A few Christmases ago, I opened the box of potential gifts I keep in my closet and pulled out a beautiful, ornate hair bow that I knew my friend would love.
I’d received it years before, but it wouldn’t stay in my hair, so it was essentially unused.
I wrapped the bow in a pretty package with nice ornaments and took it over to my bestie’s house on Christmas Eve.
She opened it and smiled. I beamed, thinking that, yes, once again I’d nailed a gift. “Do you like it?” I asked her.
“Yes, I like it a lot,” my friend said. “That’s why I gave it to you for Christmas two years ago.”
Every year, I seem to have a few of those moments, when my gifting goes as wrong as Lindsay Lohan’s driving.
I like to buy gifts early, as I come across them and when they’re on sale. But this can also backfire.
Last night, I ripped everything out of my bedroom closet looking for a pair of designer boots that I bought my teenage daughter, Curly Girl, for Christmas.
For no reason that was immediately apparent when you looked at them — they weren’t made of endangered iguana hide from the Galapagos — they cost about as much as the making of the movie “Titanic.”
I told her I’d buy them, but she’d have to wait and get them from Santa.
Unfortunately, they have now disappeared into the Black Hole of Christmas.
That’s the mysterious astronomical phenomenon that occurs when you buy gifts too early or hide them too well.
Last summer, when I was excavating my closet during a massive decluttering campaign, I found an unopened Christmas gift that might have been from last year — or it might have been from 2007. I’m not sure.
I’ve been known to rush out and buy new, emergency Christmas gifts, because I can’t find the ones I bought earlier.
Every year, I start a nice, organized list of what’s been purchased for whom. And, then, it’s promptly abandoned, along with the gifts, which seem to have gone the way of the Flying Dutchman.
There are some gifts, though, that should be abandoned.
I’m thinking of the Christmas gift my then-boyfriend, Bruce, gave me many years ago.
We’d been going together for quite awhile and things were starting to get serious. It was the point where every 30-something woman thinks, “OK, we’re either getting married, or we’re breaking up. Because I don’t have a lot of time to waste.”
I flew home early to be with him at Christmas. He was waiting at LAX with my gift. After a year together, I was expecting a nice piece of jewelry. Dare I say it … maybe even a ring.
I opened the nicely wrapped foil box with great anticipation.
It was a garlic press. He bought me a garlic press for Christmas. Probably stopped at Williams Sonoma on the way to the airport and was quite proud of himself to purchase something he knew my kitchen needed.
I burst into tears, because at that moment, I knew we were never getting married. I could never marry a man who gave me kitchen utensils for Christmas.
It had a happy ending, because he really was a jerk, and now he’s making someone else miserable in the Pacific Northwest. And I still have the garlic press. It works great.
One of my readers told me her ex once gave her an extra-large flannel nightgown for Christmas, even though she’s a medium. Gee. Wonder why they broke up?
Another recalled that her mother gave her a girdle when she was in 8th grade, which she opened on Christmas morning in front of the entire family. That wouldn’t be embarrassing.
The worst Christmas gift example that you readers sent me: A new toilet seat. Yes, that really was a crappy gift.
Meanwhile, I need to get back to looking for those boots. If you remember where I put them, let me know.
Marla Jo Fisher was a workaholic before she adopted two foster kids several years ago. Now she juggles work and single parenting, while being exhorted from everywhere to be thinner, smarter, sexier, healthier, more frugal, a better mom, better dressed and a tidier housekeeper. Contact her at email@example.com. Read her blog at htttp://themomblog.freedomblogging.com/category/frumpy-middleaged-mom-marla-jo-fisher/.