If you're like me and have 2 boys or more, then the day after Christmas your house looks like it was the victim of a anti-toy jihad as it appears a bomb went off in a Toys R Us. Toys and gifts are strewn all over the place as you navigate your hung over self through the Bakugan and Pokemon on the floor in search of a place to sit. Then there's the piles of new clothes for everyone and if you've done any entertaining then there's also a mountain of dishes in the sink. The task before you is daunting but after some coffee and some stale cookies you start to clean.
Personally, I like to start with the crap that I wish to return, give to charity, re-gift or just plain throw away. There's a reason that no one wanted the Charlie-in-a-box, and it confounds me that people continue to find a way to give bad gifts. Unfortunately, the search for the gift receipt in the package often goes unfound for the worst of offenders. This unwanted pile of misfit toys and gifts can be categorized in several ways:
1) Doesn't fit gift- the simplest reason for a bad gift. I personally won't buy clothes for anyone but my kids and wife. Maybe I'll buy a T-shirt or sweatshirt as sizes can be judged more accurately but if you don't know someone's pant size or shirt collar then just don't guess at it.
2) Style is not yours gift- I'm pretty lucky that I'm fairly good at picking out clothes that my wife likes. My mother-in-law, however, is not that good at it. Plus she had the kohones to buy me underwear- like she even knows what I wear underneath what shows on the outside, kinda creepy to even think about.
3) Good intentions but poor execution gift- the most common gift that sucks is often the result of knowing just a little about someone to get them something completely lame. The thought process is like this- "Oh Brian loves to do crosswords, and look, here's a 6 foot crossword puzzle he can hang on his wall and do for days and days, I'll get him that!" Meanwhile, what they don't know is that I like the Sunday puzzle that Merle Regal makes because it's fun and clever and would have preferred a compilation book by him instead. I have no desire to hang a monstrosity of a puzzle on my wall and stand while I attempt to decipher lame clues. Crosswords are relaxing for me, I have no compulsion to complete the world's largest crossword puzzle.
4) Age inappropriate gift- I really wonder my mother-in-law thinks when she gets my 10 year old son a flash card set on telling time from a clock.
5) The whatever gift- this is a weird category as one in every 20 times you get something that you'd never thought you'd like but really enjoy. (The Foreman grill comes to mind for us) But the other 19 times is a complete and utter miss. It's a gift that either had no thought behind it whatsoever or the person just plain quit and gave you whatever he or she wanted to despite what your wishes were. I'll admit I've even done this on several occasions. Lynn and I once got a neon lighted pink flamingo statue for her sister one year. I don't think we've ever seen it displayed.
Cleaning up the day after Christmas isn't all that fun, but at least you get to play with your new stuff when it's done.