Thanks, I’m Touched. Baffled, But Touched.

December 11, 2011


The ones that were clearly picked up at the last minute at a truck stop or airport.  The ones that obviously were desired by the giver instead of the receiver.  The ones that the saleman must have talked them in to. Then there are the ones that just made you wonder: has this person ever actually met me?

No, I don't know why.

Strange gifts.

Not necessarily bad… but, well, let’s be honest – often bad.  We’ve all received them, and we’ve all given them.  Sometimes it’s on purpose, sometimes not.  Maybe it’s one of the famous strange gifts, like the Yodeling Pickle, or the book Knitting With Dog Hair.  But often it has that personal touch of bizarre, inexplicable.  On a weird level, I suppose they’re more effective than “better” gifts, because they tend to stick with us, even if it’s because we’re just trying to figure what were they thinking?

Great Moments In Strange Gifts

Since it’s the season of gift-giving for so much of the world, and we’re drawing ever closer to the perilous mini-season of Last-Minutes, and of “Oh Crap, I Need A Gift for _______!”, your Weekly Question Of The Week question for the week of December 11 is: What is the strangest gift you’ve ever given or received?

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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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34 Comments on “Thanks, I’m Touched. Baffled, But Touched.”

  1. BrainRants Says:

    One year I got five black Dixie cups. For Christmas. Totally random.


  2. becomingcliche Says:

    My mother-in-law asked for an “Ove-glove.” Yes. I had to go to Wal-greens to buy my mother-in-law a present. I still haven’t recovered.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Hopefully you had time to stop for a phosphate. Maybe check out the latest issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

      You know, I haven’t even been in a Walgreen’s since… hm… ever? Maybe never? So I don’t actually know that they’re hopelessly antiquated.


    • She's a Maineiac Says:

      I’ve received the Ove-glove from my in-laws years ago and still use it today. (I look like a complete dork but my hands are burn-free!)


  3. amiss Says:

    A bottle of snow. A NICE bottle of (partially melted) snow.

    I thought it was the most clever gift exchange gift ever – after all, some people spend their whole lives never seeing snow. Aren’t we lucky and fabulous for having a white Christmas?

    From the way the rest of the party reacted, I may as well have offered up used underwear.


  4. Kitchen Slattern Says:

    Not the strangest, but the worst gift. In response to “something small that I can put on,” a boyfriend once gave me a Walkman (back in the Pleistocene) then helpfully suggested it was “for the gym.” A cautionary tale.


  5. Nicole Says:

    The worst gift I’ve ever received was a gas card for $10. Even better, in the card, my friend had written, “I saw this lying around the house and thought of you.”


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Wow, it would have taken no effort to pretend you at least bought the gas card. I don’t suppose you asked why it made your friend think of you? Do your friends say things like, “You know that Nicole, always buying gas in $10 increments.”


  6. Deborah the Closet Monster Says:

    Most of the oddness hasn’t been in the items but in other aspects–such as my dad driving to give me my October birthday presents on my sister’s birthday while totally ignoring her, or my next door neighbor giving me money (yeah!) but in odd increments like $1.09 . . . and then withholding when we didn’t give thank-you notes valued at more than his gifts! 🙂


  7. angrymiddleagewoman Says:

    Do you remember Chia-pets? “Ch Ch Ch Chia!” was the commercial? One Christmas I gave my Father-in-law a Chia Head. He was a big prankster so I gave him a Chia Head and pretended I was totally serious about it. The really funny part is that he used it and it sat on his patio for over a year. He said he enjoyed bragging about it to his friends.


  8. k8edid Says:

    One year my husband gave me a book of discount coupons for restaurants and entertainment and a pair of socks. I had bought a watch for him, and the wedding ring I couldn’t afford when we got married. I remind him of that horrible gift every Christmas, but I think he still doesn’t understand why I was offended…


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I’d like to think he winked and said “Merry Christmas, Sweetie” every time you got a free popcorn at the movies, or a second dinner of equal or lesser value at Olive Garden.


      • k8edid Says:

        He certainly did, and we used those coupons on his nights to cook – now that I think about it, it WAS a brilliant gift. And I always wore those socks on our “dates”.


  9. Blogdramedy Says:

    One cotton napkin in red and green with black moose print. ONE. Very seasonal but ONE?


  10. She's a Maineiac Says:

    I have two. I received these gifts from an aunt. A huge ceramic (and quite ugly) Winnie the Pooh statue for the garden. And a ‘Quilting is Easy!’ book that was used. I’ve never ‘quilted’ before in my life, so why start now?


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Ugh, the public display gifts are the worst when they’re not something you want. A book can go in the shelf and slooowwly disappear. But big, giant Pooh Bear’s not going to go gently into that good night.


  11. madtante Says:

    One of my aunt’s gives me wooden spoons every Christmas. She knows I cook but I still find the Dollar Tree set of 4 (truly 2 packages for $1) is lame. I’d rather have an empty card. It’s the thought that counts — that’s true but I don’t want the bloody spoons and feel guilty for recycling them (by putting them in the recycling center). I could burn them as kindling…


  12. jacquelincangro Says:

    A talking Sigmund Freud head key chain (batteries required). Was that a Freudian slip?


  13. gojulesgo Says:

    This is an awesome question. The one I’m thinking of right now is a nut roaster. My dad misunderstood my request (a few Christmases ago) for a gift certificate to the Indian restaurant, Spice Grill. Apparently he went to three different stores asking for a ‘spice grill’ and wound up with a nut roaster. Haaa!


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      But just think of all the times since then you were like, “Man could I go for some freshly roasted almonds” and then POW, you were good to go! Assuming you had a bunch of raw almonds lying around.

      Regardless, you have to feel for your dad a little, going store to store, everyone saying, “Sir, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”


  14. cassiebehle Says:

    Last year at our work Secret Santa party at Valentino’s (way to splurge, managers!), someone from our team had wittled a baseball bat out of some wood he found in the park. It was not standard size or weight but it was certainly was awful! He had also burned our company logo into it.


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