I’m not a particularly good gift giver.

A couple of years ago, I noticed that my family was merely FEIGNING delight at the gifts I was thoughtfully bestowing upon them at Christmas. Now, maybe it’s because I shopped on Christmas Eve at 11PM at Walgreens and bought my brother, Uncle Aunt Becky, who is ten years my senior and a raging yuppie this gem:

(he’s not a mother)

and my father a pair of these:

(he doesn’t have pierced ears)

And everyone else cans of mixed nuts (2 for $6!) or discounted boxes of birthday cards OR sympathy cards that had been beaten up so badly that I had to tape the sides shut so their contents didn’t spill out onto the floor. I mean, EVERYONE likes cards and nuts…right?

Apparently notsomuch.

So. I started ASKING people what they wanted for Christmas rather than trying to guess the night before at a crappy pharmacy chain while strung out on too many cups of coffee. It’s a lot MORE boring and LESS (motherfucking) jolly that way.

If you’ve read my blog or my The Twitter stream you know that I’m a little, uh, well obsessive about my habits.

I’m compulsive, okay? It’s charming, really, if you like people who will stay up all night for weeks on end learning about something new because they have no other choice. It’s like an itch in my brain that I have to scratch because I simply can’t ignore it. It’s always there, tapping at the side of my skull until I give in and just DO IT.

I’d make an excellent alcoholic, if only I actually liked to drink. Alas, I do not.

Instead, my habits range from the boring to the exceptionally boring. I write. I blog. I am the site master of a couple of sites. I plan to start another one.

I also grow orchids. In Chicago. In the dead of winter.

My Orchids Bring All The Boys To The Yard

That’s my kitchen table, by the by. Most of those orchids were bought as tiny wee babies and lovingly grown by Your Aunt Becky to the monsters that they are. They’re also blooming out of season right now which makes me BEYOND happy in the pants but that is neither here nor there.

On my mother’s birthday in September, I happened to be in Lowe’s Hardware store buying something or another to combat the black spot on my roses when I happened to walk by their orchid table. Normally, Lowe’s orchids suck. Their grower is terrible. I know this because I am obsessive and have nursed orchids I’ve bought from there back to health.

But this was a NEW grower. And it was my mother’s birthday. And she is singularly the WORST person to buy for. She has everything and wants nothing. She hates crap.


And I did.

And she loves it.

So for Christmas, I was all, “Okay Mom, what the fuck do you want, because you suck to buy for and I don’t even want to GUESS what you want.”

And she was all, “I want another motherfucking orchid, yo.”

Except maybe we didn’t use those words. Except maybe we did. You never know in my family.

On Sunday, I was all, “Hey Dana, Imma get my Mom an orchid at Lowe’s. It’s gonna be wicked. Wanna go?”

She was all, “SURE.”

So we went. Because when you need an orchid, you need an orchid.

First things first, we saw this gem and I HAD to buy it.

Epic Motherfucking Wreath

The ugliest wreath on the planet.

Then we headed to the orchids. I didn’t immediately see anything besides poinsettias (UGH) in the plant area, which made me a little nervous. My heart rate quickened as I frantically combed the shelves. Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Until I saw the, “these are the plants we don’t care about and are selling for a dollar” area. THAT’S where they were hiding the orchids.

Dana took a look at them and said, “Uh, Becky, those look dead.”

For Whom Does The Orchid Bloom? It Blooms For Thee.

I responded, “Um, they’re not dead. Just not blooming.” Which does not a Christmas gift make. Luckily, they’re just fine with me. I bought four. For a dollar. That’s BEYOND a deal. I went home and Mr. Burns-like cackled over my deal.

I’m still sadly out a Christmas gift for my mother. Maybe I can just frame one of my epic soul portraits for her in a couple of weeks.

BETTER YET, I could get one made for her. I bet she’d LOVE it. Or disown me.



Let’s do another blog carnival, yo because that was fun as hell (I’m going to neglect my baking to read it all later). I put another link widget below. Or you can answer in the comments if you want. Or not at all.

Are you a good gift-giver – holidays or not? OR MAYBE: what’s the worst gift you’ve ever gotten?

74 thoughts on “Why My Gift Giving Skills Rival A Ninjas.

  1. You could wrap a picture of the sick orchid and give it to her with a note saying, “Imma givin you an orchid for Christmas. But first I have to nurse it back to health and make it fucking bloom. Then I’ll give it to you. You’re welcome.”

  2. One year when I was a wee tot I got a Lite Brite and a Care Bear. I’m pretty sure that was the Christmas that confused me into being a chubby kid so I could have boobs for a while.

    Coincidentally, my second worst gifts were everything I ever got from the Sears husky section.

      1. I would participate in a blog carnival if I knew what one was. And had a bunch of time. And witty ideas. And talent. I’m wearing an almost yarmulke right now, how cool is that?

  3. The green thumb in you is strong Aunt Becky!

    ps. That wreath is awesome. It is only missing blinky-lights. Please tell me you added some extra ‘bling’?!

  4. My aunt gave my dad a spatula for Christmas one year. Beautifully wrapped up in a box and everything. A spatula. He didn’t cook or grill. It turned out to be a great gift, the gift of a running joke in my family for years.


      One time my uncle, whom we all love dearly, gave my brother (the yuppie) a smoking cigar. Like this big light up plastic cigar that you’d hang on your wall, if you had a bar or something. And it lit up. Now and again, the tip would glow red, just like you’d taken a puff. I swear to you, it was the best gag gift ever.

      I think my uncle was serious. My brother was horrified. I couldn’t stop laughing.

      1. I TOTALLY got a spatula one year! It was when that teenage witch was popular, and she gave a kid one as Santa and he LOVED it. I still have the one I got. It was epic. The one thing my parents ever gave me that I really loved!

  5. My aunt gave my dad a spatula for Christmas one year. Beautifully wrapped up in a box and everything. A spatula. He didn’t cook or grill. It turned out to be a great gift, the gift of a running joke in my family for years.

  6. I’m a relatively good gift giver if people give me a decent amount of time & a few suggestions to work with. Because I am also a literal gift giver. If you say “Oh I can’t think of anything I want” or “No, you don’t need to get me anything” you’ll get jack from me. Or, you will get something kitchy and Star Wars themed like DH, who ‘doesn’t really want anything’ this year and so is getting a Jedi bathrobe from Think Geek. Depends on whether I come across anything that strikes my fancy before last minute cheap shipping rates end.

    Mostly my gifts start out as “um…thanks” when it is unwrapped, but a couple months later are all “You know, we use that thing all the time. We didn’t think we would but it’s great”

  7. You made me write things. AGAIN! I feel productive. It’s just plain wrong. To counteract that, I’m going back to watch videos on YouTube. I’m sure the feeling will pass.

  8. I am a horrible gift giver! I have to ask people what they want, I can never figure it out on my own. My mom was always this super thoughtful gift giver. Who could just look into your soul and know what to get. Although she has never been able to do that for my husband. Unless his soul does indeed request an electric ice scraper!!!! We live in southern California! It comes in really handy!

  9. Dude, I am totally bad at gift giving. I have my brother in law this year and he REFUSED to tell me. So he is getting hemp hiking boots. Which ARE pretty cool, I think. But he will probably be notsomuch. My sister has ME, and she hasnt asked me what I want. And I KNOW she doesnt know what I like, so it should be interesting.

  10. The worst gift I’ve ever gotten was plastic monogrammed coat hangers. This was many, many years ago when I was married to the first husband. He is Jewish and we traveled to Cleveland, OH for Thanksgiving one year to see the rest of the family. Since all the family was together, we decided to also do the Hanukkah gift exchange. Everyone had drawn names. One of his aunts and uncles got our name. I was excited at first when I found out they had drawn our name. This particular aunt grew up wealthy and had great taste. Her family was “old” money and the Uncle’s money was “new” money so her family disowned her. (That doesn’t really relate to the story, I just find it funny.)

    Anyway, I was thinking we were going to get something GREAT from her. Then I opened the box to find really thick plastic monogrammed coat hangers. The kind you would use for really heavy winter coats. We lived in Florida. We didn’t even have a coat closet in our house. I plastered on the fake smile and said thank you. Later when we went to retrieve our coats from their coat closet (someone else hung them up for us) I understood why she bought them. She had the same damn hangers in HER coat closet. I let him keep those in the divorce.

  11. This may sound blasphemous, but you put a lot of time and love into YOUR orchids, and you just got 4/$1… why not give her one of your blooming ones? Wrapped. With a bow. Then nurse the 4 you just got back to health? In fact, that may give you license to go and buy 4 more!

    I have received many worst X-mas/Chanukah gifts, oddly, none of them cost anything and were more emotional than anything.

  12. I was at Aldi yesterday and they were selling blooming orchids. Of course, it’s like a 5 hour drive for you to get to this particular Aldi, but maybe ones near you carry them too.

    I am a mediocre gift giver. Sometimes I can get it right, but sometimes things go horribly awry.

  13. I’m like super gift-giver… I find things that people want/need/really like. I refuse to buy a gift card for anyone I give a shit about. Because really? That just screams, I don’t know you, but I’m obligated to get you something, so here’s this piece of plastic I bought at Walgreens, it’s better than just a wad of cash, right? Not so much. I’d rather have cash that I can spend anywhere then be forced to go buy something somewhere I don’t shop. Ugh. Oh, and little baskets from Bath & Body works. Also screams, I don’t know you so here’s some soap, bitch. I regift them, I’m afraid to say. No one ever gets me one that I think actually smells good. Speaking of which, I have to go buy a gift for someone right now, and we’re not close in any way. I hate that. What to get???

  14. I put way too much thought into gifts, trying not to just give a pack of socks and be done with it, always hoping it will be something cherished or at least excited about. It is a crap shoot each gift whether I am actually successful though.

    Last year, my husband wrapped a big box, just larger than a pizza box, addressed it to me and put it under the tree. I spent days trying to figure out what it would be, trying to recall anything he might have thought I wanted that was the size of that box, getting more and more curious. Christmas morning I opened up the box: a new toilet seat. Apparently (he thought) I needed one, though I never noticed. Unfortunately, the one he bought was broken in the same way mine was supposedly broken. I still don’t have a new seat.

  15. Obviously Uncle Aunt Becky was looking at your gift upside down. It’s really a butt shape that is wearing a hat with the word WOW in it. You’re probably supposed to tie a string and put it on your rear view mirror.

  16. Obviously, this gift wins hands-down… No one can touch it. My friend gave her mother the most beautifully-wrapped gift on the planet. Paper was chosen with care; ribbons were real silk and the bow was breathtaking. The attached card was done in calligraphy. This was gorgeous! Her Mother (capital M) found fault with everything anybody had ever given her; didn’t matter what the cost, there was always something not right about the gift… For the first time in her life, she was speechless… When she finally opened the box, and we were all sitting around, mouth agape, she found another box in its own velvet casing. We were on the edges of our seats… what could it be?… the only thing she had never recieved before … a gold-plated roll of dog poop! So, in case you’re really stumped, I’m just sayin’….

    Come visit when you can and don’t forget to check out my other blog, too!

      1. First of all, I apologize for the “i” before “e” in received, above — has to be the homemade Bristol Cream I’m using to help me type! But, what do you think? Should these be offered in my Etsy shop while my little Chihuahua is still capable of production? Just not sure…

  17. I didn’t read through the gazillion other comments, so if this has been said already, just shoot me 😀

    You should just give her one that you have already nursed back to health, you have put your love into it!! I’m sure she’ll be happy! And now you would have room for your 4 new lil babies!

      1. Oh Dear Aunt Becky, you were so unspecific I now have to ponder if you like the fact that I wanted you to shoot me or if you actually liked the thought of giving your mother the well taken care of Orchid lol… Just sayin’

  18. Oh, my dearest Aunt Becky, I loved you before, but now we are united for life. You see, I am also an Orchid slut, here in Chicago. My idea of a great day is to wander around Hausermann’s, just wander aimlessly, and admire the beauty. I have many times been seduced by a pathetic looking orchid at Lowes, Home Depot, Jewel, you name it, and lovingly nursed it/them back to life. People have said, more than once, “Orchids? They are so ‘fragile’!”. To which I respond that they are not fragile at all, they are actually sturdy little buggers, you just have to treat them right…meaning- put them in a shady window, and ignore them for 2 weeks! 😉

    I’d love to swap orchid tips with you if you are interested!
    Merry Christmas!

  19. Holy shit Becks….that is the ugliest wreath I have ever seen in my entire life. LOVE it!! And I have to say I am motherfucking impressed that you grow orchids. I have no other words to tell you how shit ass amazed I am at that fact. You’re the best.

  20. I can’t think of any truly bad gifts I’ve received, but I did give my daughter the WORST GIFT EVER for her, um, 3rd birthday, I think. A recorder. You know, those whistle things that elementary school-aged children use? It was torture. It made my ears bleed, and it says a lot about my husband that he didn’t divorce me. Those things are EVIL.

    Sadly, it accidentally got placed in the garbage about 5 minutes before the garbage truck came one day.

    1. THOSE ARE THE WORST THINGS EVER. My son has one now and plays it with the most gleeful joy on the planet. It’s unabashedly happy, which makes me feel so Scrooge-like to be all, “CAN YOU GO INTO THE OTHER ROOM AND MAYBE DOWN THE BLOCK?”

      It sounds like he’s stepping on a goose.

  21. Worst gift?? By far a health club membership … from my (now ex) husband. Oh sure, it would have been a nice gift had I asked for it, but I asked for a year’s supply of Dove Chocolate!

  22. Fist off Uncle Aunt Becky has NO sense of humor that is an AMAZING gift. And Dolphin earrings go with anyone’s outfit.
    And onto the OCD I too have it and would also make an EXCELLENT alcoholic if only I liked any booze but I too do not.
    LOVE the wreath must say I am JEALOUS.
    And now onto what I really wanted to say cause I often lose my train of thought. I too am a sucky gift giver not because I don’t know what people want, I do. I just can’t keep my fucking mouth shut. I can’t keep a mother fucking secret it’s torture. The whole month of December is torture for me. I have decided I am going to turn into the Christmas Eve buyer just so I don’t have to worry about spilling the beans on peoples gifts otherwise it’s hey guess what your getting for Christmas FUCK. And I don’t even have to be tricked. people just know hey ask Kristin what we’re getting for Christmas if I know I’ll tell. I can’t be trusted thankfully I don’t work for the CIA. Or know any damming secrets.

      1. It’s torture isn’t it!! I’m like wetting my pants to tell them. And sometimes I don’t even make it out of the store before I have told and I am like fuck and I have to go buy something else. One year I swear Gift Cards for everybody. I’m taking the cowards way out.

        1. Oh and the we’re like Twins thing is one of the biggest compliments anyone has ever paid me seriously I love you that much gushy and stuff and teary OK sucking it up now.

  23. I think I’m a good gift giver. I’m one of those idiots who actually likes Xmas shopping. Here’s hoping your shopping is done now. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from this merry prankster. 🙂

  24. Worst? Either the lavender ultra-suede skirt or the bright red pea jacket – both given to me years ago by my step-mother. Both were returned, promptly. She had no clue.

  25. OMG, my grandmother had a wreath very similar to that one that was made of, and I’m dead serious, BAGGIES tied around a wire coat hanger. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world when I was a kid and I wish I had it now.

  26. I’m sorry, but if someone can’t truly appreciate a sale-marked can of Walgreen’s mixed nuts, then I’m not sure I could maintain a friendship or family tie with them. Those dolphin earrings are total win – and I’m a man for god’s sake. Don’t change.

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