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When buying gifts, it's the thought that counts


Trying to figure out what to get my loved ones for Christmas this past week got me started thinking about the favorite Christmas gifts I’ve received in my life.

Now some of these Christmas gifts should not have been given to me in the first place. Oh, the things a bored adolescent can do with a tape recorder. I wasn’t that bad of a child. At least I don’t think so. The effects could have been much more disastrous had some of these gifts ended up in the hands of a “normal” child.

I did nothing more than record private conversations, and without the benefit of a Linda Tripp role model in those days. Maybe I missed a higher calling in life to work in the White House.

The things I recorded with that tape recorder were of the noncontroversial type. Or maybe — from my sister Becky’s point of view — they were. Anyway, all I did was record Becky deeply snoring in the middle of the night. I don’t think that upset her very much. I think what really upset her was when I shook her out of her sleep in the middle of the night to listen to herself snoring. I couldn’t stop laughing. As for Becky, she was furious and made threats of the physical sort that quickly wiped the smirk off my face.

One of my favorite Christmas gifts was a beloved Shirley Temple doll with a red polka dot dress. I loved Shirley Temple, had her records and memorized words to “On The Good Ship Lollipop.” If only I had known back then how much that doll would be worth now, I would have taken much better care of her.

My sister Becky’s favorite doll was Krissie. She treasured that doll, until one day, when I decided Krissie needed a new look and chopped off her hair.

One Christmas, much to my delight, I received a Honey Hill Bunch doll house. Now I had peeked in the presents in Mom’s closet a few weeks before and saw the doll house, but I thought it was for someone else. Mom wasn’t too happy when I ripped off the wrapping paper and exclaimed, “All right! I thought this was for Paula!”

Now these are just a few examples of gifts, I’m sure given with well intentions, that went awry.

I know, it’s the thought that counts. And for those of you struggling over what to get that hard-to-please someone, how about a gag gift? Gag gifts are especially ideal for that person you want to wish a “Merry Grinchmas.” And forget the singing fish and clapping toilets this year. They have lost their novelty affects and gone off to that big singing fish and clapping toilet heaven in the sky.

Here’s a few gag gifts I found on the Internet:

• Talking spatula: What gourmet wouldn’t love a piece of cookware with attitude? This talking utensil says, “Well hello honey, how about toasting your buns?” and “Hey, it’s getting hot in here, flip me over!”

• Donut cologne: The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Spray on some of this pastry-smelling scent and soon he’ll be clinging to you, saying more than “time to make the donuts.”

• Brain gelatin mold: Here’s food for thought. Get that wisecracking, know-it-all in your life a gelatin mold in the shape of a brain. Now, you can all share in their brainwork.

In all seriousness though, it is better to give than receive. Sometimes gifts appear small but create some of the best memories in our lives. Each gift, if given from the heart, contains hidden blessings.

Have you heard the tale of the young boy who expected to get a new car from his dad for graduation? When he opened his gift and found a Bible, he was so disappointed he threw a fit and tossed it aside. Years later, when his dad died, he opened the old Bible and discovered a set of car keys inside.

Helena Rodriguez is a staff writer for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be contacted at

[email protected]


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