Sunday, December 14, 2014

Give Me...

“A broken nose hair trimmer? Uh…thank you Grandma, I think? That sure is the nicest thing you’ve ever given me.”

A broken nose hair trimmer kids. Yes, I legitimately got that for Christmas. And you wonder why I think she’s an escaped convict from a mental institution.

For full effect, download “Presents” by Randy Newman, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.

I’ve told you that story before, I know I have. The one year my Grandma thought it would be funny to compare me to an incompetent 93-year old man with braids coming out of his nostrils. The year before that I was an ornithological guru who loved to have cardinals chime every hour on the hour. Before that I was a seven-year old dyslexic child who needed the comfort of a coloring book and a nine-foot puppy. I’ll just say it, my Grandma sucks at giving gifts.

“What do you want for Christmas this year Brock?”

“Nothing. Give me nothing lady, and I’ll be happy.”

Gift giving is a tough art to master, I will admit. You want to give something that shows your true feelings for someone and has somewhat of an emotional impact on them, but at the same time not come off as a weirdo who took a quirk to a whole new level with your infatuation for an inside joke. You want to show that your relationships means more to them than just a $15 gift certificate to Chilis, that the two of you have a bond that can be exemplified through a pretty package with a bow on it. The funny part is that those connections over material things, are rarely made. 

My family doesn’t really do a good job of giving gifts. In fact they’re more than awful. Take last year for instance as I sat in a hotel room with my extended family and was handed an XXXL Charlie Brown T-shirt by an Uncle who is almost literally two of me. Wait, did you just re-gift your own pajamas to me for the sake of just being able to give out a gift to someone? I appreciate the gesture good man, but we both know you L-word cartoon character T-shirts a heck of a lot more than I do. Out of the five love languages, gifts just aren’t our thing.

Heck, I myself am lousy at giving gifts. Go ahead and jump back two Christmases when I decided to show my fellow co-workers how much I appreciated their companionship by giving them tokens of my L-word. I scoured the ends of the earth and delivered some of the most memorable gifts I could imagine: BYU-shaded hoodies from Costco, Nike Shorts for Crossfit workouts, boxes of cereal and silk ties, things that I thought connected us and would fortify the bond that we had. Now these tokens mean nothing to you, because you don’t get all of the inside jokes that we shared. But the pathetic thing is that these tokens also meant nothing to them as I worked my way through a cycle of uncomfortable plastic faces wondering what in the name of Neptune was wrong inside my head.

It’s a tough art, that’s for sure. And here I sit two weeks before the most praised holidays in the history of gift-giving and I have no stinking clue what to give to the people I care about. I could overdo it with a case of 20 half-gallon Blue Bell ice cream tubs (yes, there’s a story behind that), or I could come off as a shallow rip-off and hand out a homemade coupon book good for free back massages instead. I’m dumbfounded kids, absolutely dumbfounded.

At the rate I’m going, maybe a bird clock and a broken nosehair trimmer is the route I’m going to take.

What do you think?


  1. Preach brother. As someone who occasionally gets great gifts--I can say that focusing on what they like is a good thing. Inside joke gifting can sometimes you have experienced. Good luck out there!

    1. Thanks Karyn, I think I'm just gonna go with gift certificates this year. Haha