An article I read on gift-giving and gratitude reminded me of a funny story I heard this year. I’ll keep it short, since I suspect few people who celebrate Christmas have time to read emails and blog posts on December 23. A respected professor and researcher whose studies focus on gratitude and its physical and mental health benefits made a conscientious effort to practice what he preached. However, one Christmas he found himself speechless when he and his two brothers-in-law opened gifts from their mother/mother-in-law only to find the same red plaid sport coats. He confessed that words of gratitude did not come easily in this situation.
This anecdote led me to a search for lists of bad Christmas gifts, which I found on the City Room blog of the New York Times from December 23, 2010. Included were “a plastic brown mushroom with things glued to it,” “a large brown stuffed toad,” a “box of straws and a tube of mustard,” “ice-cube trays,” and “a can of haggis” (my on-line dictionary says it’s a traditional Scottish dish consisting of sheep or calf entrails and organs mixed with oatmeal, suet and spices, boiled in a bag made from the animal’s stomach).
Happy Holidays to all and here’s hoping the season brings you family, friendship and love, and that the only gifts that leave you speechless are the wonderful ones.