December is the month of “Giving” and over the years we’ve all received many different gifts from many different people. Inevitably though, some gifts end up being better than others...So we asked ourselves what gifts stuck out as our worst and best ever?
Some gifts we remember because of how much they meant to us at the time or how much they still do. Perhaps a loved one gave you something meaningful at a difficult time in your life or you were struck by the sudden kindness of someone you barely knew.
But there are also the presents you remember because of how much your stomach sank as you unwrapped what you thought was going to be a special something. Perhaps you received a gift with so little thought behind it that you felt actively insulted (a Jean Nate body spray and powder gift set from the drug store?). Maybe you were given a gift so thoughtful but so unwanted or unromantic that you couldn’t help but grimace at your own ungratefulness (a travel-potty as a birthday gift from a fiancé...even if it was for an upcoming sailing trip. What do you say to that?!). Possibly one meant to be funny that went awry (one of us once gave some deodorant along with a flannel shirt. Oops…)? Or did you ever receive something so bad that it was good…as in hilariously funny and suitable to pass on to the next unsuspecting recipient (like the non-melting silicone lobster claw oven mitt?).
These are the best and worst gifts our makers have given and/or received:
“The worst gift I ever got was a midnight blue silk taffeta prom dress from an estate sale when I was 25, from the mother of a friend. A very strange gift indeed, and she kept asking if it fit and if I used it. No and uh...no! The best gift was actually the one I gave to my girlfriend that turned out to be more of a gift for myself...my first beekeeping kit. It changed my life!!”
Claire Marin — Catskill Provisions
“My mother had a small garden. For mother's day, I gave her two big bags of manure. I don't know why she got so mad at me. I had to drive for almost 4 hours with these two bags of cow dung in my passenger seat. I'll never figure out women.”
Art Thorman — Tinsmith
Photo credit: Weber Wools
“The best gift I ever received was the gift of learning to knit! My yoga teacher taught me to knit and it has been the gift that keeps on giving — mindfulness, creativity, and my company It's a...Yummy!! The worst gift I ever received was a box of gourmet chocolates in an edible chocolate box — it was sooo delicious that I ate it all in one sitting. Kind of a best and worst gift all combined into one gift!!”
Jessica Meyrowitz — It’s a Yummy
“Of course, we at Crown Maple love our maple syrups, sugars and variety of maple products! The best gift we have received is a Crown Maple Deluxe Trio Box featuring our Crown Maple Dark, Very Dark and Bourbon Barrel Aged syrups. This year, we’re definitely excited about giving and hopefully receiving a variety of other new Crown Maple gift packs. The worst gift we’ve received is any sweetener other than maple. Definitely don’t send us honey or agave this year!”
Maddie Turner — Crown Maple
“The worst gift I ever got was from my husband when I was 48-years-old. I was hoping for some lingerie but instead received a yellow fleece leopard print union-suit style pajamas with velcro-on tail, paws and cap with kitty ears. After the obligatory try on and laughs, it went to the back of the closet! I couple years later, my 22-year-old son wore it for Halloween...he made me laugh!!! Shortly after that, my 16-year-old daughter started wearing it around the house on the weekends. She makes me laugh. Now my 90-year-old mother has asked to borrow it for a New Year’s Pajama Party in her assisted living community. I’m already laughing!! So what started out as the worst gift has turned into one of the best.”
Sandy Maine — Adirondack Fragrance & Flavor Farm
Photo credit: Fancy Costume Mall
“The best gift would have to be the Barbie dolls my grandmother gave me every Christmas (back in the 70’s). She scoured the toy stores for Barbies with dark brown hair like mine so I got a Marie Osmond doll with Donnie one year, and a Hawaiian Barbie another year. My mom was anti-Barbie, so this made them all the more awesome. Worst gift -- hey, there are no bad gifts -- I really can’t think of one!”
Jessica Giovachino — GioGio Design
“The best gift I ever got was a new bicycle under the tree that I had asked for and dreamed of when I was about 10, that turned into the worst gift when I realized it had my brother's name on it and he really didn't want a bicycle. That really is a best and worst gift all in one!”
Tim Jones — Stissing Design
"Worst gift: A real live size doll (I always hated dolls!) when I was 5. That thing was as cute as Chucky! Do I need to add it went deep into the closet to never return? Best: A craft set! I learned how to model with clay, cast and paint plaster figurines, and make all kind of fabric items from scratch. Guess it set the stage for what was coming."
Elena Kanidinc — SimplyNu
“I never had a bad gift — I am one of the lucky ones! My best Christmas was awaiting the birth of my first grandchild! Boring — I know!”
Audra Herman — New York Makers
“The best gift ever was received on Christmas Day when I was 9-years-old: A ping pong table for the DiRobella children from...Santa. It was finally a game my brothers would allow me to play with them! Upon reading the note “Santa” left behind, I suddenly, and rather traumatically realized, that Santa had the same handwriting as my dad…”
Amanda DiRobella — New York Makers