You may have noticed we’re in the thick of gift-giving season. Well, I’m not; my shopping is basically done. (Those supply chains will not have their way with me, no they will not.) But as I peruse the list of gifts I have purchased over the past month, I ask myself: Is any of this any good? Does my 11-year-old really want a tie-dye robe? (Yes, he does.) I had my doubts — but since reading an epic Reddit thread about the worst Christmas gifts folks have ever received, I find myself feeling comforted.
I cannot personally pinpoint a particularly terrible gift I have gotten. Apparently my family and friends aren’t the type who try to pass off used magazines, broken DVDs, and the like as “presents.” The closest I got to witnessing a bad gift being received is the time my dad opened a pack of Chapsticks from my grandmother. (It was probably just a small fill-in item; I’m sure he got other things!) It sounds like a weak gift on the surface — except that my father is a well-known Chapstick addict, and he had forgotten his that morning when we left for my grandparents’ house. So that might have been the best gift he ever received.
Anyway, I got lost in the stories of Redditors who were the recipients of thoughtless gifts from jerkass boyfriends, checked-out parents, and extended family members who clearly favoured certain kids over others. Behold, a sampling of my favourite (least favourite?) from the thread:
“A set of miniature butter knives with ceramic fruit and vegetables as the handles. From an aunt who said that I was ‘So hard to shop for.’ I was 7.” ~vodkaenthusiast89
“Every year my aunt gives our family ‘Thrift Santa’ gifts, like a bunch, from thrift stores. The thing is, nothing relates to anything. The worst I’ve gotten are among a Kama Sutra book when I was 13/14 (awkward) and a New York Yankees baby onesie. I don’t have kids, I don’t watch baseball.”~Yippee614
“A Lamborghini calendar. My brother got a guitar and amp. My two sisters got a bike each. Fuck I hate Lamborghinis now.”~Stickmag
“My mum asked what my 13-year-old daughter wanted for Christmas and I said, ‘she likes to sew.’ How this led to our entire extended family buying her nothing but yarn I do not know. That was 2 years ago and there’s still so much yarn.” ~Downtown_Statement87
“My great grandma gave my cousin a jock strap from goodwill. Her mental health was bad at this time. 1992-ish? He started crying. He was 9.”~mistahmarbles
“A dishtowel. I was 8 years old.”~GhostlyQbe
“A barrel of Quaker Oats. It was fucking hilarious though.”~JarlBum
“When I was 8 or 9, my grandma gave me a Christmas ornament. It was a little stuffed cherub with pink cheeks and yarn hair. I cried because I had saved up my allowance to buy it for her the year before.”~DogtownPD
“50 pounds of russet potatoes.”~Picards-Flute
“Looking back, it wasn’t a bad present, but when I got a pair of pants for Christmas when I was 6, I started crying and screamed out ‘You’re supposed to get me these anyways!’”~Nik_Tesla
“When I was 10 years old my grandparents gave me an unwrapped suitcase for Christmas. In the interests of convenience, they used that suitcase for the wrapped presents for my sisters.”~ragedandobtused
“Started loving computers at age 7 in 92 (ZX Spectrum and then 186, 286 etc) at our local kids club, kept on going, learned to code early, was addicted to everything related to them. Grandma called me and told me she had sent money to my parents to buy me a PC (at 11, in 96). I was so excited, all my friends could not wait to see it and play with me, I could not sleep for days on end. Then Christmas Eve came (we do the gifts in the evening). Rushed under the tree aaaaand … surprise .. I .. got .. a mobile electronic organ player. My Mum told me ‘it has buttons right ? Just like a computer’ … (she took the money and bought an automatic washing machine). I’m still fucking upset Mum!”~tgh_hmn
But the winner goes to…funky_grandma:
“One year I got what was actually a super cool present. My parents had worked for months putting together this awesome art kit. It was a big toolbox filled with good scissors, glue, paint, coloured pencils, glitter, and every other thing a crafty little kid could want. The problem was, every time they would go upstairs to add to it, they had a running joke where they would say ‘we’re going upstair to feed your present’ or ‘we need to take your present for a walk tee tee tee.’ So of course on Christmas morning instead of being a little kid who was stoked to get a huge box of art supplies, I was a little kid who was devastated that I didn’t get a puppy.”
OK, your turn — Tell us about the worst Christmas (or non-Christmas) gift you ever received in the comments. We’ll round them up in a future post, because holiday misery, in particular, always appreciates company.