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December 11, 2007 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Lists, Gifts, and Nintendo on a Black and White TV

Note:  This post does not apply to children who are making Christmas lists and sending them to Santa at the North Pole. 

I hate being asked for a Christmas list.  I can’t in my right mind write down a bunch of things and give it to someone else.  I might as well say “Here’s all the crap I want you to buy me, because Christmas is all about getting crap.”  Which, incidentally is not what I believe.  Getting presents…fun.  Getting presents that were thought out and unexpected…really super fun.  Getting presents that were specifically requested, expected, on a holiday-driven timetable…callous and wrong! 

Of course you may disagree…and that is okay, because this post really isn’t about Christmas lists.

I was thinking about the best and worst gifts that I have ever received, whether they were for Christmas or not.  Here is what I came up with in Maleesha’s First Annual Gifty Awards:

Most thoughtful gift:

I was going through a rough time, having just moved from sleepy Jacksonville, NC to Washington, DC.  The first day on my new job I was so frazzled I forgot to eat (I’m hypoglycemic, so this was a bad move).  One night in my new apartment, which I had been in all of four days, the fire alarms went off at 2 AM.  A few hours after that, I woke up in pain, and the only thing I could think of is “I can make it to the refrigerator to get orange juice, or I can make it to the phone to call 911.”  I opted for the orange juice, and managed to destroy half my kitchen in the process of getting the orange juice into my mouth in my increasingly disoriented state.  I passed out on my kitchen floor, lying in a pool of OJ.  The next day, I was talking to a dear friend on the phone one night and we started talking about religion, and bibles.  We talked a lot about other things, too, including my horrible I-forgot-to-eat-and-nearly-went-into-a-coma episode.  The next day he called to let me know that I should be expecting a package in the mail.  He would not give me a hint to what it was, other than “it comes in either black or white.”  I pressed for more information, and he said “it’s related to what we talked about the other night.”  So I immediately wondered if he sent me a bible.  Yikes, I thought.  I already have a bible that my dad gave me, so I hope he isn’t sending me a bible.  Imagine my surprise when I went to pick up my package in the apartment lobby.  “It’s a refrigerator,” the lady said, walking toward the mail room.  I figured she meant it was as heavy as a refrigerator.  “No,” she said.  “It’s really a refrigerator.”

My friend had shipped a mini-fridge, a really, really big mini-fridge, to my apartment.  It must have weighed a hundred and fifty pounds.  It took me an hour to drag it to the elevator and get it set up in my apartment.  The refrigerator had a note attached to it:  “Put this by your bed, and always keep orange juice inside.”

Best gift from childhood:

I got a Nintendo for my 11th birthday.  Immediately, my brother and I lost interest in everything other than that Nintendo.  It was hooked up to a 11-inch black and white TV and placed in our attic room, but we were attached to that toy like nothing else.  We would routinely sneak out of bed, tiptoe into the attic, and break out the Duck Hunt.  Soon after, our mom would come in and yell at us to go to bed, and she would have to hide the controllers to stop us.  So we would go to our rooms and dream about shooting ducks and laughing dogs.  We played Super Mario Brothers for hours.  Eventually we added Zelda, Gauntlet, and Paperboy to our favorite games list.  It was even cooler once we could set it up on a color TV.  The games of today are too three dimensional for me.  The controllers are too big and bulky.  I was a master of the gray Nintendo controller with it’s simple A and B button.  We have a GameCube in the house…it has A, B, C, X, Y, L and R.  And it has a mini-joystick.  The hands of today’s generation must be a lot more flexible than “back in my day.”  I pine for the days of an 8-bit scrolling screen. 

Best Gift That Made Me Cry:

My husband went all out for Mother’s Day this past year and gave me a book he had printed full of pictures of AJ.  Wasband is pretty much a graphic design/photography wizard, so he made special alterations to photos and put them all together in a really dazzling book.  It’s really the one thing I would grab (uh, besides my kid) if the house was on fire and I had to run out the door.

Most Unusable Gift:

Sorry Carli-it’s the tiki head tissue box cover.  And for so many reasons.  I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you on the phone.  Imagine a tiki head tissue box cover.  The tissues come out of the nose.  Out of the nose!  I thought it was a real conversation piece, honestly…and if I had an extra bathroom I could decorate in an Easter-Island theme, I totally would have, just for this gift.  Really.  But it doesn’t really fit in with our elk, moose, and pine tree theme.  My husband is a real stickler on theme variation in the house.  So the tiki-head lives in the garage, deep inside a box, waiting for the day I have a house with many bathrooms.   

So there is this year’s Gifty Awards. 

What are some gifts that you really loved, or loathed?



Leave a Comment
  1. Carli / Dec 14 2007 11:11 am

    I’m glad to see the Tiki Head Tissue Box Cover made the list! I’m a little confused though. You seem to think it would only be fitting in an Easter Island themed room. Clearly it goes with any decor…including the rustic country look. I expect it to be proudly displayed in your bathroom when I visit again!

  2. pikespeakdenise / Dec 11 2007 10:16 pm

    I remember getting my first camera. An awesome Polaroid. I was 10, or 12, somewhere in there. I still have the pictures from that camera. Anyway, my mom definitely started a lifelong hobby with that birthday gift.

    Another present I shall always remember is Cowboy. My middle school boyfriend got permission from my mom to get me a kitten for Christmas after Snowball died. Cowboy rocked, but my dad always called him Hitler, because of his little mustache marking.

    I have a Polaroid photo of Cowboy, of course.

  3. maleesha / Dec 11 2007 1:45 pm

    Illinois time? Excuse me but you’ll have to explain as I am not a Star Trek whiz. J/k…sounds like it was a great day!

  4. cherikooka / Dec 11 2007 1:41 pm

    The best gift I got wasn’t a Christmas gift. As a teenager, I lived pretty far from my family (45 minutes in Illinois time). On my 18th birthday, my father showed up at my front door at 7:30 in the morning and handed me this huge, and I mean huge pink card that he made me. He said happy birthday, got back in his car and drove off. I was stunned. It was so unlike anything my father would ever do. It was so very cool of him and it is something I will never forget.


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