Worst Christmas present from last year.

Handerpants - Worst Christmas present ideaA quick Google search brought up Handerpants as a terrible present. As you can see from the picture, they are fingerless gloves, designed to look like underwear. I’m not entirely sure who they are aimed at, but at least they are quirky and raise a small smile.

I blogged recently about hiding Christmas presents (here) where I mentioned that my Christmas’s as a child were always fantastic. The build up, the excitement and most of all the presents were always fantastic. My mum loved Christmas and being her only child she spoilt me rotten.

Last year, we both agreed that times were tough. She’s in her seventies now, and I’m not exactly rich. From memory I think we agreed to either get no presents for each other, or to spend a tiny amount. The recollection is hazy, but I certainly wasn’t prepared for what she did buy me.

In a Christmas bag, on the table, we’re a couple of gifts for me. I hadn’t been expecting anything and in truth there wasn’t even a gift that I had secretly eyed from afar. What I’d asked for from those that were buying was Amazon vouchers. Easy. I could then buy what I wanted in my own time.

Instead I was given the present bag. It was sealed at the top, so the contents weren’t immediately obvious. I picked it up. It was weighty. Images and ideas flashed through my head. Remember, this woman, as much as I love her, is in her seventies. There’s no way that she would know what my interests were, much less would then buy me something to do with those interests (which may be slightly unfair on her, but it’s also true.) There was every chance, I thought, with 2013 merely a week away, that this could be a bag of VHS tapes. Perhaps, I pondered, it may be an amusing gift. She’d seen a He Man and Battle cat set of action figures in a charity shop and bought them knowing I’d loved them as an 8 year old.


Worst Christmas present - Comfort Vaporesse Ironing Water

The bag tipped slightly to one side as I lifted it, and the unmistakable sound of liquid sloshing about in a bottle was heard. Oh bless her. She’d ignored our agreement and bought me a bottle of Jack Daniels. Maybe she did remember my likes and dislikes after all. That had to be it. Jack Daniels, and a decent sized bottle too, judging by how heavy the bag was.

“Mum, you shouldn’t have!”

“It’s not much, but you mentioned you wanted some.” She replied.

Alarm bells. That phrase. “You mentioned that you wanted it.” Oh God. Down the years this phrase has been uttered before every single rubbish present has been received. To me, the phrase means I’ve asked for something, and am about to receive it. To my mum, it means I have vaguely mentioned something in passing in some kind of positive tone.

“That Fukushima Nuclear Plant meltdown was terrible, wasnt it, mum? At least the majority of people managed to escape, so that’s good.”

Or as my mum would hear it: “That Fukushima nuclear Plant meltdown was […] good.”

Then a few days later I’d be handed some weapon-grade plutonium. “You said you liked it…”

Mum looked at me as I stood there holding the bag, it’s contents still washing around the bottle inside. I wracked my brains thinking what I’d asked for, but couldn’t remember for the life of me. I smiled awkwardly as I used my fingernail to slit open the sellotape holding the bag.

To my surprise, the bag held two gifts. The bottle, which was the first thing I pulled out, was heavy and squidgy to touch.

“You said last week you needed some… ”

I look back now and wonder how long I stood there, open mouthed and gawping at the present. I like to think it wasn’t long, but in the year that has passed since it feels like it was hours.

“Oh yeah, I’d forgotten,” I said as I turned the large bottle of Comfort Vaporesse Ironing Ironing water over in my hands. “Thanks mum.”

I put the bottle down on the table, the purple lid fitting in neatly against the backdrop of the Christmas tree with the coloured lights that my kids insisted on putting up. I dipped my hand back into the bag, which was no extremely light. At least the second present wasn’t a bottle of Vaporesse.

A thin, flexible present nestled in the bottom of the bag. I pulled it out and studied the front. It was a glove that you use to get lint off of your clothes. I was dumbstruck, though managed to mumble a thank you again. I picked the presents away, promising that I would use them. “Well, definitely the Comfort as I need that for my iron,” I explained quite defensively so as not to upset mum, “but the lint glove will have to wait until I’ve finished using the lint roller you picked up for me a few weeks ago.”

Without wishing to sound ungrateful, these were definitely candidates for the worst Christmas present. Suddenly, Handipants don’t seem such a bad idea at all.

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