I am not sure why exactly it is, but my father has never really been able to grasp the concept of what is considered to be a decent Christmas present and what isn't. There are plenty of potential reasons for this:
1) He grew up Jewish.
2) He grew up the son of poor immigrants.
3) He grew up in 'old school' Brooklyn.
I am not trying to insult anyone else in the above categories, I am really just hoping the reason is not 4) he doesn't care enough to get better at it.
How bad can it be? Well, my Mom - who gets the brunt of it - has received everything from nothing (an inspired choice to be sure) to a mechanical rat that sang at a very high pitch an indecipherable Elvis tune... complete with thick rat tail.
One year on Maundy Thursday my Dad and a group of twelve men re-enacted the Last Supper. I don't remember much of it, but I do remember it was well received. I did not, however, realize that they had taken a picture of all of them posing as if they were in Michelangelo's painting. No one knew that until my Mom unwrapped her Christmas gift that year of a framed, poster-sized edition of the faux Michelangelo.
Now I wasn't that old and my sister is five years younger and yet I remember us both shaking our heads and looking at it and him in disbelief and saying, "Oh, Dad..."