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The Big Question: I am NOT Neely O’Hara Edition | Manolo for the Big Girl

The Big Question: I am NOT Neely O’Hara Edition

When I was 10, I thought if I got one more stupid porcelain doll I would literally go mad.  Being insane is a highly-respected career choice for a well-bred Southern woman,  and I was one be-ringleted Jane Austen commemorative dolly away from becoming the fifth-grade inspiration for a posthumous Tennessee Williams play.

The problem was, I’d discovered, that after years of being notoriously difficult to shop for I’d accidentally mentioned that I liked a doll. A doll, as in one particular doll.

Well, I got that doll.

All would have been well had the clarion call of “Plumcake Likes Dolls” not gone out to my four wonderful but completely clueless-in-the-ways-of-young-girls uncle. But it did.

I think you see where this is going.

I was inundated by porcelain dolls, I had dolls for Christmas and my birthday and for times when I’d helped them pick up cute girls, which SOUNDS like a nice problem to have EXCEPT:

Dolls have eyes.

They don’t blink.

I’m not afraid of dolls like my friend Cassie is –well, she’s really afraid of doll PARTS, not dolls in general– but when you wake up and the moonlight is streaming in your bedroom, illuminating dozens upon dozens of cold, unblinking eyes staring out of faces without emotions or flaws…well, actually that’s a lot like an initiation rite of The Junior League, but honestly, that just adds to the creepiness.

creepy.JPG
See? Creepy.

The same thing happened to my grandmother, apparently, and her affection for owls.  I imagine she at one point liked them; the little carved alabaster objet I’ve got on my desk is an owl she picked up while she was on Capri, and their racing yacht was The Night Owl (always a good gift). I do not, however, suspect she particularly yearned for a paint-it-yourself owl-shaped ceramic umbrella stand which my brother and I affectionately called “The Hoo” all through our childhoods.

The Hoo lives with me now –you twitterati will recall I woke up spooning him on Saturday morning for reasons known only to God and the makers of my freakishly potent melatonin capsules– and I love it as a cherished token from my childhood. I haven’t received a doll in nearly twenty years and even my grandmother was eventually able to end to the slew of Strigiformes (that’s Latin, yo. You think I don’t know stuff, but I know stuff. You’re not the boss of me.) but we can’t be the only ones.

Today Miss Plumcake wants to know:

It was dolls with me and owls with my grandmother. What was the theme-gift YOU couldn’t escape?

If you were fortunate enough NOT to be riddled with 300 My Little Ponies or nylon loop potholder kits, tell me another funny story about presents.

finally, if you just CANNOT LIVE another moment without your very own ceramic owl umbrella stand –which looks a good deal like mine, although mine is painted in harvest gold, white and avocado– you can get one here:

a variation on

meaningful spooning sessions and childhood conversations not included

EDIT:

The Original Hoo

It is indeed the self same Hoo! This one is dated 1972, which happens to be the same year as my Caddy. Astute readers will notice the Neiman’s bag peeping out of its head and the fabulous cobalt blue pony hair pump behind it. Also for what it’s worth this is about the closest I’ve ever come to actually USING the baby grand piano I bought on a whim.

50 Responses to “The Big Question: I am NOT Neely O’Hara Edition”

  1. frustrated July 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm #

    Help!! The stupid Dove survey will not let me read the site!!! No
    Dove I won’t buy your witches brew, go away!!!!!

  2. Sarah July 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    I was a figure skater for many years, and you would be amazed at the sheer number of figure skating tchotchkes I accumulated over the years. Skating dolls, skating books, skating Christmas ornaments – OH! the ornaments! – I got them all.

    And now that I’m several years clean and sober from the figure skating world, I still have enough ice skate ornaments to generously decorate the White House tree.

  3. AmelieWannabe July 1, 2009 at 3:56 pm #

    I did and still do love cats. And I mean the snuggly, furry, real live varieties. NOT the ones screened on sweatshirts, printed on posters, and created from clay. Somewhere along the line, family members thought substituting inanimate kitty incarnations would be suitable for gift-giving time. It was not.

  4. Booklover July 1, 2009 at 3:56 pm #

    I started playing the viola in 4th grade, and all the way up through high school I received music-themed gifts like stationery and socks.

  5. Genevieve July 1, 2009 at 3:59 pm #

    Omg, yes. Law themed things. God save me from law themed items. God save me from scales of justice earrings (no, really, Plummie, I swear), stupid criminal books, “law school in a box” gifts, and DVDs of “The Paper Chase.”

    Also, I’m a darn good mimic, if I do say so myself. So anytime anyone happens to hear me mimic a politician, a movie star, a character in a movie . . . the next gift giving holiday tends to be themed with whoever I was last making fun of.

  6. Cat July 1, 2009 at 4:08 pm #

    Pigs. I was inundated with pigs for years. Pig cookie jars. Pig dish towels. Pig ceramic figurines. Pig salt and pepper shakers. A pig clock. Stuffed pigs (the plush variety, of course, not real pigs). Pig keychains. Pig calendars. Pig coffee table books. Pig stationery. Pig potholders. Pig fridge magnets. Thank GOD, no pig-themed clothing. I finally just had to announce to the family: “ENOUGH WITH THE PIGS, ALREADY. I have plenty.”

  7. MRS ms July 1, 2009 at 4:16 pm #

    Frogs. Which my sister told everyone I collected. She has such a sense of humor. I did not then, but apparently I do now! Anybody want a frog?

  8. Mrs. Hendricks July 1, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

    Heart-shaped things: cake pans, earrings, potholders, you name it. All because I’m a Valentine baby.

  9. Twistie July 1, 2009 at 4:33 pm #

    Vampires.

    I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I have a great fondness for the novel Dracula. Every time there’s a gift giving event, though, it seems that someone remembers that ‘Twistie loves vampires.’ No. I don’t. I happen to like two very specific vampire-related bits of entertainment where the vampires were THE BAD GUYS.

    I do not need another collection of vampire stories, a teddy bear in a Dracula cape, or a heads up on the latest novel or television show where a vampire is the hero.

    Now bats; bats would be cool. I love bats. I also love garlic. Give me garlic and/or bat-themed stuff and I’ll be happy. Give me gargoyles. I always did want to live in the Addams family mansion (the version in the wonderful old John Astin/Carolyn Jones series I grew up with), so anything that looks like it fits there is likely to make me happy. I just don’t need or want any more vampire things.

    To me, vampires are leeches with legs and I really don’t have a great fondness for them. Please, no more vampire-positive stuff, guys. It’s honestly not my idea of a good time.

    Also, I second AmelieWannabe on ‘cute’ representations of cats. I like my cats with a touch of brimstone about them. It’s a far more accurate depiction. But when I want a cat, I manhandle my real one. It makes both of us happy.

  10. Christina July 1, 2009 at 4:38 pm #

    I did not have this regrettable thing happen to me but it happened to Grandma twice.

    First, she told Grandpa that she liked chickens. She got chickens–enough porcelain chickens to cover her range hood, fill her knicknack shelf around the dining room and still have 5 or 6 boxes of chickens in her basement. Pink chickens with gold whatsits, polka dotted chickens with “Tennessee” written on the body, chickens from Japan, chickens with fringe…you name it, she had it.

    She got tired of chickens and once confessed to me, “If I see another chicken, I’m going to have to club that man.” So, she told him she was tired of chickens and she much preferred clowns now….

    The horror…

  11. mary martha July 1, 2009 at 4:49 pm #

    For me it was angels. I purchased an angel statue to fill an empty spot in a shelf with other religious items (I may be Catholic, but even I thought more than 1 Mary statue was a bit much) and somehow everyone decided I loved angels.

    I got lots of angel themed gifts and it was all well and good, I could pack most of them away with Christmas decorations and it was fine.

    At least it was fine until people started to not just give me adult angels … but what to my eyes are *dead babies*. I understand that ‘puties’ from renaissance art are popular, and what lots of people think of when they say ‘angel’… but they totally creep me out.

  12. Jeni Angel July 1, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    Hey Mary! We have the same one! Although, as you see by my name (and website) that Angel is still a theme in my life.

    Because I’m named Jeni, I’ve spent my life being called Jenny Craig or Jenny Jones or Jen-nay (Forest Gump). I had a friend who said to me one day “Jen-nay, you look like an angel” and it kind of became my nickname. And apparently, a nickname means you LOVE something and therefore, I love angels. The funny thing was, my friends said my nickname was really a oxymoron. Anyhow. . . .

    To this day, I usually get at least 1 angel themed gift for every gift giving celebration. And I usually throw it away.

  13. Omnibus Driver July 1, 2009 at 5:13 pm #

    Antique salt & pepper shakers. Several times I mentioned to the Princess Mom that I was overloaded and needed no new additions to the collection. She loved scouring the flea markets for bargains, and could not rein in her weird need to acquire stuff that I did not want. Finally I told the Princess Mom that if she didn’t stop buying them for me, I was regifting them to her for each and every holiday of the year until I had no more to give. And I have a LOT.

    Yup. She stopped.

    It hasn’t even been a year since she’s been gone, but boy, oh, boy, would I give anything to receive just one more set from her…

  14. Sarah July 1, 2009 at 6:03 pm #

    Bath & Body Works shower gel. It was Hannukah of 2000. When my dad asked me what I wanted, I mentioned I needed shower gel, and I liked the Sun-Ripened Raspberry scent. Over the 8 nights, I somehow got 12 bottles of the stuff. By the time I opened the last few, I was crying.

  15. Cat July 1, 2009 at 6:05 pm #

    It wasn’t something I *wanted* – just something that my family thought was funny. Due to a mishap when I was younger that involved a wishing pond, and myself as a curious kid (who was also overheated), and a mischievous security person at the info desk – suddenly I received frogs EVERYWHERE. That was when I was 8. Now at 40, I still get the occasional frog. GAH! It was over 30 years ago – let it go!

  16. La Petite Acadiene July 1, 2009 at 6:52 pm #

    I’ve been fastidious about not collecting anything, because once you have more than one of something, that’s it — people will buy it for you in droves. (Sadly, this theory tends not to work with Hermes scarves, or I’d risk splashing out for a couple and let the word out that I collect them.)

    However, I do love dogs. Live dogs — seeing doggies makes me happy. My mom took this to mean that I wished to decorate with them, and bought me a HUGE framed print of two dogs looking out from a doghouse. It’s kind of cute, but did I mention how HUGE it is? I’ve put it in the nursery for now, because there’s just nowhere else in the house that I’d consider putting it. The kicker was that when she gave it to me, she said, “I know you love dogs, so I thought I’d get you this.” And because I’m evil, all I could think was, “Well, I also love penises, but I’m not about to start decorating my house with them…”

  17. Margo July 1, 2009 at 6:55 pm #

    My mother passed on a rare and precious gene, that of attracting ghastly gifts. I like to think it has made me less materialistic. Reading Michelle Tea’s Rose of No Man’s Land, she made a reference to fake-hair scrunchies; I got two, from two different aunts, at the same Xmas. My dear Ma beats all, though – one year, everything was housework-related. Da, bless ’em, got her a vacuum cleaner WALL HOLSTER. It has been in it’s box, unopened, since before I was born, because we forget the past at our peril.

    The only theme that I seem to have attracted is cards with fart jokes. A few well-placed strops sorted that out.

  18. Victoria July 1, 2009 at 7:12 pm #

    Oh gawd. Cats. Specifically Laurel Burch cats. My grandmother and I walked by a shop window once and she asked what I thought of one of the items that she liked. I told her it was sweet. (She didn’t actually care what I did like, but if I said I didn’t like it she would pout for the rest of our visit, so there you go.) I had Laurel Burch socks, sweatshirts, totes, everything showing up in the mail for YEARS. As an adult.

  19. harveypenguin July 1, 2009 at 7:47 pm #

    Socks. One time, on a whim, my grandma bought me a pair of funky socks (orange knee socks with pink polka dots, I believe. Pretty awesome when you’re 8 in the 90’s). I said I liked them, so for years, every time I saw her, I got another funky pair of socks. She finally stopped, but I’m still wearing monkey socks and leprechaun socks just because that’s all I have.

  20. Calixti July 1, 2009 at 7:53 pm #

    Cats and rabbits. Because I have a known fondness for both animals, and the former, I suspect, because my irl name is Kitty (short for Katherine). Like other commenters, I have to wonder why being fond of small furry animals makes people think you’re also fond of plush or porcelain versions of said animal.

    And it’s not like I’m hard to shop for–get me a new teapot! You know, since that’s useful! Or a variety of tea I haven’t tried. Or chainmaille supplies. Or a new appliance to replace the one I continually complain about. Or my own copy of a book that I continually request to borrow/that you’ve seen I constantly have checked out from the library. NOT. HARD.

    And yet I get cats and rabbits anyway.

  21. g-dog July 1, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    Kitchen gear – nice when you are a poor student or just graduated and actually need things – even the cheap crap is useful if you don’t have a saucepan yet… But this quickly becomes every infomercial kitchen gadget (99.9% JUNK). And somehow people think you have incredible storage space in the kitchen.
    Could be worse – a friend got the reputation for collecting all things penguin – cute yes, but she had no plans of collecting when she somehow got the 1st one…

  22. Margo July 1, 2009 at 9:36 pm #

    Swans. It started with a swan shaped candle, then a brooch.. and then it got ugly. It’s astounding how such a beautiful creature can be represented in so many horrifyingly hideous ways.

  23. Mango July 1, 2009 at 11:29 pm #

    This isn’t so much a Theme-Present issue as a Theme-Activity issue. When I was a wee child, I really enjoyed sitting on the floor of the kitchen at on Thanksgiving and watching the marshmallows on the top of the sweet potatoes turn brown. Because I was 5. However, it somehow got engrained in the minds of the grandfolks that Mango Likes to Watch The Marshmallows Brown and now, even as a fully grown adult who has major cooking responsibilities now on Thanksgiving, I’m still expected to sit on the floor and watch the marshmallows. This is unfortunate.

  24. Sarah Fowler July 2, 2009 at 1:26 am #

    Horses. Now, I began horseback riding when I was 8 and rode competitively until I was 16. (I got a real horse when I was 13.) This hobby/sport of mine translated into getting horse *everything* for birthdays and Christmas.

    My parents usually gave useful gifts, like nice show gear or new riding boots. Grandparents and other extended family, however, were very prolific with the horse clip-on earrings, horse tee shirts, horse shoelaces, horse bookends, horse posters, et cetera. The horse-related presents mostly stopped in college, but every Christmas there’s always at least one horse present from my grandmother, usually jewelry. It’s usually ridiculously tacky, so it gets thrown away after a requisite guilty week or two.

  25. Jenni July 2, 2009 at 2:03 am #

    Jewelry boxes.
    Before I left home for college, I decided to round up and count all the jewelry boxes I had received in my life. The total was somewhere in the 20s.
    The real fun part is that I didn’t wear jewelry. Well, I wear a men’s sports watch (which I only remove to bathe), and had a necklace. Singular. One necklace that I wore every day for a year of high school. I owned a few other pieces (mostly inherited) but never wore them. I could not for the life of me figure out why I was receiving all these boxes until it clicked that a jewelry box is a fairly ‘safe’ gift for a girl between the ages of 8 and 18 who you don’t know very well.
    Thankfully, I am old enough to bypass most of the holiday gift-giving among family, and no longer bother celebrating my birthday. I am down to three or four jewelery boxes now, one of which actually has a necklace or two in it.

  26. Ash July 2, 2009 at 8:32 am #

    My mother is another cat offender. And since she buys everyone Xmas themed fingertip towels despite the fact I’ve told her I don’t decorate for Xmas, I have a collection of fingertip towels (a useless invention anyway) with embroidered cats wearing Santa hats.

    I’m really more of a dog person. I have cats because I’m not home during the day enough for a dog.

  27. Style Spy July 2, 2009 at 9:24 am #

    Penguins. I am embarrassed to admit I helped this along — there was a penguin-themed bathroom for quite a many years — but I think I realized it had gone too far with the red fleece nightshirt bearing an ENORMOUS faux-fur & felt penguin appliqué that was so thick & stiff one could not have possibly hoped to sleep in it. So now I’d like to go on record as declaring that as much as I loved penguins back then, I love YSL sandals now. :

    :sits back & waits for presents::

  28. Jane H. July 2, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    I’m with AmelieWannabe on cats – just becasue I have them doesn’t mean I want cat stuff. The real three are more than enough, thank you. I also went through a black and white cow period. I LOVED black and white cows (yes I am from Wisconsin but this didn’t develop until I lived in California) but realistic cows. Not cows in bathing suits and sunglasses, not cows in party frocks, not cows dancing. I have a lovely crystal cow and a beautiful Delft cow I got in the Netherlands – those I still have, the rest have been “culled from the herd.”

  29. Kai Jones July 2, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    Oh, I am blessed–I’ve never been “themed.” My mother had elephants, my sister had mice (her childhood nickname).

    If I magically announce that my theme is “pearl jewelry,” will I start getting it? Please? Please?

  30. Leigh Ann July 2, 2009 at 12:06 pm #

    Bath soap. Yes, soap. I admit, I do like fancy bath soaps. But once word got around, now it’s soap for birthdays, soap for Christmas, soap, soap, soap. One Christmas I receivecd 30 bars. And lest you think this is indicative of a personal problem, let me assure you it is not. It’s just family, trying to buy me something they think I will like. And I do–it’s just that I get it in larger quantities than I need.

  31. Jennie July 2, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    Pewter mythological creatures. Dragons and wizards and warrior chicks. I have over 50….ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!! And Star Trek drek. Yes I am a Trekker but I don’t decorate in it. I have the posters, I have the remote control phaser. Folks! I am 53, not in a college dorm! Let’s really consider gift certificates to Sak’s or Nordstroms now…..Pleeeessssseeeee!

  32. TropicalChrome July 2, 2009 at 2:17 pm #

    It was horses for me, too. Now, granted, at the age I was being showered with horse everything I WAS a horse-crazy little girl (in the way that only little girls can be) so I actually appreciated all the horse items, far more than socks or underwear or clothing.

    Until I received my fourth copy of Marguerite Henry’s “All About Horses”.

    Fortunately, I grew out of the horse-crazy phase (they’re still wonderful animals), and the family also let it go.

    As an adult, it was dolphins for awhile – but it wasn’t ME with the dolphin affinity, it was my boyfriend at the time. But for some reason no one will buy men the ceramic dolphin statuettes, so somehow it was transferred on to me. When the relationship went, so did most of the dolphin stuff (I kept the few pieces I actually liked).

    Now if only my mother will listen when I say I really and truly do not need or want another Christmas ornament.

  33. Lee July 2, 2009 at 2:39 pm #

    I’m am not cursed with theme presents, thank god. However, my favorite story involves my stepmother’s sister, Judy. As a child she had been chased by a cow and has a bit of a phobia. Her family took up buying her cow junk, and let me tell you, that family really knows how to do up the crappy collectibles! After many years of playing along, Judy finally told them to CUT IT OUT! They were shocked to discovered that she didn’t think it was funny, she thought it was mean.

  34. Flaun July 2, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

    I could not, for the longest time, escape dolphins. In my youth, I got a dolphin tattooed on my ankle and have since lost my overpowering affection for them. Did anyone in my life actually take note? No.

    My (now ex) husband continually bought chatchke after chatchke of dolphins for me. Not only did I not want more dolphin crap, I HATE CHATCHKES! Ugh.

    Got rid of the chatchkes faster than you can say, “Is that on sale?” the moment I rid myself of the ex.

  35. jojokaffe July 2, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

    Not me, but my mother.
    Her nickname since childhood is Bunny.
    And the house is covered in them. Teapots, pillows, statues, potholders, wall hangings. The family has blocked it out, as a survival mechanism I’m sure. But we’re reminded every time a new guest to the homestead arrives. “OMG, there are rabbits everywhere!”

  36. Janey July 2, 2009 at 5:08 pm #

    I have cats and I drink tea. You can see where this is going.

  37. La BellaDonna July 2, 2009 at 5:45 pm #

    I actually wasn’t allowed to have my doll collection out; my husband thought dolls were creepy, so I had to keep them in boxes.
    I left him, for other reasons. But the box with the dolls – my china dolls, the doll that had been my mother’s, growing up – moved with me. It went into storage for which I paid an additional $100 a month, for YEARS, but it was worth it to keep my precious objets safe. Then my landlord sold the building my apartment (the only apartment) was in without telling me. I found another place to live in a BIG hurry, and went to move the doll box. My landlord apparently lied to me about the waterproofness of the roof: my mother’s doll had collapsed into paste.

  38. La BellaDonna July 2, 2009 at 5:59 pm #

    Twistie, OMG, too funny: I actually DO have stuffed (toy!) bats! I have all KINDS of (cute!) stuffed bats! I started with one lovely black velvet bat puppet, whom I named Fluffy; then the rest got added, gradually. I got them myself, so I actually like them.

    Oh, dear. I have a friend who got me teddy bears. I put my foot down on the grounds of “space” (not enough, that is) – but I am the least “teddy bear” person you will ever, ever meet. The only thing I am less than teddy bears? Minnie Mouse. I was probably about sixteen or so when a misguided soul got me a Minnie Mouse necklace, but even then, I wasn’t a Minnie Mouse person. I’m a dragon person. Or bats. Not rats.

    I understand the “no room at the inn!” problem, and try really, REALLY hard to not buy presents for my siblings, because I love them. They have very little room. I did break down recently: a beautiful little book of insects, an origami-a-day, and a ball point pen in the shape of a fish … and they were just right, which is a happy kind of feeling. Most people, I think, are afraid to NOT give a present, when sometimes NO present is better than a bad present.

  39. Elizabeth July 2, 2009 at 8:05 pm #

    Crosses. I am religious, and I do occasionally wear a cross. I have actually been given so many crosses that I could wear a different one every day for at least a month. Many of them are lovely, and I do wear them, but ENOUGH ALREADY.

  40. Ginger July 2, 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    I was inundated with frilly handmade throw pillows, random dolls (I don’t think I EVER said I liked dolls…so creepy!) and anything with a kitty cat on it.

    Like a poster above me, I like cats, the real live kind. NOT anything that could possibly have a cat picture or shape. I’m still trying to get rid of misguided kitty and doll gifts :S

    At least my mom kept the pillows.

  41. Cara July 3, 2009 at 5:10 am #

    I have a whole theme-country.
    I used to be a japanophile, studied Japanese, got a scholarship and lived there for a year. That was ten years ago. As things go, for many different reasons I would like to explain at great length but I won’t for you sake, I soon felt like I have wasted years of my life in studying that language/culture and after a major life crisis I moved on. Now I thought that after crying and whining on and on and on about how wrong I was to go to Japan and study Japanese my parents, friends and relatives would have gotten the point.
    No.
    Oh, hell, no.
    I still get japanese theme gifts, books, sake cups, fortunately no geisha dolls as yet.
    After trying the sensitive approach I’ve started to tell them rather bluntly I’ve fallen out of love with Japan about ten years ago, yet —- do you ever have the feeling noone ever listens to you?

  42. Holly July 3, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    Well, given my name you can probably guess how many spiky-leaved-red-berried mugs, wrapping papers, boxes etc. I get around Christmas time. Which I don’t mind too much, because no one is hurt if you only get them out at the holidays, and there are tackier things in the world than holly branches. Although that wooly holly sweater was seriously ugly.

    I love tea, and while I’m happy to get a teapot or two, and nice cups and saucers are not unwelcome, the tea warmer, tea towels, tea pot napkin rings, tea themed t-shirts are getting a little old.

    My sister also knows that I like boiled eggs and I now have at least five antique egg cups. They are pretty, but I only eat one egg at a time, you know? However, since I must plead guilty to adding to her penguin collection I can’t really criticize…

  43. Tiffani July 4, 2009 at 7:34 pm #

    One lovely afternoon in June mid 80’s my mom brought home a beautifully handcrafted gingham clown on a rope swing all done up in yellow to match my canopy bed and frilly yellow curtains as a gift for my 11th birthday. Normally this would have thrilled me to my toes however this particular afternoon was the cable tv debut of Poltergeist. And after watching the clown scene in that movie, I would not even have this “thing” in the house. No matter how my mom tried to convince me otherwise, it stayed in her trunk for at least another month or two. Its funny now…it was NOT funny at the time. She still teases me about though!

  44. Lee July 5, 2009 at 9:40 am #

    I received five irons at my bridal shower. Did I look wrinkled? A lot wrinkled??? And, I once said I liked Wonder Woman. I now have a drawer full of the stuff.

  45. Synnamin July 5, 2009 at 7:00 pm #

    Thank goodness I somehow escaped the “useless gift curse!” I am a Halloween baby, and yet I never got a ton of bats (like Twistie, I would have been down for that!), pumpkins, black cats, or spiders. As a child, I got a lot of My Little Ponies, but I collected those, so that was ok. And there was that horrible year where my mom fell in love with E.T. and I had E.T.-themed everything (sheets, stuffed toys, underwear, pajamas, sleeping bag, etc). Thankfully, that didn’t continue.

    These days, most folks know I’m utterly practical and I sew, so I often get inundated with fabric. Like I need more fabric, but you never know when it will come to use, right?

    Food, on the other hand, was another story. I told my mom once how much I loved French bread pizza. Then it was French bread pizza every other night for months. That was 20 years ago and, to this day, I still can’t look at French bread pizza without wanting to urk.

  46. Constance July 5, 2009 at 7:38 pm #

    For me it was Santa. I told my mother I was fond of old fashioned Santas, not the Santa of the red suit, white fur and big belly variety. From that moment on I received Santa figurines for Christmas. Finally had to call a halt to the Santas. There is a crate of them residing in my cellar.

    Ah, the cats. Why, oh why, do people assume that you want cat collectibles when you have a cat? Sheesh.

  47. De July 6, 2009 at 9:21 am #

    Oh goodness, where do I start?

    When I was a small child I loved Pooh. My dad even calls me Pooh. I have an affinity for the books and art of E. Shephard. Not so much Disney Pooh. One Christmas someone got me a very elegant, lovely print of an image from one of the books. I liked it very much. Friends and family took this and ran with it. I collected so much Pooh Crap (pun intended)…most of it has been re-gifted to new additions to the extended family (“oh no, let her play with that doll, in fact, let her HAVE it”).

    Almost parallel to that time period, were the giraffe years. Giraffes are my favorite animal. I love them, I find them fascinating and feel a deep affinity for them. However, this does not mean I want to fill my home with stuffed ones, random ceramic representations of them or even posters of cartoon ones. Do I really appreciate it when someone finds me an age appropriate, sophisticated giraffe statue or other item? Yes. That’s lovely and thoughtful. Do I appreciate the random children’s books? No. I’m 30 years old for crying out loud, I don’t need a copy of ZooBooks.

    Family and friends have learned their lesson so far…..lets see if something new pops up…

  48. La BellaDonna July 6, 2009 at 6:32 pm #

    Cara, I’d be interested, if you ever want to unload some day. Genuinely interested. So … there’s an ear to borrow, if you want it.
    I’ve had some Very Mixed Emotions, myself.

    Why is it, if you like an actual something, people seem bent on giving you, not representations of that something (Crystal cow! Pretty! Crystal bat! Pretty! Crystal giraffe! Pretty!), but “cuuuuute” representations: cows in tutus. Dancing giraffes. Caricatures, that no one could love. Ugh.

    Sometimes no gift is better than the gift that says, “I was thinking … but not about you.”

  49. KESW July 7, 2009 at 2:00 pm #

    My theme gift for years has been rabbits… apparently I was a kicky fetus and my womb-name was Thumper, ala the Disney character. And funnily enough, I don’t think I have ever received a rabbit gift I didn’t like. It’s almost become an extension of my personality, to the extent that my husband calls me “Little Bunny”, and we have added a nose-wiggle to the traditional eskimo kiss to make it a bunny kiss. That and my family all has pretty good taste and thus I think the worst item I have is a random Easter figurine that involves a wheelbarrow full of eggs. Never understood the rabbit + egg theme of Easter.

  50. Jane July 8, 2009 at 8:19 pm #

    I have cats. I like cats. I do not like cat earrings, scarves, sweaters, posters, knickknacks, wall hangings, figurines, and in one particular case, an ostrich egg hand-painted with representations of my three cats. (It was a very thoughtful gift on the part of the giver, who was also the artist, but my heavens, what does one DO with such a thing?)