Christmas is usually the time of year when parents spoil their children with an embarrassment of gifts, trying to make their dreams come true. It is also the time when children give their parents garbage that they paid for with real money. Here are some terrible gifts some former kids remember giving their parents:
"We would go to Woolworth's and buy our mom bright red nail polish or lipstick. She was a mother of nine kids: wearing polish or makeup never happened. It was collected in a drawer." - Cheryl S., Chicago
"I brought my mother a fistful of tulips feeling pretty proud of myself. She LOVES flowers. She graciously accepted them but I found out later that she waited for those tulips all year long and only got to enjoy them for a few days before I plucked every single one." - Alecia W., Long Island
"We wrapped up a lump of coal for each of my parents. We thought it was HILARIOUS. They didn't. I also gave my mother a bright coral lipstick one year and then explained to her later that I was very hurt she had not worn it because it was called Coral Dazzle and was therefore obviously perfect." - Heather C., Los Angeles.
"When I was a teenager I bought my mother the 'Do They Know It's Christmas' record because it was, you know, a donation. My mother has never voluntarily listened to music that I know of." - Mary G., Philadelphia.
"When I was 12 or so, I gave my dad a box of recycling bags, like any good daughter would. I thought he'd appreciate the practical gift. He did not." - Julie H., Chicago
I gave my mom two gerbils for Valentine's Day, which fell exactly two weeks after my birthday when I'd asked for gerbils but she told me I couldn't have them.
"I gave my mom a wreath that said 'beloved Mother.' I got it from the cemetery." - Liz R., New Orleans
"I did all of my Christmas shopping at CVS in the third grade. I bought my sister a curling iron, my grandfather a pack of playing cards, and my grandmother the novelization of 'Falcon Crest.'" - Brendan D., Chicago
"I bought my dad a pen that looked like a cigar. He's never smoked—cigars or otherwise—and loudly complains any time he's anywhere near a smoking person." - Carrie S., Alabama
"My dad was way into Rush Limbaugh, so for Christmas when I was seven, I got him one of Rush's books in mass market paperback. He had it in hardcover already, and I could not WAIT for him to see that he now had the paperback too." - Lindsay H., Chicago
"I gave my mom a black lace teddy from Frederick's of Hollywood one year because I thought that was what moms wore. I still remember the silent shock that accompanied the opening of the terrible gift." - Erin C., New York
"I gave my mom two gerbils for Valentine's Day, which fell exactly two weeks after my birthday when I'd asked for gerbils but she told me I couldn't have them. Then one ate the other and died." -Kate I., Chicago