (we called first to let them know we were coming) only to return home to a scathing, furious message that we had ruined their entire holiday because the children had opened all the gifts early. They never got the tree, the kids opened the gifts instead of leaving them under the (invisible) tree till Christmas morning, and it was somehow our fault. To top it all off, she ranted on and on about how our gift to her was incredibly impersonal (a basket of treats and expensive food items she had mentioned liking) and how we were horrible people. This from the woman who gave me a battery-operated trash can for Christmas one year.
Posted by: kbaann
at September 12, 2010 4:21 AM
Oops, forgot to mention, we dropped off gifts early on our way to the airport to go to my family-it seemed better than waiting till well after the holiday to give the kids their gifts.
Posted by: kbaann
at September 12, 2010 4:30 AM
For the love of flying monkeys, when you give a gift to someone LET IT GO. It no longer belongs to you, it never did. Don't expect it to be displayed or worn or used. Don't assume to be able to see it on command and don't ask for it back.
If you are breathtakingly rude enough to ask for it back for whatever reason, don't be surprised if the answer is NO. Don't be surprised if your gift of ill-fitting clothes, expired foodstuffs or tasteless trash is as cherished as the message you are trying to convey.
Don't get bitchy if the item is used up, worn out or otherwise finished. No, you can’t have any of the wedding cake you saved for our first anniversary - 14 years ago. No we don't still have that adorable baby Santa outfit - she outgrew that years ago and we gave it away. Yes, we retain the right to dispose of gifts as we see fit, not as you do. Don’t like it? Give cash. That way we’re both clear on who’s being the bitch when you ask for your gift back.
Posted by: KT Keene
at September 14, 2010 9:46 PM
It was our first Christmas after my ex-wife of 29 years and I were married, about 35 years ago. She was 18, I was 22. We were pretty poor, but we were able to get three or four inexpensive gifts for each other, which we wrapped secretly, to be surprised by on our first Christmas morning together.
One of the gifts I got L--- on our first Christmas was a vibrator. I'd never asked her, but I didn't think she'd been introduced to that particular technology before (remember, she was only 18), and I thought it would be fun on Christmas morning to watch her reaction as she opened it and figured out what it was (I was pretty sure I knew what she would do… and it would be fun). It was in a small, plain white box, gift wrapped securely so she wouldn't be able to tell what it was until she had the wrapping paper completely off and took it out of the box.
We planned to spend Christmas Eve at a family party at my parents' home with my six sisters, some of whom were married with families, and several close friends who were like family to us, about 40 people in all. All of us were enthusiastic, Bible-believing, born again Christians, commonly referred to at the time as Jesus Freaks.
There was no gift exchange type of activity planned for the party, since most of us struggled to make meager livings and could barely afford a few simple gifts for members of our own households. At the last minute, on Christmas Eve morning, my mother called everyone who planned to come to the party and suggested that they bring one of their Christmas gifts from home and open it at the party. Then everyone could share the fun of opening their gift with the others, and watch each other open a gift that was meant especially for them from someone who dearly loves them. It seemed kind of unusual, but everyone really liked the idea and couldn't wait to do it - and it really was a lot of fun.
As we were leaving to go to the Christmas party L--- just randomly grabbed one of her gifts and one of mine. I should have been paying attention, but I wasn't. Guess which one of her gifts she unknowingly grabbed. Yep, that one.
I didn't notice which gift L--- brought until she was opening it at the party in front of 40 other people - my parents, my sisters and brothers-in-law, a few small children, a dozen or so close friends. She had the wrapping paper torn off before I realized it, and it was too late to stop her. I was completely mortified as I watched her pull her new vibrator out of the plain white box and hold it up for all to see. At first she didn't realize what it was. The room went silent for about ten seconds, and she looked at me kind of puzzled. One of my sisters sitting near her leaned over and whispered in her ear, and then she jammed the thing back in the box and gave me a shocked look like "are you dense?!" I said, "I didn't know you brought that one."
And then there was snickering, giggling, clapping, laughter whistling, and exclamations of approval. Good, Christian young ladies hooted and woohoo'ed and teasingly said I was the most thoughtful husband and they wanted a husband like me. My mother looked at me sternly and shook her finger at me, then began laughing. My dad shook his head and rolled his eyes at me.
I don’t know if a vibrator was a rude gift – it seemed thoughtful and fun when I first thought of it.
Posted by: Ken R
at April 22, 2012 9:23 AM
Last Thanksgiving, during the family dinner, my older brother gave me a
penis pump wrapped in silver wrapper in front of the entire clan. We all had a big laugh over it so I'm not sure if this qualifies as some rude gift. I think it was just crazy.
Posted by: Josh Stone
at September 20, 2012 8:29 PM
Is a stop sign red or blue? (required):