I was reading one of those listicles that tell short stories/anecdotes that are all related somehow by the topic. You know the ones I mean – to be honest I read way too many through my Facebook feed. Mostly just similar stories compiled from Reddit. (Unfortunately I searched in Google and couldn’t find the exact one I read, but there are several similar ones if the topic peaks your interest.)
But the particular one I wanted to discuss was one where people were talking about the most disappointing present they ever received. Some of the stories were people being downright mean spirited in their gift giving… But several of them had disappointments from either being forgotten or their family/friends not listening to them – or hearing what they wanted to hear. I related to that so hard, and so I now have a particular memory to share with you myself.
Now, there has been plenty of presents in the past that were underwhelming – you know the kind that you look at and wonder if the person that gave it to you even knows you. But you know the thought is there, they tried, right? So it doesn’t really bother you. Well, it doesn’t bother me anyway. I prefer giving gifts, especially when I feel like I have a really good idea for someone. I put a lot of effort into gifts I give, because I’d prefer to make someone happy than worry about if a gift that was given to me was exactly what I wanted.
However, there is one memory that I haven’t forgotten. A memory that is over 16 years old, yet still very fresh in my mind when I think about it.
Picture it: Christmas 2001. I was 18, almost 19. I came back to Virginia for Christmas – My mom and two of my three sisters had already moved back to Virginia while I stayed in Sweden with my Dad and one sister. After Christmas, I was going to end up going back to Sweden by myself to finish off the rest of the school year.
When asked what I wanted for Christmas I told my parents two things: 1) Stuff for college and 2) Please. For the love of God. No stuffed animals.
I explained further that I always get some form of stuffed animal – I was too old for them now, plus there’d be no way I’d be taking any of them to college. Space being a premium in a shared dorm room would be a major contributor, besides, hey: I was 18 and the few stuffed animals I kept around were old memory ones. Not because I particularly wanted stuffed animals.
So, Christmas morning I gather in the living room with my family. Presents were handed out and… all three of my sisters had piles of gifts surrounding them. I had two presents only: a discount white prom dress that my mom had bought as a potential grad dress (needed white for grad day) that I had already seen and said no to – because graduation was not poofy prom dress worthy. And… wait for it… A small stuffed dog. (Exact same as the dog pictured.)
As you can imagine, it was disappointing to realize that my own parents put absolutely no thought or care into presents for me… Especially as I had put thought into the gifts I gave… and my sisters all clearly were thought about much more.
My mom wanted to know why I didn’t seem happy this Christmas morning. I was honest. I didn’t yell or anything. I said straight out that I specifically asked for no stuffed animals, plus it was clear that there was no thought given to me.
The amount of gifts in itself was not an issue to me – if they had been two somewhat expensive gifts and my sisters didn’t have anything that expensive, I would have recognized that it was a fair thought process… But…
She admitted that they had COMPLETELY forgotten to buy me gifts AT ALL. They didn’t even realize until Christmas Eve as they were setting things out under the tree. Too late to do anything about it, she dug through her closet to find SOMETHING to give me so it could be a “special Christmas” for everyone… and … cue the mom tears. It went from my disappointment to all about her in 0.2 seconds. Because she had “tried so hard.”
The fucking dog hadn’t even been bought with the intention of giving it to me anyway.
She went to her room to sob loudly, and my father then admonished me for ‘ruining’ my mom’s Christmas and told me to go apologize to her.
What about my Christmas? What about my feelings? That day I saw that it was clear that my feelings meant nothing.
There have been just a couple other times in my life that I have felt just… disrespected… in a gift I received. But this one has always taken the cake. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that Christmas.
Do you have any disappointing gift stories to tell? Comment below 🙂