Things That Matter

These Seriously Sad Christmas Presents Were Worse Than Actual Coal

Nightmare Christmas gifts.

They’re terrible to give and in most cases even worse to receive. With every year that passes, we often learn time and again that actually buying a Christmas gift never gets easier and in fact, can be pretty tricky. Mostly because there’s nothing quite so memorable as a terribly given Christmas gift.

Users on Reddit know this truth all too well.

So much so that there are entire POSTS dedicated to the worst Christmas gifts ever received on Reddit.

Check out the worst below!

“My aunt told me she had donated £20 to hungry kids in my name, I don’t think she did.”- Pbund

“I missed my final connecting flight from Canada to Eastern Europe because of a snowstorm a few years ago. I spent 14 hours of christmas day in the shitty (closed) terminal of Rome’s fiumicino airport, not allowed into the main terminal because there was nobody working at the passport control desks. I had friends in the city I could have otherwise killed time with. After finally being discovered, they kept sending me to other cities across Europe to catch a connecting flight to my final destination, but every plane I took landed late and I missed the connection each time. I spend christmas eve, christmas day and boxing day flying back and forth between Frankfurt, Munich, Rome, and Vienna in no particular order, with no money (I was expecting a 25-30 hour trip, meals on the plane), no food since the last two days were on flights offering nothing but drinks, and a dead phone with no charger. I couldn’t remember my parents number (it was long as fuck, confusing country/area code, and my brain was fried) so they didn’t know where I was either. So after all this, I get home really late on Boxing Day, and my parents tell me my cat died on Christmas.”-isthisuniqueenough4u

“My dad went to Kmart, and found a cheap ass little alarm clock designed to look like police lights, that played a siren. Either that, or my when oldest brother glued the cover of a nudie magazine onto a car magazine from the 80’s and gave it to 15 year old me.” –Gustavius040210

“I got a Nintendo system for Christmas right after they first came out. It was what I asked for, but the game seemed a lot more fun in the commercials. The game I got was called “Staring Contest”. You played against Walter Mondale, the idea was not to blink your eyes before he did. Years later my mother admitted that she just taped an 8″ by 10″ photograph of Mondale to the TV screen, and the “Nintendo” machine was really just a shoe box with a cat toy for the controller. Anyway, don’t ever get into a staring contest with Walter Mondale. He’s REALLY good at that game. I only won once in the whole time I had the game.” –anthonymyers3000

“My parents actually got me coal one year. They usually filled my stocking with candy and little games but that year I just got coal. I ran through my head every bad thing I could have done that year. I decided it was because I started using curse words. I almost cried because I thought I was on the naughty list for good. Turns out my parents just wanted to fuck with me.” –lmMrMeeseeksLookAtMe

“My mom once gave me an umbrella. Not just any umbrella, but my own umbrella. One that she had given me the year before. I had left it in the garage next to my golf bag during the winter, she wrapped it up and gave it to me again.” –SulfurTongue

“NOTHING. Years ago. After flying across the country, buying thoughtful gifts and cards for each person (father, stepmother, half-sister), on minimum wage, and watching them open their presents while slowly realizing they hadn’t even gotten me a card. They are very well off financially and spoil my half-sister like crazy. It sucked.”- rhetoricetc

“My first “real” relationship – in the sense that it involved mutual mushing-together of naughty bits – began when I was sixteen years old. It lasted for two and a half years after that, which I’ve been told is fairly impressive for a couple in high school. Truth be told, that span of time is most notable when you consider the fact that the young woman and I were almost completely incompatible… and that was never more evident than when she tried to give me gifts. During our first Christmas together, my then-girlfriend gave me a pair of hand weights, of the sort that might be held by a jogger wearing leggings. They had clearly been purchased from the bargain bin at the local thrift store… but I told myself it was the thought that mattered (even if I wasn’t sure that any thought had gone into the gift at all). Besides, we had only been dating for about three months, and it was probably unfair of me to expect anything at all. Unfortunately, that would set the stage for every gift I’d receive from the girl. I need to pause for a moment and explain something about this young woman. Although she was ambitious and talented, she had almost zero patience for practice or preparation. Her idea of putting on a poetry performance, for example, was to get up on stage and improvise while using a tone of voice that made it sound like she was reciting something. That would have been fine, except for the fact that she was really bad at improvisation, and she had a tendency to lie about how much work she’d done on something. Please keep that in mind when I tell you this: For my eighteenth birthday, this young woman – who was also, I should mention, completely tone-deaf – forced me to sit in a plastic folding chair for as long as it took her to “sing” her way through three love songs by Elvis Presley. I hated Elvis at the time, and watching this girl attempt (and fail) to mumble her way through “Love Me Tender” was as close to torture as I’d been through. Worse still, I had to sit back and pretend that I enjoyed it… because as she’d told me, she’d worked really hard on it. I must have been a touch too convincing for my own good, because for Christmas that year – in addition to a second-hand imitation woodcarving – I was offered an encore performance.”- RamsesThePigeon

“I guess it would be baseball stuff. My dad is a good guy and he really tried. But he was always OBSESSED with getting me into sports, and I just couldn’t get into them at all. I did go toss the ball around with him, tried to play basketball, tried little league, but it just wasn’t my thing. And I made it pretty clear to him it wasn’t my thing. Anyway, it was always kind of a sore spot for us. He’d always try to get me into sports, and I’d always refuse. Pretty normal adolescent shit, I suppose. Anyway, one year he got me a glove, some baseballs, bat, helmet, all kinds of shit. And he KNEW I wasn’t into it at all. It was almost a passive aggressive gift, or at least that’s how it felt. I said thanks, but, yeah I was pretty disappointed as that was ALL he got me that year. I’m 30 now and whenever he visits or I visit, I try and make some time for that. Usually we’ll toss the ball around or watch a game, something like that. He’s not gonna be around forever, and although sports aren’t my thing, I try to just get over it and be a good son.” –CDC_

“A two foot tall ceramic penguin statue. At first it was like wtf, Aunt Shelly… but now it’s just still in my living room and it’s pretty badass. That was 4 years ago.” –vaginariantwinkle

“I once got an ex girlfriend of mine a pair of front row tickets to Tim McGraw, Luke Bryan, and The Band Perry put inside of the overalls of a country styled Build-A-Bear. In return she gave me a CD of songs that reminded her of me. Mostly consisted of Jonas Brothers and other shitty boy bands. Never listened to it….” –IAmTheWaIrus

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This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Entertainment

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Courtesy of Timothy Pollard

On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

While not a household name in the U.S., his career spans over 25 years thriving on the catharsis of music.

Timoteo “El Charro Negro” performing “Chiquilla Linda” on Dante Night Show in 2017.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Timoteo, born Timothy Pollard, moved to Long Beach, California with his family when he was eight years old. The move to California exposed Pollard to Latin culture, as the only Black family in a Mexican neighborhood.

As a child, he recalled watching Cantinflas because he reminded him of comedian Jerry Lewis, but musically he “got exposed to the legends by chance.”

“I was bombarded by all the 1960s, ’70s, and ’50s ranchera music,” Timoteo recalls to mitú.

The unequivocal passion mariachi artists like Javier Solis and Vicente Fernandez possessed heavily resonated with him.

“[The neighbors] always played nostalgic music, oldies but goodies, and that’s one thing I noticed about Mexicans,” Timoteo says. “They can be in their 20s but because they’ve grown up listening to the oldies it’s still very dear to them. That’s how they party.”

For as long as he can remember, Pollard “was born with the genetic disposition to love music,” knowing that his future would align with the arts.

After hearing Vicente Fernandez sing “Lástima Que Seas Ajena,” an awakening occurred in Pollard. While genres like hip-hop and rap were on the rise, Pollard’s passion for ranchera music grew. It was a moment when he realized that this genre best suited his big voice.

Enamored, Pollard began to pursue a career as a Spanish-language vocalist.

El Charro Negro
Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

At 28, Timoteo began learning Spanish by listening and singing along to those artists he adored in his youth.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a mariachi, I didn’t think it was fair to exploit the culture and not understand the language,” he says. “If I’m going to sing, I need to be able to communicate with my audience and engage with them. I need to understand what I’m saying because it was about honor and respect.”

Pollard began performing local gigs after picking up the language in a matter of months. He soon attracted the attention of “Big Boy” Radio that adorned him the name Timoteo “El Charro Negro.”

Embellishing his sound to highlight his Black heritage, Pollard included African instruments like congas and bongos in his orchestra. Faintly putting his own spin on a niche genre, Pollard avoided over-saturating the genre’s sound early in his career.

Embraced by his community as a beloved mariachi, “El Charro Negro” still encountered race-related obstacles as a Black man in the genre.

“There are those [in the industry] who are not in the least bit thrilled to this day. They won’t answer my phone calls, my emails, my text messages I’ve sent,” he says. “The public at large hasn’t a problem with it, but a lot of the time it’s those at the helm of decision making who want to keep [the genre] exclusively Mexican.”

“El Charro Negro” persisted, slowly attracting fans worldwide while promoting a message of harmony through his music.

In 2007, 12 years into his career, Pollard received a golden ticket opportunity.

El Charro Negro
Pollard (left) seen with legendary Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez (right) in 2007. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In a by-chance encounter with a stagehand working on Fernandez’s tour, Pollard was offered the chance to perform onstage. The singer was skeptical that the offer was legit. After all, what are the chances?

The next day Pollard went to his day job at the time and said, “a voice in my head, which I believe was God said, ‘wear your blue velvet traje tonight.'”

That evening Pollard went to a sold-out Stockton Area where he met his idol. As he walked on the stage, Pollard recalls Fernandez insisting that he use his personal mic and band to perform “De Que Manera Te Olvido.”

“[Fernandez] said he did not even want to join me,” he recollects about the show. “He just was kind and generous enough to let me sing that song on his stage with his audience.”

The crowd applauded thunderously, which for Pollard was a sign of good things to come.

El Charro Negro
Timoteo “El Charro Negro” with Don Francisco on Don Francisco Presenta in 2011. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In 2010, he released his debut album “Me Regalo Contigo.” In perfect Spanish, Pollard sings with great conviction replicating the soft tones of old-school boleros.

Unraveling the rollercoaster of relationships, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads like “Me Regalo Contigo” and “Celos” are his most streamed songs. One hidden gem that has caught the listener’s attention is “El Medio Morir.”

As soon as the track begins it is unlike the others. Timoteo delivers a ’90s R&B love ballad in Spanish, singing with gumption as his riffs and belts encapsulate his unique sound and story.

Having appeared on shows like Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco Presenta, and Caso Cerrado in 2011, Timoteo’s career prospered.

Timoteo hasn’t released an album since 2010 but he keeps his passion alive. The singer has continued to perform, even during the Covid pandemic. He has high hopes for future success and original releases, choosing to not slow down from his destined musical journey.

“If God is with me, who can be against me? It may not happen in a quick period of time, but God will make my enemies my footstool,” he said.

“I’ve continued to be successful and do some of the things I want to do; maybe not in a particular way or in particular events, but I live in a very happy and fulfilled existence.”

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Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

UNIVERSAL MUSIC LATIN

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Luis Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Luis Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

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