People will often say that it's better to give than it is to receive, and that's obviously the case for the people in the following Reddit thread who revealed the most messed up gifts they have ever received. These unlucky souls were on the receiving end of some of the worst Christmas gifts imaginable, some of which would be better off as torture devices than presents under the tree.
So take a break from the holiday cheer and read what they have to say. Who knows, these stories might prevent some people from making the same mistake.
The Gift Giver Was VERY Concerned When He Started Shaking The Box…
“My family was doing a gift exchange last year where you buy a random gift, and when everyone gets together, you put your gifts in a circle and pull numbers out of a hat. This number determines the order in which you pick gifts.
It was my turn to go and I picked up the one box that looked the most promising. I proceeded to shake the box very violently, only to hear THUD every time I shook it. The person who bought the gift started freaking out and told me to stop and to open it. She bought a budgie bird and put it in the box. So here I was, stuck with this brain damaged bird that I had to take home with me and was scarred for life from being in that box.
I’m pretty sure it has severe head trauma now. It ended up being handed off to a couple of family members over the course of a few weeks and is in a happy home now.
I could have killed the thing.”
Close But Not Close Enough
“When I was 10 in 1995, I really wanted this new fighting game that all of my friends had. I remember watching the commercial for it over and over again that holiday season. My mom told me we couldn’t afford it and I very sadly accepted the fact.
Come Christmas Eve, Mom told me I can open one of my presents early. She handed me a distinctively game-shaped box and told me she asked the clerk at the store what game every boy wanted. I tore open the present more excitedly than I’ve opened any gift in my life before or since…
..to reveal a copy of Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge.”
A Total Bait And Switch
“Before my grandma passed, she decided to give part of her inheritance to the family so she could watch them enjoy it. She knew that I REALLY wanted was a computer. She made a big show of passing out cards to everyone all of which contained a check for $10,000. Except mine. Mine had a note stating my gift was in a box under the tree.
My father brought me a very computer shaped box for me to open. I tore into it and found… A book of 1,001 free computer programs ‘with a bonus CD.’ The rest of the box was filled with wadded up paper. That was the year I learned what a cruel bunch of people my father’s family could be.”
It Was Disappointing At First, But That All Changed
“When I was about 11, my grandma gave me oversized underwear and this little coin purse that looked like an old-fashioned swim cap with big sequins hanging off it. I opened the underwear in front of the family and was kind of mortified (and probably showed it a little) but graciously thanked her as I had been taught.
Later, my mom pulled me aside and told me that Nana wasn’t completely all there anymore but that a little gift vendor came around her nursing home selling stuff and she had scraped up whatever change she had to get me a present. I was the only grandkid that she had gotten something for Christmas. She died a year or two later.
I still have that little purse tucked away in my important things box.”
He Got The Present He Wanted, But Not Everything That Came With It
“When I was 9 or 10, my mom and stepdad got into a fight the night before Christmas. We could all hear it well into the night. The next morning, they just sat there with angry faces the entire time we were opening presents.
So the last present was larger and tucked away behind the tree. It was in a plain brown paper with just a tag. On closer inspection, it read:
To: Mathias | Love: Mom and Jeff (But my mom’s name was crossed out)
Yeah. It all hit the fan after I asked what the line meant. I later found out that my stepdad crossed ‘Mom’ out as a passive-aggressive shot at her. She didn’t work at the time, so it was aimed at her not providing anything.
My dad picked me up shortly after I called and asked him to come over. We never really talked about that Christmas afterward.”
Dad Continues To Disappoint
“My parents split when my brother and I were young, 6 and 10, respectively. Every year, our biological dad, who wasn’t really a ‘father’ to me at all, would give us each $100 in cash or gifts.
I had disassociated myself from my biological dad after a few years; it was clear that he didn’t love me or want me in his life. I was the unexpected child that turned his life upside down. My brother, on the other hand, was truly his ‘son.’ They bonded, spent time together, etc.
One year, for Christmas, my brother brought both of our gifts back from a weekend of custody visits. I had stopped going some years prior. The gifts were smaller than usual – $60 each. I accepted mine, didn’t care if I got a gift from biological dad or not, but I wasn’t going to turn down free money. In a car ride with my mom a few days later, she mentioned that we didn’t each get $60 – I was supposed to get $20, and my brother the full $100.
He took it upon himself to say that the disparity wasn’t ‘right’ and gave up part of his allotment to make us equal. At 12 or so years old, he was making some important and heavy decisions. He eventually cut off ties to our bio-dad, too, after this. I took ‘my’ $60 that day and bought him a video game he’d been wanting for a few months. I still don’t know if he knows why I did that, or if he knows that I know what he did too split the gifts. That $60 was a horrible gift to realize that, truly, my biological dad hated me. It was a great gift to realize that my little brother loved me.”
Which Was Worse – His Grandmother’s Gift Or His Mom’s Reaction?
“When I was 10 years old, I woke up the day before Christmas sick as a dog with flu symptoms which persisted until four days later. When I woke up on Christmas, it was the worst of it and I felt like I was dying. I skipped the present opening and slept as best I could until my extended family got to our house. My mother made me come down to open presents with my grandparents.
My grandparents had always been known as the best gift givers they, always got us insane gifts, so I was excited to do it and even forgot about my sickness for a few seconds as I sat in front of my presents from them. The first few were the usual, candy and some socks, a must from older folks. But then I picked up the main present. I was so excited and I just wanted one thing to make this whole sickness seem worth it. I rip off the packaging and stair down at a box of garbage bags. My whole family started laughing hysterically.
Apparently, my mom told my grandmother I had been slacking in the past few weeks on my main chore which was taking out the trash. So my grandmother not knowing what else to get just chalked it up to a joke gift. I instantly started crying and my mother told me I was ungrateful and sent me to bed. I cried the rest of the afternoon from the incident and my illness.
Ever since then I have hated Christmas and any other occasion where giving gifts is involved.”
Now, Don’t Get Mad…
“Not me, although I’ve received plenty of bad presents. But a colleague just told me what her gem of a husband got her for Christmas this year. Keep in mind, they have been married for less than 6 months.
She received a fishing rod even though neither of them fish. She also got a book on how to create a happy and successful marriage. He asked her not to get mad before she opened the presents. Surely if you have to ask your significant other that, then you should rethink your gift?”
“When I was little tykes, one of my favorite things to do was roller skate around the neighborhood. I spent half my childhood in skates. But that was the 80s and it was a sleepy suburb down south where quad skates were still the thing. I’d never even heard of inline skates, nor imagined such a thing could exist.
When we moved to the Big City up north in the early 90s, everyone had rollerblades. Absolutely everyone my age had them. I guess I wanted them in an abstract way, in the same way you tend to want what your friends have, but I don’t remember ever voicing this want.
But, my parents saw people skating on these things on every sidewalk and bike trail and decided that us kids had to have them. So that first Christmas, along with our gifts, came a special notice that we would soon be getting rollerblades. That meant that they were too costly for my parents to afford at the time. I was quite grateful for the promise of such a nice gift and more than willing to be patient.
The years went by and every Christmas, it seemed there would be some mention of the fabled rollerblades but later, when there was money for them. I think I must have worked out in my head that they were ridiculously pricey and was more than willing to forget the whole thing. Except now, the friends I’d managed to make since the move had rollerblades and I did want to go skating again. I figured I’d have to learn to use inline skates at some point.
Whenever I mentioned the rollerblades to my parents, I would be told they were coming for Christmas. ‘Don’t you remember?’ Then every Christmas they would have forgotten.
By the time I realized they weren’t coming, I was probably 16 and no longer interested. Frankly, I could have bought them myself if I was. I have to wonder why my parents kept the rollerblade charade going for so long. What was it that compelled them to constantly promise but never deliver this one specific gift?
I’ve never learned how to rollerblade, for the record.”
Not The Bike She Was Looking For
“Leading up to Christmas one year when I was about 9 or 10, I begged my parents for a mountain bike. Come Christmas, whilst opening gifts, I looked around and realized there was no bike. My dad handed me this one gift and had a big grin on his face. I got excited thinking it must have been something really cool. I opened it and it was a little toy pink Barbie mountain bike. He started laughing his butt off. His laughing coupled with the fact I had been duped led me to tears.
This made him start laughing harder pausing every five seconds to say, ‘I’m sorry.’ My mom didn’t know about the gag and was not amused. My dad is really cool and I have no idea why he did that to me. He has never done anything that mean to anyone besides for me.”
Hand Me Downs In The Saddest Sense
“My parents once sent me a box of what I can only assume were used items from their own house. I knew they couldn’t afford to send anything. I was surprised/excited to see a package from them. Then, I opened it and found their used, but very clean, kitchen items such as a funny mug, a mug warmer, etc. I couldn’t stop crying because I felt so miserable that they felt they needed to send me something so much that they sent their own things because they couldn’t afford to send anything else.
I love them and I cherished the presents, I just felt terrible for their circumstances that I have no power to fix.”
You Really Shouldn’t Have
“When I was about 12, maybe 13, I was at my step-father’s parents house. My step-father was a complete prick to me and apparently had learned his ways from his parents. Despite being in this family for ten years, they never seemed to think of me like family. They considered me more like just my mother’s daughter. Well, these people were never hurting for money. Years of being greedy lead to a nice retirement. Funny enough, only my prick of a step-dad and his parents thought this way. Everyone else loved me and I loved them.
So, Christmas rolls around and they’re handing out presents. My two cousins and I are sitting there. The one to my right gets a present, then the one to my left gets a present, then the one to my right, back and forth but missing me in the middle. The whole family is watching as they get a huge pile each. In the end, I get one box. Now the fun part, there are two prepaid gift cards on the tree. My prick grandpa jokes around for a few minutes about it and then hands one to each of my cousins on either side. There’s an audible gasp from the rest of the family as they realize that I got nothing for Christmas and he had just joked about it.
In the end, I got a $5 sweater; they left the markdown tag on it, that was a size 2XL. I am nowhere near that size. I could have fit another person in there with me. Somehow, he was confused as to why I just walked out without saying a word. He was offended I didn’t say thanks for a bad sweater when the other two cousins got about $200 each worth of presents. I was always taught to be grateful for every present because the giver didn’t have to do anything, young me wished he didn’t.”
It’s The Thought That Counts?
“Not me, but my brother. One year, when we were kids, we were opening up our presents. My mother had this all-too-proud-of-herself look as my brother unwrapped a box. He suddenly got this puzzled expression on his face. I looked at what he got to see what was the matter. He picked up the box, turned it upside down, and shook it, almost as if expecting something previously invisible would suddenly fall out.
But much to his disappointment, the completely empty box was his present! My mother, in all her wisdom, thought she was so clever to give him an empty cardboard box because he could use it to store baseball cards. No, she didn’t include any baseball cards with the box. The look on my brother’s face…I will never forget it. He still can’t laugh about it to this day.”
Politics And Family Always Ends Well
“A few years back, my aunt gave everyone in the family political books as presents. Not as her gift to us, but as my grandmother’s gifts to us because she couldn’t get out herself to buy gifts.
So I ended up getting something like ‘The Desecration of the Constitution by Barack Obama.’ I didn’t bother taking it home with me.
This year, I saw that my 7-year-old nephew got a gift directly from this aunt: Rush Revere and Brave Pilgrims. She’s apparently incapable of doing anything these days that doesn’t have a political component.”
An Appropriate Ending For This Gift
“My uncle gave me a single Fruit of the Loom t-shirt. The type of shirt that comes in packs. But, it was just one. It wasn’t even wrapped, it was essentially in a shopping bag. My family is by no means poor. It was just a terrible last minute gift since this uncle also gave my sister a fancy purse/day-planner.
So then my parents made me put on the shirt, and a little later I’m hit by a wave of nausea and I throw up. But I don’t want to get it on my grandma’s floor so I catch it with the shirt. RIP Fruit of the Loom shirt.”
A Cheap Misunderstanding
“This last week, it was my secret Santa gift from my coworker. She was going to lunch one day to KFC with another coworker and I was like ‘KFC?!?’ as in ‘Oh that’s gross and I would never want to eat there and deal with that gut rot,’ but she heard it as ‘I LOVE KFC!’
At the Christmas party, everyone opened up their gifts together. Some were nice bottles, body butters, candles, a mini garden starter kit. It was all super creative and cute stuff in the $15 budget.
My gift? A $12 KFC receipt that says ‘Gift Card’ in pen. It was inside a chicken wrap wrapper, which was inside a used necklace box. Apparently, the $12 gift card was not $15 because $3 was spent on the box for it.
My coworkers were all silent and I was very confused. Then the person next to me was like, ‘Hey, aren’t you Paleo? Can you even eat that stuff?’ No. No I can’t eat it. I don’t want to eat it. And NO, I do not like KFC.”
Set For Life On Something They Didn’t Want
“One day, I was shopping with my mom and grandma when my grandma asked if there was anything I needed for school. I said no because I didn’t need anything. She then asked about video games and the such, but being a busy student I told her even if I had them I wouldn’t have the time to play them. Mind you, I had no idea she was trying to get a Christmas gift for me. I just thought she was trying to remind me of anything I wanted to buy while at the store. Eventually, we get to the lotion section, and I told her that the Aveeno lotion works really well for dry skin and that she should buy that instead of the generic lotion she usually gets. So she got me two big bottles of Aveeno.
Opening that bag on Christmas day was the most adorably hilarious Christmas experience I ever had. That was about 5 years ago, to this day I’m only about halfway through the second bottle.”
They Gifted Themselves, Really
“My Aunt and Uncle once gave me a note saying they donated $50 to their own charity in my name.
Their charity involves them driving around the country sightseeing and ‘spreading the word of god.’ I respect their beliefs and desire to share them with others but they’re just traveling around the states enjoying themselves and are far from having financial difficulties.”
Being Cheapskates Almost Lost Them Something Important
“In a white elephant gift exchange last year, I received a used loofas and shower gel set for women from my Aunt. She had received it in a similar exchange the year before from her daughter, used it, and decided she didn’t like the scent of the soap either. So, she rewrapped it and gave it out the following year.
The same aunt and uncle are so cheap, they nearly gave away an heirloom. The first year of doing the white elephant, my aunt sent my uncle down to the basement to pick something out to wrap. Unbeknownst to her, he grabbed an antique and wrapped it. When somebody got it and opened it, everybody just shook their heads. It turns out he grabbed an antique dutch oven that was my grandmother’s.”
He Played Himself
“I got a Nintendo Power Glove.
What made it really bad is that I specifically begged my parents to get it for me. It was so expensive for my parents budget that I bargained with them to get me the Power Glove in lieu of getting other presents. It was my only present from them that year.
The novelty of glove wore off after about a week when I realized that I had been duped and that it was a total piece of garbage and useless as a controller. I think that set a sour taste in my mouth regarding early adoption of novel technology.”
Definitely Not Equal
“Well, I didn’t get the gift, but this sure must have felt like the worst Christmas ever to my brother. We had gone down to our grandparents’ house for the season. I had asked for a PS3. I saw a PS3-shaped box under the tree and I was hyped. Come Christmas Day and sure enough, a brand new $300 PS3 awaited me. Well, my little brother opens his present and it’s a marble racing kit.
Mind you, my brother was 12 at the time and his brother, who is only 2 years older, just got a $300 console. He was mad. My mom actually had to take him out later that week and buy him a PSP. Funny enough, I’m back at my grandparents for Christmas, and we open presents tomorrow. I also brought my PS3, which my brother has enjoyed playing GTA 5 with me.”
Just What He Always Wanted!
“My parents gave me a card that was an advertisement for getting a $20 gift card when you purchase $100 worth of gift cards from Outback Steakhouse.
So they bought $100 worth of gift cards for people, got another $20 gift card for free, and then gave me the ad for that scenario. It’s the thought that counts.”
Her Dad Was Clueless
“I was a 12-year-old, hardcore tomboy who hated anything remotely girly, or pink/purple/sparkly in any way. I was into dragons, wolves, bugs, Pokemon, LOTR, Inuyasha, collecting fake fantasy weapons, making dark OCs on DeviantArt, and wearing kind of annoying stuff like printed fedoras and pewter necklaces with crystals and witchy symbols and stuff. That kind of cringy little pre-teen stuff.
My dad gave me Barbie Princess bedsheets.
Not as a joke. He has no sense of humor.
He was just that oblivious. I lived with him 3-4 days a week my whole life and I was his only child. It still gets me mad.
And I had no choice but to use those sheets at his house until I turned 18. They’re probably still on my old bed to this day.”
It Wasn’t What They Thought It Was
“The year the Nintendo 64 came out, it was all me and my brothers wanted for Christmas. We rented a system from Blockbuster every chance we got and it came in these black carrying cases.
Fast forward to Christmas morning and one of these boxes is under the tree. We thought maybe my parents had gotten a used one or something and we were beyond excited to open that puppy up.
We saw the tag was from our grandparents, who were very anti-video games. Maybe they came around, we thought. Maybe it’s a Christmas miracle.
We pop open the lid and sitting inside is… a typewriter. An electric typewriter. My grandfather thought we could use it to work on our typing skills. All three of us were devastated.”
An Aunt’s Gift Almost Killed Her
“My aunt gave me an oversized nightshirt for Christmas Eve once as a kid. I promptly put it on and wore it for no more than an hour when an ember from the fireplace jumped out and landed on it, at which point the (very cheap) fabric started quickly burning/melting as I frantically stopped, dropped and rolled myself out.”
The Gift That Keeps Reminding Her Of The Hardest Thing In Her Life
“My mom gave me a baby onesie outfit one year for Christmas. I’d been married for a few years and I had told her that my husband and I were officially trying to get pregnant.
Except – it turns out I’m infertile. We tried for years to get pregnant, meds, injections, IVF, nothing. Eventually, we get with an adoption agency, get picked by a young bio mom – who changes her mind after having the babies (they were twins). We end up moving, have to change agencies – that adoption agency goes bankrupt after we’ve paid them $20,000 (I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP). Recently, we moved again and got into the foster care system in that state – and just when we were approved, my husband lost his job and we had to move again to where we both had work available.
It’s now been 15 years since I got that onesie for Christmas and I can’t throw it away. To throw it away means I’ve given up and I really don’t want to. But every time we move (which has been a few times now), I find it and it reminds me of how long and hard our struggle has been.
I don’t blame my mom – she was excited and meant to be optimistic. But that tiny onesie has turned out to be my own albatross, at regular intervals reminding me of my failures.”
“One Christmas, my family got together and gave me a fake lottery ticket. When I opened it up they all played along and told me I should check to see if I won so I did and I won just over $3,000,000!
I was so excited and didn’t know it was fake yet, so I started planning out what we would do with the money and the fancy vacation I would send my parents on and the college fund I’d set up for my niece. They finally decided the joke had gone on long enough and told me it wasn’t real and I got super upset, it was extremely frustrating. I couldn’t help but start bawling my eyes out. “
Wait, He Wrapped Up What?
“While I’ve received a number of bad Christmas presents over the years, I think I’ve probably given the worst of all.
My father got remarried when I was about 20 years old, to a woman who already had three children of her own. The following Christmas marked the first time that our newly formed family would all sit around the tree together and I figured that I’d make it a special occasion. That was why, in addition to the small (and allegedly thoughtful) gifts that I bought everyone, I also purchased and wrapped twenty-four potatoes.
No, I don’t know why I thought that would be a good idea. I just did it.
These holiday spuds were smuggled into my father’s house on Christmas Eve, then hidden beneath the bed in the guest room where I was staying. After everyone had gone to sleep, I tiptoed down to the living room and carefully arranged all twenty-four of them in a wide ring around the tree… at which point, I discovered that I had unwittingly wrapped my ‘presents’ with the same style of paper that Santa had used. Since the youngest of my new step-siblings was about 7 years old at the time, I wasn’t entirely sure that going through with my caper was the best idea.
I did anyway, though.
The following morning, everyone rushed downstairs and gathered to open their gifts. My stepsister — the 7-year-old — immediately suggested that we each unwrap one of the twenty-four identical spheroids that she had discovered. Everyone else agreed (although I suspect that my father was just confused by the appearance of the presents), and we all tore the paper off in unison. A moment passed in silence before my stepsister looked up, grinned, cocked her head to one side, and asked:
‘Have we been naughty?’
I’m not allowed to bring potatoes to Christmas anymore.”
This Guy Is A Real Scrooge
“It wasn’t so much just the gift as the whole situation. I have never participated in Christmas since.
I was in college. We’re all totally broke. I’m chums with this other young woman and one thing we have in common is how passionately we listen to music, it’s practically a religion to us.
I am also passionate about classic lit. I despise some writers of course- that’s part of being passionate.
Well, despite us agreeing to not do Xmas gifts, this friend bought me a classic novel, one that everyone gets forced to read in school so I’d already read it. And I very much hate that author (Dickens). I felt so dirty being sorta forced to lie because I couldn’t tell her I hated it, could I? I didn’t think so anyway. I practically never lie, especially not to people I’m close to, so lying to her felt awful. And complicated! Because for the rest of our friendship, I had to remember to not mention my hatred of Dickens. But what made it truly scarring was learning that she’d pawned her CD collection to be able to buy a few gifts for her dearest people. Her precious CDs that she cherished more than food and oxygen.
She harmed herself so badly to give me something I didn’t like, inciting me to put lies between us. So much pointless negativity. It just broke my heart. Cultural pressures to be generous at Christmas cause unhappiness.
That was the point where my sentimentality, and propaganda absorbed from ads, it all just fell aside and I clearly saw: this stuff is messed up! The pressure, the financial hardship, guilt on both sides are all just plain horrible. So I stopped participating.
For the past 25 years or so, I just buy gifts not because it’s a certain date but only when I feel inclined, and IF I have money to spare and IF I know for sure the person wants that thing, and I tend to give piles of small gifts, rather than one big one, so if something does fail to please, at least the rest of the stuff is still enjoyed.
I’m very clear to everyone that they do not feel pressured to buy me stuff just because of custom, like if it’s Xmas or my birthday or whatnot. Luckily I married a guy who also finds gift-obligation customs cringy, so we merrily go gift free for anniversaries and Valentine’s as well.
It’s been nothing but great, being free of all that pressure and expense! Sadly, a dear friend just got some wee stepkids so I am afraid we need to start doing gifts for them. Kids can’t be expected to understand ‘we don’t give or accept Christmas gifts’ the way adults can. So this year I’m feeling the pressure and stress again and I do not like it.
I’m almost certain whatever I buy will disappoint the kids, I sure got a ton of duds when I was their age. So it’s pointless really. But opting out isn’t really an option when it comes to kids. Ugh.”
It Was Horrible On Its Own But Compared To His Brother’s, It Was Even Worse
“I’d say I was about 10-12-years-old at the time and into typical boy stuff. I had a brother who was about a year older than me and naturally we played with the same toys and did the same kind of stuff.
Christmas rolls around and one of my older cousins gave my brother a monster truck toy. Nothing amazing but pretty sweet to play with.
I open my toy and it’s A Bugs Life figures. What the heck? I’m pretty sure my confusion and disappointment showed on my face because my cousin said: ‘I wasn’t sure what you guys played with…’
We ended using them as pool toys that we’d dive for. But I always had to watch my brother play with his awesome truck.”
“My grandma gave me a pen and pencil set when I was like nine. I thought it was alright at first. My dad had his own pens and pencils so I had a grownup gift like him, right? But they didn’t work very well and I kinda forgot about them.
Until one day in a grocery store when I saw the same set free-with-purchase taped to a carton of smokes. Uh, I guess that’s why my pencil set said ‘Parliament.’
Thanks, grandma, for my free smokes pen.”
A Terrible Family Has Terrible Gifts
“It wasn’t a Christmas present, but I got a ‘Happy Birthday Barbie Doll’ for my 16th birthday. It had a pink dress and brown hair.
The kicker was, my father had just given my 15-year-old step-brother a BMW the day before. This was December and his birthday wasn’t until August.
I was grounded for two months because I told my dad I didn’t want the doll unless it was capable of pooping car keys. No regrets.
I wasn’t just being a spoiled brat about the car. Had my father not purchased a car for my step-sibling the day before my own birthday and given me a cheap doll for my ‘sweet’ 16, I would have been happy with that gift alone. It was the principle of it. We no longer have any contact. I don’t speak to that side of my family, save one aunt, at all and haven’t in 11 years. Thank God.
They were super abusive. Dad beat up my mom and older sister for 13 years until they finally divorced. He remarried a woman who was just as abusive as him, they got custody of me, and I became their whipping boy (girl). I wore my stepbrother’s hand me downs because they wouldn’t buy me clothes. My stepmother used to make me strip down and kneel on a pile of rice while praying if I ticked her off. They removed my bedroom and bathroom doors after this even and I was forced to change clothes, shower, and use the restroom while they all watched.
I moved out when I was 17 after my stepbrother assaulted me.
I have no regrets. The things I went through made me the person I am. I have healed.”
This Guy Hates Hockey!
“I hated hockey growing up. All the kids that played hockey were always mean to me and I never really understood the sport. It was quite clear that I DID NOT LIKE HOCKEY and my family knew it since they were huge hockey lovers.
Christmas 1997. I am 13-years-old and there is a family get together. We do the traditional presents at midnight. I’m getting excited since I usually get something cool from my godparents.
I open the gift; It’s a ticket to an NHL game. Ottawa Senators VS Philadelphia Flyers. The look of disappointment on my face was like no other. I was utterly disappointed. It was like I was being tested and thought it was a gag gift with my real gift elsewhere with a big ‘GOT YOU!’ but it wasn’t.
I proceeded to talk to my mom and tell her how unthoughtful it was since they knew how much I don’t like hockey. My mom was also a little disappointed but all she said was, ‘Smile and thank your aunt and uncle.’
I was then playing with my cousins and it seems that my godparent’s son was quite jealous I got a ticket. He was constantly hitting me and saying really rude things. At one point he wanted to beat me up (I’m three years older than him; he wouldn’t have stood a chance but I was still diplomatic).
I went to the game and I thought it was going to be just my godparents and me; It ended up that seven other people got tickets for free. It just became ‘less special’ since I thought I was the only one that got a ticket. Even my jealous cousin ended up getting a ticket.
To this day, it was THE.WORST.PRESENT I have ever had.”
Re-Gifted Her Own Gift
“My poor mother-in-law ‘regifted’ a collectible Ken and Barbie set I had gotten as a present the year before from my husband and had stashed it away in my husband’s closet at his parents’ house. She found it, wrapped it up and gave it to me the next Christmas.
Granted, this was the beginning signs that she was starting to suffer from Alzheimer’s (she eventually passed away a few years back from the disease) and I never said anything to her. I loved her like my own mother and miss her terribly.”
Just Make Something!
“Six years ago, I got a children’s book on Ireland.
I come from very humble beginnings and I don’t get a lot of gifts generally. But this one really got to me. Yes, I love books and reading. Yes, I love Ireland. No, it wasn’t cute to buy me a children’s book about a country I know virtually everything about.
The year before, I got the Tao of Pooh and Assorted Works of Voltaire. Those should have been a warning sign. Especially since I owned both of them anyway.
TOP TIP: If you are poor and don’t know what to get your significant other, make them something. Don’t waste your money thinking you need to buy them something.
Making something shows you spent time on it, and that you actually care.”
The Movies Had A Surprising Star
“My then-girlfriend once gave me a stack of dirty movies on VHS as a birthday gift, no explanation.
I started watching them and they were super low budget and sleazy… and she was in all of them!
They were old and it wasn’t something she was currently doing, she had already told me she used to be a dancer so I wasn’t that shocked and, in theory, the idea doesn’t really bother me and could even be kind of hot – if it was good smut.
It wasn’t. Watching a bunch of greasy, ugly dudes go to town with my girlfriend wasn’t much of a gift.”
A Gift That Cost Them A Lot
“A kitten. I was about to make a cross-country move with my then girlfriend and her mother gave us a kitten without any discussion beforehand. It died the next day — a parasite or something. We rushed it to a vet but it was too late. So we got to pay for a vet visit and a cremation.
We also got a parking ticket because we ran into the vet without paying the meter.
To be clear, the big sin was the gift in the first place. There was nothing obviously wrong with the kitten when she gave him to us, and I don’t think she neglected any medical care that he was supposed to have.”
Is That A Way To Treat A Son?
“I was a young, gay adolescent teen living in a small, rural conservative town. One year, my dad gave his son (me) a pair of pantyhose in front of the entire family, and everyone laughed.
My dad was an addict and a prick to everybody, and the other kids followed along because it was the ‘dad thinks it’s cool’ type of thing.
My mom left him and nobody talked to him anymore, which is sad, but ultimately, it was for the best. My mom used to cry and pray for me not to be gay because she didn’t want me to ‘get aids or burn for my sins,’ but she is super supportive now. The whole family is now.”
Christmas Isn’t The Best Time To Prove A Point
“The year I got pregnant with my first child (32 years old, gainfully employed with benefits, and I’d been with the father for over eight years), my mother flipped on me as if I was 16 and didn’t know who the father was. Her actual first reaction was ‘I don’t know what you expect me to say. I’m not taking care of it! Don’t expect MY help! I am not babysitting, I’m not buying things, I had my babies and I’m DONE!’
Okay, okay, so that didn’t go well. Still, better than expected. My mother hated being a mother and she was not looking forward to being potentially saddled with another even if that was completely ridiculous.
Well, after several months, she did start to come around, but at Christmas, she was still pretty salty about the whole matter. She was, for some reason – despite the fact that we got married – completely unconvinced that we weren’t going to leave the baby on her doorstep. So, for Christmas that year – at four-months pregnant – I went out and bought my sister a ton of stuff. She is the youngest and I always get her a lot of stuff and I knew she was anxious about her place in the house now that I was having my own baby, so I got her a lot of stuff. I also got everyone else more stuff because I knew that would be the last year I’d have the chance.
My husband’s mother and my mother both told us they were sending us a box of ‘gifts.’ My husband called me at work to tell me the packages came. He said he’d opened the one from his mother and to open mine when I got home ‘so we can compare our bounty.’ When I got home, I saw the package his mom sent us. Her usual: a box of sweet and thoughtful gifts and snacks. I was so excited I put on some Christmas music, broke out the ornaments, poured myself some sparkling apple juice, lit candles, and got in the mood. I was pregnant and living on simple pleasures, so I wanted to do it right.
When I opened the box from my mom, I wasn’t surprised that the stuff on top was obviously for my brother and sister. They usually come over to my place for the holidays, so it makes sense for her to send it to my place. I thought that my gifts must have been underneath the other ones. I dug and dug, but everything was for my brother and sister. Everything except this one painting that I had bought for my mother several years ago in a broken frame. IN A BROKEN FRAME.
I wondered if this was a jab? Or was it some kind of horrible mistake? Maybe there were two boxes. Maybe the other box just hasn’t shown up yet. Maybe she was just sending me my siblings’ gifts early so I could wrap them and mine would be following. Obviously, she wouldn’t not buy me a single Christmas gift the year I was pregnant! What kind of mother would do that? And I wondered about the painting. It must’ve been a mistake. Maybe she was sending it for my sister or something because surely she didn’t send me a box of gifts for everyone but me except for a painting I bought her in a broken frame? Surely!
Nope. That was it. No other gifts came that year. Nothing. I held Christmas at my house the year I was pregnant and didn’t have a single gift to open because I bought everyone else gifts and no one – including my mother – bought me a single gift. Not even a gift card. Not even a preemptive baby gift. Nothing but a painting I bought in a broken frame.
I choked on that for a bit. It was pretty cruel of her to do that, and with my hormones going crazy, I was in no mood for this, but I sucked it up. I realize my mother is a self-obsessed narcissist. She was mad about me having a baby and had to find some way to make the situation about her. She was bitter about not being able to find a way to do so. I figured she was making a point that ‘No one bought ME Christmas gifts when I was a mom, you want to be a mom, you don’t get any Christmas gifts.’
It took a while to find the words to confront her about this but it happened. We had a long tearful conversation about what a terrible mother she had been to me. She apologized and claimed she didn’t realize how hurtful she was being. I believe her, too. It’s hard to recognize when you’re being hurtful when you lack the ability to effectively empathize with others.
As for the rest of my family, well, they’re all kind of inconsiderate. My husband has literally never bought me an actual gift with me in mind other than my wedding ring and routinely uses necessities that he purchases for both of us as an excuse or substitute for a thoughtful gift. My siblings also never get me anything, mostly because I’m the oldest and there is no precedence for it. I buy them gifts, they don’t buy me gifts. To be fair, historically speaking, I have made more money and been more stable than them. However, considering they are both in their late twenties now that point has become increasingly mute.”
Her Mom Thought She Was Ungrateful, So She Did This?
“When my grandma was a little girl growing up in Portugal in the early 1940s, she and my great grandma were not on the best of terms.
One year, before Christmas, my grandma mentioned that she didn’t believe in Santa Claus anymore. Now, there was a war going on nearby, and my great grandma was a single mother, so in her mind, she must have interpreted this as being ungrateful.
That year for Christmas, my grandma got one present from ‘Santa Claus”.’ When she opened it, she found a dog turd with sprinkles on it inside.
My great grandma gave my grandma a dog turd with sprinkles on it for Christmas.”
That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore
“One year, my mom decided it would be funny to humiliate me in front of the family. She knew I was very sensitive, so it was particularly thoughtless. She gave me some owl vomit wrapped in plastic (not from a ‘dissect and learn’ kit or anything – just some owl vomit she had found). She also bought me underwear. Lots of underwear. And coal. And a cartoony ‘how your body changes in puberty’ book.
I was 13!
She kept handing me package after package. I pleaded with her to stop, but she made me open them in front of the whole extended family, and she kept laughing like it was the funniest prank ever.
I left the room in shame, trying not to cry out of sheer embarrassment. Later on, she (loudly) chewed me out within earshot of the whole family, for being a poor sport and ruining her funny moment.
She didn’t get me any real gifts that year, just a LOT of joke ones.”