this christmas i was ridiculously spoiled with all the great gifts i received. i was thinking that this was the best christmas ever, but that got me thinking when have i ever had a "bad" christmas... any time people want to give me gifts is great, right? so then i started thinking, "have i ever received a truly bad christmas gift?" i mean, even ugly, itchy wool sweaters aren't that bad, are they? at least you won't freeze your rear if a nuclear war breaks out and a cloud of debris covers the earth throwing us into the second ice age... anyways, i started really thinking about whether or not any of my past christmas gifts could be deemed "bad". and then i remembered christmas 2003. i had been married a little over a year and was spending christmas with my new in-laws. we had opened most of our gifts that morning, and we were starting to look through our christmas stockings. i opened mine to find a can of cat food. i thought it was supposed to be a joke since i didn't have a cat and according to my husband would never own one as long as we were still engaged in the bonds of matrimony. as i sat puzzling over what santa had left me, my husband walked into the room with something struggling to get out from under his shirt. i still hadn't caught on (i'm slow, okay?) when my husband pulled out a little black kitten. i was of course thrilled that i finally got my husband to cave in, thereby completing total spousal domination on my part. and the fact that i now owned a kitten was pretty neat, too. within a few minutes of holding my new pet i noticed something mildly different about him. not only was he incredibly small (ben thought he was the cutest because he was 1/2 the size of his litter-mates) but his neck was the same width as his head. it was almost eerie watching him walk around because he looked so top-heavy that walking should have been gravitationally impossible. but somehow my little christmas kitty defied all natural laws and scampered around the house all morning while i carved out a special little place in my heart just for him. pretty soon i decided it was time for my new kitty to eat his can of cat food that santa had left him. i set the plate of cat food on the floor. the kitten came running over and began to devour his breakfast. at this point i realized that my cat was not just sweetly small with a WWF worthy neck. he was actually deformed. it was as though there were small pockets in his throat where most of his food was forced into upon his swallowing it. he would then cough up the food and try again to get it down his actual esophagus. the reason he was so little became obvious: try as he might, the food kept ending up in his nasty throat pockets instead of his stomach. he did this weird contortionist dance and made these awful wheezing, gasping noises while eating. it was absolutely horrifying to watch. when he was done "eating" he wanted to curl up - no, not on my lap- on my shoulder and snuggle with me. it would have been sweet except he smelled so strongly of kitten chow and cat bile that i couldn't stand to have him anywhere near me.
a day or two after the holiday i took my christmas gift to the vet who confirmed that our cat had a major deformity. his esophagus muscles didn't function properly and didn't open to allow food to pass through. over the weeks he had been alive, his throat had stretched out from all the food he was desperately trying to get into his belly. the vet said that we could pay $40 a month for medicine that would have to be given to him daily before each meal to get his digestive system started up and relax his throat. as much as i had wanted a cat, $40 a month seemed a little much. so we left the vet and headed for the pet store where we returned the kitten for $30 of store credit (pretty lame if you ask me, because what were we going to buy at a pet store if we didn't own a pet???). i asked to store owner what would happen to the kitten. "we're going to have to put him down", was her answer. i left the store in tears feeling like an executioner.
so there you have it... my worst christmas gift ever. i think any gift that you have to exterminate within a few days of receiving is worthy of that title.