I’m an exceptional gift giver.
But there is just this one terrible gift I brought to my office gift exchange that still haunts me.
I hope by telling the story of the worst gift I’ve ever given, you’ll feel better about that crappy gift you gave that one time. It happens to the best of us.
The Margarita Glasses
Once upon a time, my husband and I put eight margarita glasses on our wedding registry. And then one of my sister-in-laws got them for us – yay!
Except she got us 16 of them. (Love you, Izzy). We only had space to store half of them, so the other half remained boxed in our closet. (Love you, Izzy).
When my office decided to have a gift exchange for Christmas, I had a brilliant idea, why don’t I just re-gift those margarita glasses since they’re just gathering dust?
Let me just say I had NEVER re-gifted anything before. But apparently that was the Christmas I started lowering my standards.
Reeeally wish I wouldn’t have.
The Warning Signs
There were two key warning signs telling me not to bring these margarita glasses to the work gift exchange, but I totally did not listen.
For one, I was probably the biggest drinker in my office. It’s not that they didn’t drink, but they just seemed to be good at the whole “moderation” thing. Especially my boss. He’s super religious, and maybe drinks one glass of wine once a year during thanksgiving.
But I was really fixated on getting rid of these margarita glasses (love you, Izzy), so I figured it’d be fine as long as my boss didn’t end up with them.
Which would have been fine logic, except for the second warning sign: there were only six of us in the office. It wasn’t like this massive corporate gift exchange where my boss was just one person in a sea of co-workers. No, he had a one in six chance of getting this gift. And even if he didn’t get it, it’s a small enough office, he’d know I was the heathen that brought the margarita glasses.
But my denial was strong and I brought the margarita glasses anyway.
The Gift Exchange
To my surprise, my boss’s wife (also super religious) and their daughter, who’s like ten, joined us for the pre-gift exchange cookie decorating.
I remember thinking, “Wouldn’t it be funny if they stayed for the gift exchange part too and then ended up with the margarita glasses?”
Ya. Hilarious, Jordin.
My boss’s daughter did stay for the gift exchange and she drew a number one, meaning she got to choose the first present.
Now here’s where I really messed up: I skimped on the thoughtfulness of the gift, but didn’t skimp on the thoughtfulness of the wrapping. No offense to the other presents on the table that day, but mine was by far the prettiest. Sparkly silver paper with a ribbon and bow. Perfect.
If only my wrapping standards were as low as my gift-giving standards that year, because this ten year old went straight for my present.
I froze. All I could think was, “Oh shit oh shit oh shit.” My stomach was in knots as I watched her dig into the sparkly paper, eyes aglow with anticipation.
As soon as she got a glimpse of what was underneath, the light in her eyes disappeared.
“Wine glasses?” she exclaimed, utterly confused.
My boss grew concerned, and walked over to take a better look. I hoped he didn’t have enough experience with alcohol to know the difference between wine and margarita glasses and just assume they were wine glasses. Because at least Jesus drank wine. I don’t remember any Bible stories where dudes were sippin’ hard A.
He analyzed the box and proclaimed, “These are margarita glasses.”
Then the light went out of his eyes, too.
As his brain wracked for answers as to why anyone in their right mind would bring margarita glasses to the office gift exchange, he sparked a hopeful idea, “Why don’t you go ahead and open it,” he said to his daughter, “I bet that box is just a trick and the real present is something different.”
Oh shit oh shit oh shit…
With some effort, she got the box open and pulled out the margarita glasses for everyone to see. Nope, not a trick.
I think at that point the light went out of everyone’s eyes. It was only the first opened gift and already the entire event was tainted.
When my turn came, I considered stealing the margarita glasses back from the ten year old girl, because her entire family’s disappointment was so palpable. But then I thought, “Naaaah.”
The worst was over – even if I take them back now, the embarrassment still happened. I’d just be adding insult to injury by embarrassing myself and getting stuck with those damn margarita glasses again (love you, Izzy).
By the end of the game, my boss and the rest of his family emanated more outright disappointment than I’d ever been around in my entire life. I mean these people were BUMMED.
It was so awkward going about the rest of the day after that. Like I just ruined my boss’ family’s entire Christmas, am I just supposed to pretend like I didn’t notice?
To this day I still feel awkward when I think too long about this situation. Unfortunately, my bad karma for re-gifting a present came back to haunt me…
The Next Year
The next year’s office gift exchange was one of those white elephant gift exchanges with a zero dollar spending limit. Basically you just wrap some junk you have laying around your house, which, apparently, was something I was already doing for regular gift exchanges.
This time around, my boss made sure his daughter would not even be in the house while the gift exchange was going on. Because who knows what that heathen lady Jordin will bring this time.
Can you guess which piece of junk my boss wrapped for the gift exchange?
Yep. Those damn margarita glasses.
Thank GOD I didn’t end up with them, but I wouldn’t be surprised if those margarita glasses come full circle, like a creepy lost soul who won’t rest until they are safely tucked away in the back of my closet again…
(Love you, Izzy).
What’s your worst gift?
I can’t be the only one with a gift giving memory that makes me shudder.
Shoot me and email or post in the comments.
Cover photo by Yuanbin Du.
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