The Worst Present Bringer On The Planet – TN Valley Moms Network

Is it you? Or is it me? I’m pretty sure it’s me. Check out the evidence from my feature post on Tennessee Valley Moms Network. And if you have a terrible-present-bringer in your life, well, now you know what goes through their head. Go on now, lower that eyebrow you just raised, grab your coffee, and read on:

Peace, love, and curly ribbons,


(Note: Because the Tennessee Valley Moms Network has merged into another site with new ownership and I’m not sure how long that site will exist, I’ve moved the full post here. You can still access it above for now.)

The Worst Present Bringer On The Planet

There are those moms out there who bring their kid into another kid’s birthday party, gift bag in hand, tissue paper spilling forth out of the bag like Mount Vesuvius has just erupted, perfectly matching card, and 5,000 yards of curling ribbon tying it all together.

And then there’s me.

I usually remember the tissue.

Once in awhile I remember the card. Almost never have the two of them matched. You see, I had this conversation with hubs the other day. I said to him “Sometimes I think I’m the worst present bringer at the party.” His response? “You are.”  What?!?! Let’s think about this, because his retort was way too prompt for my liking.

This is, of course, not my gift.  It’s too pretty!

We received a joint birthday party invitation for a friend. The invitation clearly said “in lieu of presents, the girls really love animals so bring dog or cat food for the local shelter.” SWEET! I can do this! This would be the easiest gift occasion ever!

The kids and I go to the store, select two giant 20+ lb bags of pet food, two cards, and we’re on our way to the checkout. The overall buying process, while it sounds simple, was not. The wrong dog food, with too many fillers would make me seem cheap. Heartless. (Shelter dogs need good food too, right?) Eventually, we walked out of the store with better food than our own pets eat! Yes, the thought DID cross my mind to put it in a gift bag, but have you ever tried to put a 20 lb bag of dog food in a gift bag? Gift bags don’t come in that size for one, and two (let’s be honest, we’re all friends, right?) I have a set budget I spend on kids’ parties. To stay within that budget and buy that huge gift bag plus all the frills meant I’d have had to buy a smaller bag of dog food. Which I thought would be rather selfish of me, and really, what kid who loves animals wouldn’t love to go lop a bag of food bigger than she is onto the counter of the local animal shelter?!  She would be the shelter’s hero!

I’m sure we were a sight, walking up their sidewalk with my little 40lb pipsqueaks carrying these unwrapped, undecorated, unswirlyribboned ginormous bags of pet food. (They wanted to, what can I say?) At this point, I’m still expecting everyone else to have done the same.

We go inside, where I hand these giant bags off to the daddy, who takes them off to the dining room where they’re plunked down into a chair with a resounding thud. Then I see them. Cute little bags, no taller than a regular letter size paper pad, bright colors, twirly ribbon. And I question out loud “We were supposed to being pet food, right?” Perhaps I misunderstood.

Then again, perhaps I am just the worst present bringer on the planet.  I honestly expected to see an entire kitchen full of Rachel Ray gourmet chunks, Kibbles and Bits, Gravy Train, and Pedigree. The present bags there wouldn’t have even fit the emergency-10pm-gas-station-run-4lb-bag-of-food-you-HAD-to-get-because-you-already-used-all-the-bread-giving-the-dogs-peanut-butter-sandwiches size bag of food. If they were canned food, it would be two, maybe threw cans, tops. And there were a ton of them. We were literally the only bags of dog food there. I could not escape the dining room fast enough.

Where did I go wrong? What did these other children even bring if not pet food? And more importantly, where was the invisible instruction that said “Really, bring whatever you want just be sure it has a gift bag. And ribbon.” I don’t recall seeing that on the invite.

I realize I’m at risk for being uninvited to every future party ever scheduled, but I have to say it, to defend both my own honor, and the honor of those like me. If you tell me bring cat food, I’m going to bring it in the biggest bag for our budget, and I’m going to bring a card with a cat on the front, and in my engineering mind, I’m going to brush my hands off and check that off my list of things to do as 100% done. I can’t tell you why that is. Maybe what’s inside is more important to me. Maybe gifting is super low on my spiritual gifts meter. (I’m pretty sure it was in the negative, last time I looked.) Either way, I promise I do try really hard to fit in the mold of good gifting person… I just don’t.

You know them.

The ones who come to your party and plop the big bag of dog food on the chair. The ones who didn’t finish the gift off with twirly ribbon. The one who just put the gift in the gift bag with a normal amount of tissue paper on top, not realizing they also had to wrap the gift inside. The one who wrapped it in newspaper comics, or didn’t bring a card, or even those who came and realizing about 5 minutes from your driveway that they left the gift on the counter, and now have to choose between going home to get it and miss the party altogether or come in and hope you don’t think they’re lying.

I promise you their brain turned off as soon as they had the perfect gift for you. They didn’t leave the ribbon off out of spite. Or vow to be frugal and only use two tissue papers instead of 20. It’s no different than when your kids puts a bug (or booger) in your hand, or your cat brings you a mouse he’s pummeled to death. It’s all in the gift itself. So the next time you — or your kid — gets a gift in the pile that makes you hum “one of these things is not like the other”, promise me you won’t think less of the gifter. Promise me you’ll focus on the gift, the thought behind the gift, and how much you love the gifter even if you hate their gift AND their wrap completely.

And if that person is me, I’m totally okay with you slipping me some reserve twirly ribbon behind your back so I can doctor my gift bag up before any of the other parents see.



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