You Shouldn’t Have

Molly Crumbley with her Jumanji board game

The gifts we’ll never forget

By Meg Walburn Viviano

Well, it’s down to the wire now: the Christmas countdown is now in the single digits. Do you still have shopping to finish up, or are you sitting pretty with Santa duties all done? If you’re still scrambling, we’ve got your back.

We know—some of you thrive on shopping last-minute when the pressure’s on. I still remember my dad shopping for my mom on Christmas Eve, making his own parking spot on the grass at the packed Annapolis Mall.

Yes, things can get a little frenzied this close to Christmas. We thought our readers (and our Bay Weekly team) could use a laugh.

So we asked CBM Bay Weekly staff and contributors: What’s the funniest gift you ever received?

“When I was four, my cousin bought me a drum for Christmas. My mom was horrified. I was delighted. I was Ringo Starr for about 3 weeks before the drum mysteriously disappeared. I suspect it’s still buried under my mom’s rose bushes… My mom always liked Paul best.”

–Diana Beechener, Moviegoer columnist

 “I went to West Marine to buy my husband Jamie a kayak. We had gone kayaking once that summer and I thought it would be fun to have our own. I lined up no one except myself to get it on top of the car and then into the house and placed on the deck—where I told him not to look for several days. Come Christmas morning, he was so excited to give me my main gift which was … An inflatable kayak. What?? It seemed so easy compared to my struggle. So we returned the one I bought and named the inflatable “Almost Paradise.” To this day, it’s our only vessel.”

–Cheryl Costello, multimedia journalist

“Back in the 1990s, the movie Jumanji was all the rage and I desperately wanted the board game version for Christmas. Unfortunately, my younger sister was absolutely terrified that the game would really come to life, just like in the movie. Because I’m sure they didn’t want to field the resulting nightmares and meltdowns, my parents didn’t get the game for me … until 2020, when I finally got my very own set from my mother for Christmas. It came 20 years later than requested, but it has managed to live up to my expectations and to quickly become a firm favorite of my son’s.”

–Molly Weeks Crumbley, contributing writer

“My sister-in-law gave my husband a set of conga drums and said it was because I was pregnant. To this day, we don’t understand the connection, but we still have the drums.”

–Susan Nolan, contributing writer

“My husband got tired of me taking his t-shirts to sleep in … so he got me my very own mens-sized t-shirt with my face all over it.”

–Jillian Amodio, contributing writer

“A few years ago, my friend and I did our annual holiday lunch where we exchange gifts with one another. My friend knew what a big fan I am of the character Cpl. Dwayne Hicks in the movie Aliens. She went to a convention in D.C. where the actor (Michael Biehn) happened to be and was able to get me a signed photo as a Christmas gift. She framed it and gave it to me at our holiday lunch. I was so moved by the gift (and she was so thrilled that she was able to track him down for an autograph) that we placed the framed picture on the table through lunch: my friend, me, and Cpl. Hicks. A few of the wait staff stopped by to ask what the story was behind the framed photo placed in a spot of honor on the table. I think they thought we’d answer with a meaningful holiday explanation (a friend who couldn’t make our traditional annual lunch, for example). Alas, it was a framed photo of a sci-fi character.”

–Krista Pfunder, Director of Marketing


And with that, please enjoy this issue, our Last-Minute Gift Guide. When things get hectic, take a moment to find the humor.