My dad meant well. I know he did.
I was in high school and had a flourishing taste in music. I didn’t want much for Christmas but wrote out a list of CDs.
I needed them to upload to my 2007 iPod Classic, so I could then plug that into my car cassette adapter, so I could then blast those tunes in my 2000 Hyundai Elantra while driving to my cashier job at Five Guys. I was aiming for cool.
I gave specific instructions for whenever my dad decided to head to Best Buy, noting the artists and album titles. My dad, someone I love very dearly, is a person who sometimes needs that kind of detail — even though it meant I shouldn’t have been surprised on Christmas morning.
Yet, somehow, I still was.
On the list? The 1967 debut solo album “Chelsea Girl” from folk artist Nico.
Under the tree? The 2009 release “Middle Cyclone” by alt-country singer-songwriter Neko Case. Nico and Neko? Close, but…
(My dad gave his support to include this story. “Use me, I’m your dad,” he said. “Throw me under the bus.”)
If you celebrate this time of year, the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com would love to hear your stories the most surprising gifts, good or bad, you’ve ever received or given. It doesn’t matter if the exchange went down this season, or in a past year.
Send us your stories through the Google form below, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll share some of our favorites with the rest of our readers.
Here are some other stories of surprising gifts from our staff:
“My father had an aunt who was a nun. When I was a teenager, she gave my mother a set of six oversized coffee mugs for Christmas. They were emblazoned with images of animals — cows and bears and elephants — jumbled together. The nun, Aunt Anna, was in her 70s by then and her eyesight wasn’t great. But our eyes failed us, too. We used the mugs for a year before one of my mom’s friends, having a cup of tea while visiting, pointed out that the animals depicted on the mugs were engaged in an orgy.” — Chris Brennan, staff writer
“When I was three years old, my mom took me with her to buy Christmas presents. She bought my dad a watch, and then talked to me about how it would be a surprise and we had to keep it secret and not tell my dad. Very excited to be gift shopping, I nodded along. When we got home, my dad asked if we’d had a good time shopping. I said yes, and then proudly burst out: ‘And I’m not even going to tell you that we got you a watch!’ I had no idea I’d given away the secret, and on Christmas morning, my dad acted surprised as anyone when he unwrapped it.” — Justine McDaniel, staff writer
“In college I got my mother a ‘microphone mug’ for Christmas. It was a beer mug that had a microphone built into the handle. My mother neither drinks much beer nor does she do karaoke. One of my friends was horrified and insisted I not give my mom that gift. Wisely I took that friend’s advice.” — Jason Laughlin, staff writer
“When I was about 7 years old my parents took me Christmas shopping, probably Sears or K-Mart, to buy a kid about my age a present. Knowing funds were limited, I picked a plastic clarinet because it was cheap, leaving money left over for my parents to buy me something better. Christmas morning arrives and guess what? I had a plastic clarinet waiting for me under the tree. Let’s just say this trick never worked again.” — Alejandro Alvarez, online photo editor