Last year, I was asked to send something to a blog called “What My In-Laws Gave Me” and I submitted an actual list of what my grandmother had recently given my Aunt Mary. And I fell completely in love with the site because the stories and photos are hilarious and the blog’s editors add delightfully evil commentary.
But there’s a couple of issues with a blog like this. Number 1, nobody wants to risk making their mother-in-law mad and hurting her feelings, so people are reluctant to submit things. Issue number 2 is described by the blog’s editors:
“The problem with the strange gifts our in-laws give our children is that our children love on things for decades and they have the memory of an elephant when it comes to the especially weird and freaky sh*t handed down to them. Another problem is that my husband and I seem to possibly be related to hoarders and hoarders have the best weird and freaky stuff, don’t they?”
So enjoy some photos (along with stories and commentary) from “What My In-Laws Gave Me” and if you want to contribute your own story or photo, shoot an email to: email@example.com
The International Voodoo Mirror of Scary Dolls 1 of 21
"This was given to my daughter when I was out of the room, so of course my first meeting with THE MIRROR required the excitement mirrored from my daughter's own love for the creepy thing. "Isn't it amazing?" she said.
Oh yes. It's amazing all right!
I give you the creepy voodoo doll mirror representing all cultures of the world in the most amazing way ever. African-American handless doll slaps Geisha being eaten by a carp. Fertility goddess's hair tickles Middle-Eastern doll boy's head while he rides atop his veiled mom's shoulders. American Girl Doll passes out on the floor in a drunken mess of terrified fear, thankful only that these dolls aren't clown dolls. Meanwhile, Little Red Riding Mouse is pissed, because she's not as pretty as white Geisha doll on the left. Oh and because there's a panda kicking her in the head."
But I Don’t Even Like Football… 2 of 21
"It's as if the in-laws said "What does she like?" and the answer was "Well, she has a baby so she must like those. . . and football! Who doesn't like football?!?!?!"
Help Me 3 of 21
"Check out the winners we got in the mail from Grandma …
PS: Plus they are old, dirty AND smell I'm a little sad I touched them to arrange for the photo need some soap.
PSS: And my daughter loves the dolls.
PSSS: Who are going to kill me while I'm sleeping."
The Sheep Are Angry 4 of 21
"The oddest gift I've received was chocolate. From England. From my mother-in-law. White chocolate, etched with a laser, to create a picture in the surface. It looked like an ordinary bar of chocolate with a slightly, strangely, bumpy surface. But when held to the light, the picture was revealed in all its pastoral glory.
I was expecting perhaps Big Ben? The Houses of Parliament? St. Paul's Cathedral? Well, not that I was expecting a picture in my food, but once I realized there was something there, a nice, touristy shot of London seemed to make sense. Right?
No. It's sheep.
And these sheep are mad. They're mad at YOU."
Nothing Says Love Like Skeletongs 5 of 21
"Every year my mother in law gives my daughter a shopping bag filled with Halloween stuff. This year besides the non-washable crayons, BPA filled plastic drinking cups and straws, a bat and a spider slap bracelet, she included these very special serving tongs.
Now truly this is proof that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My son has been obsessed with this particular gift for months and wept - WEPT - when I wouldn't give them to him. . ."
Kewpie Loves You! And Knives! 6 of 21
"The kewpie is its own special brand of overly happy, mod, throwback terrifying. A brand that I'd previously avoided. I giggled incessantly when my buddy C spoke of her mother-in-law's tendency to collect said dolls and display them in every corner of her home - and then, when C had her own child, that same mother-in-law's ability to find the creepiest kewpie available and, of course, pass it on to C's child.
I thought it was hilarious, until one of the little freakshows made its way into my home.
I call her "Karma". The pointy fingers, big eyes, mismatched eyebrows, and weird rooster-tail hair tuft (from which the paint has worn off, so it's a flesh-colored hair-tuft). . . They all add up to maximum "WHATINTHEWORLDISTHATTHING!?!?!!" To make things worse, she's wearing an outfit that has been hot-glued to her sweet creepy kewpie body. Tack on that pink bow and rose and now the freak factor has increased tenfold."
The Shepherds of Constipation 7 of 21
"My MIL handed me the box with great delight on my birthday. They were dusty. Like really dusty. And they still had the garage sale price tag stuck on the bottom. I don't know if these things are part of some collection, but both of the characters are squatting. My son says they look like they are trying to poop. I agree. Not only do they look like they might be pooping, I'm pretty sure they aren't getting enough fiber. They look like they might be struggling."
It Makes Donuts and Tears! 8 of 21
"When a 5 year old is diagnosed with Type I diabetes, it's a difficult transition. It was an utterly overwhelming journey for this family. Everyone took it in stride. Parents, friends, grandparents and school support went to classes to learn how to manage eating and snacking and injections. Slowly but surely, everyone learned that life was a little different.
Or, well, we thought everyone was learning. Until Christmas, that is, when the whole family went up to the mountains for a scenic Christmas week. And then, as the family gathered around the Christmas tree, we opened this small gift from the in-laws for the whole family… A donut maker.
"You LOVE donuts! Merry Christmas!"
If you ever wanted to impress a parent, make their newly diagnosed diabetic, 5 year old daughter cry for Christmas."
This Lamb is Your Lamb, This Lamb is My Lamb 9 of 21
"This a lovely plastic cross-stitch lamb that I received as a shower gift. Painstakingly made by one of my more eccentric in-laws. What do you do with it, you say? Why, you set it on a shelf and let it haunt the nightmares of your newborn infant, of course. That and you stick an air freshener up its butt and sniff in that sweet, sweet apple-lamb-butty-goodness, of course."
Pirates+Skulls+Breakable=Awesome! 10 of 21
"Okay, maybe it's not the greatest gift for a two year old. First there's the explaining and the fear that goes along with a skeleton. Secondly, I believe it's got what it is called: "piratitude" (is that an earring I see? Aaaarrrrrr!). Also, the gleam in those dark and empty eye sockets is terrifying but there's a sweet upside-down heart nose there, so a little something a 2 year old can love, right? Finally, it's ceramic. For a two year old. Yes, sweetheart, it *is* terrifying and no you can't actually play with it or touch it you might break it."
Let There be Light(bulbs) 11 of 21
"Received this from the in-laws who decided to go green and replace every light bulb in their home at the same time. It's a box of incandescent light bulbs. My favorite part is the box label: Various light bulbs, all good. When the apocalypse comes, I'll be the local representative for all of your incandescent bulb needs."
It’s Good for Warmth *and* Padding 12 of 21
"I received a lovely quilt for Christmas one year. The 'quilt' was shiny blue - the kind that movers use to protect your furniture in the moving van. But I still have it..."
A Candy Dish Full of Meds! 13 of 21
"One thing that my in-laws gave me recently? An anxiety attack. How, you say? Well, we spent a nice, quiet evening with them. My husband and the baby and I slept in the next morning while the children roamed the house kinda sorta supervised by Grandma and Grandpa. I sleepily handed off the baby to my husband and wandered into the bathroom where I found this.
This candy dish full of colorful pills that look like jellybeans, my friend.
Where is it? Why it's right at kid-eye-level, of course.
::hyperventilate some more::
Unfortunately, there was no Valium in the dish. Lord knows I needed it at that moment."
As If You Needed An Excuse to Hate Dora 14 of 21
"The latest box I received wasn't too bad, but it did come with this Dora the Explorer doll which was probably super fun when brand new, but now has that crazy hair dolls get and looks completely psycho. I thought she was too scary to actually give to my daughter."
It’s Alive 15 of 21
"Last spring, we received a box. Small and unassuming, it came via USPS Priority Mail. It was for my son. An early birthday present. Upon opening the box, we found these guys. OK, you only see one but there were two. Hold out your hand, open it up, and imagine the head of that squirming little sucker is touching your thumb tip. His tail would go down to your wrist. They were huge. And a little disgusting, I might add. But I understand this gift. Years ago, the giver raised tadpoles with her son - the experience was awesome.
And my son was interested for approximately one week. But these are bullfrog tadpoles - so in addition to being disgustingly large, squirmy, and super dirty - they are very slow to change. This was May. In September, when the boy had forgotten that these little guys were even in the house, they grew legs.
Within a week his tail shrank and we looked forward to putting a period on this experience of weekly water changes (of which my son was unaware, seeing as he'd forgotten about them by about June 15th). Then we learned something very interesting. It's illegal to set these frogs free where I live. Now we get to keep them forever."
What Goes on a Cake and Haunts You? 16 of 21
"Technically, this isn't what my in-laws gave me, but what they tried to give me. When planning my wedding, I ordered a beautiful Beleek china cake topper. I showed it to my MIL because I was trying to keep her in the loop. She was very disappointed as she had already picked out a cake topper for me."
The 26 Year Old Cast 17 of 21
"My Mother in law gave me my husband's cast...from when he was 2. He broke his leg, falling off a stone wall. She actually saved the cast. 26 years later, I received it because my own son broke his leg. This was her way of bonding with me. She gave me the cast my husband wore when he was 2. I was appalled, but showed grace and took it from her. A few days later I threw the cast away and hoped to God that she would never ask to see it, ever, ever again. A cast, who saves a cast? No, I didn't smell it, it was a 26 year old cast!"
The Ulu Will Cut You 18 of 21
"My in-laws went to Alaska. They brought us all back souvenirs and they got their only grandchild something called an ulu. When I took it out of the box, all I could see is a giant sharp object. Did I mention that their only grandchild is 2?"
Very, Very Precious 19 of 21
"Let me just say - I love this one. I want you to imagine yourself in the giftee's position - visiting your mother-in-law and staring at a wall of Precious Moments collectibles, you make casual conversation saying "Wow. These are. . . precious!"
What's your Mother-in-law to think but that you love them. And that you want them. And gosh, when she has one she needs to get rid of to make space for the newest Precious Moment's snow globe, what do you get for Christmas? It's so precious, someone broke in and stole some of the water."
It’s One of a Kind 20 of 21
"Imagine opening this and having to act like it is the coolest bag you have ever seen. Thank goodness I was a couple of glasses of wine into the evening! Seriously...it took me DAYS to absorb all the hideousness of it. My MIL said, "I totally thought of you when I saw this!" Ummm...apparently she thinks I am a whack-job with no taste or ability to see."
Beware of Old St. Nick 21 of 21
"Oh yeah. It's Santa. It's even a little gray on the nose, like the plastic has gone bad. The plastic bling. The stunned look. It's just dreadful. He wears combat boots. And it looks as though he's delivering used chewing gum to all of the good girls and boys. I wonder if good girls and boys point out to Santa that Mrs. Claus seems to have taken bleach to his uniform and that he might want to give his right pant leg a good tug? Probably not. If I saw this Santa put his finger aside his nose and give me a nod, I'd thank my lucky stars that he was going away. Then I'd check to be sure he didn't eat any of the children while he was here."
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