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TIS Christmas 2015
Dec 22, 2015

As Told by TIS: The Best and Worst Christmas Gifts Ever

"I don't know what to say, except it's Christmas and we're all in misery." -Ellen Griswold

The craziness of the holiday season is currently at its peak, and some of us in the office are only slightly freaking out that the big day is two days away. This week the TIS crew has been having fun with a Secret Santa gift exchange, and it got us thinking about some of the best and worst gifts we've received for Christmas over the years. Walk with us down Holly Jolly Memory Lane...



BEST: When I was a kid, my mom hid the presents in a storage room. I knew they were there and was always tempted to peek. One year I peeked a brand new Nintendo Entertainment system. I quickly weighed the implications of being naughty or nice, and ended up taking it into my room and playing Mario all night long. I'm pretty sure I beat the game. I packaged it back up and opened it the next morning with my best surprise face. My mom was none the wiser, and I totally won Christmas that year.

WORST: Instead of a "worst" gift, I have another "best" to share. When I was probably 8 or so, I received a cool metal tin of pennies from my Grandma and Grandpa Schaut. They didn’t have a lot of money and had about 4,000 grandkids. It was gifted on top of the mittens my Grandmother knitted for us every year. It was really very special to me.


Oldschool Computer

BEST: My first computer. That was a Christmas gift that probably changed my life in ways that I’m just realizing today.

WORST: A box of 10-15 (extremely corny) band t-shirts from JCPenney that my grandma got me when I was way "too cool" for them. I felt so guilty accepting so many clothes that I would probably never wear.



BEST: A Barbie Car. I was so excited, and immediately put my two cocker spaniels in the passenger seat driving back and forth from the kitchen to the living room at a record speed of 5 mph.

WORST: A Furby. My mom wrapped the Furby and put it under the tree with the batteries. On the night of Christmas Eve, I was shaking the presents and the Furby started talking. I was scared shitless. I was set on the idea that there was a loose Gremlin in my house coming after me.


Santa knows

BEST: Being with Brit in Afghanistan in 2012 : ).

WORST: My worst gift wasn’t really a gift… it was the fact that I peeped my presents before Christmas when I was about 14. It kind of killed the buzz. I never did it again : ).


Lite Brite

BEST: Lite-Brite. One of my fave childhood memories was driving around neighborhoods with our parents and seeing all the lights and decorations. This gift combined what I loved most about Christmas with my favorite things: playing with colors, creating pictures, and bright, shiny things.

WORST: My worst gift is something a lot of people can empathize with. My mom and aunts used to buy us girls matching outfits from Fashion Wagon (an in-home, fashion service—think Tupperware except with clothing). Most the time we didn’t mind, but one Christmas they made us wear the most hideous outfit imaginable, and even made us pose for a picture.


Chocolate Santa

BEST: My Barbie dollhouse that was about 3 feet tall from Santa. He even put all the pieces together so it was ready for me to play with when I woke up. It also came with a Barbie convertible!

WORST: One gift I never liked: Hollow chocolate Santas. Who wants to eat just plain molded chocolate?


A Christmas Story

BEST: The best give I ever received to this day was the Metroid for NES in 1988.

WORST: The worst was clothes... always clothes...


Barbie Riding Club

BEST: I was always thrilled to receive anything Barbie: Barbie Riding Club, Barbie doll house, Barbie Airplane, Barbie RV...

WORST: It was always a bummer to get anything practical, like bed sheets. Funny thing is, that's all I ask for now!


Star Wars

BEST: My favorite gift I ever received was the Star Wars Hand Held game. I LARVED this thing.

WORST: I can't really choose a "worst" gift. Most of the gifts people have given me are pretty sweet!


Elf costume

BEST: A Power Wheels red fire truck. My grandpa was a firefighter which meant that I got to be him : )

WORST: It would have to be this elf costume, which didn't quite cover everything...


BEST: Speaking as a Santa-believing, list-making, starry-eyed child of the late 70’s and early 80’s, my favorite gift was the Atari 2600 with space invaders game included. 

WORST: I can’t narrow down a “worst” present, but one of the presents that I refused to wear was from the mid 80’s during the height of Miami Vice. I received a Don Johnson original jacket, puffy shoulders and all. I was appreciative, but later had my mom get the gift receipt from my aunt so I could replace it.

The TIS crew wishes you a very Happy Holiday, and that your gifts turn out better than some of ours did!

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