Happy holiday Rant--or-- Mom got me in the Xmas drawing

OH, GHOD! :eek:

Every year, the members of the family put our names in a hat, & draw out the name of the person we’re gonna give presents to.

This, year, Mom drew me!

I was 18, that Xmas. I had asked for a book from Mom:
The Soft Machine.

Mom, being cool, has never even tried to censor our reading materials.

I saw a beautiful, leather-bound, gilt edged edition in the bookstore.

Mom is a brilliant shopper–for food. I have seen her bring home $485 worth of food for $25, after coupons & rebates.

But, when she shops for gifts it’s another matter.
She goes to the first store she thinks may have the item.

If they don’t have the item, does she go elsewhere?


Does she special-order the gift.


She picks something approximately correct.

Xmas Morn

The package looks like a book.

Oh boy, oh boy ohboyohboyohboy! It’s The Soft Machine!

I open it.


Black Beauty.

My eyes glaze.

“Black Beauty?” I croak.

Mom, smiliing beatifically–" Yes Dear! It’s about a horse."

*Head swimming.

Remember, Mommy nursed you through two years of childhood asthma. TWO YEARS! You cannot say things like this to Mommy.*
She went to the right store, looked at the correct display case, remembered I wanted a leather-bound book with gilt edges, saw they were out of The Soft Machine, & got something approximately right. Black Beauty.

Mommy is buying me a Xmas present again this year. <eyes glazing> <whimper>

Poor Bosda!

A few years ago, my folks were going to be stopping at Mount Rushmore while returning from a trip. I asked Mom to get me a little 3D model of the monument for my desk. As it turned out, Mr. S and I changed our travel plans a week after my parents were to have gone through, and we stopped at Mt. Rushmore also. There in the gift shop were some nice little models, just what I wanted. I didn’t buy one, though, because surely my mom had already bought one for me.

When next I saw her, she presented me with – a flat refrigerator magnet with a drawing of the monument. “Well, I didn’t think you REALLY wanted one of those model thingies.”

Luckily she had kept some kind of catalog from the gift shop, and I got my little model a few weeks later. :: Scarlett gazes over at her little Mt. Rushmore, sitting behind the Liberty Bell pencil sharpener ::

I THOUGHT I was speaking English . . .

Oh god…

Has anyone here ever heard of Ore-Ida Cottage Fries? You probably haven’t. They’re difficult to find, but not impossible. What they are, are round, flat, corrugated potato slices. Like ripple chips, but thick, and, of course, frozen. They are ambrosial, but for some reason, they are the rarest of all Ore-Ida specialty fries.

I first discovered them at a little generic market in Lakewood, Ohio (one of Cleveland’s immediate suburbs). They may have been a new product at the time, and as such, I didn’t realize that they would prove to be so elusive. I left for school in Pittsburgh, and when I planned a weekend visit, my mom asked me what, if anything, she could procure for me.

“Cottage fries!” I said cheerfully.

“What are cottage fries?”

“They’re round and flat and corrugated. Like ripple chips. They’re reeeeeealy good.”

“Where would I find them?”

“At Haskell’s Superette. I got them there all last summer.”

“All righty!”

When I arrive, my mom announces, “I got those cottage fries for you, but they call them waffle fries.”

Now, many of you here may be familiar with waffle fries. They’re uneven, cross-hatched, and the greater portion of a batch is curved. Those, I don’t like. They don’t lend themselves to ketchup dipping, and they’re too hard and crumbly for my taste.

Trying not to be a prima donna here; after all, she doesn’t have to get me anything. “Mom, I said cottage fries are round, flat and corrugated. These are uneven, cross-hatched and curved.”

“Well, that’s all they had.”

“Okay, so they didn’t have cottage fries; no biggie [yes, I used to say ‘no biggie’:p]. But I didn’t ask for waffle fries.”

Flash forward a year, and my parents are in Kentucky. Again, I ask her to look around for cottage fries. This time, I stress, round, flat, and corrugated. Again, I get, “They call them waffle fries.”

Trying not to blow a gasket here, but my mom is very well-read. She knows what “corrugated” means. She should know what “round” and “flat” mean. And most importantly, she should know that if the package says Waffle Fries, then they’re not Cottage Fries :mad:.

“Mom? What does this can say? It says ‘root beer’, does it not? Okay. Does it contain ginger ale? No, it does not. How can you tell? Because it does not say ‘ginger ale’. Why would a bag marked ‘Waffle Fries’ contain cottage fries?”

“This is what you asked for.”

“Mom? If the package does not say ‘Cottage Fries’…then…they…are…not…cottage fries.”

“So they changed the name!”


[sub]And no, those Oven Chips that you see in the stores lately are not the same thing. Close, but no cigar. They’re corrugated, but also rough and somewhat uneven, and they’re supposed to get crispy.[/sub]

I have said many bad things about my mother, but the first year it came out mom bought me ** Trivial Pursuit **[sup] tm [/sup]for Xmas. It did make up for some bad things.

a few years back my best friend and i spent a summer in france. my mom asked me to get her something from limoges, anything.

well, as it turned out, the day that my friend’s mother was going to limoges, we had other plans. i didn’t particularly care to see the city, so i just gave her some money asked her to pick something up for my mother. she brought back a very pretty little plate.

when i told my mother about this, she got upset that i didn’t actually go to limoges and buy the plate myself. somehow it was less authentic because i was not physically in the city where it was made.


Ahhh, yes. Good old Mom and Christmas presents.

My Mom’s pretty good. She’ll actually get what I ask for - provided I describe it in painstaking detail and spell every word for her.

For instance, if there’s a music CD I want, I need to tell her what the name of the group is, sometimes several times. Then I need to spell the name, sometimes several times. Then I need to do the same for the name of the album.

Last week we had the Christmas discussion. I thought I could get away with asking for a DVD. First I had to explain what a DVD was. Then I needed to explain that I wasn’t asking for a DVD player

I kinda have the opposite problem.

My mother-in-law demands a detailed list of “Things We Want for [Occassion]” for birthdays and Christmas. This flies somewhat in the face of the spirit of gift-giving, in my mind, because, seeing as this is supposed to be one of those most-important familial relationships, part of the whole gifting process is finding something that the person will enjoy based on what you know about them. I imagine it would be nice to ask if you have any suggestions, but demanding to know everything a person wants? Getting them everything on the list, and nothing else? I don’t have a thoughtful family member, I have a personal shopper.

If you suggest something too vague, she gets irritable.

Oh, you want slippers for Christmas? What kind of slippers? Doesn’t matter, L------, whatever kind you find that you think are neat. I wear a women’s size nine or a men’s size eight. No, but what kind do you want? The kind with just the toe part? That’d be fine. Doesn’t matter. Just something to keep my feet warm in the winter. Just toes one, fine. Those silly character ones are fine, or the ones that look like bear feet, or even the sock ones with the no-slip stuff on the bottom–if you find something neat, go ahead and get it. Surprise me. But what kind do you want?


So she gets a detailed list of exactly what we want. Both me, and my husband. (Okay, L------, I realize that you don’t necessarily know me very well, maybe not well enough that you feel like you can select gifts for me. Okay. Now, here’s the next list. It’s for my husband. You remember my husband, don’t you? Oh, wait! That’s right! You bore him in your womb and raised him for the first eighteen years of his life.) She then proceeds to buy us every last pea-pickin’ thing on the list no matter how long it takes.

Surprisingly, we tend to ask for things that we want, and so when we get the birthday package, we call and say thanks for the stuff, and we are grateful and enjoy our stuff. As for the items she didn’t send, we are not bitter or ungrateful–we simply shock and amazement go out and buy them for ourselves.

Then, four weeks later, a second package arrives. Filled with exact copies of all the stuff we just bought.


And the really annoying thing is that she refuses to buy us DVDs. “They’re too expensive.” (It’s not like we’re asking for boxed sets or freakin’ anime imports here–just your usual DVDs that cost the same as a VHS tape.) Well, here’s an idea . . . how about instead of getting us every goddamn thing, you pick and choose whatever you like to fit in your budget? That way we get at least a [i[minimal* surprise when we open the box. I feel guilty sometimes because I don’t know if I’m asking for too much–knowing that she’s going to get everything (except DVDs, of course) . . . but then she gets sulky if you don’t give her a long enough list!

I say again:


oh, yeah. every present i got last christmas was just like that.

mostly what i asked for were computer games, and a few books.

well, here’s a kicker; to make things simpler, me and my brother consolidated our request lists, because most of what we wanted was wanted by both of us. the things that were specific to both of us were marked as such.

when christmas rolled around, she managed to do fairly well, save for a distinct tendency to get mac or console versions of PC games we wanted.

no biggie; those can be returned.

however, the one thing on our shared list that i wanted for me specifically she gave to my brother! he then promtly proceeded to accidentally crunch the CD under a rolleychair, because he simply didn’t care much about it and forgot where he had set it.

oh kay, now that i’ve got all the “Whine” out of my system, i can go back to being a normal person… or as normal as i get, anyway.

Moms are so fun!

I keep telling mine that I want a gift certificate to Hastings, which is the closest large bookstore. A gift certificate would give me an excuse to leave the Tharnettes with their daddy and spend a blissful afternoon wandering through miles of untasted words. Ah, rapture!

What did I get last Christmas? A mixer. Which is handy, but baking isn’t as much fun now that the kids insist I let THEM lick the beaters. I’m the only reader in my family, and I can’t seem to get them to understand that, yes, I AM serious when I say my books are among my most prized possessions, and yes, I WANT MORE! You’d think my Mom would get it, she watched me go through honest-to-God withdrawel symptoms when I was 9 and we went on a week-long camping trip with NO BOOKS. Shaking, cold sweats, the works. It wasn’t pretty.

I wish my mother-in-law would just stick to the lists. She goes to the “gift” aisle at the local Wal-Mart. Wanna know how much she knows about the son she bore? Last year, she bought him a…singing bass. Yes, that stupid plastic wall decoration. We do not put kitch on our walls. Our computer room has one thing on the walls except for the clock and the art deco style wall sconces: a sword.

90% of what she buys us every year goes back to Wal-Mart two days later. Really, if she can’t afford much, I understand. I’d rather have a single DVD than five $5 pieces of junk.

All I want this year are gift certificates to places like Amazon and Barnes & Nobles, because all I want are books, movies and computer games. Nothing else. But no one will get me just that.

Have you seen “Bridget Jones’ Diary”? You know the scene where she’s at the Christmas party and sees that lawyer guy wearing a totally goober-esque knitted sweater with the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer head on it? Well, that’s me on any typical Christmas. Mom just won’t let me grow up.

Last year I got a pair of oversized slippers shaped like bear’s claws (I’ve grown to love them, though). The year before: A knitted sweater ringed with hand-holding Snowmen. The year before that: a scarf that would make Doctor Who say “Uh, thank you, but it’s a bit too colorful and awkward for me”.

my mother refuses to give anyone a gift that they might actually need.

every year my mother asks my grandmother what she wants for christmas. every year my grandmother asks for something practical, a small appliance, comfortable shoes, etc. and every year my mother complains that she could buy those things herself and instead gets her something useless but “pretty.”

so, i have no idea why i thought when i was having financial troubles and had spent the last of my cash on christmas presents that she would actually honor my request for money for christmas. instead she spent a couple hundred on buying me candy, knick-knacks, and – of all things – dolls.

after that i asked for gift certificates. they’re sufficiently unpractical enough to satisfy her, and i can save them so that when i’m low on cash i can afford to do something nice for myself.

My mom doesn’t even attempt to buy me presents herself anymore. She asks me what I want, or suggests a type of present. This year she suggested a Palm Pilot, which I do want, but may get a cellphone instead. Then she either goes shopping with me to get the model I want, or just tells me “buy the one you want, and I’ll give you the money”

Granted, there is less than zero surprise, since I already have the gift a month in advance. But, I do get something nice every year, and mom doesn’t have to stress out about whether she bought the right thing.

When I was a teen-ager, my brother and I bitched and moaned one Christmas about all our presents. My mom got so pissed at how ungrateful we were that she cancelled dinner and we all just suffered for the rest of the day.

It really sucked, but it tought me a lesson. I don’t care what I get, or who I get it from now. When someone gives me something, I appreciate the the fact that they cared enough to spend the time, and I let them know it means something to me.
The only thing I hate about gift giving and holidays is that you get trapped into dealing with other people’s spending habits.

For example, the in-laws are not rich and really can’t afford to go all out for everybody. But they spend way to much anyway. This is just an extension of how they run their ENTIRE financial life. So we end up with uncomfortable moments around the holidays because my wife and I are responsible with our money and refuse to bust our budget every year to “keep up” with the people who give to much.
Of course, since we are responsible with our money, we have nice things and appear to have disposable income to them. So they always think we cheaped out, and we always wish they wouldn’t put themselves into a hole giving us presents we don’t need.
Plus, since we plan our purchases and budget ourselves, we pretty much own everything we want within a month of wanting it. So it is really frustrating to get gifts you don’t want or need when you know they just can’t afford to give them.
That is the only thing that bugs me about Christmas gift-giving.

see, that’s the thing. i don’t feel like i have any right to complain about my mother’s gifts because she bought me something. but at the same time, i feel like she didn’t think of me, or even care what i need or want. she buys presents that she likes. that’s what really bothers me. i’d rather she saved her money and just spent the day with me.

abuse, you make a good point. The way I think about it, I don’t care whether someone buys me a present worth a dollar or a thousand dollars – it’s the thought that counts. But what really chaps my butt is when there’s no thought that’s put into the gift. When I give a gift, the first thought in my mind is, “What would this person really like and want, given what I know about their likes and dislikes?” For example, my sister is a very high-stress individual, so she likes relaxing, comfy gifts: comfortable sweaters, candles, foofy coffees, that kind of thing. So when I buy her gifts, I try to stay in that realm so I can get her something she’ll really like. My family… let’s just say they’re not so good at this. (My gifts from my mother last year included a cheap clock inset into a piece of driftwood and a baseball cap washer… which would be nice if I wore baseball caps.)

And a funny example of how bad my family is at gift-giving… one year my aunt gave me the Official World’s Ugliest Sweater. Powder-blue, large snowflakes and skiers, almost appropriate for (maybe) a five-year-old kid but not for a grown man like myself. Took it back to Kohl’s, and was told by the girl at the Returns desk that yes, the sweater did come from Kohl’s, but they hadn’t sold that sweater in THREE YEARS! The kicker was that I could return the sweater, but they’d give me a grand total of…
wait for it…
four dollars for it.

I took the four dollars, went to McDonald’s and bought myself a chicken sandwich and fries. :slight_smile:

(To this day, I don’t know whether my uncle had received the sweater as a gift and my aunt was re-gifting, or they had bought it for themselves and found it in the closet and said, “Hey, our nephew’s about this size!” Makes me shudder that I share these people’s genetic heritage.)

I second that emotion.

My mother-in-law goes absolutely nuts at Christmas. It’s even worse now that she has grandchildren. But I digress.

Last Christmas, she bought me a leather jacket, a suede shirt, a pair of incredible diamond earrings, and some other stuff. Her son and two daughters made out in a similar fashion.

Yeah, I know, what the hell are we bitching about? Just this- all of us are so broke we can’t even pay attention, with students loans out the wazoo. Sure, hubby & I have good jobs, but with a family, a house, a car, etc, we have to be careful. My parents understand this, but apparently the monster-in-law does not.

My husband is worried that she will feel slighted if we don’t buy her something significant. WTF?!? Tough shit! I have a budget and I am sticking to it. I don’t care what she’s bought.

Sorry but it is bullshit to change your spending habits to accomodate the sensibilities of an idiot.

Amen, angel and Freedom. I think I’ve told already about the times my parents were too busy working/going to school/drinking/brooding to do anything about Christmas. Then my mom would take me out for the Boxing Day sales and buy me a bunch of Stuff. [Chris Farley]Well whoop-de-freakin’-doo![/Chris Farley] And if I didn’t fall all over myself: “Oh, dad, I so appreciate this piece of shit Wal-Mart hi-fi that you got on clearance because no one else wanted it, oh you’re the best dad in the whole wide world!” I was accused of “sulking”. I wanted dinner and a tree that I didn’t have to put up myself and no shouting.

[sub]Someday I’ll tell about the Christmas Tree Incident[/sub]

What Mr. Rilch and I do is, if we can’t celebrate a holiday on the day itself, we set aside time before or after to do it up right. We’ve never had to do that for Christmas, but we’re prepared to.

100% agreement here. Both common sense and etiquette dictate this. The proper thanks for a hideous gift is not to try to come up with some obvious lie (or the sneaky “Oh, you shouldn’t have!”) but rather a heartfelt “How thoughtful of you!” Because it was thoughtful of them to give you the gift.

But the OP was about when someone has specifically asked you what you want, and then proceeds to get you something totally different and pretend (through sheer denseness) that it’s the same thing you asked for.

That’s just plain stupidity, unrelated to whatever generous spirit may have motivated the action.

Good point, Scarlett. My reply was more to abuse angel and was on a bit of a tangent from the OP.

As for the OP itself, that’s either laziness, or self-centeredness. (Or maybe just sheer density, I dunno.) It’s just ridiculous to ask what someone wants, then get them something completely different instead. Then why go through the bother of asking in the first place?!!?!?

Course, that’s exactly what my family does every year. “Hey, Zanshin, why don’t you make a wish list of the things you want for Christmas?” Every year I get asked what I want, and every year I end up with blank VHS tapes, white T-shirts and something from the clearance rack at Wal-mart. Now I just ask for Barnes & Noble gift certificates. :slight_smile: