Best and Worst

The Best and Worst Gifts Ever

We all have that one holiday memory. The one where we got exactly what we wanted. Or, maybe, it’s the one where what we gave didn’t quite meet expectations. Either way, the things we get and those we give are often remembered long after the items themselves are gone. To help wrap up 2020 we thought we’d ask members of our PMG Team about some of their best, and worst, gifts ever. Here are their responses to sprinkle a little extra Christmas cheer on your post-holiday doldrums this year. Enjoy!

What is the best gift you’ve ever received?

  1. The best gift I’ve ever received or given is the same for me. In December 1996 we decided to drive down to see my parents, who were on South Padre Island for 3 months, during the winter. We loaded up the minivan and set up an VCR for our daughter, so she could watch movies during the trip. We got down there on New Year’s Eve about 9:00 pm. The whole family had a great time and that was the last time my mom was alive for Christmas or New Years. She passed away the following June. That Christmas I will always cherish and never will forget. I guess we never know when we will have our “last” Christmas, so make it the best every year! (Cindy J, LGA)
  2. The best gift that I received was a homemade stocking that my daughter made for me because I didn’t have one (my favorite part of Christmas is stocking stuffers). In the stocking were handwritten notes from my children about their favorite memories with mom. (Kim O, Recruiter)
  3. A large handmade wooden dollhouse, when I was a child, to be passed down to future generations! (Marisa B, TST Manager)
  4. Nike AirMax shoes. (Ted C, TSC)
  5. My dog Harley was the best gift I’ve ever received. He was given to me after my son passed away and he was basically a life saver. (Daniel O, Welder)
  6. My Sega Genesis from ‘Santa’. (Dave R, TSC)
  7. When I was about 6 or7 years old my parents and grandparents went in together and got me a one of a kind handmade closet/bed for my American Girl Doll Molly. It’s still at my parents’ house and, by far, the most thoughtful and unique gift I’ve ever gotten. (Vivian R, BDR)
  8. When I was 13 I asked for an Xbox every single day, for an entire year. I was THRILLED when I finally got one! (Jazmin C, TS Admin)
  9. A sapphire (my birth stone) ring I got from my parents when I was 17. I still wear it to this day over 20 years later. (Joan F, Controller)
  10. The gift of words in a card, from my parents, each year typically causes a tear or two to fall. It is always accompanied by a good sum of cash, but I appreciate their words way more. (Brandon S, CSM)
  11. In my youth it was a Dear Diary OR a Starter jacket (San Jose Sharks because the colors were my favorite). In my adult life, it was tickets to a music festival (Tomorrowland). (Kelly G, CSM)
  12. That I was going to be a daddy! (Corey M, Machine Operator)
  13. When my husband proposed to me on Christmas of 2013. Not only did he surprise me, it was the most cliché way of proposing to me. It was also in front of my whole immediate family (around 20 people) so there was an audience to share the joy with! (Laura Y, SMSPD)

What is the worst gift you’ve ever received?

  1. When I was 16 I was really into basketball. I wanted “basketball shoes” so badly, like black Nike ones. Because if you have the shoes, you can shoot better, right? I begged my parents for weeks and then, when Christmas came, I opened the box up and it was a pair of black basketball shoes! But they were from Kmart and almost 2 sizes too big for me. I ended up quitting basketball and moving on to something else. I only wore the shoes once. (Laura Y, SMSPD)
  2. Fitted/Too-tight pajamas, from my in-laws. I thought they were actually leggings. (Ted C, TSC)
  3. Anything from my Dad, specifically an L (large size) Twins T-shirt when I was in college.  I have not been an L since I was 10. (Dave R, TSC)
  4. A bag full of used (but still working) light bulbs. (Brandon S, CSM)
  5. It was always clothing that I didn’t pick out when I was a kid. (Joan F, Controller)
  6. I received a pair of mismatched slippers and a large mixing bowl from my former husband while we were married. He only bought the slippers because the sales girl was cute! At the time, I did not like the bowl, but now I wish I had it. (Kim O, Recruiter)
  7. No gift is a bad gift! (Kelly G, CSM)
  8. My grandma sent me this very shiny, silver puffy vest that looked like it belonged to a very elderly person. As much as I appreciated the thought, I returned it and got myself a pair of Birkenstocks that I wear almost every day. It all worked out in the end. (Vivian R, BDR)
  9. I feel bad even saying this, because I’m grateful for any gift, but if I HAVE to pick it’s the funny/hideous clothes my wonderful grandma gave us girl cousins growing up. Sorry Grandma! (Marisa B, TST Manager)
  10. A crystal dish I never used that is still in a box in my basement. (Daniel O, Welder)
  11. Mechanical pencils. I’ll take socks over those any day! Although, I actually really like socks though. (Jazmin C, TS Admin)

What is the best gift you’ve ever given?

  1. At my old job I got each of my co-workers a little something very special to their hearts. We didn’t have a manager, no one expected it, and they all opened them up together during the work day with a glass of cheer. The gift itself wasn’t the “best” thing I ever gave, but the sentiment is definitely one of the better. Other than that, I got Jesse (my fiancé) a pretty sweet new snowboard outfit last year. Pretty superficial but it was rad! (Kelly G, CSM)
  2. I got my wife a plush bathrobe, plush slippers, and a new Turbie Twist. Simple, but she LOVED it. (Dave R, TSC)
  3. I was hiring for operator positions at a former employer and a referral came to me with someone who lived close to the facility and had just to America from Ghana. She had no experience but had the desire to work. I had hired her and then started to get to know her. A few months later, with Christmas around the corner, I found out that her kids didn’t even have winter coats and they didn’t know of more support groups to help with winter needs. I went around the office and asked for donations to buy clothes and things for her kids and was able to raise about $150. Then we took them to Target and bought groceries, winter hats, mittens, boots, clothes and games for all of them. To this day, she messages me occasionally to thank me for helping them in a time of need.  She ended up getting hired on at the facility full-time and still works there too! (Laura Y, SMSPD)
  4. I’m all about sentimental gifts, and my best friend was going to study abroad for a year in Cambodia. So, my other best friend and I went and made this DIY Gumball Machine out of a painted flowerpot and fishbowl. Then we stuffed it full of all of our memories from growing up for when she got homesick. We all grew up together and it ended up being a really special moment! (Jazmin C, TS Admin)
  5. Probably a 1 carat diamond ring given to my second wife. In retrospect, I probably should have saved my money but the marriage did last 10 years so… (Daniel O, Welder)
  6. My siblings and I bought my parents (80 and 75 years old) their first automatic garage door opener last year.  They absolutely love it and have constantly told me whenever I see them! (Joan F, Controller)
  7. A surprise, expenses paid, family trip to my dad. (Marisa B, TST Manager)
  8. The best gift I’ve given wasn’t on a holiday. My best friend is a teacher and has had a pretty rough year with trying to teach during COVID, and all that goes with that. I sent her a “happy” containing 25 of The Office stickers, her favorite pen to grade papers with, and a motivating swear word coloring book to remind her that she was awesome. (Vivian R, BDR)
  9. Last year we decided to try something new with our daughters and gifted them an entire year of experiences, instead of a bunch of toys under the tree on Christmas morning. COVID required us to make a few substitutions but we still got to try a few new things: downhill skiing (which the girls loved, while I quickly realized I’m too old to learn), a cooking subscription for one daughter and on-line photography classes for the other, on-line archery lessons, passports for future travel, a trampoline, indoor skydiving, etc. It was honestly one of the best gifts I’ve ever given and I still got to reap the benefits, so I guess you could say it’s the best gift I’ve ever received too! We have all new experiences for 2021 and we made them COVID proof (I think), so we should get to enjoy the spirit of Christmas all year long in 2021 too! (Beth B. HR Manager)
  10. Vacations to Florida. (Ted C, TSC)
  11. The best gift was a wall hanging that had all of my dad’s football cards on it (he was a Minnesota Viking), surrounding the program for the Vikings 25th anniversary team. We went on to make one for when he was on the 40th and 50th teams too. Football was just his job, he would have rather been golfing, but having the artwork and looking over his career was pretty cool. Some of his cards were really bad. The funny thing is that my brother and I did not realize we were bidding against each other on eBay to collect my dad’s cards. (Kim O, Recruiter)

What is the worst gift you’ve ever given?

  1. The year I learned to knit (age 8) I made every single person in my family a scarf and very poorly stitched their names into them. It’s so embarrassing to think about but it’s the thought that counts, right? (Vivian R, BDR)
  2. Gift cards.  I love them because they are so practical, but they’re impersonal. (Joan F, Controller)
  3. As a kid in the 80’s, I asked Santa for a ‘My Child’ doll, which was supposed to look just like me. As one of 4 girls, I was the only one of us without red hair and green eyes – so on Christmas morning, I was super excited to find my brown haired/brown eyed ‘My Child’ doll under the tree… but to my disappointment, there she was, with a full head of red hair and big green eyes. Looking back, I’m sure it was what was left on the store shelves as they did their last-minute shopping and my parents probably figured it made sense… but I definitely remember being sad she didn’t look like me. (Beth B. HR Manager)
  4. Roomba Robot Vacuum. (Ted C, TSC)
  5. Earrings to a GF at the time. She hated them. I now say ex-gf for her. (Dave R, TSC)
  6. I don’t give bad gifts. Wait, it’s the gift that I never gave! I bought Laura Y (PMG co-worker and friend) these really cool macaroon ornaments (she apparently likes macaroons) a couple of years back. I did not get the chance to see her that year so I didn’t get them to her. Now, I just pack the box up every year thinking that I can give them to her next year but I never do. Maybe this year, I will. (Kim O, Recruiter)
  7. I am guilty of regifting once. I won’t share what, but I think that’s the worst. Just because of the act in itself. (Marisa B, TST Manager

What wish list item are you still waiting on?

  1. I’d kind of like a DIY gift. I’m the only artsy person in my immediate family, so it’s not often I get something that they made or put together for me! (Jazmin C, TS Admin)
  2. A puppy. I’ve been waiting 28 years for that one. (Marisa B, TST Manager)
  3. Beyond material items, I would really like to search for my birth family. Being an adopted Korean, it would be the greatest gift in the world to know my family history and what happened during my adoption plan. (Laura Y, SMSPD)
  4. I always wanted the He-Man Slime Pit. I still to this day have never received it. (Brandon S, CSM)
  5. The one gift I’ve always wanted, and never got, is still just a winning lottery ticket! In reality, I think I’ve mostly gotten everything I’ve wanted and couldn’t be happier. (Daniel O, Welder)
  6. I have always dreamed of a trip to New York City. I’ve asked sooooo many times but my husband has been there and he just doesn’t have any desire to go back… so here I sit. One of these days, I’ll get there! (Beth B. HR Manager)
  7. I’m still waiting for a 75+ inch Smart TV. (Ted C, TSC)
  8. I wanted an original Nintendo when I was about eight. I’m almost 40 and I’m still waiting! (Joan F, Controller)
  9. Finding my birth family or knowing my adoption story. The closest that I’ve come to that was one year my children gave me the 23&Me DNA kit. I still haven’t found what I’m looking for but it was the most thoughtful gift I have received. My girls know me well. (Kim O, Recruiter)
  10. Student loan forgiveness? Seriously, I’d say maybe Ugg boots. I’ve always wanted a pair and still don’t own them. (Vivian R, BDR)