The WORST Birthday Gifts

October 12, 2023 | Violet Newbury

The WORST Birthday Gifts


A big birthday bounty sometimes turns into a big birthday bust. These folks share some of the worst presents they received on their birthdays that turned their memorable day into one best forgotten.


1. Partying Was Such Sweet Sorrow

As I was marking my 31st birthday, it became a significant crossroads in my marriage. I had expressed to my wife that I didn't wish for any presents, just wanted quality time spent with her. So, on the eve of my birthday, she graciously allowed me to bring her to a fairly upscale spot. 

However, she ended up devoting the entire meal time to her social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Unfortunately, the unpleasantness didn't end there. On the following night, she organized a birthday celebration for me. The guest list, it turned out, was filled only with her friends. 

The icing on the cake was that I got tasked with all the cooking and the subsequent tidying up while she sat back, basking in self-praise. I can't deny, I find relief in the fact that she is now my ex-wife.

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2. The Flowers And The Fury

In my family, we're not exactly rolling in wealth, which means I'm usually not showered with gifts for my birthday. That's a circumstance I'm generally okay with, save for the instance of my 15th birthday. 

When that day arrived, I discovered a press of beautiful flowers on the kitchen counter, coupled with a card. Mistakenly assuming they were a surprise from my dad, I rushed to voice my gratitude. However, I was completely mistaken. 

The bouquet and the card were actually for my stepmother. This highlighted the bitter truth: While he spent money on a gift for my stepmom, he didn’t even manage to purchase a greeting card for me on my birthday.

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3. She Would Sock It To Me Every Time

My aunt had a knack for giving me gifts that missed the mark to a staggering degree. Despite this, I always remained grateful, as my parents told me to always be respectful. Her usual go-to gift was a pack of socks from a discount shop—six pairs for a measly dollar. The quality was reflected in the price; they'd sprout holes after just one use.

When my 15th birthday came around, she handed me a wrapped box, and I cautiously began to rip off the paper. Inside was an OKI dot matrix cartridge, and I didn't even own a printer. But I managed to muster up a smile. 

I thanked her genuinely because at least it wasn't another pack of socks, and thought it's okay, I could probably return it to Staples for a small store credit. Little did I know, an even bigger surprise awaited me.

That evening, when I opened the box to check the contents, I found socks stuffed inside. I tried putting on a pair, and the ankle part shredded in my hand and stretched all the way up to my knee.

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4. This Gift Tanked

When I was about eight years old, the only thing I earnestly wished for was a fish tank to be placed in my room. Understandably, my mom was hesitant to grant my wish because she doubted my ability to responsibly look after a living creature that would need constant nourishment and attention. So, she resorted to a rather creative solution.

She got me a VHS tape that displayed images of fish swimming across a television screen. She found her ingenious solution extremely amusing and even today, she never misses an opportunity to tease me about it.

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5. Nothing Is Ever Normal

For my 18th birthday celebration, all I hoped for was a fun and casual pool party, no gifts required—just a regular gathering. Unfortunately, my uncle had other plans. During my party, he overdosed on his prescribed medication for his slipped disc, ending up taking around thirty pills more than his prescribed dosage. 

It was quite common for him, so although concerning, it didn't shock me too much. Upon inquiring about the situation inside, my grandma, quite oblivious, commented she had suggested he "swim it off" in the pool, struggling to comprehend why everyone was quite astir about the situation. 

Fortunately, the EMTs who arrived were considerate. While half of my guests chose to bail, my best friend and her boyfriend were kind enough to stay. We decided to venture off onto our own adventures after my uncle was taken care of. Sadly, the evening had another twist in store for us.

Upon our return, my mom dropped the unexpected news. She was packing up and moving across country to be with her boyfriend. After all that, all I had on my birthday wishlist was a run-of-the-mill party.

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6. A Rowdy Reception Ruined Everything

The story I'm about to share takes place on my sister's ninth birthday, a celebration that was noteworthy. During this time, I was just a little six-year old. The birthday party included all sorts of guests—kids from the neighborhood, cousins, school friends, and even a few unexpected ones. 

The party was buzzing with laughter, music, a huge cake, and colourful balloons. Even the adults got into the spirit, sipping on their drinks and sharing laughter. As often happens at such events, things got pretty wild. In the midst of all the excitement, my cousin—two years older and larger than me—came charging down the stairs. 

As I turned a corner, we collided, sending me flying through the air. Our house, which was quite old, had a secondary front door made entirely of glass, akin to a screen door. I crashed into this door side-first, shattering it into countless tiny shards.

I sustained extensive cuts all over my arm, including an especially severe one along the inside of my elbow. My face also didn't escape unscathed as I got cuts from my upper eyelid to my hairline running through the eyebrow. Blood was gushing out, causing other kids to scream in panic. 

My sister, showing her inner strength, attempted to soothe everyone. Even after two decades, I can recall her composed, authoritative voice declaring, "The party's over! Everyone find your parents!" while I was hastily placed into the car.

Eventually, I ended up with fifteen stitches on my arm and five on my forehead. I required a cast for approximately a month. The incident shook my sister, and she looked after me, fussing and worrying for nearly a full year afterwards as she was quite disturbed by the whole fiasco.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERShutterstock

7. Loot For The Living

On the occasion of my eighth birthday, I received an abundance of toy vehicles and other related items. Despite these seeming like regular gifts, they were not the sort that I would have chosen for myself. Instead, they would have been the perfect presents for my younger relatives. The reason behind this unusual choice was rather unsettling.

Just before my birthday, I had been diagnosed with leukemia with a disheartening prognosis of just a few months left to live. My family thoughtfully selected gifts that could be passed on to my younger cousins once I was no longer around. To everyone's surprise, I survived. I fondly teased my grandma, along with my aunt and uncle about this for many years.

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8. Don’t Sweat It!

I had been eagerly anticipating my eighth birthday for a while, especially after spotting my gift hidden away in my parents' wardrobe. It was an awesome T-Rex toy, sporting a pair of super cool black sunglasses. As the birthday eve arrived, I was too thrilled to catch any shut-eye. 

I stayed wide awake in my bed for roughly five hours, ridden with a thrilling kind of goosebumps induced by the sheer excitement. On the day of my birthday, post dessert, I found myself at the dinner table drenched in sweat. I held my breath as I saw my mom sneak away to fetch my present. 

My knees vibrated with anticipation and I felt a sudden sensation of dizziness overcoming me. I tried brushing it off as a possible overconsumption of sugar or the cream from my cake, keeping my discomfort to myself. I sat still, eyes glued to the door, feeling as though I was ready to burst from the anticipation.

When mom re-entered the room, wishing me a 'Happy Birthday', I was hit by an unbearable pain. Starting from the area where my appendix used to be, the pain surged towards my rib cage. Ignoring the agony, I intently waited to get hold of the T-Rex. But, with each passing moment, the pain amplified. 

I fought hard to maintain my composure, my gaze fixed on mom. Soon, she stopped in her tracks, staring at me in utter shock. My face had turned an alarming shade of deep red. Just as I was about to bear another wave of pain, I blacked out. Next thing I knew, I had woken up in a hospital. It came to light that I was suffering from a hernia. 

My excitement had inadvertently led me to burst a few blood vessels in my temples. However, at the end of it all, I still received the T-Rex, which made it not so bad.

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9. Double Disappointment

Both my mom and her uncle share the same birthday on the 15th, while mine falls on the 20th. They planned a joint birthday party on my birthday and included nearly every family member, but everyone seemed to gloss over that it was my 10th birthday too. I didn't receive a single wish, not even from my own mother.

Frustrated and upset, I decided not to bring it up. However, when my grandmother noticed I wasn't enjoying the party, I told her about what happened. Sadly, her attempt to rectify the situation just made it worse. In her haste, she dug through our house to find me a gift... and came up with a basket of potpourri.

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10. Layaway Letdown

On my birthday, we went shopping for clothes, an event that was quite rare given our financial situation while I was growing up. I was over the moon when told I could spend up to three hundred dollars. After all, the clothes I'd been wearing for a long time were ragged, stained, and really made me a target for ridicule at school. 

I could finally replace them with fresh, trendy pieces! After meticulously selecting various clothes from different brands for about an hour, we headed towards the cash register. However, at that moment, my mum paused and said, "I forgot to bring cash". 

She told me not to worry, promising we would put everything on layaway and pick it up the next day. Unfortunately, that 'next day' never came and I never got these clothes. Even to this day, I can't shake off the mental image of those clothes gathering dust in the dark corners of some old store.

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11. My Birthday Came To A Grounding Halt

My mom tied the knot with my stepdad precisely a day after I turned ten. After that, mom would always insist that although I had celebrated my birthday ten times, they hadn't commemorated as many anniversaries, so my birthday wasn't as significant. My stepdad, not quite the nicest guy, never countered this notion. 

They would usually gift me mundane items, like socks, on my birthdays. However, on my 16th birthday, they gave me a "gift" that felt more like a gut punch. My stepdad punished me by grounding me for using the internet for my extra credit summer assignment.

We only had one computer at home, and as soon as he arrived from his job, he demanded to use it immediately. So, I was barred from using the computer for the entirety of summer vacation and couldn't even visit the library due to my grounding. The extra credit was important to me since my teacher was famously stringent, but unfortunately, I didn't succeed in attaining it.

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12. It Was Game Over For Me

As my fifth birthday was drawing near, my only wish was a Nintendo, just like all my neighborhood friends had. It meant that I didn't even need to buy games—I could simply borrow. On the morning of my fifth birthday, filled with anticipation, I followed my dad downstairs. I was expecting to see a TV, instead he led me past the TV and out our side door to a stack of newspapers.

As I looked puzzled, I noticed something unusual with my bike. He had taken the basket from his own bike and rather clumsily attached it to mine by welding it. It would've been better to screw it on. Additionally, he tied the handle of my little red wagon to the back of my bike. In the process, my tire got punctured. 

His birthday surprise, it seemed, was the opportunity to fold newspapers on day one. Six months later, I managed to get an NES. But by then, it was old news, the exciting thing was the upcoming SNES release. To make matters worse, my dad, a religious man, had a rule: I had to donate 10% of all my money to the church and put another 15% into a college fund. 

However, when I was 15, my mom used that college fund to move to London and marry a British man.

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13. On The Road To Nowhere

My former boyfriend had been building up anticipation for my birthday present for days, which got me quite excited. When my birthday finally arrived, he gave me a small, slim box. Upon opening it, I found myself bewildered. Inside was his passport—just his passport. 

There were no trip tickets paired with it, nor any assurances of a future journey once we'd managed to save adequate funds. Instead, all he'd handed over was his passport, which seemed a rather peculiar gift. I decided to react graciously and accepted it, despite my lingering confusion.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERUnsplash, Annika Gordon

14. This Birthday Was In The Bag

Growing up as an army brat, I was constantly on the move. Being born in the summer, it was quite common for my birthdays to get swept up in the whirlwind of yet another move. Coming from a background where we didn't have an abundance of money, each new toy or book I received was cherished dearly. 

As I celebrated my 10th birthday, marking our sixth move, I was gifted my very own suitcase. This gift, quite honestly, left me heartbroken. Despite my feelings, my parents never really grasped why I didn't consider it the best gift ever.

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15. Sweet 16 Gone Sour

On the day I turned 16, my entire family, including our intimate family friends joined us; grandma even flew in specifically for this special occasion. I was brimming with excitement for my sweet 16 celebrations. Little did I know, a major letdown was waiting for me.

Unfortunately, my birthday slipped everyone's mind; the crowd had gathered primarily to attend my brother's high school graduation. It wasn't until we returned home and I retreated to my room in tears that my mom realized it was my birthday. And to add salt to the wound, my dad reprimanded me for being upset.

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16. Hold The Onions!

At the age of five, I received an oddly circular present from my uncle, about as big as my own head. Unwrapping the gift revealed an onion—an exceedingly massive onion. Being a non-fussy kid, there weren't many things I detested, but onions topped the list. Being quite naïve, I burst into tears, not even bothering to fake admiration. 

My uncle, seeing my tearful response, stopped guffawing and presented my actual gift from behind his back. To my utter delight, it was a set of plastic music instruments tailored for kids. My happiness knew no bounds, partly because it was a relief to move away from the ludicrous onion. 

Laughing, my uncle took back the prank gift. And coincidently, onion soup turned out to be their dinner that night.

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17. Sister Had It All

On his 18th birthday, my boyfriend received a car as a gift. On the other hand, I got just $50 and I couldn't even throw a party because my dad "dislikes visitors". But the embarrassment didn’t just stop there.

My sister, when she turned 13, had a grand party in a hired hall with about 50 to 60 guests. From that party, she received gifts amounting to nearly $500. Incredibly, my parents were still pondering what extra present they could give her even after splurging for the party.

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18. The Curse Of A Christmas Baby

My mom's birthday falls on December 23rd. Her own mother, my grandmother, would often drop these cryptic remarks implying that my mom stole her Christmas that year. I've been led to believe my mother wasn't necessarily planned—a fact supported by the fact that my grandparents were already in their 40s when they had her. 

That was somewhat unusual for the time period—the early 1960s. They barely even acknowledged her birthday. Instead, her Christmas gifts were her birthday gifts as well. But there was one year they decided to be different and bought her actual birthday gifts, in addition to Christmas presents. 

Unfortunately, this was the same year a burglary occurred in their house and all the presents were stolen.

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19. Apology Not Accepted

A year ago, a girl I was seeing completely slipped on remembering my birthday. For the subsequent months, she showered me with apologies and made grand promises of serenading me with a unique song on my upcoming birthday. Zoom to the day of my birthday this current year. I was all set for a surprise—and boy, did I get one.

Her behavior had been quite suspicious, leading me to confront her about it. She chose not to respond and ended the call abruptly, but sent a text message a few minutes later breaking off our relationship.

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20. Returning The Favor

It's so disappointing when you put effort into selecting great gifts for your friends on their birthdays and in return, you either get nothing or something dreadful. I remember a time when I was always the one gifting my group of friends, up until my 20th birthday. 

The "gift" I got was a gift card from a grocery store located on the other side of town, nowhere near my home. To make matters worse, it only had $3 in it. My friends found it hilarious, but I didn't see the humor in it at all. From that day on, I decided not to buy those particular friends any more birthday presents. To this day, I barely keep in touch with them.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERFreepik,cookie_studio

21. The Lung And Short Of It

Just one week shy of my 21st birthday, my lung collapsed. The doctors made every effort to resolve the issue, but sadly, every attempt fell flat. Ultimately, on the very day I turned 21, they performed surgery, removing parts of my lung, securing the remaining bits with staples, and conducting a procedure known as a pleural abrasion. 

This particular surgery involved roughing up the inside of my chest wall to encourage the outer layer of my lung to stick to it, all to avoid another collapse. The agony was beyond description. Despite the intensity of my pain, they decided against painkillers as they had already administered an epidural the day before. But my torment was far from over. 

In the chaos following the surgery, I was being transferred to another ward when they accidentally removed my epidural. For three torturous days, my pleas about the unbearable pain fell on deaf ears. Eventually, my torment was recognized, and they put me on a regimen colloquially referred to as "the button". 

With each press, I would receive a small dose of pain-relieving medication. Several months passed before I had fully healed from the surgery. Although my surgical wounds were no longer a concern, I found myself grappling with a different kind of pain—this one more sharp and fiery in its nature.

This unique pain and I, we've grown quite familiar over the last decade. It blends into my days, somedays merely a nuisance, while on others, it is all-consuming. As most guys typically celebrate their 21st with their first legal drink, my festivities involved a surgery that will haunt me for life.

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22. Grandma Gave It To Me Good

On my latest birthday, I received a card from my grandmother. I thought to myself, "Nice, let's see what pearls of wisdom Grams has left on this birthday card of mine". Opening the letter, I was surprised to find that she basically declared all my current efforts as nothing but wasted time. She advised me to face reality and steer my career in a different direction.

She also suggested that the only way I would gain widespread recognition as an artist is posthumously. It's worth mentioning here, despite being an artist, I'd recently had a reasonably successful gallery exhibition. Plus, I run my own framing business, which I personally consider to be far from a failure. Thanks for the encouraging birthday letter, Grandma.

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23. Little Girl Lost

The young girl I once cared for had just celebrated her 11th birthday. I was quite familiar with her mom, and unfortunately, she wasn't the ideal parent. They happened to visit the residence of my boyfriend's aunt, due to the mom dating her son—who happens to be my boyfriend's cousin. 

Mom and her partner secluded themselves in his room, and the young girl was left to her own devices in the kitchen. To make things worse, her mother had bought her a sorry, expired birthday cake as a treat. For the entire day, the little girl inquired from everyone she met, "What's the plan for my birthday?" 

Eventually, my boyfriend along with his aunt and uncle decided to bring her to the movies, followed by a nice dinner. In contrast, her mom spent the day lounging and watching TV with her boyfriend. The mom made the call to stay over that night, with the little girl also in tow.

The following day, the little girl was up and about by 7 AM, while the house still slumbered. My boyfriend's uncle, an early bird himself, decided to play good Samaritan again. He got hold of his bike as well as his daughter's old one and took the little girl for a bike ride around the neighborhood. 

When they returned home around noon, they discovered the girl's mom was still asleep. As an observer, I found it depressing to imagine a child seeing her mom behave more like a careless teen than a responsible parent, especially on her birthday. Upon hearing the whole ordeal on the eve of Easter, I decided to lift the little girl's spirits. 

I journeyed to the store to purchase her the largest Easter basket I could find. The next time I saw her, I walked straight up to her, with her mom being a witness, and handed over the basket. I told her, "I apologize for missing your birthday, but I hope this makes up for it. Remember, we will never miss your birthday when you're with us". 

With those words, I aimed a disappointed gaze towards her mom and excused myself.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERFlickr, Personal Creations

24. A Cheesy Surprise

Towards the end of her life, my Aunt Dorothy's dementia grew increasingly severe. I fondly recall one incident on my 16th birthday, when she decided to send me a birthday gift. To my surprise, it was one of those high-end cheese balls garnished with almond slices. The only hiccup, however, was that she forgot to wrap it in any packaging. 

It was just the bare cheese ball, shipped across five warm, southern states via standard mail, encased only in a cardboard box. The box was diligently taped up, ensuring the initial odor was kept completely at bay. It was only upon opening it fully that the stench burst out, hitting me so hard it felt like a punch in the gut. 

Instantly, I lost my last meal, some of which unfortunately ended up splattering on my birthday cake.

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25. Not A Fine Day For A Funeral

While my husband and I were in the early stages of our relationship, a tragic event occurred. His aunt, sadly, took her own life, and his family decided to carry out the funeral rites on his 18th birthday. This meant that his transition into adulthood was tinged with the immeasurable loss of a beloved family member. 

Moreover, this somber memory resurfaces every year on his birthday, casting a shadow over the celebrations. This event took place when we'd only been together for a couple of months. Wanting to lift his spirits, I purchased a Dodge Charger remote control car for him, his cherished toy, and, that night, our relationship went to the next level.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERFlickr, Leap Kye

26. Driven To Drink

On the eve of my 21st birthday, my best friend insisted that we had to be at our local bar as the clock struck midnight. Lucky for me, the owner of the bar was around and generously offered to cover all our drinks, having learnt it was my birthday. Despite not having having anything at the bar, my friend suddenly appeared tipsy.

Puzzled, I asked her what was going on, to which she replied, "Oh, I had a lot to drink before coming here. Did you honestly believe I'd just watch while you got plastered?" It was quite surprising, considering she was meant to be the designated driver. Clearly, she wasn't joking about drinking a lot; she was completely out of it.

Still, I held on to the hope that a few hours of sobriety would make her fit to drive, but how wrong I was. Long before the midnight toast, our other companion told me she had to leave. Since we were her transportation, I had to step in as the designated driver, even if it meant forgoing the drinks on my own birthday.

Days later, I held an even more disastrous 21st birthday party. My drink-infused friend gifted me a whole keg. My entire circle showed up, and drinks flowed uninterrupted. At some point, I decided to get some fresh air and stepped onto the back porch, only to stumble upon my boyfriend locking lips with a friend of mine.

Stunned, I staggered inside, muttering something about needing another drink. I've never been fond of birthdays.

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27. Needing Some Good Vibrations

On my 18th birthday, a couple of my closest friends joined forces to get me an oversized, pink vibrating... object. They found humor in the fact that at 18, I remained untouched and had little interest in the dating scene. They assumed I was never going to be intimate with anyone, hence, they thought they were aiding me. I found the whole thing hugely embarrassing.

Since I was still living with my family who had a tendency to snoop around my room, I decided to tuck it under my car seat. I deemed my car as the safest hiding place. Lo and behold, a few days later, my stepfather decided to clean my car out of the blue and found it. He quietly placed it on my dresser without mentioning a word about it. 

I cannot help but ponder if he suspected I used it on the go.

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28. Singing The Blues

When I turned 21, I planned to celebrate in San Francisco watching my favorite band perform. However, things took a dramatic turn. We were just getting on the freeway when a minivan blew through a red light and rammed right into the side of my new car, a car I had been proud to call mine for just six short weeks. 

Turns out, the driver didn't even have a license, was undocumented, and had used a friend's car without permission. As a result, instead of grooving at a concert, we spent the night getting patched up in the hospital.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERFlickr, Tony Webster

29. Sweet After-Dinner Treat

When I was about 11, I had my heart set on a Gameboy and Pokemon. Come gift time, my father handed over two presents to me. Eagerly, I proceeded to unwrap the first one, which closely resembled a Gameboy in size. Instead, it turned out to be one of those key-ring games. 

My dad asked teasingly, "Isn't that what you wanted?" To which I just said, “Yeah, dad, that's exactly what I wanted". Just as I was about to unwrap the other gift, he interjected, "That one's chocolate, save it for dessert". Consequently, I ended up amusing myself with the key-ring game for the subsequent four or five hours. 

When dinner rolled around, I finally got to unravel the 'chocolate' gift, only to find the much desired Gameboy and Pokemon inside. At this point, my parents couldn't contain their laughter.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERWikimedia Commons, Nxr-at

30. Set For Embarrassment

When I was just a kid, around 10 or 11 years old, my grandma gifted me something that put me on the verge of embarrassment. She had thoughtfully, or so she believed, decided to present me with a bra and underwear set. The fact that I was to unwrap this gift in front of everyone made the situation even worse. 

As an 11-year-old, I felt intense embarrassment and moreover, I disliked the idea of wearing a bra back then, so the gift was completely unsuitable. To make matters worse, she urged me to pull it out of the box and showcase it to all, simply because she was "ecstatic" about my transition into adulthood. 

Thankfully, my mom came to my aid, stating that the gift was inappropriate and she quickly took the box away.

I Know My Family’s SecretShutterstock

31. Operation Birthday Break

Following his high school football team's big Super Bowl victory, my brother suffered an accident—he broke both of his ankles. Here's how it happened:

It was snowing that day, and in his excitement, my brother decided to do a victory slide across the grassy field. Unfortunately, he didn't realize he still had on his football cleats. When he attempted his slide, the cleats gripped the ground, causing him to break both ankles.

As it turned out, he underwent surgery to repair the injuries on his 18th Birthday, which was quite a way to remember it. And for the next three months, he couldn't walk.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERFreepik,freepik

32. Think Inside The Box

As I approached my 13th birthday, each one of my friends was already equipped with a cell phone—a privilege I had been vocally desiring for the past year. One day, I received a box whose size and weight suspiciously resembled the current models of phones. Naturally, my anticipation skyrocketed. 

My excitement was further fueled when I unwrapped the package slightly, revealing a Nokia logo. Euphoria set in. What transpired next is something I'll never allow myself to forget. When I lifted the box's lid expecting a shiny new phone, what greeted me in return were socks. 

To perfectly mimic the weight of a phone, few cunningly arranged stones were placed inside. To my dad, the whole charade was undoubtedly an absolute laugh riot.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERShutterstock

33. Celebration In The Slammer

My sister, upset for not receiving money from me for her "necessities," planned a retaliation. During my 20th birthday, she contacted the authorities, showed them a bruise on her leg she'd gotten from her boyfriend, and accused me of causing it. Consequently, I was taken in and spent the day behind bars. 

Thanks to my mother discovering the truth, my sister withdrew the charges. My mom was prepared to speak up as a witness, confirming that my sister had that bruise from the day before while she was out.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERFlickr, Tom Cardoso

34. A Dirty Deal

For my 18th birthday, my uncle gifted me $20 but with a catch—he wanted me to clean his van in return. I turned down his offer and told him, "No, thank you. Feel free to keep the money". He seemed a little irritated, but he handed me a ten-dollar bill with no strings attached. 

A few weeks before my 18th, I had successfully landed a job, so I felt no interest or desire to spend my birthday scrubbing a van, however big or small it may be.

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35. Plot Twist

On the day I celebrated another year of my life, I was given four presents from four separate buddies. The gifts were a DVD of Dead Poets Society, a beautiful leather journal, a sophisticated fountain pen and some weed. Individually, these presents were all awesome, but together they led to a complicated situation. 

I used the illicit substances, which made me feel like my writing abilities had blossomed. I ended up filling half of the journal with poems. However, this worried my friend, who thought I was mirroring the movie's plot and hence, might be in danger of hurting myself. This concern led to me being put on watch for the whole night.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERUnsplash, Aaron Burden

36. The Accidental Gift

On the day before my birthday, there was a bit of a commotion; my brother had an accident. Nothing overly distressing, but he did need stitches and it caused quite a stir. Then, on my birthday, the next day, our neighbor came by with a cake and a gift. I was the one who opened the door and was thrilled at the sight. 

My birthday had been overshadowed by my brother's mishap until this moment. I was just about to thank them for remembering my special day and for the lovely presents when they asked, "Is your brother around? We wanted to cheer him up a bit". To my surprise, the cake and gift weren't meant for me. 

More than a decade later, we still chuckle about it.

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37. There Are Just No Words…

Around the age of 12 or 13, my folks gifted me a dictionary and a manual on enhancing your word power. A family ally also gave me a thesaurus. This was a pretty in-your-face joint effort designed to boost my lexicon. Picture this: you trot downstairs on your special day spotting three wrapped gifts. 

You unbox two from your parents and you're a bit puzzled yet thrilled since the final gift is from an unexpected person, only to find it's a plain thesaurus.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERPexels

38. Big Apple Blunder

On my 26th birthday, I simply hoped for a bus trip to New York from Delaware with a close friend of mine. We just needed a break from the monotony. I'd saved enough money for us to enjoy a slightly lavish time, as we both craved some fun and laughter in our lives. However, things went south when I started my period on the journey.

Due to my unpredictable periods, I was caught off guard, which made the city's hustle and the walk to the train station incredibly uncomfortable. My friend, being a woman herself, understood my situation. We then decided to head for a friend's house where we intended to stay. 

Turns out, it was in a dingy, cluttered basement in a filthy house, two hours away from the city, and filled with eight cats. The situation only worsened thereafter. We visited a goth club, and I felt terrible. It then struck me, I had passed the stage where such clubs were enjoyable. 

I decided to lean by a brick wall a couple of blocks away, lost in the sounds of distant car alarms and puddle reflections. Not a single person offered to buy me a drink that night. The morning arrived with a terrible fever and severe cramping. I managed to gulp down some Advil, used a borrowed sanitary pad, and nibbled on a semi-stale bagel. 

I then cheered myself saying, "It's my birthday weekend. We must have fun!" So, we headed towards the city once again. However, the closer we got, the stronger my nausea became. I then realised it wasn't just cramps; I had food poisoning. My day took a darker turn when I ended up throwing up in a cafe's tiny bathroom.

Embarrassed, I decided to foot the bill for all our travel expenses from then on, costing me around $150. Later, I found myself crying over the phone to my ex about my disastrous birthday. His harsh words, proclaiming that I deserved it, added salt to the wound. I spent the night apologizing to my friends for the mess I was, crying myself to sleep.

Our last day was spent gorging on pizza and I bought myself a mini key lime tart as a makeshift birthday cake. We all ate it together at the train station while saying our goodbyes. I wished my friend luck with his band and expressed gratitude for his generosity. 

My friend and I then visited Oddities, where I bought a petrified blowfish, a mink skull, and a resin-cast squirrel paw—an array of weird and wonderful memorabilia. We sauntered around in the afternoon sun, browsing stalls. When we were waiting at the bus station for our return journey, I changed into fresh clothes because of the smell. 

Just as I was done changing, my friend knocked urgently, informing me the bus had arrived. I noticed she was holding my bags and assumed she'd gathered everything. It was only halfway back to Delaware that I realized my bag from Oddities was left behind at the bus station.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERPexels

39. Party Gone Bust

When I celebrated my 10th birthday, I extended an invite to my best friends, and even a few casual buddies, planning a grand party at a neighborhood pizza restaurant, followed by a movie. My family wasn't very affluent, so my parents gifted me a couple of pizzas to celebrate the special day. 

As the party hour arrived, I was left disappointed when none of my friends turned up. Not even one. Although one friend assured me they bought me a gift, I never actually received it. That was the defining moment when I understood that you really can't rely on others completely, no matter how tight your bond might be.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERPexels

40. Beasts Of Burden

On my 15th birthday, my best friend and my then-girlfriend thought they'd surprise me with a unique gift. What was it? Two little hamsters inside a small cardboard box with a couple of dried twigs. Now don't get me wrong, I like animals a lot. But getting two hamsters as a surprise gift isn't exactly what a teenage boy would dream of.

Since I was living in an apartment back then, I didn't have an ideal place to house them. I was also short on cash, which meant no possibility of affording a hamster cage or anything else they needed. I ended up using my empty trash can as a temporary home for them. I put some paper inside it, engineered a simple hamster watering station, and called it their home. But, those little rascals were quite the escape artist.

I woke up to find them roaming the apartment on the third day. To my relief, the building's security guard happened to be a hamster enthusiast himself and willingly took them in. So, it was a sort of a happy ending. However, then he got sacked two weeks later for diving into the pool while on the job and trying to spice up the guard booth with some curtains for a homey look.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERPexels

41. Old Habits Die Hard

On the day I turned 27, I was simultaneously marking half a decade since I kicked my seven-year-long smoking habit to the curb. My father gifted me a six-pack of Budweiser along with two packs of smokes. His gift selection wasn't exactly exhilarating, but I maintained my manners and expressed gratitude as best as I could. 

As I was about to head out, dad reminded me, “Your smokes are still here”. Gratefully, I reminded him that it's been five years since I last touched a cigarette, and I have no plans of breaking that streak. Unfazed, he gets up, fetches those cartons, and tucks them into my backpack. 

His words were, "Don't kid us and let these go to waste!" Reluctantly, I said my goodbyes and left. On the journey home, I left the drinks and cartons on a table at a wayside relaxation spot. The following day, I immersed myself in playing Shadowrun for 12 solid hours. I had a wonderful birthday, after all.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERPexels

42. All About Them

I was born the day after Christmas, which often results in a less celebrated birthday. There's usually no grand acknowledgment or presents but I've never minded because I'm not into material things. My birthdays took on a more somber theme after my father passed on December 23rd. 

Since then, every festive season takes on a different feel. I prefer to honor his memory instead of celebrating, but this year was a little tough. On my birthday morning, my mom wanted me to drive my unemployed 24-year-old brother to work at five. I didn't mind, although I'd planned to have a birthday lunch with a good friend. 

My mom had asked me to cancel my plans because she had a surprise for me. Ultimately, that surprise never materialized. She wanted to gift me a TV for Christmas and my birthday. I wasn't keen on the TV because I'm not a materialistic person, I seldom watch TV, and I'd rather see the funds go towards my college fees. 

Despite my feelings, I went along with her. However, after reaching the store, she surprisingly shifted focus and began shopping for my brother. Thirty minutes later, I found myself helping her select a camera for him and a scanner for herself. No gift for me in sight.

I requested, at the very least, if we could head out for dinner or drinks, and she asked me where I'd like to go. Even before I could answer, she announced our dinner would be at a new "fancy" Mexican restaurant in town she'd heard was great—it was Chipotle. Unfortunately, even that plan fell through when my brother came home too tired from his day's work.

To compound things, my mom became convinced I have a serious drinking problem after she saw me down a six-pack that night, and insisted I attend an AA meeting.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERPexels

43. Dad Was Toying With Me

On the day I turned 16, my dad pointed me towards the garage as I sat down for breakfast. He said he had an extraordinary surprise waiting for me there. Naturally, as any excited teenager would, I instantly thought: A CAR! A CAR! A CAR! A CAR! 

Filled with anticipation, I threw open the garage door, only to see the whole place tidied and cleaned. To my surprise, sitting in the center of the empty garage was a little toy Porsche, complete with a big, red bow. My dad just couldn't stop chuckling at his playful prank.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERFlickr, Alan Farhadi

44. Take This Gift And Stuff It!

On my 18th birthday, during my last year of high school, all I genuinely wished for was a laptop. My then boyfriend was planning on purchasing a new one, and his previous one happened to be a spectacular Alienware. We used to tease each other about him gifting it to me on my birthday. 

So, on the big day when I was unwrapping my presents, he strolled in carrying a huge box, it felt quite hefty. As I pulled off the gift wrap, an Alienware box was revealed. Naturally, I was over-the-moon excited and couldn't contain my joy. Upon opening it, I discovered a weight strapped to the base of the box along with a stuffed animal.

I was absolutely infuriated.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERPexels

45. No Joke, It’s Jenga!

I recently received the game Jenga as a gift, which isn't a terrible game by any means. But, given that I have essential tremors in my hands (in simpler terms, shaky hands), it's somewhat cruel for me to play. It was a gift from my aunt, and when I opened it, I couldn't help but ask her if she was pulling my leg. Her reaction was heartbreaking.

She looked at me, puzzled, for a moment before the penny dropped and she started laughing uncontrollably. To make things worse, the rest of my family followed suit, laughing heartily at my unfortunate situation. Looking back, it's amusing to think that she bought the game without realizing the ironic implications of her choice.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERPexels

46. Eh-Oh What Nonsense Is This?

For my 14th birthday, my grandma gifted me a couple of Teletubbies toys, a DVD of the same show, and some trading cards. In her most enthusiastic tone, she began to explain, "This is what every kid is raving about now. It's the latest craze and you're going to absolutely love these". 

For sure, they were the latest sensation, but mainly for toddlers. Even so, I did my utmost to show gratitude because that's what I received for my 14th birthday.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERFlickr, Leo Reynolds

47. A Design Don’t

My grandparents always did birthdays in a very simple and budget-friendly manner. For instance, there was this one birthday where they gave me a used coloring book they purchased from a flea market. It was nearly entirely filled in with what looked like the scribbles of a toddler using only one green marker. Can you believe I was 18 years old then? 

They genuinely thought it was an ideal present for me because it was themed after Disney. They knew I was headed off to college to study animation and design.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERPexels

48. The Best Or The Worst?

During our breaks from playing StarCraft II, my friend and I had a quirky tradition. We would hop onto a webcam site and humor ourselves by seeking out the least attractive model. There was an option to purchase items from some models using tokens. On a certain day during my birthday week, my friend had me over and handed me a gift bag. 

I instantly felt suspicious because my friend was the one giving me a gift. However, what I found inside became the most unsettling birthday present I had ever received. As I carefully unwrapped the gift, a potent waft of perfume filled the room. 

To my horror, I realized that the gift was a pair of leopard-print underwear owned by one of the models we had chosen during our peculiar game. The panties were marred with various stains. My friend, lacking a credit card due to our tender age of 16, had his parents make the purchase for him. 

To this day, I'm still undecided if that peculiar present was the best or the worst gift I’ve ever received.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERFreepik,8photo

49. Indebted On My Big Day

On my 18th birthday, I received a credit card, but I was warned not to use it, as it wasn't "active yet". Fast forward four years later when I scored my first true corporate job at 22, the company did a credit check on me. They discovered a $350K line of credit under my name. I was bewildered. 

My boss presented me with a printed out credit report. Seeing the bank's name, I realized that my dad held accounts there. However, I didn't put much thought into it. Once I got back home, I reached out to the bank querying about the peculiar account listed on my credit report. That's when the disturbing truth unfurled. 

My father had deceived me into signing up for a co-mortgage, rather than a credit card on my grand 18th birthday. I was left grappling with debt. I was enraged and so distraught. My older sister and mom were busy at his place for dinner, that's the place where I decided to confront him.

I vehemently refused to contribute a single dime towards that debt. This marked the first instance of me standing my ground against my father. I voiced my objections about his actions in front of our family and even warned him of possible legal action. Simultaneously, I informed the bank about the situation. 

Thankfully, everything was sorted out in less than a week.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERPexels

50. I Was Served A Tall Glass Of Deception

When I celebrated my 21st birthday, my boyfriend, whom I've been dating for almost a year, took me out for dinner. The restaurant was packed, so we ended up sitting at the bar instead of waiting for a table. The reason didn't bother me much until I realized that he personally knew the bartender. Throughout our meal, she kept coming over to engage him in conversation.

Later, we joined his friends at a bar for some birthday celebrations. I noticed he hadn't given me a gift. Then, a few weeks after my birthday, he broke up with me unexpectedly. This is when the awful truth came to light. He was in a relationship with the bartender we met on my birthday. 

It seemed that he'd been unfaithful to me with her for some time, even sneaking off to be with her the night of my birthday dinner.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERPexels

51. Cut Loose

On my 18th birthday, I received a card from the grandparents on my dad's side. As I opened it, I was hoping for the typical surprise, like being super fortunate and finding a $20 note inside. However, what was actually inside was a tightly worded message from my granny. 

She explained that neither she nor grandpa believed in extending presents to their grandkids once they hit 18. Honestly, a FedEx delivery of canine droppings might have been better; at least it would have brought me some humor.

The Worst Birthday Gift EVERFreepik,freepik

Sources: Reddit,


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