It was our first Christmas as a married couple. Ex#1 and I had only been married for a couple of months when we celebrated our first holiday as husband and wife. To be truthful our marriage was already strained. My father had been diagnosed with lymphoma on our wedding day and I had been escorting him to chemotherapy several times a week and taking care of him and my mother when my father was too ill to do so himself. We were looking forward to Christmas because my father was going to be taking a break from treatment and we were hoping he wouldn’t be so sick and could actually enjoy the festivities.
In all honesty I had been so busy taking care of my parents and working full time that I never put my marriage or my husband on the front burner. He assured me that was okay because he had lost his mother to lymphoma and knew what I was going through. I also learned later that he was happy to have those nights free to pursue other interests but that’s a different rant for a different time, and I didn’t know these things then.
I was looking forward to our first Christmas together. The high from all the wedding gifts two months earlier was just beginning to wear off and I was anticipating, with excitement, what my new husband might put under the tree for me. I thought maybe some slinky negligee or something that sparkled. I don’t know why I was thinking about sparkly things, we didn’t have any money, but we also didn’t have children. At least I didn’t have children, he had one from a previous relationship but he was little and didn’t require expensive gifts yet, I was sure my new husband would find something romantic to put under the tree.
I have no idea what I gave my husband for our first Christmas together. It was probably practical and it was probably something he wanted since he came from a family where they made a list of the things they wanted. My family was much more passive aggressive and made no such lists. We preferred to make the gift giver squirm and figure it out on their own. And I had no idea what I wanted. I had just gotten a shitload of gifts for getting married and certainly didn’t need anything. I just wanted something from the heart. Something from him, my new husband, that told me he knew me and what I needed.
Which is exactly what I got.
Thankfully I insisted on opening our presents to one another in our home, alone, without other family around. We would go to my parent’s house later in the day and open presents from them and other family members but I didn’t think it was prudent or appropriate to open something that might be very private so we decided to open our gifts to one another by ourselves.
My husband had placed his gift to me under the tree a few days before the big day. It was the size of a small shoe box and it was very heavy but it made no noise or movement when I shook it. And I shook it often. He would smile and give me little hints about what it was. He was clearly pleased with his choice.
“It will make your life so much easier”
“You will have more time to do the things you want to do”
“It will give you freedom”
What could this wonderful thing possibly be? I figured it probably wasn’t sparkly but I thought just maybe it might be a cellular phone. Cell phones were still relatively new and rare and even though I didn’t need one back then, because no one needed one back then, I loved tech toys and so did he. I would have been totally cool if he had bought a cell phone and used it himself. He certainly had more use for one than I did being a real estate agent.
He was so proud of himself I was sure that must be it. What else could it be based on it’s size and weight?
So it was with great excitement that I ripped the package open on Christmas morning.
I removed the paper and noticed that he had put the gift inside of a Sunbeam box. What a kidder my husband was. He was so clever he was trying to fool me in the process of opening the gift. Keep the anticipation high, what a great husband I had!
I opened the box and was stunned to see that indeed the box was no decoy. Inside the Sunbeam box was a Sunbeam iron.
I’ll repeat that for you.
I restrained myself from throwing it at his head.
He is still smiling, a huge shit eating grin, expecting me to wrap my loving arms around him and tell him how this wonderful gift is going to change my life.
“You don’t like it?” he asked.
“I thought you’d love it because your iron is so old and it doesn’t have any of the features like auto shut off that this one has” he continued.
He went on to explain his reasoning for choosing this gift. He thought it would help me to better iron his shirts if I had an iron with all the bells and whistles. Little did he know the appliance had nothing to do with my ability to iron his shirts.
That was twenty years ago, we have been divorced for nearly 18 years now and I have no idea what happened to the iron though I vaguely recall it falling off the ironing board shortly after it burned one of his shirts.
So what was the worst gift you ever received? Or were you the kind of person who gave an item like an iron? Share your stories here and be sure to visit the other Tribal Blogs member’s blogs to read their stories.
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An iron, just months after you were first married. Sounds like you weren’t very im-pressed! I once got my ex a sewing machine. She took it back.
an iron…wow!!! LOL I haven’t really received any gifts that bad, but my boyfriends dad got his mom a thigh master before. Very thoughful huh!
I love the fact that the iron burned one of his shirts before it fell off the board and probably stopped working for good.
I don’t think I’ve ever received a household appliance for Christmas before. Hang on, I did get a Shark vacuum a few years ago but I actually wanted that. I’m a practical chick, what can I say.
I think I’m going to ask for a maid this Christmas, though.
Yea, CG. It’s like the iron even knew it was a bad gift.
There are exceptions to the no appliance rule. Dyson trumps all. Men, if you must give an appliance make it a Dyson, she will thank you in so many wonderful ways.
Oh no! I don’t iron. Hubster and his mom have tried to convince me how I should but have FAILED. Finally, my MIL bought one of those cool steamers that iron in seconds. Best part is…she bought it for her son! Guess they finally realized ironing would not be done by me. I’m surprised hubby #1 didn’t get whacked in the head with it.
I didn’t iron before that either, he was trying to help me get over my aversion to the task. Bastard!
My wife is with Rachele and she doesn’t iron either. I iron but only when absolutely necessary — which is, like, never. 🙂 Why didn’t he just get you some dishwashing liquid while he was at it? Sheesh.
We didn’t have a dishwasher.
An iron? I think he may have found an ever-so-slightly burned iron shape on all of his shirts after that! It’s the sort of present you might but a wife of thirty years or more. I said ‘might’, because some wives might want something practical for a present, once the honeymoon period is over.
I don’t think I would ever put “iron” on my Christmas list.
Ha ha! Neither would I – not never, not nohow 🙂
MOL! That is like getting a kitty… not even a new litter box, a new bag of litter.
P.S. The worst Christmas gift my human ever got from her boyfriend was the first holiday season they were together. He gave her a luggage rack. That almost derailed the relationship right at the beginning. Fortunately, he was teachable.
Goats don’t do Christmas gifts – we would just eat the paper. The publicist really doesn’t remember any bad presents but she and the male person have a habit of buying each other the same thing for Christmas. It’s rather amusing. One year they bought each other bat houses. The exact same one.
They are very weird if you ask me.
I think every new husband has to learn the hard way that appliances and cooking utensils are not good gifts unless they are specifically requested. Otherwise, be prepared for healthy serving of cold shoulder.
No, I disagree, Tarheel. I think we all know that appliances and cooking utensials are inappropriate unless they’re specifically requested. And even then, they should be given with something nice, like jewelry or a nice outfit or a coupon for a back massage. If we don’t know that, we shouldn’t be getting married. Or dating. Or heterosexual.
I could have sworn I left a comment! Jen, left a message for you over at Tribal Blogs…
An iron… I seriously don’t get why people think appliances are good gifts, unless specifically askef for of course.
I have never received a gift anywhere near that bad. Although one year my youngest sister kept saying she wanted nothing for Christmas though… so that’s exactly what she got. My 2 other sisters and I got her all kinds of random crap. An empty box, lint, sardines hot glued to a popsicle stick (sealed thankfully, my older sister is rather inventive.). We did have real gifts for her afterwards though.
That actually sounds like fun. When I was a kid my brother sent me on a treasure hunt for my present from my parent. It was incredibly clever and entertaining. I still have the envelope he fashioned out of a 3×5 notecard. The present was a piece of luggage, I think I asked for it. A Samsonite red suitcase, the ones that the monkeys were throwing around in the commercials (someone please tell me they remember them). I don’t have the suitcase but I have the note with treasure map on it and every time I see I smile.
humph ! And I was actually expecting an irony !
I usually ask for useful gifts, but I tend to be picky about the quality of an item. I remember using part of our wedding money for a 200 fricken dollar iron (I don’t even want to know with inflation how much one of those suckers would cost now). And no, it didn’t iron the shirts automatically and hang them and put them in the closet. Where is that iron now? In my closet on the top shelf. Do I ever use it? Nope. I couldn’t find it for the longest time and went and bought a $10 Kmart iron. So on the rare occasion I do iron, I pull out the Kmart one cuz it’s not on the top shelf.
If someone were to actually ask what I wanted I would tell them that I want just want them to be good, just like my father told my brother and me when we asked him what he wanted. I thought that was such a lame present when I was a kid but now I see it is just as unlikely as getting that Mercedes.
humph ! and I was actually expecting an irony !
Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.
OMFG! Regardless of any faults you might have, even if you were a total bitch to your ex, even if you cheated on him every damn day when he was at work and used his toothbrush to scrub the toilet, I will never, ever blame you for divorcing him. I cannot think of a more depressing and offensive gift to give a woman than an iron. What a complete fucking idiot this guy must have been.
He didn’t get it, that’s for sure. But, it really makes for a great story. It truly is unbelievable.
That’s why he is ex #1 one – I think he is now living on the island of ex #1s who thought it was a good idea to buy appliances for their wives, like my ex #1 who thought track lighting was a good idea because he didn’t understand why I liked to sit in the sink and put my make-up on. I swear, (most) men are morons when it comes to gift giving. They hate shopping, they don’t really have a romantic bone in their body (unless they’re horny) and all good gift buying goes to the little ho on the side. Something happens when they say “I Do” . I gave my husband the first 5 years to come up to scratch on Christmas and B-day gifts – (and I tried, so hard to smile and tell him how much I loved that esppreso maker and the new hubcaps for my car) NOW, I don’t say a word, I just turn up the Kay Jewler commercials REALLY loud and tape the picture of whatever it is I want that year on the mirror in his bathroom – and on his computer – and his windshield. Now I have a bucketload of jewelry I love and a husband that doesn’t have to stress out over buying the right gift. (especially since my b-day is on Christmas Eve and he always had to worry about figuring out two things). The only man I know who is gift shopping gifted is my dad. A dozen yellow roses for mom every b-day and V-day – a beautiful gift like art or jewelry =- I guess that’s why they are celebrating their 50th this year.
I don’t know. I’ve never gotten anything from a husband that set my world on fire but not all of them sucked either. I wonder if we just aren’t happy unless it really is a Mercedes with a big red bow?
You clearly married a very practical man. No redhead should ever, ever do that.
You are so right. The second one wasn’t the least bit practical.
Geez! An Iron? Really. Ugh. That really IS an awful gift.
Since I don’t iron, I can’t think of a worse gift. I always wanted to marry a man who ironed. My husband will iron his own shirts (he knows better than to expect me to do it) but I still haven’t convinced him to iron my clothes. I just go wrinkled.
That iron needed an accompanying decal that said “worst friggin gift ever” t0 be ironed onto his shirt. I’d rather have gotten nothing than an iron. I think the scorched shirt was a perfect ending to the Shakespearean-esque Christmas gift tragedy.
My worst gift ever was a Poinsettia Plant because I killed it, as I do to every plant I receive as a gift.
I thing I win the worst Christmas gift ever received. I received cow manure for my garden that was it pretty cool huh.
Did you want cow manure? That is a pretty horrible gift unless it was
something you requested. I hope you requested it because it would really
suck to have that under the tree.
No I didn’t ask for it he brought it over for my garden and then as Christmas approached he advised me that the manure was actually my Christmas gift. Great guy huh.
Oh dear. An Iron sun beamed or diamond studded doesnt just cut it! I’ve never received a bad gift. ehh maybe a set of cutlery when I was 19. but I was enamoured with marriage then and thought it was a pre-proposal sort of gift. lol.
I like your telling of this tale. Hope your writing is going on well.
[…] was a brief exchange I had somewhere, maybe in my post about the worst Christmas gift ever, and after it was stated I forgot all about it. I do this because I know, after 44 years, that I […]