Christmas Bomb! (Share your stories)


The first Christmas Sarabeth and I celebrated together was with her family in Florida. Little did I know that it would be the most embarrassing Christmas ever.

Being the cool boyfriend that I was, and still trying to win her family over with my limited charm and my narcissistic good looks, I was exceptionally excited about my wicked-awseome present-buying skills. Oh, I got her a trinket here and there, a book maybe, probably a necklace, and then came the moment of truth – the first clothing item I had ever bought for a girl.

I watched with anticipation as she undid the boyish wrapping. Her family couldn’t have missed the growing excitement on my face as we all leaned in closer to observe.

Was it a dress? A pretty skirt?

Sarabeth pulled out of the American Eagle box a very fancy pink polo shirt. Now, on the surface, this sounds very anti-climatic, but in truth, this was a very self-sacrificial gift. You see, I wasn’t a fan of girls wearing polo shirts – it always made me think that they just got off of work at the Dairy Queen (I’ve matured since then, and they don’t bother me as much).

But here’s the kicker.

While I was humbly sharing how self-sacrificial I was being: “…I don’t even like polo shirts, but I know Sarabeth does, so I thought, well, heck, Christmas isn’t about me – it’s about those I love…” Sarabeth uttered a statement that made my heart stop, and caused every eye in the living room to land on me, demanding a new story.

She said: “This is a man’s shirt.”*


I’m going to call this moment a Christmas bomb.

I had never shopped for women’s clothing before. When I had walked into American Eagle the day I got it, it was sitting on a table at the very front of the store, probably with a big 50% off sign next to it.

It was the promotional and the pink and the polo that caught my attention. I didn’t think for a moment that it would be possible for me to make such a dumb mistake.

But trust me: Dumb mistakes are not only possible, they’re almost inevitable. But we can help each other out this shopping season by sharing our horror stories and warning our fellow-man to double-check each and every purchase to make Christmas for our loved ones just perfect.

So put your pride aside and share your most embarrassing Christmas bomb stories and warn us all of preventable doom.

*Sarabeth quickly forgave me, and, as you know, went on to marry me 11 months later. I lost and gained through this experience. I lost some pride and I gained a valuable lesson: Just when you think it’s the perfect gift, remember to look for the obvious flaw. Β 


About Andrew Toy
I'm in the beginning stages of starting my own publishing company that's unlike anything you've ever heard of in the industry. The direction of AdoptingJames is taking a 90-degree turn and will be more writing/publishing-focused. Stay tuned for huge updates and exciting news!

25 Responses to Christmas Bomb! (Share your stories)

  1. So, how are polo shirts gendered? πŸ™‚

  2. I was like 8 – I was so excited, I had worked with my grandmother to buy a stovetop popcorn popper for my dad – he loves popcorn. Turns out – he’d bought the same thing for the family and his got opened first. Heartbreaker at that age. πŸ™‚

  3. Not a gift story but…I was super excited to make dessert one Christmas. So I made an apple pie, pumpkin pie and my shining glory, an eggnog cheesecake. My first cheesecake ever. I built it up and built it up. I was psyched that it didn’t crack on the top. Got massive compliments for that. Then my brother eagerly dug in, at the table, in front of everyone. I’ll never forget his face. Never. It was so bad that all the men at the table immediately dug in to see what the problem was (as only men will do right?). I took a disappointed tentative taste–it was dense and tasted like playdough.

    That’s because I put three CUPS of flour instead of the three TABLESPOONS the recipe called for.

    Luckily, the apple and pumpkin pies were fine. And I had a nice big slice of humble pie for dessert!

  4. mlhutchinson says:

    Not a gift I gave, but one Christmas when I was in college my younger sister gave me hair ties for Christmas. Nothing wrong with that, but I had just cut my hair real short before coming home for the holidays! Couldn’t use them! I felt really bad on my sister’s behalf…

    Btw, thanks for the follow! πŸ™‚

  5. Sounds like O’Henry’s “Gift of the Magi” πŸ™‚ Always a favorite.

    • skirrl says:

      I love that story! Except it always struck me as a bit unfair that she could grow her hair out to use the combs, but he (seemingly) had no way to get his grandfather’s watch back…

      • Ha! True. Is O. Henry saying something about the generosity of women? We hope not! Perhaps it’s just that her hair was the only thing she *could* sell. Perhaps she didn’t have anything else, any other heirlooms, like he had. Dunno πŸ™‚

  6. Mel says:

    HAHAHAHA this is so funny! Will share with my hubby this story! Love it πŸ™‚

  7. Kama says:

    I didn’t give a bomb gift I could remember of. I received them. a lot of times. A book of famous quotes and aphorisms (that might be ok) with a lady-like rosey cover (that’s not ok). Clothes, the worst is when they’re pink. I hate pink. And my biggest nightmare was when I got 3 different gifts – clothes – in pink! First – I was laughing, second – I my smile was kinda forced, on the third one I cried. I don’t care if it’s “girly” or “a nice colour” – I hate it! But no, my family had to force their taste on me. Bleeeh. That was the worst Christmas ever. Strangely enough, I rarely get books even tho I love reading them.

  8. Haha this is a funny story. One I am sure you will both remember forever.

  9. laurabennet says:

    Ok, not a Christmas story, but the same thing happened to me! For my son-in-law’s birthday, I wanted to get him a Sharks (hockey) shirt because we are those kind of fans. But, as with any official sporting attire, the cost is exorbitant and I had a limited budget. So I, like you, browsed the clearance rack. Found the perfect black, polo with a small, classy Sharks logo for a killer price, in the right size and thought “Yes! Scored.” He could even wear it to work, right? Took it home, went to wrap it for next day party and realized it said “women’s” in very small print on the tag! How the heck did I miss that?? Re-shopping was not an option at that point (we don’t live close enough to the store to jet over and exchange). I wrapped it up and gave it to him with the very lame explanation of what happened and the receipt to exchange it. Still makes me feel like an unloving idiot when I think of it, even though my son-in-law (and daughter) were gracious and kind about my blunder.

    Needless to say, I’m VERY careful checking fine print tags now.

    Merry Christmas. May your gift buying and giving be less eventful and more positive πŸ™‚

  10. Tuning In says:

    Married 15 years, my hubby routinely waited until Christmas Eve day to buy me a gift. He spent $75 on two t-shirts at a kiosk in the mall. They were airbrushed. I was upset… money was tight and I still can’t believe he spent $75 on T-shirts!!! I’ll never get rid of them. But I also don’t wear them. Men, you should know what your wife likes to eat, wear, read, watch or do. LISTEN to her.

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