Christmas gift sadness

Yesterday I mentioned that 1H might not get any gifts other than the one I tucked into the Christmas dinner box.

Here’s a sad story: back when I used to drive for an organization that brought the elderly and the homebound to their doctors’ appointments, I had one client who touched my heart. A. lived alone in the house where she’d been born, and her siblings were Toxic. One Christmas, I bought her a gift (not recommended you do that) and I wasn’t sure how to get it to her, as volunteers were forbidden to give the clients our addresses or phone numbers.

Five days before Christmas, I get an emergency call: could I drive A. to an appointment that afternoon?

Even I, dense as a brick, can recognize the hand of God when it whaps me upside the head. I said yes, tossed Kiddo#1 and the gift in the car, and drove A. to the doctor.

On the way home, A. asked me to stop at Walgreens, which I did, and she bought Kiddo#1 (only three at the time) a stuffed animal larger than he was. (For the record, I thought she was buying it for one of her nasty relatives’ kids.) She gave it to him, and he was delighted.

When I dropped her off, I gave her the gift bag and the gift, and it may have had a card too. I can’t remember. What I do remember is that the moment she realized I’d prepared to give her the gift before I knew she was giving something to Kiddo#1, she burst into tears.

Afterward, I felt like utter garbage. I think that might have been the only gift she got that year. She cried over a bottle of scented hand lotion and a sachet from Victoria’s Secret.

IMHO, very very not cool.


  1. Diinzumo

    Here’s the question, though: Was she sad about the gift or just overwhelmed by your unexpected act of kindness?

    Here’s a story: When I was getting ready to leave Japan and move back to the US, I attended a farewell party that a former roommate had set up for me. I hadn’t realized at the time that my landlady had also arranged a farewell dinner at that time (I’m dense that way). After I got back home, the landlady showed up at my front door and expressed her dismay that she had missed me, and then presented me with a gift–a beautiful choker made from several strings of pearls. At the door, I cried like a baby–absolutely horrified that I’d let her down, disgusted at my own tears and overwhelmed by the money she must have spent. But to this day, I treasure the gift.

    So while you may feel right rotten that you bought her the gift, the woman may still treasure the act. And after all, an act of God allowed you to give it to her.

  2. philangelus

    Oh, wow–that’s intense about you and your landlady. She sounds like a wonderful woman who really cared about you. 🙂

    You’re right. It was better to do it than not to do it, and yes, I think she was overwhelmed rather than sad.

    But she deserved a better family and people who would give her gifts for real. She deserved people who loved her, not just a volunteer driver who stuck a gift in a gift bag, you know? That’s what made me saddest at the moment, and there’s no way I could give that to her. (BTW, she never said anything nasty about them, but I met some of them, and UGH!)