Tuesday, December 25, 2007

CHECKING IT TWICE

I hope you won't think any less of me (than you already do) after reading this. I offer it as a cautionary tale. Also, as a reminder that lists might be a helpful thing and something I endeavor to keep in the New Year. It's on my list here somewhere.

Our hapless office assistant Narnia (name changed to protect us all) is big on gift giving. I have never once been able to use with any enjoyment a gift that she's given and I am quite easy to please. I also believe the act of giving transcends the item...usually. It's just the items that she has chosen (or actually bought in mass quantity and told me about) are never something that are well, to my taste or are useful. For example:

- a polyester Christmas ornament scarf that I have absolutely no use for as I don't actually celebrate Christmas. Not that I have anything against Christmas, it's just I'm Jewish and even if I weren't, would still not have such an item in my wardrobe. Off to the donation pile.
- a scarf that has some gold thread through it that itches me like sandpaper. I won't give it away as I wouldn't want to subject this on even the neediest human.
- this year it was a tea light holder (sure, sounds promising) with the word "HOPE" emblazoned in big letters. My first thought was "I hope she'll stop giving me gifts."

"I gave one to my best friend too!" she proclaimed. Right to the garage sale pile.


With these evil thoughts dancing through my head, it was my just comeuppance that I totally blanked on buying Narnia a Christmas present. I bought for the teachers, various school related people - everyone on that list in my head, except Narnia. When did I discover this? As I showered before leaving for work yesterday morning. There must be something to the ole shower waking you up thing as I jumped into reality. What to do? Narnia doesn't go to Starbucks, so a gift card there was out. This was my only option as no other stores were open before my arrival, except the newsstand. Today's paper? "Look Narnia, what a great horoscope you have for today!" Magazines? A bag of Skittles? Come on - think woman, think!

The only viable option was to gift something of my own. Horror of horrors! I looked on the shelves in my room and saw a little silver bird that I always liked and then another little glass paperweight-ish item that I had a perfect gift bag for as it turned out. I held them up to Scissors, telling him of my predicament and asked his opinion on which I should give.

"Give her the bird" was his reply. After I stopped cracking up as funnier than his actual advice was the fact that Scissors didn't really grow up in the States and did not at first realize what he had just told me to do. I gave her what I sold as a paperweight and is currently resting comfortably on Narnia's desk where I can still have visitation rights.

I called my friend Jennifer to tell her of my predicament and had tears streaming down my face laughing as she asked between her own laughter "You gave her something from Montauk? Was it some crappy souevenir item with Welcome to Montauk on it?"

"Yeah sure", I continued "here Narnia, I bought this in the summer thinking it would be a perfect Christmas gift for you. Enjoy!"

I assured her that I scoured the item to make sure it made no mention of its souvenir origins. Once certain, I polished her up and wrapped it.

I believe a list may have saved me this predicament, but then again Narnia would have had to make the list. Maybe I'll start that list now, while it's fresh on my mind.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

21 comments:

Tom & Icy said...

What an interesting character. I'll think of this as the 'Narnia syndrome' from now on. Like a neighbor couple that kept bringing us useless gifts: like they gave me a Batman action figure, and my wife a miniature plastic coffin that had RIP carved on it. The woman was eventually committed to a mental hospital and I told the guy to not come around us any more because he was upsetting my wife. I could tell he was strung out on drugs. It was a brother and sister in their 30's that lived together.

ariel said...

When I was in Istanbul to spend time with my Muslim friend, we visited her lady friends, many Turkish families, and some of them visited us, and each and every time the women and girls I met gave me gifts. Whether they host you or visit you, they will give you something, maybe pretty, maybe totally silly and useless, yet, this is a ceremony they find very important, it sure would drive one crazy weren't they so sweet and kind.

However, it is totally ok to give your gift away if you don't like it or have nothing else to give someone else. They think that the point of a gift is that at the moment you hand it, it is not yours anymore, and it's fine whatever the person you gave it does to it. :-)

Thank you for your story! Do give the sandbag scarf away, it can be great to wrap things in it! :-)

G said...

T&I, talk about interesting characters! Creepolas, I say. You did right to ban him.

The Narnia Syndrome is a perfect name. There are many other symptoms to this syndrome which I may expound upon as time goes on.


Ariel, now see that sounds perfect and wise. I love that - no expecation gift giving. Let's hope Narnia has that attitude if she happens by when I have a garage sale (not sure if you're familiar with this term) in the Springtime.

Now you've inspired me to add the scarf to our giveaway pile. It could make several tea cosies - hmmmm.

Claire said...

Oops! I have a 'friend' (the mother of my daughter's friend) who is what hubby calls a 'user'. She never follows thru on anything and always has lame excuses. She lets her daughter stay here for days and then says she forgot about the poor girl. But you know, at least she doesn't pass off weird stuff as gifts like Narnia.

G said...

No weird gifts - just her daughter, huh. We ridded ourselves of such a "friend". People like that are syphons. This person would start off each conversation "Yeah hi..." to which I was always tempted to reply "Yeah bye".

I guess by comparison, Narnia's not so bad after all.

Jeff said...

Oh that's too funny. I know the exact feeling of panic when you have to get someone a gift at the last second and you're out of options. Looks like you got lucky - AND had the private pleasure of giving her "the bird" at the same time!

pia said...

I needed the laugh. Thanks :)

actonbell said...

Well, I think you came up with a wonderful solution! Pretty paperweights are wonderful, and you absolutely cannot tell how old they are.

In the past, my brother-in-law was famous for getting us all offbeat presents, things that were meant to be displayed, but were too tacky to be displayed, like neon-fountains, gyrating music boxes, fake fish aquariums. This is a grown man, btw. A couple years ago, my husband openly laughed at something his parents had received from this son, and Mike's father warned, "Don't laugh! YOU got one, too."

I dread having to shop for someone I barely know, or don't particularly want to exchange presents with, and I think most people feel this way, but there's always someone like Narnia, isn't there?

G said...

Jeff, that shock of recognition! Sheer panic. It ended up being a win/win situation I must say.


Pia, in that case, I needed to laugh with you - so thanks.

PS: You might know the paperweight - I got it at the lighthouse, but really quite lovely. I bought it for my MIL, then kept it. I should quit while I'm ahead here. :)


Actonbell, that was my feeling exactly. She was as good as new in the lovely gift bag.

Wouldn't you just love to be able to say to someone like your BIL - "thank you, but we cannot accept any items that will end up in the landfill." I would.

There's always a Narnia. She and her husband (who look like a little mouse couple from a storybook) make sport of shopping and outlets. It's terrible.

Swampy said...

When I get home, I'll mail you several items from my garage to save for Narnia next year.

tsduff said...

I'm so embarrassed. I had to google Montauk - thinking it was some obscure place on the other side of the world... I asked my Sweetie if he knew where it was, and he said, "oh you mean that place at the end of Longgggisland? HA! Well, I've added a little bit more to my small mental map of the world.

I always use See's Candies for impromptu gifts.

G said...

Swampy, you are always all heart. XOX

Terry, no need - you're from clear across the country. I do give major kudos to your sweetie though and saying LongGuyland correctly. :) Actually somebody from my neighborhood once asked if it was in Maine - that I found to be slightly odd.

Now that's a scrumptious alternative.

weirsdo said...

I think after-Christmas sales are the perfect time to pick up tasteless gifts that truly express your feelings for this individual. Just don't forget where you put them.

the frogster said...

Got your solution right here:

Bake fruitcakes for everyone on your list. No, wait! Listen:

If they dig fruitcake, you're all set.

If they don't dig fruitcake, they'll never get you a gift again, and you're all set.

Win-win.

Happy new year!

Mo'a said...

A funnny story...makes me feel lucky that I don't have co-workers.
Re-gifting is a venerable practice...esp. when one has a gifting Narnia in ones life

Doug said...

No fair! I left a comment on this post. I really did.

Anyway, Happy new year to all the letters.

Logophile said...

Ok, that was too funny.
I think we all know someone like that.
Now that I think about it though, maybe I AM that person!! I sent a Starbucks card to my non coffee drinking friend! :P
She likes their hot chocolate though, so Im going to just go with it.
Happy New Year, G!!

ann said...

you know G, we may not celebrate Christmas, but it still bemuses me the amount of trash the shops bring out every year... taste never seems to come into the equation... doh! still what is one man's trash is another's treasure

G... I wish you and yours a wonderful 2008, may it be a year blessed with the best

lotsa luv ann xxxxx

Nessa said...

Every once in a while, we re-gift a birthday card for a whole year (with new comments added.)

I wish you a very Happy New Year.

Minka said...

Ok...as a European: why was it funny what scissors said? "Give her the bird!"

I don't get it.
*looks puzzled*

Is it to do with eggs?

G said...

Weirsdo, I think that is just the thing. Should I leave the pricetag on?

Frogster - genius! I think I'll stick one in my credenza for next year (why chance it?).

Mo'a, kind of like the ole saying - a Narnia born every minute and two to take er. Or something. Happy New Year!

Doug, I only believe you because this same phenom has happened to me:) Happy New Year right back atcha!

Logo - not you! A Starbucks card is as good as gold - something for everyone. Happy New Year Logo - best to you and the family.

Ann, too true. I haven't even mentioned the straw bags from the Phillipines... Best of new years to you and your wonderful family. May you be blessed with all things good. xox

Nessa - is it one of your handmades? I love that idea! A tradition is born. Love it. Happiest of new years to you too.

Minka, are you toying with me? Okay then - there is a certain finger located midway across one's hand that is utilized to send a sign of vulgarity towards another - in essence f*c% you (not you!). This is called giving (or flipping) the bird. So when Scissors told me to "give her the bird", I not only laughed but indicated that I think that's what I was about to do!

Anyway, glad to be of service and hope getting back into the swing of things isn't too difficult for you. Sorry I missed you this time, but I'm banking on the next! XOX