I overheard some women discussing the worst Christmas gifts they’ve ever gotten — a present regifted to the original giver and a $50 gift card with only $23.99 left on it — and it got me to thinking, What was the worst Christmas gift I’ve ever gotten? Now, I know men can be notoriously bad gift givers (I remember the Christmas my father proudly gave my mother a home haircutting kit), but women aren’t always home-run hitters either. After a year in which I had gained fifteen pounds and failed at losing the weight on the Nutrisystem tastes-like-newspaper diet, I awoke on Christmas morning to find a festively wrapped large package from my first partner. As the Lexus commercials say, “No one ever wished for a smaller holiday gift,” so I excitedly opened it to reveal… a Suzanne Somers’ Thigh Master.
Still, the worst gift I ever received came not from a good friend or an intimate, but from someone I barely knew. She and her husband were having a Christmas party and since he was the coach of my partner’s women’s hockey team, they kindly invited the whole team, plus me. We were all to exchange gifts and the wife mentioned having a “special” gift for my partner and me. Her excitement over our present grew as the party neared. Knowing they enjoyed a nightcap, I had purchased a bottle of port wine, but started worrying that my choice was not worthy of the bounty coming my way. En route to the festivities, I ran by a liquor store to buy a more expensive brand of port.
At the house, I proudly handed over the liquor to the hosts and noticed the line of standard gift baskets for all the other team members. Poor things, I thought, as I gazed at the lone giant box in the corner; bet they all wish they were as “special” as me. The husband opened up the port as his wife handed my partner our gift. I couldn’t fathom what was about to be revealed and certainly never imagined… a homemade plywood end table with a decoupaged sketch of two naked women embracing. Huh?
Now, I don’t have the greatest taste in fashion or interior design, but is this really what folks think to give to two lesbians they barely know? Got some extra plywood in the garage and those Playboy-esque sketches; instead of throwing them out, why don’t we glue it all together and give to those two dykes for Christmas?
I said nothing except “Thank you” to our hosts as they were truly gracious and kind (albeit misguided) people. But I must say that suddenly those standard gift baskets looked downright classy and, unfortunately, far out of reach for such a “special” person as myself.