January 5 10

I am a really easy person to buy a gift for. At least *I* think so. I drink a lot of coffee, so you know you are always safe with gift cards or mugs or tumblers. I like to read…so sending me a box that looks a little like this?

DROOL.

I like pop culture. I like movies. TV shows. Music. I like video games. I like board games. I like lip gloss. I like purses. I like Anthropologie. I exercise occasionally. I like to sleep, so you are always safe with delicious flannel pajamas. I am obsessed with hoodies. I like theater. I like candles. I like to smell good. I like in a cold climate, so obviously you are safe with scarves and hats and gloves and mittens. I like necklaces. I like to cook AND I like to eat.

I am even open to the idea of manicures and pedicures. I’ll be honest. I HATE getting them. But, I like getting them as gifts, because while I don’t love them, I realize they are a necessary evil to being beautiful; see also: waxing.

I do not, in any way, think that a gift card is a cop-out (You hear that, Rach?!?!). In fact, I LOVE getting them.

Honestly, I feel like I have given you about 25 years worth of birthdays and Chrismukah ideas.

I mean, occasionally, I get a little surprised by some gifts. I mean, I’m the girl whose Grammy gave her $1.47 in Canadian coins as a wedding gift. I remember when I turned 12 and my mom got me this Mickey Mouse watch that she was so excited to give me. I never wore it once, and sulked for at least a year about it. But, I mean, I was TWELVE.

I try really hard to come up with gifts that I really think the receivers will like. AND something that they wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves. So, I bought my sister-in-law a bucket of good-smelling bubble bath from Sephora…because I know she has three kids and not much time for self-pampering. I bought a necklush scarf for my sister because the barefoot foodie introduced them to me and I don’t think my sister has one yet. I bought a Keurig coffee maker for my stepmom because she is always complaining that she is the only one who drinks decaf and feels bad brewing a whole pot just for herself. HUZZAH! No need to feel bad anymore.

BUT, I just got wind from my dad that she didn’t like the gift.

I am devastated. Because not only did she not like the coffee maker and all the assorted brands and flavors of decaf coffee my sister and I picked out for her, she thinks that it was more of a gift for US than it was a gift for her. Wait. What? We really thought so hard before buying this gift and we thought we had struck gold. We thought we had found something that she actually could really use and this was the first year that I didn’t have to default to giving her pictures of the kids because I didn’t know what to get the girl who has everything. I found the coffee maker tucked in a back closet in the basement.

Now, I ask you. What would you do? Would you haul it out from the closet and try to find the receipt and return it? Get her a starbucks gift card instead? Would you haul it out from the closet and set it up for her and show her why she will love it? Would you pretend that none of it happened and demand a wishlist from her next year?

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  1. Tough call. She might be more offended that you found it & returned it. Have you asked your Dad? As she was honest about it to him.

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    Comment by NaomiJesson on January 5, 2010
  2. I might set it up and use it, not with the explicit mission of showing her how great it is, but because “you want a cup of coffee and only one cup, not a whole pot”. And then once she sees you using it, it might all make sense to her.
    It could just be the change from brewing a whole pot of coffee. Old habits die hard, or whatever that saying is.

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    Comment by Tali on January 5, 2010
  3. Aw, I’m sorry that happened–it feels so good to find the perfect gift for someone so I’m sure you are so disappointed. Can you talk to her about it? Since you found it in the box?

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    Comment by NEWMOM on January 5, 2010
  4. hmm.. I’d probably just ask your dad to find out what she didn’t like about it. Maybe it’s the little pre-done coffees and she has her ‘own’ brand that she likes? I’d mostly leave well enough alone or – you could send it to Montreal – I LOVE that coffee maker :)

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    Comment by Sarah on January 5, 2010
  5. i would ask my dad why she didn’t like it and also ask her if i could try to make some cofee to see if it worked ok or something like that.sorry about that i tink shes being kinda rude.

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    Comment by LAVENDULA on January 5, 2010
  6. I would tell her how bad I felt that she didn’t like it & present her with a Starbucks gift card at the same time as an alternative gift. then I would take it out & start using it & once she sees it in use she will probably love it. Funny…I was going to get that for my mom but my sisters talked me out of it – I want one though! it looks awesome!

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    Comment by Maria on January 5, 2010
  7. Tough call. I’m practical so I’d probably just put it out there, no sense having it around and not being used. But have to say when you said “I live in a cold climate”??? You do?? Didn’t you just move to Atlanta from Toronto??? Cold? I don’t think so!! :))
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Back to school tomorrow =-.

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    Comment by Kathy on January 5, 2010
  8. I envy people like you who are gifty. I totally suck at it. Why don’t you just send ME the coffee maker? *I* would appreciate it. ;-)

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    Comment by Suzy Voices on January 5, 2010
  9. 1. I’m reading The Help right now and I LOVE IT!

    2. SHE DIDN’T LIKE IT? I’m shocked! I know how excited you and your sister were about getting that for her!

    My suggestion is maybe ask your dad why she doesn’t like it? Maybe it is too hard to use.

    But from what you’ve told me about her, she really just wants her Starbucks every day, so maybe the gift card is the way to go.

    Wow, she didn’t even try it once? Just stuffed it away?

    I’d talk to her Ali.

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    Comment by Kristabella on January 5, 2010
  10. Awkward. I’m interested to see the answers as I had a similar situation of giving my mother-in-law a digital picture frame a few years back. We even pre-loaded the flash drive and got it set up so that all she needed to do was plug it in. Needless to say, it has not been used and my Husband and I want to take it back and use it for ourselves. This year I gave her a Shutterfly calendar w/pictures of the baby and she loved it. That’s all she’s getting from here on out…

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    Comment by Laura on January 5, 2010
  11. I would explain to her why I bought it. I would set it up and show her how to use it.

    I think that the reason you bought it for her is really sweet and she would have to be a robot to not appreciate the thought.

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    Comment by hillary on January 5, 2010
  12. My Mom does this, a lot. Which is why I’m perfectly ok with giving her pictures of the kids as presents. I would maybe try to squeeze in during normal conversation why you bought it for her and how much you thought she’d like it. If that doesn’t solve anything, ask if she’d like you to return it.

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    Comment by C @ Kid Things on January 5, 2010
  13. Maybe she just wants her Starbucks every day, maybe she doesn’t like the little coffee thingys? Could be that she’d rather have something where you still load the coffee grounds in yourself, but only makes one cup of coffee (like a Mr. Coffee one cup).

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    Comment by Tutugirl on January 5, 2010
  14. I suppose telling the step-mom to suck it is not an appropriate response to her unhappiness with the gift?

    Sad to say this happens to me all the time.
    Except usually I am the one not liking the gift. Probably because my dad and his wife have a habit of giving me and my husband promotional ‘gifts’ they get from their jobs with the company name written all over it. Then there is the year my dad gave my 3 year old a movie that he ‘thought Sam would like because its about 2 guys in a bad who play instruments’…well in that movie, Jack Black and his sidekick talk about gargling on satan’s semen. I kid you not!

    Plus, they make humdreds of thousands of dollars a year between the 2 of them so they have NO excuse for sending crap.

    I say get her a gift card next year. Maybe to Keurig? Heh Heh.

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    Comment by Sunday Stilwell on January 5, 2010
  15. I would work up a conversation where you ask her about how its working out for her. Word it in a way where you explain why you gave it to her and go from there. If she says she doesn’t use it, there’s your opening to show her how just in case. Otherwise, ask her if you can have it. hehe.

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    Comment by Hockeymandad on January 5, 2010
  16. I am sorry, I can’t help you right now because I am still busy drooling over the beautiful box of books. Ah, beautiful books, how I covet thee.

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    Comment by Arica on January 5, 2010
  17. I’m more of a direct person, so I’d probably talk to her about it, see where she’s coming from and explain where your head was at. Offer the gift card alternative, but don’t push the issue.

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    Comment by SciFi Dad on January 5, 2010
  18. My mother told me that you should never tell someone that you don’t like their gift.

    Then the next christmas, when I gave her a cookbook, she said to me “When do I have time to cook?” which was tantamount to saying she didn’t like it.

    She’s never even opened it.

    My husband is even worse – if he doesn’t like something he just leaves it where he unwrapped it. For MONTHS if I don’t pick it up and put it away.

    Neither of those are useful advice though. I think the best thing to do is ask her how she’s finding it, and if she says that she’s not used it, offer to set it up for her, tossing in an explanation about why you bought it for her.

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    Comment by pixielation on January 5, 2010
  19. Now that? IS A BOX OF BOOK HAPPINESS. (It really needs the caps.)

    Coffee pot: Oh, that is devastating. I’m sorry. Maybe send her an email describing why you thought she’d like it (with the implied “Hey, we really gave this some thought and effort”) and offer to send her that Starbucks gift card if she’d enjoy that more.

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    Comment by Moose on January 5, 2010
  20. I read The Help earlier this year and I loved it.

    I’d take it back and get the money back for it. And you should let her know – as you’re handing her a gift card to Starbucks – that it hurt your feelings because it was something you put a lot of thought into, and that next year you’ll know better than to give her anything other than a plastic card with some money on it since she obviously can’t handle anything more.

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    Comment by SillyJaime on January 5, 2010
  21. I think if you dad actually admitted that she didn’t like it to you, that means it is an open discussion point. Call her up and say that you understood that she didn’t really like the gift, explain why you thought it would be the perfect gift for her and that since you weren’t correct in your thinking about it, then you’ll be glad to return it.

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    Comment by Laura on January 5, 2010
  22. I don’t even drink coffee and I LOVE my Keurig.

    But, realistically, it’s probably best to be up front about it and ask if you can return it for her and get her something she would actually use. Like a heart.

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    Comment by Mama Bub on January 5, 2010
  23. I LOVED The Help. Loved loved loved.

    Anyway… that’s not what you asked about…

    I would probably say something about you heard she didn’t like the gift and ask her if there
    is something wrong with it.

    Some people are so hard to shop for, I’d rather get them something that they’d like. We default to the wish list in my house, boring but it works.

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    Comment by Karen Chatters on January 5, 2010
  24. set it up for her. i got one for my dad and both my parents love it. in fact, i just bought them more coffee thingies for it today!

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    Comment by rayli on January 5, 2010
  25. A good book is like porn for me. Love love love to read.

    Not to be confused with I love reading porn.

    Awkward about the Keurig – stuff like that happens with my MIL often. Yet we keep trying to buy the ultimate gifts and then a year later it’s re-gifted to us. It hurts.

    I’ve learned to buy things I would like to have for myself, just kidding.
    .-= Lesley´s last blog ..Halloween costume for 2010? =-.

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    Comment by Lesley on January 5, 2010
  26. I would take a vacation and not tell her.

    But really, that has nothing to do with the coffee.

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    Comment by Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] on January 5, 2010
  27. I would maybe have your dad talk to her explaining that it really was a thoughtful gift. AND try to return it, if she really didn’t like it.

    But really- who wouldn’t want one of those?

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    Comment by Amy on January 5, 2010
  28. You could just send the Keurig to me. I promise to love it and feed it and truly appreciate it. Seriously I can’t fathom not liking it or admitting that I didn’t like it.

    I’ll have to add The Help to my list, based on so many glowing recommendations. Last year you recommended History of Love to me and I absolutely adored that book!

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    Comment by Jennifer on January 5, 2010
  29. Why on earth would your dad tell you that!??!?!

    Maybe ship it to Yemen?
    .-= slynnro´s last blog ..Year End Meme. =-.

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    Comment by slynnro on January 5, 2010
  30. i would totally love a gift card more than a gift that i didn’t really want. of course this year, everyone bought their gifts when i was with them, so i got what i wanted, but it was kind of lame. umhum.

    on the coffee maker – i would definitely demand a wishlist for next year.

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    Comment by Shannon on January 5, 2010
  31. I’d set it up for her and MAKE HER LOVE IT.

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    Comment by Rhi on January 5, 2010
  32. Yes. MAKE HER LOVE IT.
    Also? I kind of want to buy you a present and MAKE YOU LOVE IT.
    (And my Necklushes? LOOOOVE. That’s right. PLURAL.)

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    Comment by moosh in indy. on January 6, 2010
  33. I totally understand…I happen to feel that I am an awesome gift giver…Maybe she just doesn’t understand how it works? My sis just bought one and she LOOOVES it.
    .-= Undercovermama´s last blog ..One small step =-.

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    Comment by Undercovermama on January 6, 2010
  34. How does she think she can get away with hiding it and not using it? YOU LIVE THERE.

    Jeez.

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    Comment by heather... on January 6, 2010
  35. Wow. First off… that’s just bad manners to not even TRY to use a gift someone picked out for you. Especially since you are THERE seeing her NOT USING IT. yikes.

    I’m honestly not sure what I would do. I’m horrible at confrontation so I would feel awkward bringing it up directly. I like several other ideas commenters had about bringing it out yourself and setting it up. If nothing else, maybe she’ll realize how incredibly rude it is not to even make an effort and how blatantly obvious she’s being. I mean… maybe it’s not her Dream Gift and maybe she likes her Starbucks every day, but geez. NOT THE POINT OF GIFT GIVING AND RECEIVING.

    (Sorry, I get a little annoyed at ungratefulness. heh)

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    Comment by Jen on January 6, 2010
  36. I have been with my husband for 9 Christmas’. His mother has liked exactly ONE gift I have given her in those 9 years. She liked this years gift because it’s something she collects (raggedy ann & andy). The rest of the years where I spend MONTHS agonizing over what we should get her, never liked a single one of them. It makes me never want to shop for her again.

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    Comment by Mary Jo on January 6, 2010
  37. Dude that NeckLush stuff looks AWESOME.

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    Comment by Maria on January 6, 2010
  38. You could send me the Keurig. I would devour that up.

    Also, is she the type of person who graciously accepts gifts or does she sometimes have issues with what she receives? I don’t know her so I may be way off, but the women in my life fall into those categories, so for the latter, I opt for gift cards at places I know they love (dress barn, JC Penney’s, etc.).

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    Comment by kirida on January 6, 2010
  39. I, too, am one who puts a lot of time and thought into gifts and am disappointed when they aren’t appreciated. I wish I had some advice for you, other than to remember this next year and don’t stress out about it so much!

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    Comment by jcristg on January 6, 2010
  40. I think I’d probably return the coffee maker and get her the Starbucks gift card. The thought of the gift sitting in the basement would really bother me, especially since it’s one you really put a lot of thought in to. I couldn’t stand the thought of it sitting there, unused.

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    Comment by mamatulip on January 7, 2010
  41. I say just bite your tongue and never buy her anything other than a gift card again. That’s what I do for my own mother.

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    Comment by Avitable on January 7, 2010
  42. I want to know what is in that box of books, that’s just too much of a tease!
    As for the coffee maker, I’d set it up and make her a cup of coffee. And get her a gift card next year. The idea of it sitting in the basement unopened(?) just seems silly, how does she know she won’t LOVE IT! I just ordered one for US. ;)

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    Comment by Amanda on January 7, 2010
  43. I would take the Keurig and use it as my own and probably stiff her with a pretty crappy gift next Christmas. OR! OR! I’ve always thought it would be amusing to give everyone 8×10 religious pictures in cheap frames. I mean, it’s not like they can act like they hate it. It’s a religious picture. So when they open it, they have to act as if they like it in fear of going to hell or wherever.

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    Comment by Amanda of Shamelessly Sassy on January 8, 2010
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