“The worst gift I was given is when I got out of rehab that Christmas; a bottle of wine. It was delicious.” ―Craig Ferguson
No one likes a bad gift. That is a universal fact of life. Since that is so widely accepted, it is a surprise then that there are still so many stories of people receiving awful gifts from people who care about them. Here are some of the most disappointing gifts people have ever received, and then felt the need to share with the world via Reddit.
My mom is an evil genius. When PS2 first came out, it was on the top of my wishlist. My mom got a PS2 box from my cousin and weighted the box to feel like a PS2. I unwrapped it, and without opening the box ran around for a solid 10 minutes in excitement, then pretty much said “screw the other gifts!” and went to set it up. This event was followed by about an hour of crying. My mom still references it as her favorite childhood video of me.
39. That Relationship Doesn’t Seem to Be Working
Christmas last year. I saved up for months to buy my wife a new tablet. Almost $600. She gave me a $25 McDonalds gift certificate.
38. Money Can’t Buy Class
I have a particularly wealthy aunt who spoils the piss out of her own kids, taking them on expensive trips and buying them every new gadget available. When we lived closer, she would join us for birthday parties and kick in for something: dinner, lodging, etc., so I didn’t complain when she invited herself because otherwise parties would be at our dull lifeless house with a few friends.
For my 18th birthday (a pretty big one IMO) she bought me a thrift-store Flintstones t-shirt. That’s it. A big ratty t-shirt with Fred Butthole Flintstone and his stupid grin. The woman took her kids to Paris that same year but bought me that as a gift for turning 18. Thankfully I’ve had better birthdays since and without any entitled extended family butting in, but seriously, screw her and her money.
37. Hand-Me-Down Bike
My older sister got a brand new bike for Christmas. My parents gave me her old bike with a bow on it.
I know now that my parents were pretty poor and just trying to save money, but when I was a kid it seemed like almost everything I wore or had for years was a hand-me-down. I wanted my gift to be new so badly that Christmas morning that little kid me refused to accept it and insisted that it was a new bike that just happened to be like my older sister’s old bike. I finally burst into tears when I noticed that the guard over the chain was cracked.
36. That Socks
Socks inside a chocolates box inside a cereal box inside a toy box inside a larger toy box inside a tv box inside a washing machine box. Every box was wrapped.
35. All’s Well That Ends Well
A guy I let crash on my couch for free, for months, finally moved out. He left a box with a bow on my table. It was the box that 18 year old Macallan comes in, and I love whiskey. LOVE IT. Needless to say, I was full of pure joy, lifted the box over my head, and pranced around the apartment proudly proclaiming to my apartment mates that squatters aren’t always bad.
Inside the box was a brand new bottle of old spice (which is admittedly my favorite shower gel). Ohh, but I was pissed.
But then when I went to shower, I found my bottle of whiskey in the tub. HAPPY ENDING!
34. Skating Through the Mud
A skateboard, when I was about 9. I grew up out in the country with no sidewalks anywhere.
It was a sad sight as I spent the better part of a day trying to learn to skate in our gravel and mud driveway.
33. Meet Your New Friend, Clarinet Case
My whole life I wanted a dog more than anything. Every year I asked for a puppy and sadly was disappointed every year as well.
One year I woke up on Christmas and saw a large box under the tree with my name on it, it had holes in the side and I KNEW this was the year I’d finally have a dog.
I opened the box, it was a clarinet case.
32. Momma Rick Rolling
Oh my god. Perfect thread for this.
The Christmas after Halo Reach came out, I still hadn’t purchased it, so I asked for it.
My Mom let her inner troll loose, bought Halo Reach, replaced the disk with Rick Astley’s Greatest Hits, and then resealed the case.
Come Christmas morning, I open the wrapping, get excited and then Bam! Rick Rolled by my Mom.
30. Inept Gift Giving
My brother-in-law likes to snoop for gifts around Christmas, so my family labels his gifts as though they are for me. Sometimes they forget to re-name a couple. In 2002, it was an Xbox with a copy of Halo. In 2003, it was a black video iPod. I got so excited when I opened the wrapping paper, and then my heart broke when they were taken away and given to him.
29. Witchcraft Gameboy
Over the summer I went to visit my Grandma and cousin. This cousin introduced me to this amazing contraption called a game boy, and spent the entire time watching him play it. That Christmas Grandma got me a purple gbc and a copy of Pokemon Blue. It was clearly labeled for me, but mom INSISTED that it was mislabeled and it was actually for my younger brother, who had already opened his toy from Grandma. I got nothing and he got to keep it, but (being 2 or whatever) soon decided it wasn’t all that interesting, and I got to play it. She then proceeded to throw away the game because it had potions in it, and clearly that made it witchcraft and against the bible’s teachings.
28. Giving a Gift for Yourself
A pair of binoculars last Christmas from my uncle. After I unwrapped it, he said, “If you don’t like them, I’ll take them.” Of course he ended up with them…I’m glad he picked himself out a good Christmas present.
27. Let’s Play Dress up
My mom used to be an exotic dancer and when I turned 20 she gave me all her old “costumes”….
26. 98 Cents and a Pizza
Eleventh or twelfth birthday present from my uncle’s family: Giant heart-shaped “crystal” (plastic) necklace on a gumball-machine-quality ball chain. The whole family had spent the day complaining about whether or not we would celebrate my birthday, culminating in “just order a darn pizza and we’ll go eat it at Grandma’s,” so I was already feeling extra special that day.
On the way out, my cousin let slip that they had gone out and bought it at the 98 cent store. My aunt looked mortified.
25. Plain Cruelty
My mom once got me a gag scratch-off lotto ticket for Christmas. On it, I had won something like $100,000 – one of the grand prizes for a $20 ticket, so it would’ve been a huge payout at my age of seventeen. She sat through me calling my father (divorced parents), other friends and family members telling them how much better things would be for the next few years, especially college, and that they would all get a fair share. This went on for about twenty minutes until she told me it was a gag ticket, as she burst out laughing. I left her house Christmas morning on the spot, storming out blind with rage. On the way home, I had to call everybody back and explain what happened, near tears. It took me almost all year to forgive her.
I can’t recall anything worse that has happened to me. It was one of the most intense mixtures of feeling simultaneous hate/rage/sadness I’ve ever felt.
24. (Not) Fondue
Last Christmas, I received a mini fondue pot from my aunt. Turned out to be the most ghetto fondue pot ever. Literally a ceramic cup with a stand and a votive candle. When I tried using it with my friends in my dorm room, the heat from the votive candle cracked the pot in two. Pottery-shard-poisoned melted chocolate everywhere.
23. Acts of God Aren’t Covered
When my step-dad gave me a mini cooker for college. When I opened it, I discovered that it was not actually a mini-cooker, it was a very poorly marked sauce heater thingy. It couldn’t boil water for food, it was intended for fondues/pasta sauce/melted chocolate.
On the instruction manual, it clearly stated that it was not for cooking food, and that the manufacturer’s warranty did not cover “acts of God.”
22. Building up to a Twenty
Twenty dollars. Now this might not seem like much, so here’s some backstory.
My grandmother had an artificial knee to go along with diabetes and a barely hidden addiction to painkillers.
The summer of my 16th birthday, she goes into the hospital. I don’t worry about my birthday, because darn, she’s deathly ill from a severely infected foot (diabetes reduces feelings in extremities in some cases, so she never noticed), detoxing from high doses of oxycontin, depressed, and here comes the dementia.
Summer of my 17th birthday, she has her leg amputated and gets re-addicted to oxycontin. So I don’t worry about it.
Summer of my 18th birthday, by all plans my last at home, as I was off to boot camp the next spring. Grandma’s healthy, family is stable, dad just got a raise. I get a single 20 dollar bill from my family. No one says anything, and my deadbeat older brother had just gotten 200 dollars worth of clothes earlier in the month for his own birthday. I couldn’t say anything, because I do love my family, but they really don’t know what a normal birthday would have meant.
Other than those three summers, I have never had a memorable birthday. I turned 24 two days ago. I spent the day packing.
21. Payback for the Long Haul
Ugh, I’m a bit embarrassed to share this, because it still bugs me a lot more than it should 20 years later:
I don’t come from a close family, which is a nice way of saying we sincerely hate each other. One year, when I was about 11 or 12, I decided I didn’t want to participate in my mom’s weird compulsion to gather everyone she hates into a room every Christmas. I stayed in my room, didn’t appear at the strained dinner, didn’t sit around for the strained conversation, etc.
I haven’t received a gift, Christmas, birthday, graduation, or otherwise from anyone in my family since. Worse yet, I didn’t catch on right away, so for about 2 years after I’d go to Christmas and have to watch my brother and cousins open up their gifts.
20. There Must Be a Moral to This Story
I always got socks from my grandmother, and when I was a little kid, I hated getting them. However, when I got older, I actually started liking free socks because I always ran out of them or they fell apart. She got those high quality, LL Bean socks for me, so they would last much longer and were much more comfortable than the generic ones. Christmas rolled around, my sock munitions were running low, and I was actually excited to get new socks from my grandmother. When I opened the gift from her, it was a couple of T-shirts, and she told me that she probably thought I was tired of getting socks every year from her.
19. Dad’s Too Tired for Christmas
When I was ten and it was my birthday I was at the age where you get unbelievably excited about birthdays because you are getting closer to being a teenager. I could barely sleep all night and when I woke up it was about 6. I had to wait 2 hours (and when you are equally excited and frustrated time goes unbelievably slow) before being able to go into my dad’s room and open my presents. So finally after what seemed like years, I rushed to my dad’s room. He was half asleep as I cuddled him and asked if I could open my presents. He replied with “I didn’t get you any.” After that I had to walk back to my room and try to get back to sleep because dad was too tired. 3 weeks later he got me a DVD.
18. Just in Case in California
One time my friend said he was making the rounds because he had bunch of gifts to give out. He was like Santa. He had like a big sack.
He gives me a windshield ice scraper. You plug it into your car’s outlet and charge it, so it heats up a bit and lets you remove any frozen bits.
I didn’t know what to say. I live in California, so it’s not like this is a common thing. If it ever happens I just pour water on there and I’m good to go.
I tried my best to be thankful. I was never ever going to use this thing, couldn’t give it to anyone. I really would have preferred nothing. Because nothing doesn’t end up making me feel guilty for throwing it away. It sat in my trunk for two years, “just in case” I ever needed it. I never did.
17. Straight to Goodwill
My aunt gave me a pink crewneck Disney sweatshirt. It was bubblegum pink with glitter and sparkles, the words “Cinderella University” on the front in a cheesy Olde English type-font.
I was in my early 20s, and this aunt knows me pretty well. She had to have known that A) I’m not huge Disney fan, B) I’d rather have tickets to a sporting event and C) I wasn’t 12 years old.
That sweatshirt went to Goodwill right after the holidays.
16. Who Doesn’t Like Parties?
Oh man, this is like one of the worst gifts I ever received. A little backstory: I had told everyone that year that I did not want a birthday party. I hate being the center of attention, so I genuinely meant it. One of the crowd, a woman whom I did not know very well and who couldn’t imagine anyone being such an introvert, decided she had to throw me a party because clearly I was lying about not wanting one. She baked me a cake, got together a few of the people I knew the least, and knocked on my door and told me to come next door to where she was holding the semi-party (I don’t react well to surprises either). It was very uncomfortable. And then she gave me her gift: a cubicle photo holder themed with the Disney princesses. I was in my mid 20s and had never expressed any particular interest in Disney or the princesses thereof. I made my escape as quickly as I could.
15. Thank You Through the Tears
When my parents were teaching me as a wee lad to always say thanks when someone gives you something… For Christmas, my uncle gave me a package of frilly pink underwear. I started bawling, but I said thank you anyway.
14. Brotherly Love
When I was about five, and my brother ten, he wrapped a large box at Christmas for me and put it under the tree. He was always such a jerk, and when I was suspicious, he said that he was sorry for how cruel he’d been to me that year. When I opened the present, there were two small pieces of candy and a marble taped to the inside of the box. He laughed until my parents sent him to his room.
13. Driving a Matchbox Car
My sucktastical gift was given on my 16th birthday. I’m the oldest cousin, so I was hoping for a car. Not holding my breath, but hoping. I open all my gifts from the family and we finally get to the last. It’s a keychain! With an old Ford Escort key on it. Yay! I ask if they’re serious, get all happy, giggly, hug everyone and run to the garage to see what it was.
It was a bit smaller than I expected, for in the garage, all by its lonesome, sat a wee Matchbox car. A toy. There was no car.
12. Employee Appreciation
4 of us employees stayed late for a week to finish a major project by the deadline (2 male devs, 2 female testers). Afterwards, management wanted to show their appreciation, so they had an awards ceremony where they gave us each a gift. The other dev and I got lamps (mine had shattered inside of the box, so it was just a box of broken glass. No replacement was offered). The girls got last year’s out-of-date cat calendars.
11. Grandma Loves Walmart
When I got married, my husband’s grandmother insisted on providing us with my wedding ring as our wedding present. She claimed it was a very expensive ring she’d picked up during her “travels,” and I had absolutely no say in the matter (even sizing). I didn’t even get to see the thing until I was actually at the altar, and it was a couple sizes too big (not to mention hideous).
Big surprise, I ended up losing the thing a few months later (slipped off my finger). I felt really terrible since my husband’s family has a ridiculous attachment to “things.” After tearing through the house and plumbing, we finally decided we’d go out and buy a new wedding ring. Lo and behold, we go to Walmart and find that exact same ring, $78.
I don’t think I’m that shallow; I ended up picking a plain silver ring that’s served me quite well. But I still feel like his grandmother could’ve given us a more useful present and let me pick out my own darn wedding ring that I’m supposed to wear every day for the rest of my life.
10. New to the Secret Santa
Our small neighborhood used to do a secret Santa among the kids…and I wasn’t very well-liked. I had just come to America (read: didn’t speak English), our family was broke, I was overweight, and had BAD acne.
First secret Santa: I received a Backstreet Boys poster. It was supposedly a gag gift, but…I never got the “real” gift.
Second secret Santa: I got a Barnes and Nobles gift card. Amount said $20. I went to spend it, it had $11.89.
Third secret Santa: I got a used book.
…screw those kids.
9. But, What Kind of Present Is That?
At the age of 9, I received, from my grandparents, a beach towel.
That was it. A beach towel. At that age, that’s bull.
I looked them straight in the eyes and said “What kind of present is that?”
I was a jerk as a child.
8. Passive Aggressive Gifts
My mom stole my mail for the month of December and gave that to me as a passive-aggressive “You never get the mail anymore” kind of thing. Shortly after that she gave me deodorant because “You stink a lot.” I don’t talk to her much anymore.
7. The Chocolate Wasn’t for You
Three little boxes that assembled together to look like a snowman. I was excited, saw on the back a chocolate list. When I opened the boxes, empty. My aunt looked at me and said “Oh, there was chocolate but my son and I ate them. I thought you’d like the box.” It smelled like chocolate too.
6. Why Wouldn’t You Want a Ceramic Egg With a Painted Elephant?
One of my best friends always puts a lot of thought into my gifts. I was pretty excited about getting whatever it was he was giving me. So time comes for him to hand it to me… it is a ceramic egg with an elephant painted on it. Why would I EVER want a ceramic egg with an elephant painted on it? It wasn’t a gag either, I tried really hard to look happy.
5. Say Cheez!
Box of Cheez-its filled with bird food to weigh it down. Inside that box was the WORST Gamecube game I’ve ever played: Space Raiders. In fact, it’s so bad that I actually kinda like it. Mostly the terrible voice acting.
4. Hard Work Pays off
My cousins, my brother, and I try to outdo each other every year with un-wrappable presents. The rules are simple: you can only use your hands to open them, nothing else. Over the years we’ve ignored all attempts at mercy and feelings of guilt, feeding on a need to avenge ourselves for the pain inflicted the year before and come out the victor.
Last year my cousin Ian gave my brother a heavy, huge lumpy-looking wrapped box. My brother got through the first 6 layers of sealed-with-clear-tape wrapping paper to find a wood box with nailed sides, wrapped with a thick rope chock-full of knots. It was only the beginning.
Several layers later and much effort spent, my brother finally got to the last layer: a painted box (5″x5″ or so). He looked in the small box, closed it, looked at my smiling cousin and buried his head in his hands. I took the box and looked inside: it was a cheeseburger with a bite taken out of it.
3. 98 Cents and a Pizza
My last semester of college I moved out of the dorms and subsequently all my friends (who still lived in the dorms) seemed to forget I even existed. It was pretty much the most depressing time of my life. I worked two jobs, went to school full time, and nobody talked to me.
Christmas rolls around and I invite my family, who don’t live too far away, to come to my apartment for Christmas dinner. They showed up late, scarfed down the food, and gave me their one collective gift: a murder mystery party game, minimum players 4. Then they left because they had other dinners to go to, carrying the multiple gifts I got each of them.
I threw it in the dumpster outside, put on Doctor Who, and cried.
For my 12th birthday, I had a bunch of friends over to my house for a pizza party. When I went to unwrap the gifts, I noticed one that was rectangular, and when I picked it up, it weighed a lot. Excited, I decided to save it as the best for last. When I finally got to it, I ripped it open with the vigor of many Spartans. It was a brick.
1. Dearest Ex Wife
I used to work at a call center for a popular gift company. This one couple calls up and says “we need to cancel our order!”
I look it up, and tell them UPS already has the order to deliver it.
They tell me, “You don’t understand. We are sending this to our son and his wife. We accidentally put his ex wife’s name on the card. It will ruin Christmas if they receive this gift!!!”
I was finally able to call UPS and get them to not deliver the package.