Giving and receiving gifts during the holidays can either be joyful and exciting, or incredibly disappointing. Do you remember the feeling as a kid when you were tearing through endless gifts of awesome new toys, only to come across a pair of socks or a new sweater? Um, thanks cousin George, but I already have enough socks. As we get older, we realize it truly is the thought that counts when it comes to receiving gifts from family and friends, unless of course, its the worst gift ever.
My family does a “secret santa” gift giving tradition so we can save some money and all still get a thoughtful gift. However, because of this, within the group of about fifteen people, we all only receive one gift (besides those from our own parents), so tough cookies if you don’t like yours! One year, I got the worst gift of my life, and the worst part about it is that my Aunt Jane was so excited to give it to me.
What you should know about my Aunt Jane is that she’s the loud and fun aunt who is opinionated and boisterous. Also, she loves to ride motorcycles. While we sat around picking names from a hat of who would give their “secret santa” gift next, I remember hoping one of my female cousins had drawn my name a few months earlier. But of course, Aunt Jane looks at me when its her turn and says, “Oh, you’re going to love this!” I cringed.
Slowly undoing the wrapping on the large box, I knew I was going to have to put my acting skills to the test in the next few seconds. As I pried open the gift, my worst fear had come true; a dungaree jacket with jewels and turquoise pins stuck all over it. My Aunt Jane had made a trip to visit a friend in Arizona earlier that year and had picked it up from a flea market. She had a huge grin on her face as I pulled out the jacket and everyone oohed and ahed over at, and my young cousins snickered and held back fits of laughter.
I did my best to smile and thank her in awe of the beauty of the jacket, knowing in the back of my mind that this would be hung in my closet never to be worn. I immediately got jealous of my relatives who had gotten money or gift certificates, as this was certainly the worst present I had ever received. The only thing that could have made it worse happened next; “Try it on, try it on! Let’s see!” I regretfully obliged and the jacket was about 2 sizes too big, but my Aunt Jane smiles and told me it looked awesome.
Even though this truly was the ugliest piece of clothing I had ever seen in my life, and I felt a small bit of anger that my Aunt Jane had pulled my name for the “secret santa”, I knew that it made her happy to give her niece a gift she thought was very special. The holidays is about making others feel good and seeing happiness surround your loved ones. Even though that jacket has never seen the light of day, I knew the joy it brought to my Aunt to give her family member a thoughtful gift on Christmas.