“My people”, the people who I feel a most kindred spirit with have routinely been at least thirty to forty years older than me. I think it started when I was born and I just grew with that age group. One time I was visiting my Nana and my great aunt and talking about the best Christmas gifts they had received. I can’t name a single one but I remember the unending list of horrible gifts that they had been gifted –each one funnier than the previous memory.
Everyone has at least one – I know I have a large egg shaped ornament with naked elfin figures playing some French horn/violin hybrid instrument, edged in glitter on my Christmas tree right now…upon giving it to me a coworker proclaimed “I saw it and thought of you”. But another time I thought I was getting a dud that ended up being one of the best gifts ever.
A dear soul in my desired age bracket hosted me and my kids for a Christmastime lunch that went disastrously. She was irritated with me when I said the kids were going to have water instead of the Fruit Punch Fanta she’d bought for them (they were 4 and 2 at the time) and that we were going to skip the potato salad that sat in what looked like a puddle of room temperature mayonnaise (which I already despise). It got weirder after that…seriously. She had bought incredibly expensive (and a little scary) life-like dolls for the girls (that still reside in doll beds in my house and stare at me with sinister, dead glass eyes) and for me she had a beautiful ornament. As well as a size 22 women’s skirt suit and a sheet set minus the pillow cases.
Now, I was not ungrateful for the gifts or having been thought of and fussed over and hosted. But I remember her telling me that the skirt suit looked “about my size” and the sheet set “was bought for the pillowcases but the color was ugly”. Huh.
I donated the skirt suit to a women’s shelter where they were happily received because professional attire in plus sizes are not often donated to meet demand. The sheets I folded and kept. They were golden and high tread count and beyond that they were super soft. As a matter of fact, they are on my bed right now because they are my absolute favorite set (though I don’t have pillowcases to match). I really do love those sheets.
There are many reasons that people give an offbeat gift. Obviously the financial component comes up. But here is what I took away from that – it is an expression of goodwill, no matter how it comes along. You never know what the future holds for you or the gift giver or how one day, years from being given a head scratching gift those you love fiercely will squint their tiny eyes at the object and gleefully exclaim – “I think those people are naaaaaaa-kkkkkkk-eeeeee-dddddd”! A conversation starter at the very least.