June 13, 2024

The Best Worst Gift

Elisabeth recently asked "What is the best gift you ever received" and I gave a rather rambling answer that concluded with "I am not really a gift person".

However, before we got there, I named my two worst-received gifts, which were a Tupperware set and then a peanut butter stirrer, both from Andy early on in our relationship.

After posting about this, I realised that had I not been gifted a peanut butter stirrer, I would have no idea what a peanut butter stirrer is.

First, I have to say that both these presents were very thoughtful. I actually love putting things in Tupperware.  The set Andy got me had two small containers and one larger one, perfect for a sandwich and some snacks.  It was also pink and green, both colours that I like.  Sadly, one of the tuppewares broke THIS MORNING which means it's a gift that's lasted 10+ years.

And second, I love peanut butter.  I try not to eat palm oil (sometimes I try harder than other times.. why do all affordable crackers have palm oil??!) and so often our peanut butter has separated a lot by the time we open it.  We also buy peanut butter in either 1kg or 1.5kg tubs.  And we eat a lot of these tubs.  

To solve the problem of peanut butter separation, Andy found this:
He was SO pleased with his purchase.  It was ordered from a vaguely Amish website that had a very awesome catalogue printed catalogue.  

I had dropped "hints" that what I really wanted was a Patagonia Better Sweater. I wish I could tell younger Rachel that "Hints" are a terrible idea.

So hopefully you can see why, when I opened a peanut butter stirrer rather than a cosy sweater, I was less than impressed.

Also, this is the same birthday a family member gave me 10 expired protein bars as a present.  Although I appreciated the bars, it was also a little underwhelming.

I was lamenting this gift to a friend, who then asked me "do gifts really matter to you?"  

I realised that gifts are not a big deal to me.  I could buy myself a Patagonia better sweater.  I don't need things.  I don't need people to guess what I want.  I am not particularly good at giving gifts.  I know what I want and what I like and I can buy myself things.  I'm an adult with a bank account. 

I told Andy that he doesn't have to get me gifts anymore. The best gift I can get is financial stability combined with us trusting each other enough to buy what we need/want (by sticking to our budgets and generally making enough money and spending less than that).

But back to the peanut butter stirrer. I think the main problem was that it didn't really fit all the peanut butter jars.  I guess I could have decanted from one jar to another?  I think we used to buy the trader joes or the Whole Foods 365 jars and it definitely didn't fit on those.  It probably fit on the Adams peanut butter in the glass jar.  So we didn't end up using it.

There's a culture here in Wales, especially in younger years, about being "Spoilt Rotten" on your birthday.  I always felt uneasy about this because Andy and I were never "Spoilt Rotten" people, and even as I write this it seems... odd.  Being Spoilt (or Spoiled?) Rotten isn't really an aspiration is it?  I know the sentiment behind it can be good... but it's not me.  

So really, the best gift I ever received was realising I didn't have to be a gift person.  

But those Tupperware lasted a really long time too.

What's the best gift you ever received? What's the worst?


  1. I totally LOVE getting and giving presents. And it doesn't mean someone has to spend a lot of money on me... I just want to know that they THOUGHT about me, and what I would like. I don't buy many 'fun' things for myself, I don't like clothes particularly, and I don't usually buy things for myself. So if someone picks out a puzzle that is actually related to something I like, or a book, or a picture frame with their picture in it, I am thrilled...and everytime I walk by that thing, I smile. But, alas, that is not the 'style' now... My husband thinks it is stupid -- although he has learned that I really need gifts to feel loved, and things like a scale to weigh yourself are not good gifts. He sometimes gets better -- a nice travel mug that fits in the car opening for when we go to the lake to drink our coffee. That is a thoughtful gift and also practical.
    Anyway, I spend many many hours thinking of things for the people I love, and it is hard, then, when all the media is saying how silly that is, how adults can buy their own things, etc, etc. It is my love language...sigh..

    1. Oh what an interesting counterpoint! I thought it was way normal to want gifts, which is why it took me so long to realise it was OK to not be a gift person. I am glad you were able to show your husband what gifts mean to you. And I could so see my husband buying me a scale for my birthday and not realising why that's not a great gift.

      I have tried recently to become a better gift giver but it's not in my nature. I have a friend who is a brilliant gift person. She will give me things I love, things I need, and things I didn't know I would love and need. I'm always in awe of her thoughtfulness. I have another friend who is the most amazing £10 gift giver... it's such a skill to be a gift person and I think it's definitely a wondeful trait.

      Gifts as a love language is perfectly valid - and you sound like a perfect gift receiver as well :-)

  2. Best gift. Hmmm. Time alone is my favourite gift. Best gift? I'd have to puzzle about that for a while.
    Worst? I can't think of much, though an aunt - who, for the record was VERY RICH - used to buy us used puzzles for Christmas and they didn't always have all the pieces AND I hated puzzles. She once gifted my mom some linen napkins that still had dry cleaning tags on them.
    My husband is not in to gifts and while we exchange a lot at Christmas, we mostly give each other a list with links of things we would likely purchase for ourselves anyway!
    I'm sorry the Tupperware broke, but you had a good long run with it!

    1. Haha puzzles with missing pieces is pretty classic! I accidentally did this to the kids this Christmas - I bought a board game at the charity shop and when they opened it on Christmas it was missing half the pieces. I said "oops the store forgot to put the pieces in!" and then bought them a new one and figured the charity shop just got a donation.

      I think we might do more gifts for each other in a similar way to you and your husband when we don't have so many small kids. Last year Andy did get me some Chooclate for Christmas which was super appreciated. I don't think I got him anything... expect the 6 week old twins :-D

  3. I am also not a gift person. I think something like a massage or weekend away would be something I’d love. One of my friends was into arts and crafts and I have a few practical things she made for me that I love as we live in different countries now so using or seeing these things every day reminds me of her.

    1. Oh a massage is definitely a great gift! And a weekend away... dreamy!

  4. I'm not a gift person either. I have a terrible time coming up with gift ideas, and while I appreciate the effort, a lot of the gifts that I get miss the mark. Though at least no one has even given me 10 expired protein bars.

    The hubs and I are both allowed to opt out of gifts to each other. However, the Hubs will be getting a Father's Day card and gift this year because it just so happens that I found both on my trip - and I wasn't even looking for them. So Sunday will be the exception to the "no gift" rule.

    1. My husband is getting blue cheese beef burgers and chips for fathers day, which is what he always gets on fathers day. I could get him some chocolate, but I probably won't make it to the shop.

      It's definitely better to clearly define gifts with your spouse... I bet he will be surprised to get something!

  5. I like to give and receive gifts (more give than receive) and it's not my first love language, but I do enjoy a thoughtful gift. However, I usually take no gift (and just quality time) over a random gift without meaning.

  6. Sooo not a gift person. A card, now, that means something. Words and thank you's mean a lot more to me than something that I could, as you say, buy myself. :)