Have any of you ever royally screwed up a Christmas present? Or had a gift that fell completely flat? Or maybe you thought you got something totally awesome and your kid’s reaction didn’t quite meet your expectation? I think I can feel some hand raises out there over the internets. I know you all will be completely shocked when I tell you; I too, have screwed up several Christmas presents in my day. So here’s my gift to you, dear readers: a couple of my most epic Christmas failures. Hopefully reading these will remind you, you’re not the only one who has ever gotten it wrong. You’re welcome and Merry Christmas. I’ll start with the first royal screw up. A few years ago, my oldest son wanted Guitar Hero. At the time, he was a bit obsessed with country music. He’s 10 now and into all the sports games. Something you must know about my son is that he’s a gamer. He thinks any male that walks in our house automatically needs to challenge him in a game of Madden or NHL 2K14 (I understand that any moms of toddlers out there think I just spoke in Mandarin. Trust me, these are real things and if you have boys, they might be in your future). He is always up for a video game and if we didn’t monitor it, he would play 24/7. That being said, I was pumped to find Guitar Hero at Costco and I think I may have gotten it on sale or with a rebate or something. Score!

Christmas Eve rolls around and Kyle and I are playing Santa and setting up the kids’ presents. At our house, Santa leaves his presents unwrapped so we were sorting their presents and grouping them by kid. It’s about 11:00pm and we’re finishing up when Kyle brings in the Guitar Hero box. Then he says the 5 words one never wants to hear at 11:00pm on Christmas Eve. “You bought the wrong one.” I didn’t check the box. It was the Guitar Hero for the Playstation, not the Xbox. I could’ve sworn I checked! Curses! Curses! The only things that were coming out of my mouth were curses. I think Kyle was scared for his life because I’m pretty sure some of those words he had never heard me say, you know, because I’m a good Christian #sarcasm. I don’t know if I’ve ever been that angry with myself. Little did I know, this was only the beginning of my downward spiral into self-hatred over botched Christmas gifts. So my husband, in his kindness, asked me what he could do. I told him to do whatever he needed to do to make our son happy on Christmas morning. I’m pretty sure I hissed these words at him. So my sweet hubs drove, in the pouring rain, to meet his brother, who by some stroke of divine intervention had his Guitar Hero with him while he was visiting his parents who live an hour away. While he’s gone I think all I’m doing is seething over my idiocy and inattention to detail. The next morning, honestly, my son barely even noticed the guitar that my husband drove in the rainstorm to get. I think he played it once. It turns out we didn’t even replace the one we got him. I just took it back to the store and my son has never asked to play with it. #Christmasfail

The next epic failure is still a little fresh. It just happened last year. Just thinking about it sends me into heart palpitations and self-loathing. So last year, my daughter put a suitcase on her Christmas list. She just wanted a little one with rollers on it for sleepovers. She showed me the one she liked in a catalog so I ordered it and had her name put on it, because that’s what girls do. Did I mention I ordered it using my phone? That’s important. So, I don’t know, maybe a week later, I got it in the mail. I opened it in private and that’s when the world stopped spinning. I felt like I was going to throw up. My hands started to shake along with my head. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. They had put the wrong name on the suitcase. Well, to be fair, it was only sort of the wrong name. They misspelled it. My daughter’s name is spelled “Caitlin”; on the suitcase it was spelled “Caitilin”. At a glance, it’s barely noticeable…until you notice it. At this point, I am fuming. I call the company as I’m pulling up my email confirmation. When the person answers, I explain the situation and ask how it can be rectified, all the while waiting for my email to pull up. She tells me they can’t take it back since it’s personalized and no they can’t fix it because it will ruin the suitcase (No problem, I’m sure there are lots of Caitilins out there that could use a suitcase from the Goodwill. Yeah. Right.).

So my email finally pulls up and there it is, in glaring black and white. I had spelled my daughter’s name wrong on the order. Yes. You read that right. Let it sink in for a moment. I, the mother, who’s had her daughter’s name picked out since high school, spelled it WRONG. When I typed in her name on my phone it was so small I didn’t even notice I had slipped an extra “i” in there. Isn’t it the worst when you’re angry with yourself? It’s so much easier to be angry with someone else because then it’s his/her fault. Am I right? I got off the phone quickly with the suitcase company and called another monogramming place in town. Guess what? They couldn’t fix it either without messing up the suitcase.

So what was I to do? She really wanted a suitcase with her name on it for Christmas. So I did what any good parent does. I blamed it on Santa. And do you know what Santa did?? He blamed his elves. This is the note left by Santa to Caitlin on Christmas morning.



So, here comes the funny part. On Christmas morning, after looking at all her presents, Caitlin brought us the note from Santa and said, “Mom, Santa didn’t misspell my name.” (Oh little love. Maybe we need to spend more time working on your sight words, or at the very least how to spell your own name). So I feigned confusion because I’d obviously NEVER seen the suitcase or Santa’s note before that very moment. I told her to check the suitcase one more time. As I watched her I saw the realization come over her face. And do you know what that precious little girl said? “It’s ok, I bet no one will even notice.” As I type this, I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes, laughing, because who on earth schleps around a suitcase with her name misspelled on it? Caitilin does. She amazed me that morning. I even offered to get her another one and she said she didn’t want one. She liked her “Caitilin” suitcase. She even told her friends at school about it, which made me feel like a suuuuuper awesome mom. I’m sure when her friends told their mothers there were chuckles all around. She still uses it today. It’s like a constant reminder of failure every time I see it. Thanks, Caitilin. We even call her Caitilin when she uses it. She thinks it’s funny. We’ll see if she still thinks it’s funny when she finds out it was mother dearest who made the error. Do you ever feel like you’re just giving your kids more things to talk about in counseling one day? I’m sure the suitcase will be in the mix of mommy issues (“…and then there was that time she spelled my name wrong on my suitcase and blamed it on Santa…”). Ugh.

So don’t lose heart, dear friends, it isn’t just you that has botched a Christmas gift. I was beginning to wonder what disaster I would create this year then I realized I accidentally threw away a gift card I bought for someone that I had stupidly left in the bottom of a shopping bag. I will never learn. After digging through the trash and realizing the big trash cans had already been picked up, I called the store where I got the gift card. Luckily, I think the store is going to void that one and give me another one. Wish I would’ve thought of that before going through the trash that had fridge leftovers in it. Whew. Crisis averted. Hopefully that will be the worst of it this year.

Care to share your worst Christmas gift fiasco? I’d love to hear!


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