1) my parent's rule was that i was not allowed to get my ears pierced until i was 13 years old, because that's when my sister got hers pierced. i wanted nothing more desperately than to have pierced ears, and at age 10 i think it was the worst thing going on in my life that i could not wear earrings. that year for christmas my sister gave me a gift certificate to get my ears pierced, because my parents had put the caveat on the rule saying, "well if your sister doesn't mind you getting them pierced early, then it's okay." it was kind of crappy of my parents to do, now that i look back at it. "hey, we don't want to be the bad guys, so let's make you look at it as your sister's fault." it was probably 5 years before i ever went a day without earrings.
2) my cabbage patch doll. i wanted one more than anything. everyone else had one. but i did not. my parents gave me the choice of taking sailing lessons or having a cabbage patch doll. i just got the impression that they would have been very disappointed in me if i had chosen the doll, so i sucked it up and took the sailing lessons. i believe to this day that a) i was too young at the time, and b) i am not suited to handle a boat. sometime after the sailing lessons ended, i came home from school one day and there was a cabbage patch doll sitting on my bed. my parents said they were proud of me for never complaining about the lessons and for realizing i made a choice and not asking again for the doll. stupid learning experiences. i really should have just chosen the doll from the beginning.
3) my red phone. my dad is almost NEVER involved with selecting any gift i receive. i have a love of rotary dial telephones. completely obsolete, and a pain in the neck to dial, but i love them. i wanted a red one, but i had never seen one. my dad was shopping in a store in austin and saw one, and bought it for me. it was amazing to open that on christmas morning and know that my dad was the one to have thought of the gift.
i know that i've received other gifts that i have absolutely loved, but those 3 really stick out in my mind.