I recently went down a Reddit rabbit hole in which commenters described the worst gift they’d ever received — everything from miniature butter knives (at age 7) to used magazines to…a thrift store jock strap? It was all pretty terrible, so of course I then asked you about the worst gift you’d ever received and holy hell, there are a lot of thoughtless (and even cruel) gift-givers roaming this Earth.
People, repeat after me: You can “surprise” a small child with a good gift without making them cry first. Do not be like Netrix’s parents:
When I was 6 years old, we all went to the living room and started passing presents out. We usually go around the room until they’re gone. Each time I received mine it was in a different sized box, but contained the same thing: rocks. After all the presents were handed out I had a pile of rocks. Then my parents asked me if I was good this year. I started crying. My parents then brought my to their room and showed me all my real presents on their bed. My big gift ended up being a Sega Genesis. Still not sure how I feel about doing that to a 6 year old.
OK, well, I’ll tell you how I feel about it: Someone who has to break a 6-year-old in that way just to build them back up is on one hell of a power trip. Also, what in the world was to be gained from this choice, made by Anejo’s family:
At 8 years old, for the first time I did my own shopping, buying gifts for my father and his new family (including my younger half-siblings).
A week or so later I received a package from them. I was so excited! I opened it up and found… everything I had sent them, sent back to me.
40+ years later, this still affects me.
Luckily, not all of your terrible gifts were also intentionally mean. Some were just…an interesting choice. Here is a small sampling of my “favourites”:
“A cockatiel, when I was nine. I have no idea how my parents hit on that as a gift, as I’d never once expressed interest in having a bird as a pet. I spent the next couple of years cleaning up bird poop.” ~Rachel Fairbank
“When I was 9 or 10 I got a 6 pack of faux turtlenecks. In case you don’t know that’s a turtleneck shirt with just the turtleneck and a maybe 5-6 inches of cloth under it. For the person who wants to wear a turtleneck under a shirt, but hates wearing two shirts.” ~lostalaska
“One year my husband gave me a dustpan, which I still have. Another year he gave me a toilet seat.” ~Anne RC
“When I was 11 my parents gave me a box set of Bruce Springsteen’s music despite me never being a fan of his music or ever expressing any interest in him at all. It was then I realised they never really loved me.” ~PrettyGirlMyers
“Will never top this one in my lifetime. A 0.91 m-high stack of maxi pads. the kind you get out of a commercial vending machine. I was 12. This was in front of my entire family.” ~ladybaby8080
“For Christmas a few years ago, my grandmother-in-law was kind and gracious enough to gift me an unwrapped DVD of Footloose.” ~Ballysto
“One time my ex girlfriend got me a gun rack. A gun rack. I don’t even own a gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack. What am I gonna do…with a gun rack?” ~plateia lumitar
“1985. My boyfriend at the time and I were pragmatic — he told me what he wanted (a very specific, expensive-for-me pinkie ring) and I told him what I wanted (a record player). He got me a turntable. No speakers. No needle. JUST A TURNTABLE. When I asked him how I was supposed to listen to records without speakers or a FREAKIN’ NEEDLE he answered, ‘Well, those are personal choices that only you can make. And I’m not going to buy them for you.’ So he basically gave me half a Christmas present, and I had to spend about as much on my own gift as I did on his. We broke up shortly thereafter.” ~PhlegmFatale
“I was eleven, and I’d asked for a skateboard like my best friends in the neighbourhood had (this was in the mid 60s). Instead, what I got was an aquarium… but just the aquarium. No fish, no plants, not even any gravel – just that empty glass box. Being a well-raised southern girl child, I of course said thank you. But I’m now 67 years old, and it still gripes me but good. My younger sister got the skateboard.” ~nsloop
“My brother once gave his wife a fake lottery ticket that said she won… but if you read the fine print it basically calls you an a-hole for believing you can win the lottery.” ~ChrisLion
“My wife’s grandmother gave her aunt a ‘Recipes for One’ cookbook the year of her divorce. She also gave my MIL dishwashing gloves.” ~Jim Di Liberto
“For a few years there my sister passed along employee giveaways from her Big Pharma company to me as Xmas presents. Promotional sweatshirts, a “How Big Pharma Has Improved the World” type book, and a lucite block with five vials of famous world-changing vaccines (that one was, admittedly, kinda cool, but still).” ~I like Dunks coffee and I cannot lie
“Not me, but my wife and her sister. They had an aunt & uncle who were notoriously bad gift givers. The typical Christmas gift consisted of hair products. One would get a bottle of shampoo, the other would get the matching bottle of conditioner, typically off brand products from a dollar store.” ~Mr. Blandings
“When I was around 9, my mother gave me a self-help book for kids about making and keeping friends, or something along similar lines. I know she meant well, but no kid wants to be reminded about their social struggles on Christmas Day.” ~justfairydust
“An exBF gave me a four slice toaster.” ~BlackandBitterCoffee
“Maybe not the *worst* so much as a bless-her-for-trying was the Crocodile Hunter movie on VHS. Had to have been Xmas ‘02 or ‘03.” ~GpaSags
But because I love a good twist at the end of a story, the winner goes to BIMming It:
“I was 14, and the Nintendo 64 had been out for a little over a year in the states… I was desperate for one. My parents had divorced maybe 18 months before this, so this was my first Christmas at my mum’s new home.
I got a 6 pack of white tube socks, and a 3 pack of boxers. My mums new boyfriend got a Nintendo 64. We opened all of our gifts together before he had to leave to go celebrate Christmas with his WIFE AND NEWBORN CHILD!”