I Ask: What’s The Best Gift You’ve Ever Gotten?

With Christmas rolling in, gifts are on my mind. Which can be translated into YOUR GIFTS ARE GOING TO BE LATE.

And OF COURSE, my son wrote a letter to Santa and included a SANTA KITTEN. No, that’s not a stuffed animal with a santa hat. He wants a REAL kitten.

I’m torn. I feel awful about rehoming Ratchet dog (although I KNOW that it was the right thing to do). E asks about him at least twice a week. And we already have three cats. Now once upon a time we had four cats, but Tobias died of cancer.  It sucked.  We also have Calliope who our vet suggested we make a BARN CAT.  She has an anxiety-related peeing problem.  Problem two is that we don’t have a barn.  So now, she’s in the dog cage until we either find a barn or build her a home under our deck again.

Our other two cats are perfectly healthy very odd ten-year-old cats.

What? I'm not Christmas-y enough?

Bringing another cat in the home seems, well, dumb. But also seeing my son’s face after he’s been so sad about Ratchet seems, well, irresistible.

I’m not sure that I want to put this to y’all since no one is volunteering to scoop poop, buy us a barn or pay for my son’s therapy. (Although if you kept your opinions completely to yourself, I’d fall off my chair in shock.)

However, I would like to know what the best gift you’ve ever gotten, Christmas, birthdays, just because days. Maybe I can switch out the cat for one of your gifts and still win. Unless it was a PREGNANCY. Or a UNICORN. Because NO BABIES or BARNS, remember? (Except for Jesus, of course. He can totally ride out of my son’s Christmas stocking on a unicorn.)

Oh, and the best gift I’ve ever gotten? I don’t know. I hate surprises, and I’m very practical when it comes to gift-receiving. I ask for what I NEED. Or USE.

The best gift I’ve ever GIVEN was Christmas 2002 when I gave my husband an airplane ticket to Chicago, and I arranged his three best friends from college to meet up with him there.

So I ask: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? (If you say a cat, I’ll bite you.)

UPDATED: After my husband read this, he was offended that I didn’t list the ring he got me on the five-year anniversary of making the best decision of his life: ASKING ME TO MARRY HIM. Which was very sweet and totally a surprise of the good kind. But jewelry can’t be my NUMBER ONE BEST GIFT. Because I’m not a jewelry person.

PS. That’s NOT why I lost the ring by the way. And yes, I suck.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

40 thoughts to “I Ask: What’s The Best Gift You’ve Ever Gotten?”

  1. The best gift I ever received was my Canon Rebel. I so badly wanted a “good” camera so I could join the ranks of MWACs. (Moms With A Camera)

    The second best gift I ever received was my Black & Decker Laser Leveler.

    But I’m really weird.

    I say go for the kitten. I’m tempted to get one myself. Both kids have been asking for one – Joseph for years and Elizabeth…well…Joseph CLAIMS she’s asking for a kitten too. The problems we’re facing is a) Chad’s horribly allergic and b) Maggie might get upset. I swear…the two of them are dra-MA.

    1. MWACs are PDC and IPDJ that they post APOTK

      (pdc = pretty darn cool)
      (ipdj= I’m pretty darn jealous)
      (apotk = i forget… oops)

      Also, cat allergies can often lessen with exposure. Don’t tell Joseph.

  2. I think the “best gift ever” would be a surprise anniversary trip that hubby planned to NYC and included 2 tickets to Wicked the first week it opened on Broadway. That was amazing and I was totally surprised. Don’t think E. would care for that, though.

    Probably a close runner up was our family Christmas present to ourselves last year: a Wii. I’m not a video game person but our family has gotten so much enjoyment out of the Wii. It’s used not just for games but for streaming Netflix too. Not to mention the sheer joy I get out of seeing our “older” family members make fools of themselves when they come to visit and play.

  3. Well, I have five cats. I love cats more than almost anything but chocolate cake. So I think a kitten is in order. But don’t get an adult cat, because they don’t adjust well to other adult cats. But the best gift I have ever gotten? A KINDLE. I have mine with me everywhere, and I love the GAMES. Good grief, I think I am a case of arrested development. And as for your husband: ADORABLE. molly (have a wonderful Christmas). Are those adoption papers in order yet?

    1. kittens are VERY tall orders. i was thinking more 6 months old… but you are right that any older might send out ten year old cats into a tailspin… or tail fluff.

      I didn’t know you could do games on the Kindle. Uh-oh.

  4. This post made me laugh.

    I truly don’t remember the best gift I was ever given. Perhaps it was a beautifully made jewelry box from Italy (by my husband). The best gift was a diamond ring and a “Will you be my wife?”

  5. The best Christmas gift I received was a guitar and lessons. I was going through a particularly difficult time and my parents thought I would get into the singer/songwriter bit to get my mind off things. That didn’t exactly happen but I still remember opening up that gift and thinking it was the best Christmas present ever. And the thoughtfulness (and generosity–it was a decent guitar) blew me away in light of the fact that I hadn’t been a very nice person that year.

  6. When I was two I got the only thing I’d asked Santa for – a pillsbury dough boy. (Which, by the way, they didn’t make at the time so my mom had contacted Pillsbury and they specially sent me one, which is why my family is all about Pillsbury) And I was terribly, terribly happy. Though there was a wee bit of disappointment he didn’t giggle and move about on his own power. And then a few years ago my dad gave me a GPS which I didn’t want and thought was a silly waste of money. Anyway, as yet another example of my stupidity, I love my GPS and use it all the freaking time.

  7. My best kid gift was a bright pink shaggy rug in the shape of a foot when I was six or seven ~ I loved it!

    My best kid surprise gift was actually for my older sister. I was old enough to know Santa wasn’t bringing the gifts in the house, although I still hoped it could really happen. My older sister was in that fun mid-teenage years where she wouldn’t speak to anyone unless it was to tell you how much she disliked you, what you were doing, what you were wearing, that you were existing, etc. Christmas Eve night, we were on our way to our big family dinner and she said she wanted a bike. This was right when the first 10 speeds were coming out, the ones where you had to bend over to reach the curvy handlebars. Anyway, I think she said it then because she knew how unlikely it would be for her to actually get one. Next morning, there was a note in her stocking to look outside and there was a beautiful bright yellow 10-speed bike. It surprised everyone, except Santa of course.

    I have 3 dogs and 2 cats so I don’t know if I’d give the best advice about the kitten. I’d say wait a little while ~ maybe Valentine’s Day or Easter when there isn’t so much going on and you can take your time picking one. You can put a note in his stocking that he didn’t have any kittens ready to leave their Mamas yet, but he was working on it.

    1. Shag rugs DO rule.

      And I love the magically appearing bike! Yay!

      I was thinking about having a backup note in case he asks about the kitten on Christmas day, but maybe not bring it up since we have some other great presents that he asked for. Although if he asks, I’m going to have to try not to cry.

  8. Wow, you are totally stressed. A new pet is a new family member and should never, never,never,never be a present. Don’t worry about therapy for E if he’s disappointed. He’ll need therapy if you cave in to his every want and whim.

    1. Sorry. Totally missed the question. Best gift ever. My son’s life when he beat cancer this year. Thank you Jesus.

      Mom gave me a box of underwear (and Big Red gum) when I was 19. There was a Canon 35mm camera underneath. Sweet!

    2. I definitely think that it’s a decision to be taken seriously. And as a family. Although my son doesn’t want a kitten as a whim. He is pretty thoughtful and rarely just WANTS STUFF. Which is nice.

      And your son’s life is an amazing present. YAY!!

  9. The best gift I ever received was my very first iPod, 7 years ago. On the iPod was one of my favorite songs, Wild Horses. In the living room was my husband, waiting with an engagement ring. It was the anniversary of when we began dating.

    And yes, you should totally get the cat.

  10. Best gift ever… ’95 a stocking filled with; rubber squeaky fire truck, a cloth mailman doll, and other doggie treats. Initially I didn’t get it… Then I opened a book in wrapping paper in the stocking titled, Vizsla’s. Terri got us a puppy… We got him after my birthday Jan 4th. So theoretically it was a Christmas surprise that showed up on my birthday!
    The best birthday present was two years ago. My wife and sister-in-law orchestrated my dream dinner. I have always eaten Mexican food and Chinese food with the same degree of passion that I reserve for chocolate. When around people who know me I will often say, “stranded on a desert island, I don’t know which food I would choose to be stuck there with”. Given only one ethnic choice. Well, I got my dream Chinese take out and Mexican . I had my first plate loaded thusly; Kung Pao chicken, Burrito (beef), sticky rice and refried beans! For desert my favourite, angel food cake. Enjoy! Your lucky numbers are 7,3,13, and 8, Senorita!

    1. I love that you were like: Um, thanks for the squeaky toys?

      And I need to get my husband on board for a sushi pizza night! My perfect meal! Too bad my birthday is ten months away… maybe Valetine’s day? And how can I incorporate french fries?

      1. That’s a tuffy… I would just have fries on the side. Fries on pizza seems counter productive to the sushi that’d be there?!

  11. honestly? most of my gifts have sucked. I kind of hate Christmas.

    but one stands out: my ex, Dylan, knew how much I loved the Wicked trilogy and I wanted to see the musical so badly. I even already had the soundtrack and every song memorized. so he bought me the Grimmerie, which is a sort of backstage look at the play but made to look like the spellbook *from* the play. great gift. so I’m flipping through the pages, super excited, when some paper falls out. at first glance, I assume it’s an insert to the book, maybe duplicate tickets from the first performance or something (note: I’m a little stupid sometimes). but no, it was two tickets to see the show! best gift ever. first gift I’d gotten that really showed thought.

    now you’re wondering why we broke up. he wanted to go live alone and build schools in Uganda. and I wanted to have babies. yeah. we’re still friends though.

    1. I love gifts that make us feel SEEN.

      And it’s hard when people are good but not right for each other. I dated a lot of good people who were on different paths than me. And I’m glad because my husband is better than good and on my path… Imagine what your better than good person will do for you? YAY!

  12. Best gift I ever got was my Dyson (only gift that ever made me scream and jump up and down, and please know that I am already well aware of how much of a dork that makes me), and I’m not sure that an award-winning, totally awesome yellow vacuum cleaner would interest E. Plus, if you have had 4 cats, you may already own one. Also, to help with the Calliope (fantastic cat name!) peeing issue, a number of friends have recently told me that they have treated cat anxiety with Prozac (I know, I know) and that it worked wonders with peeing problems. If you could remedy that issue, maybe a kitten wouldn’t be so bad 🙂

    1. At first I thought, Dyson isn’t her kid’s name, what’s going on here? HAHA.

      So our vet told us that the rate antidepressants work is really low and our cat is like the Houdini of pill-taking and can tongue a pill for 20 minutes (seriously) so we agreed it wasn’t worth it. {sigh}

  13. Two words – Disney World. He’ll forget all about the kitten. Or he won’t and you’ll be out a few thousand bucks and crying because he’s disappointed. It’s a gamble. Good luck with that.

  14. My best gift ever was finding out I was pregnant with T a few days after my husband’s and my 3rd anniversary. We had been trying to get pregnant for 2.5 years. The gift got even better around Thanksgiving (are there Thanksgiving gifts?) when we found out that it was viable, we had previously had 2 miscarriages.
    My second best gift was we found out we were the winning bid on our first home on my birthday this year, very exciting!

  15. I know this is going to sound very saintly and like the textbook answer, but it totally is not. I couldn’t understand why nothing was standing out for me as the best present I’ve ever gotten, because I’ve gotten some really good gifts over the years. But since kids especially, MY gifts seem kind of like an anticlimax. The best part of Christmas now is seeing the faces of my kids — and my husband, other family and friends too, but mostly my kids — when they open what they really wanted on Christmas morning. And honestly, I’m usually so tired on Christmas morning from staying up half the night getting all the presents wrapped, because I spent the two weeks before Christmas getting all of the decorations up and baking the teacher gifts and getting everyone to all of the plays, Christmas pageants, seeing Santa, etc., that the second best part of Christmas to me is the NEXT day, when the kids can actually play with their gifts and I can sleep late!

    This isn’t helping you, but maybe you can start to impart the joy of giving to someone else part on E. by getting him very invested in what you guys are giving Scott, and having him help you decide what it will be, buy it, wrap it, etc. Then he has someone outside of himself and his wants to focus on and get excited about. I know. . . that’s not always possible with these young people, but we can try!

  16. In order of fabulousness:

    1. My KitchenAid Mixer. The 6qt Professional version. I love it.

    2. A dresser which matches my taste. Big, tall, and fits all my crap. This year, I’d really like a new headboard to match.

    3. The damned kitten (who was really a Halloween gift). She was 7 weeks when I got her from The Man Friend. He showed up with her, unannounced. I was pissed, but not about to give her back to him as my house was already cat-proofed. “Pets are NOT presents” I told him, very snottily.

    The next morning, I text messaged him, “Next time I see you, remind me to kick your ass.” Etta (I named her after Etta James) had shit and vomited in my bed (new food, new place, too little to jump off the bed). I awoke at 4am to the worst smell EVER (worse than any kid-made smell to date!).

    It took two weeks of litter training before I fell in love. She’s my baby girl. Every time I think “hey, it might not be so bad to have another kid,” I go and snuggle her until she squirms away and uses her back feet to kick me. Brings me back to reality.

    Good luck with your shopping!

  17. don’t tell my husband, because he’s bought me a lot of really expensive things that i know he put some thought into, but the best present i’ve ever gotten from him is probably the mix CDs he made me a few years ago. that was the year his mom died, a really horrible awful year for us all, and i asked him to make me some CDs of music that made him think about me or made him feel something about our relationship. one of the songs he put on it was “life is long” by david byrne, and i kind of think of that as “our song” now (even though i’m almost 40…). i have listened to it about a zillion times and it always reminds me how much i love him. he’s done it every year since, and i love it, but that first one was really special.

    on a similar note, the home movies he used to make (and, i think, will make again one day). those were awesome.

  18. Sorry to tell you Alex, but the best present I ever got was a kitten…. For my 10th birthday I got Marmalade and remember every moment of it – the surprise, getting to pick him out, taking him home….. yeah. Sorry that wasn’t that helpful was it.

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