We all have fond memories of the holidays. The festive feasts and treats, the stocking stuffers and bow-topped bikes, the ugly socks and three-sizes-too-small sweaters—we don’t need photos to recall our favorites and least favorites. Considering the gift-giving season is just about to conclude, we at Opportunity Max thought we’d share some of the truly memorable presents we’ve given and received over the years. You know, as a digital gift to you.
Let the storytelling commence.
My Humps, My Humps, My Lovely Christmas Ungulate
I moved from my small hometown in New England to the Midwest after my mom remarried. Our first Christmas together as a new family was interesting. My step-dad, having only scarce knowledge of my then 15-year-old self’s likes and dislikes, had apparently racked his brain for weeks trying to find a gift for me.
He settled on a 6-inch plastic camel with a saddle and stirrups. It looks exactly like this:
He put it in a box, wrapped it with tissue paper, then placed it delicately under the tree.
When I tore the gift open, I thought it was a joke, a months-too-late April Fool’s prank. Where was the accompanying scimitar? The Collector’s Edition DVD set of “Lawrence of Arabia”? The CamelBak pack? Nada. Just an ear-to-ear smile on his end, and a thank you on mine.
For next Christmas, I took that camel and put it in a large aluminum tin—the ones for biscuits that grandmas use to store thimbles and string—then wrapped and taped the bejesus out of it. I purchased a giant bow, the cost of which was likely more than the camel itself, and put it on top. Under the tree it went, shimmering under the pure white bulbs and dangling ornaments. For three weeks it sat, tempting him to give it a shake, taunting him.
Then came Christmas morning, his pocket knife by his side, ready to break those scotch-taped seals. We saved it until the end, of course. Laughs ensued, and we now re-gift the camel in interesting ways each year. This Christmas I might cut it into pieces and place each one in a separate box—but then again, that might be somewhat psychotic. Any other ideas?
Emily the Ungrateful, Meet Karma
This memory doesn’t necessarily concern me, but it is still one of my favorites.
This happened when my siblings and I were all relatively young, so my sister Emily was probably 12 or 13 at the time. My sisters and I have an on-going theory that every Christmas is someone’s “year.” For example, if it were my “year,” I would get all the best presents and make out with way more stuff than my siblings.
Well, this year was definitely Emily’s year. She didn’t have a ton of presents but had gotten what seemed like SO MANY gift cards. Granted, I was young, but I imagined she had hundreds of dollars’ worth of gift cards. When the time came for Emily to give her gifts, she walked out of her room with a box and just tossed everyone their gifts – she hadn’t even bothered to wrap them.
My Mom was furious that Emily was so ungrateful and wouldn’t even wrap the presents. My parents ended up taking away all of Emily’s gifts that year, including her hundreds of gift cards. I’m not sure what happened to them, but needless to say, Emily had a meltdown. I’m not gonna lie, I was completely shocked – I think we all were. I felt pretty bad for Emily at the time, but now we all look back at it and laugh.
Andrew’s Parents Must Think He’s a Dog
When I was 18, I asked my parents for a set of golf clubs. It was a lofty request (new sets of golf clubs can go for anywhere from $400 to $1000), but I was determined to become a great golfer, so I thought this would be a solid first step.
Come Christmas morning, I run downstairs with my siblings and see a gift wrapped in the shape of a golf bag. Unable to contain my excitement, I run straight to the gift, tear the wrapping paper to shreds, and look in awe, mouth agape.
My parents (or Santa, if you will) had gotten me a giant toy golf set somewhat similar to the product pictured below:
Their gag gift initially broke my heart. However, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The toy golf set provided my siblings and me with endless hours of outdoor fun chasing balls in the backyard, while my real golf game is still in its infant stages.
Meat & Fruitcake: The Perfect Combo
My friends and I had purchased a fruitcake back during freshman year of college. Each Christmas it would get re-gifted to a different person in our group. When we were seniors, we finally cut it open and all had a slice of that delicious four-year-old bread.
I also have a friend who is a vegetarian. Every year I give her a horrible meat-themed gift. Salami logs, hot dogs, whatever—if it’s got the meats, it gets my stamp of approval.
Kendra’s friends must really hate the holiday spirit.
No Need for Maid Service
I remember (I think I was a freshman in high school) one Christmas my mom got me a dustpan… it was terrible. She thought it was the funniest thing ever, but I definitely did not. She really thought I would use it, but I am pretty sure it is still just sitting in a closet somewhere. That was not a gift that I expected from my mom, and I haven’t made too much use of it.
That would be the worst Christmas present I’ve received.
A Mutt Makes for a Delightful Christmas Surprise
One of my most cherished Xmas memories is when we bought our young daughter a Bichon Frise (French for “curly coat”). Our daughter, Susannah, was about 5 or 6 years old at the time. We would secretly go over to the kennel and play with the puppy, who we named “Snowflake,” so she would get used to us and her new name.
I think we hid her in the garage for a couple of days before Christmas. After Susannah had gone to bed Xmas Eve, we put the puppy’s crate underneath the tree.
I will never forget the expression of sheer delight and joy on Susannah’s face when she raced downstairs and saw the puppy for the first time. She immediately took it out of its crate and, I kid you not, carried that dog with her the entire day. She would not put it down. Much to our surprise, Susannah decided to name her new puppy “Rosie.” So much for Snowflake.
Needless to say, Rosie became a beloved member of our family, paving the way for a menagerie of mutts who joined our family throughout the years.
How about you? Have any cherished or embarrassing gift-giving memories that put ours at Opportunity Max to shame? Share them with us in the comments below, and have a very happy holiday season!