Welcome to The Five Days of Deciblog Christmas, in which we corral your favorite extreme heroes into revealing embarrassing and uproarious holiday anecdotes. Consider it free bonus footage as you prepare to give Amazon half your paycheck because you’re too lazy to support local businesses. After the jump, let’s kick off the week with “The Worst Gift I’ve Ever Gotten.”
JUSTIN FOLEY, THE AUSTERITY PROGRAM
My Uncle Tom (I know, shut up) was going through a rough time when I was about 14. Other family members were worried about his drug use and obvious unhappiness, but he was always cool to me. I liked him, so the stuff that said “BAD LIFE CHOICES” to his siblings/in-laws always just cracked me up. Really, I loved the guy.
THAT SAID… one year Tom showed up for Thanksgiving all psyched to see me and my similarly-aged cousin. “JUSTIN, BRENDAN (tapping a plastic Marshalls bag), I got your CHRISTMAS PRESENTS!” All through the Thanksgiving meal he was clearly distracted and impatient. “Is this over yet? Come ON.” Keep in mind he was, like, 40. As soon as someone else started clearing away plates, he was like “Christmas Present Time!” and everyone was like “What?”
No matter. He thrust the bag in front of us (we were the only ones he got presents for) and was like “Open it! Open it!” So I looked inside and saw two unwrapped video tapes, each still bearing the “$1.99” price tag above their noted 23-minute running time. “GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE!” roared Tom. “These are the best! Come on, everyone, let’s go watch these RIGHT NOW!” and down to the basement he marched after snatching them out of our confused hands.
Brendan and I sat on the far side of the couch as Tom pealed with laughter through these obviously bootlegged tapes. “Oh man, this is so GREAT.” No one else came down to join us, but that didn’t matter to him. He was totally amped up and kept yelling at us with “Isn’t this SO GREAT? They don’t make them like this anymore.”
Later that night, after everyone had gone home and we’d dropped Tom off at the train station, I went down to take another look at the gift because I couldn’t really believe how bad they were. Sure enough, the tapes were gone. I confirmed it with my cousin later that he hadn’t left with them. Tom had swiped them back.
MATTHEW WIDENER, LIBERTEER
It wasn’t really a gift, but Christmas 1996 I was all alone in a different country, away from family and friends, so that night I found a nice reverberant hallway and played the more somber holiday songs on a flute I had; then I got depressed and cried. That was probably the worst Christmas for me.
JEREMY WAGNER, BROKEN HOPE/LUPARA, author of THE ARMAGEDDON CHORD
A book about “Spiritual Crystals and Water.” Really weird book all about “holy enlightenment” through minerals and bodies of water. I threw it into a donation box at a library.
CHRIS REIFERT, AUTOPSY
In this case, it truly is the gift that keeps on giving. There’s a can of Norwegian fish balls that have been circulating in my family for the last 20 years or so. I can’t even remember how it started, but one year this ominous-looking can showed up at Christmas. Whoever was the first recipient re-gifted it the following year, and the cycle officially began. It’s all rusted and I fear it may literally explode one of these years, and the folks in the Hazmat suits will have to show up. I wonder who’s getting it this year…
ALISSA WHITE-GLUZ, THE AGONIST
Someone thought they would do something humanitarian for me, since they know I’m vegan and that I think it’s the thought that counts. So, through UNICEF, they paid to purchase a pig for a family in need in a third world country. Thing is, they didn’t read far into it enough to realize that they purchased a pig in my name to FEED the family! They slaughtered a pig in my name! Worst gift ever!
LORD WORM, EX-CRYPTOPSY
A doll. A stuffed doll that was some combination Xmas pirate and the Tasmanian Devil, yet not really any of the above. It was hideous, but not a good hideous. I didn’t even take it with me, I just left it there; I haven’t seen it in years (thankfully). Why would anyone give me this?
WILL CARROLL, DEATH ANGEL
A Clash greatest hits live CD. I fucking HATE the Clash.
K. ALLEN WOOD, editor SHOCK TOTEM/publisher HOLIDAY TALES OF THE MACABRE AND TWISTED
Probably a scratch ticket. Who doesn’t like to do a little gambling now and then, right? But a scratch ticket for Christmas? Lame. It’s thoughtless and cheap. Sure, if it had been a million-dollar winner, it would have been the best gift ever. (And out of spite, I wouldn’t have given the gift-giver shit!) But it was a losing ticket. So I got nothing! Unless a thin piece of worthless cardboard counts as a gift.
JOHN STRACHAN, EARLY GRAVES/THE FUNERAL PYRE
Every year I get socks and underwear from my parents. It’s a perpetual Christmas Groundhog Day in the Strachan household. Every year is the worst gift ever.
BRIAN ELZA, CZAR
I can’t shame family or friends with a “worst gift” designation. However, I’ve given some shitty gifts. Last year, a friend ended up with a used LP of Daryl Hall’s Sacred Songs, which I rationalized because it was produced by Robert Fripp and features a Frippertronics freakout. He wasn’t impressed. This year, I found four 8×10 glossy promos of George W. Bush, Laura and their dogs posing at their Texas ranch. They’re all signed by the President, and they’re going to make four people in my life really sad.
DAN BRILL, CZAR
I once received a wall calendar featuring outhouses from my uncle. That sucked.
RICHARD CHRISTY, CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED
The flu, from a bad bowl of tuna and mayo on Xmas eve when I was 12 years old. It sucks to be sick on Xmas!
JOSHUA ANDREW BELANGER, ARTIST
I got one at a Christmas party last night that MAY take the cake on this little gem. It’s a bowl that has descending levels in which to ensure that your cereal feeds into, rather than resting in, it. It touts “Never have soggy cereal again!” Personally I enjoy my Cap’n PB Crunch moistened up a bit so it’s less like eating razorblades. Oh, and I got dish soap one year. Cool. I love washing dishes…
OLLI VANSKA, TURISAS
Pretty much any piece of clothing I’ve ever received. Either the size is wrong or it’s just plain ugly.