Guest Blogger: Trish on The Worst Gift Ever

Our guest blogger today is Trish from Hey, Lady! Trish loves to read and has one of the biggest TBR piles around. She’s a blogger who writes about her nightmares and tries to work them out in the light of day. She also writes about books, and we’ve bonded over that!

Trish has been engaged since April 2007 and will be getting married this June. In the interest of anonymity, she chose not to write about this on her own blog, for fear her future in-laws might come across it, so I asked her to write about it here. She talks about an interesting gift she received for Christmas from her future sister in law. Imagine the thank you card!

 Worst Gift Ever

I hate to say it, but I think I received the Worst Gift Ever for Christmas.

As far as I can tell, it all started back in November when I decided it would be nice to have my fiance’s family go in on a Playstation 3 with me for my fiance. I emailed my Future Husband (FH)’s sister about this, being very clear that if they already had something in mind, to please stick with that. This is the response I received:

“I appreciate your effort in trying to please your man. I had some ideas / purchases made that can be modified, but I do want to keep things simple. As you know it gets a little crazy in our family with the holidays and gifts. Please don’t feel that we need gifts ([her husband] and I) and for that matter the kids are pretty well stocked. I do understand that it is fun to buy things especially when you find something that is just “perfect” for that individual. [My daughter’s] wooden dress-up doll [that you bought for her] was a hit. So while it’s not much, you can put me down as contributing $25, it’s that or another shirt. In the past shirts were always a great idea because he hated to shop and kinda needed help in the clothing department. Now you can provide whatever assistance is needed. So anyways that’s that, I’m not anticipating us getting together over the holidays but I’ll talk to you down the road. Take care.”

I talked to my FH about his sister hinting that we didn’t need to buy them gifts, and he said, no, that’s silly. What we ended up doing is giving everyone in the family a couple of framed pictures that we hand picked from our engagement photos. When we exchanged gifts a week or two before Christmas, I was very grateful that I hadn’t taken her seriously because she had a gift bag that had 2 average sized packages and 5 smaller ones (which ended up being stocking stuffer type stuff).

Christmas rolls around and it’s just me and my FH. On the gift bag is a tag that has a short little poem that reads, “Something to keep you busy and something to keep [FH] clean. Ha ha ha….” I open the first gift and it’s a toilet brush. Huh. Okay…on to the next gift. It’s kind of soft and I can’t even imagine what it could be. My FH’s sister has always been very nice, and while the toilet brush is odd, I did need one. But this next gift, surely it’s better than a toilet brush! As I unwrap the paper, I can’t believe what I’m seeing. A 4-pack of toilet paper?? Yup, that’s what I got for Christmas. A toilet brush and a 4-pack of toilet paper. For some reason I’m not laughing.

After some phone calls, I’m reminded that I registered for the toilet brush at Bed Bath & Beyond. Well, okay. I don’t think I anticipated receiving the toilet brush for Christmas…. But what normal person would give toilet paper as a gift for Christmas? I certainly don’t expect an expensive gift, but buying something cheap (when you have money) and not putting any thought into it makes me angry. I would have been happier with a nice Christmas card just telling me what’s going on with them where they live and they look forward to the wedding blah blah blah. At least a card shows some thought. A gift card to Starbucks or a box of See’s candy would have taken less effort than coming up with the idea of giving me TP and actually going to the store to buy it.

To justify herself even more, she says the toilet paper (she told this to her brother, my FH, because even he thought the gift was bizarre) had a Christmas design on it. NO, it didn’t. It had pink flowers with green leaves.

Feel free to weigh in. I’ve been told I’ve brought this on myself for registering for the toilet brush, though I think the toilet paper took the “joke” a little too far. If you’re going to do a gag gift like that, then you need to be there when the person opens it, so that you can say, “Haha! Isn’t that funny! I thought you would think it’s funny because…” or, if you’re not going to be together for Christmas (our situation), then you need to call the person up to ensure there’s no misunderstanding. A joke is only really funny when both people are in on the joke. If the punchline was in there somewhere, I missed it.

What have I learned from this? That next year I will be excruciatingly clear that All I Want For Christmas is a Border’s Card (I’ve got my two front teeth, thank you very much, and toilet paper to boot). Now that I’m in on the joke, could I perhaps buy her deodorant or whitening toothpaste or a book on how to control your out-of-control children? It’s all in fun, right?

 *** Trish would love to have comments on this. Was the “gift” meant to be funny, or hostile? Is she being an overly sensitive bride-to-be? Should she talk with her future sister in law, or laugh it off? What’s your take on it?

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8 Responses

  1. Hmm. I’m stumped. I can’t figure out if she’s just a little shy of a full deck or. has a strange sense of humor. Or?? I don’t know. I would be as baffled as you are. It doesn’t seem hostile – just strange. I would say, file it away and get past it without a mention. Maybe in 20 years it’ll be a funny story to discuss.

  2. Did you write a thank you note specifically thanking them for the unique but “thoughtful” gift of a toilet brush and toilet paper? What did your future husband have to say about the odd gift?

    Maybe next year you return the favor with something for their bathroom, like toothbrushes and toothpaste?

  3. I agree with Care…just file it away and move on, because who knows what she was thinking. And donate the TP to the shelter or something, because really, who wants to think about their sister/sister-in-law when, well, you know.

  4. softdrink…hahahaha! So true!

    Julie, oh how I wish I’d written that thank you card. Where are these good ideas when I need them?? My fiance was perplexed as well, but admits she’s odd, as well as a miser.

  5. Sounds like you are lucky she doesn’t live nearby. Also picked up on the shirt thing…….”she used to buy him a shirt cause he needed help but you can do it now.”
    I would say you stirred up something when you decided to organise the Playstation 3………how old is your fiance and how long have the apron strings been cut by the women in his family?
    Good luck!!!!!!
    PS…..call me stupid but I thought the whole tone of her email was off.

  6. All I can think of is Elaine on Seinfeld…”can you spare a square”.

  7. That is one of the weirdest gifts ever. My IL’s always do something totally bizarre, but this takes the cake. I guess I don’t understand how this is funny or how it’s appropriate, but then again, I was horrified to learn that my SIL had put thongs on her Christmas Wish List (that goes to my family and I).

    She’s not trashy or clueless, so I guess it’s a big WTF all around.

  8. Trish,
    You are a riot! I’m with you….very strange! One year (2 years ago and counting) my sister in law gave my husband and I spagetti noodles. Dry store bought noodles! What on earth?????? I always try to remember the noodles when shopping for her/them yet every year I get carried away by the season ….
    Noodles!

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