Christmas Presents Inspire Mixed Emotions, Sometimes Stabbings

There's nothing worse than the disappointment of opening a Christmas present and getting something that's all wrong: an ugly shirt that you wouldn't be caught dead in, or worse, something utterly banal from someone allegedly close to you, like a subscription to the cheese of the month club from your boyfriend. But you probably never got anything as bad as Shawn Fay Johnson. Johnson, 34, was treated to a surprise stabbing on Friday when he opened a Christmas present from his wife, Misty, three days early. Apparently Shawn's premature present finding only incited the argument — apparently Misty accused him of having an affair before she got stabby. No word from local Rock Springs, Wyoming authorities on what the gift box contained, but Shawn and Misty aren't the only people who find holiday gift giving a loaded activity.

In yesterday's New York Times Sunday Styles section, Guy Trebay writes, "The emotional resonance of the stuff one gives and receives is a form of gold." Trebay discusses the lumps of "emotional coal" that people feel they are receiving when a gift truly disappoints. "And what of the misshapen sweater knit for another friend by an ambivalent fiancée?" Trebay ponders. "Could it truly have been accidental that his conflicted Penelope knit the garment so that the left side, where the heart lies, was much smaller than the rest?"

Trebay tries to look on the bright side, "the exercise of following the object back to its intention is beneficial," he instructs. He has a good point, but there's no sugar coating a present like butt-lifting undies. What's the most disappointing present you've ever received?

Woman Allegedly Stabs Husband Over Gift [CBS News]
What Do You Mean, Giving Me That? [New York Times]