The Weirdest Gifts of All Time

By Kerry Knight

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You can tell the holidays are in full swing.  You can’t find a parking place anywhere near or in retail shopping areas. People in the malls are shoulder-to- shoulder deep. Gifts are flying off the shelves, and retailers are grinning with holiday cheer and especially at the sound of their cash registers ringing “cha-Ching!” In my perambulations around various indoor and outdoor shopping centers in town, I’ve seen some fairly peculiar presents being gift-wrapped out there.  But when you think about it, people have been sharing some strange gifts for a quite a while now.  Here are a few:  

Fruit Cake.  This has been a running joke since the advent of processed food.  No one seems to want them.  And if you’ve ever tried to eat one, you know why.  Most people just repackage it to save as a gift for next year.  Strangely, these baked products almost never seem to erode… or go away for that matter.  Someone once joked, “There is only one fruit cake that has ever been made, and it just keeps circulating.” 

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Handmade Grandma Sweater.  We’ve all seen one.  They are usually red (for Christmas) and oftentimes have silly features, such as real blinking lights or a protruting, 3D carrot nose. There may also besequins, sparkles and a big snowman, sometimes made out of cotton balls.  It is a poofy, gawdy thing, but it is the thought that counts, right?  After donning this sweater, I’m thinking that we might need to rethink that thought.

A Lump of Coal.    This was always a punitive gift, but it does happen.  It’s supposed to be a representative gift for a boy or girl who has been bad ― that is, has misbehaved ― throughout the year.  My grandpa once told me a story he claims happened to him when he was a boy.  He had always wanted a pony.  But all our family had, was a mule that was used for plowing.  One Christmas morning he awoke all excited, ran to the fireplace and grabbed his stocking from the mantelpiece.  He looked inside to find a piece of horse manure.  His father explained,” We got bought you a pony for Christmas, but I guess it got away.”  No, I never believed that story, but it was funny to hear him tell it.

Here is a short list of some of the weirdest holiday gifts in recent years:

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  • A shrunken head (Believe it or not, Ripley)
  • Facial hair removal kit for women
  • A stuffed deer head with a red nose attached
  • Packaged, flavored larvae
  • A super “Swiss Army” knife with 20+ tools contained therein
  • A chess piece (yes, just one piece)
  • A turquoise leather vest
  • A sandwich bag of coffee (enough for one pot)
  • A tree ornament with the co-worker’s wife’s picture on it
  • A fire extinguisher
  • A bag of chips
  • “Gun of the Day” calendar

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 The acclaimed American writer, O. Henry (a pen name for William Sydney Porter), once wrote a short story entitled “The Gift of the Magi.”  It’s about a young married couple trying to get through the Christmas season with very little money.  It is a sentimental story with a moral lesson about gift-giving.  It goes like this:

Young Jim and his wife, Della, live in a modest apartment.  Their two prize possessions are Della’s long, flowing hair reaching down her lower back and Jim’s gold watch that belonged to his father and grandfather before him.  The couple only has $1.87 between them, and desperate to find a gift for each other they take extreme means.  Della sells her beautiful long hair to a hairdresser for $20 and proceeds to buy Jim a platinum chain for his pocket watch.  Waiting for Jim to come home from work she begins preparing dinner and hoping that Jim will still find her pretty even without her long tresses.  When Jim enters, she admits to using her hair to buy his Christmas gift, and he then presents her gift.  It was an assortment of combs and hair accessories that he had purchased after selling his prized watch.  It is a touching story of sacrifice and the depth to which some will go to express their love.

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Shouldn’t every gift be an expression of appreciation of love?  When you’re thinking about a gift for your mom or dad, or maybe your grandparents, why not buy something that really expresses how you feel?  We sell a product that does just that. The Walk-in Bathtub is designed to make sure your loved one is safe, can bathe themselves independently, and can see relief from pain.  It allows them to bathe themselves without assistance from anyone, in a tub with a watertight door with a low ingress and egress. It also has non-slip surfaces and a sturdy grab-bar to facilitate access into and exiting from the tub. Your loved ones can soak in warm water and treat themselves to delightful sensations and benefits of hydrotherapeutic jets.  (For more details on our Walk-in Tubs’ numerous benefits, check out some of our previous blogs such as “Does Your Body Need a Walk-in Tub?” and “There’s Never Been a Better Time to Buy a Walk-in Tub.”)

Many of our customers pool their resources with other siblings to a make a purchase for their beloved parents that can truly make a difference.  During this season of gift giving, why not offer something that really carries a message of how you feel about someone special?  A safety-featured Walk-in Tub from Tub King is a gift that will keep on giving, every time it’s used. 

In this article, I shared some of the more unusual gifts that have been given out during the holidays such as fruit cake, a hand-knit sweater with a snowman on the front, and several others. I also talked about one of the best gifts one can give to their parents, a safety-featured Walk-in Tub, and described some of its many features and benefits.

If you found this article useful, please share it with your family, friends and co-workers. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the Comment section of this blog. Thanks again for visiting with us.

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Alan and Kerry Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc., and  in Jacksonville, Florida. Together they have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products, they are also award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you’d like to contact them, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to

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