The Gift of Giving (or not as the case maybe)

This is a collaborative post…

We’ve all been there. It’s a fact of life that at some point we will forget someone’s birthday, an anniversary or some special occasion. That’s mainly why I got married on Valentine’s Day. Well – that and my undying love for my wife of course.

And you usually remember when Cardz4U is closed. Then you end up going to the BP garage to buy a limp bunch of flowers. You know the ones that have been sandwiched between the charcoal and screen wash for the last 3 weeks? And you’d better hope it’s your Granny’s birthday that you’ve forgotten because all they’ll have left is some funereal, white carnations. Tell you what though – if you must forget – this guy’s got it sorted…

But it’s not just about remembering. The whole giving and receiving thing is a minefield. And you need to be Prince Harry with a rat on lead to successfully navigate your way through it all.

Each and every one one of us will receive a present that raises an eyebrow or two. Ranging from the useless, to the weird novelties, to the crimes against fashion and beyond. Here’s a few examples of my own personal experiences…

Exploding gloves…

So – I have this Uncle who is famed for his present giving. To protect his identity I will call him Uncle Phil (he’ll appreciate the private reference if he ever reads this).

It’s stuff of legend. Every year – usually around March – our family waits with bated breathe to see what Uncle Ian Phil has bought us for Xmas.

Usually it’s a treasure trove of the weird and wonderful. This particular year was no different and our family’s haul included – amongst other things – some cotton buds, a Scooby Doo lucky dip, a lipstick rubber and some charcoal (the artistic type not the stuff from the garage). All good random fun.

A month or so later our daughter asked us where her “exploding gloves” were. There were blank faces all round. What on earth are exploding gloves? And if they did exist what possible purpose would they serve? Anyway, she went on about them for a while and we continued to brush it aside as nonsense. And then one day she said to us “you know – the exploding gloves I got for Xmas”. Then it clicked…

She meant exfoliating gloves. Uncle Phil had bought her some exfoliating gloves for Xmas. She was 3 at the time…

Gloves – dangerous in the wrong hands..

Beware of Recycling Those Unwanted Gifts…

It’s good to be green but if you’re going to recycle you better be sure your gifts are cleaner than a priest on Sunday. I once received a birthday present from Charlotte’s cousin. It was none other than Jamie Oliver’s latest book. I do like to dabble in the old kitchen so it was an extremely thoughtful gift and one that was gratefully received.

But it was only when I came to make Jamie’s rhubarb and ginger crumble that I noticed there was a dedication on the inside cover…

Charity begins at home…

I’ve no idea who Pete and Alison are. Sorry Sharon – you’ve been rumbled – but we love you for it!

And don’t get me started on Secret Santa…

You feel obliged to get involved otherwise you’ll be seen as the office scrooge. But you never, ever, ever pick out a person that you know or indeed like. Then you get set a budget of a tenner. Ten whole quid! But when you actually get to the shops it’s quite clear that a tenner was never going to enough.

The budget simply means you end up conflicted about whether to spend more money or just take a risk on something that you’ve no idea whether they’ll like or not. Personally I go for the latter but the odds are you’ll end up buying red wine for a recovering alcoholic. Or maybe some nice Xmas stilton for an ardent vegan.

Inevitably Charlotte always ends up getting a bloody ‘clean cotton’ Yankee candle as her Secret Santa. Our cupboards are full of them. The funny thing is we’re allergic and they make us all sneeze. Still, at least they scare the mosquitoes away when we go camping.

If I’m honest I much preferred Secret Santa at my old place when our budget was just 50p. It didn’t matter then. You knew you were going to give (and receive) something quite hilarious and everyone would usually fall about laughing. I once found a Ken Dodd LP in a charity shop and gave that to a work colleague…

Strange fruit
Fruit – clearly not the only strange thing…

Apparently it was the best gift he’d ever had. So he was either lying or they were struggling for entertainment in their house. Good fun nonetheless.

It’s been a while since I’ve missed a birthday. Or at least I think it has. But I reckon I’d better replace my printer ink…just in case…

So there’s some of my experiences. Have you forgotten a birthday or received a bizarre present? It’d be fun to hear your stories….

Enjoy this post? Read some of my other collaborations…

The Perfect Summer’s Day

The Advantages of Being Bald


  1. I keep a present stash for those emergency gifts, Its got me out many a situation! I did give what I thought was a heart felt gift to a work colleague which I’d bought off Amazon and turned out to be second hand and she gave me it back in a right grump! (She was the office bitch so should’ve expected it really)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s hilarious! Exfoliating gloves for a three year old, what on earth! I once got a candle snuffer off my auntie – metal and ceramic and very ornate and old fashioned. Its totally random but I can’t bare to part with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh gosh don’t get me started on secret santa. Your uncle sounds hilarious with his choice of gifts. I once received a giant blow up tulip for valentines day and I was mortified. It was as big as me and I had to walk 15 minutes home with it lol


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