Sure, we all know that Christmas isn't all about gifts, but sometimes a terrible present can look more like an insult—and these crazy holiday stories are proof.
1. Notorious M-O-M
My mom is notorious for bad presents. I have received such delights as toothpaste and vitamin pills wrapped up for me at Christmas. However, there was one that stands out. It was a car crash kit. It had a disposable camera for recording the scene, a form for both parties to fill out, a tape measure for measuring stuff, and some chalk, for what I assume, was for marking out where the bodies landed or something. I’m not sure.
2. Kindle Conundrum
When I was 12, I bought myself a Kindle. My sister and I spent an entire summer working for our grandpa and stepdad to save up for them. We each spent about $200. My mom got all three of my brothers Kindles for Christmas, and I got some clothes from Old Navy. I was livid. When I talked to my mom about it, she told me that my sister and I had been excluding our brothers from hanging out while we played video games, and it was unfair.
She never apologized or saw anything wrong with what she did. I honestly still haven't forgiven her, almost a decade later.
3. Didn’t Get Me My Tamagotchi
When the Tamagotchi craze was in full swing, my siblings and I asked for one. My sisters both got one, and I got a jacket because mine was torn up and small. So, I asked my dad why I didn't get one and if Santa thought I had done something terrible that year. He told me I was too old for Santa and needed to learn that life isn't fair. I was eight, and my sisters were seven and five. From that point forward, I only ever received clothing.
4. This Christmas Ended Up Being Trash
Growing up, when I was a kid, my grandparents always gave us weird gifts. They learned one thing about us and locked on to it so hard that it became a theme. For example, my sister said once she liked giraffes, so every year, they got her something cheesy with a giraffe on it. Despite our best efforts to thank them and be grateful for their presents, they could always tell we didn't like what they got us. It made them sad every year, and we felt terrible about it.
One Thanksgiving, when my sister and I were around ten years old, we were at their house playing. We accidentally found what they had intended to give us for the next Christmas. They were these two beautiful handmade dollhouses. We loved them and were excited to get them eventually. We were also happy we didn't have to pretend to like the gifts.
So, my sister and I concocted the most brilliant plan that a 10-year-old could. When the conversation with family about what we wanted for Christmas came up, we said we really wanted dollhouses. My younger sister even told Santa that was what she wanted, and we were so happy that our grandparents would be able to get us exactly what we wanted! There was no way they saw through our genius scheme.
Christmas arrived, and our grandparents went to another room to get our presents. We prepared ourselves to be elated, even practiced being surprised. We had no idea what we were in for. Instead of the dollhouses, they brought us out two new trash cans. At that point, we didn't have to pretend to be surprised anymore. Our grandma smiled at us and let us know that they knew we snooped and found the presents.
They said the trash cans were a more fitting present for the "garbage granddaughters that you are". Needless to say, after that, we had very little contact with them.
5. MMA Magazine Madness
I was dating a guy for a few months when Christmas rolled around. He had recently started a new job that required him to travel. This was before smartphones and cars had built-in GPS, so I splurged a bit and got him a navigation system to help him find his way. Thoughtful, practical, but not too sentimental; it felt perfect for where the relationship was at the time.
Due to our schedules, we couldn’t get together until a few days after Christmas. In my haste to go see him, I walked right out the door without his gift. I didn’t realize it until I got to his house, and I felt terrible, but he said, “No worries, I’ll give you your gifts now, and I’ll just get mine later". Cool. So he went into the other room and came back with two wrapped gifts.
I noticed some of the paper was messed up as if it had been rewrapped, but I didn’t think much of it at the moment. I carefully unwrapped the first package. It was an MMA magazine—that had clearly been read. I was confused. I did not like MMA. Not even a little bit. Nor have I ever expressed interest in MMA. Not once. He, on the other hand, loved all things MMA.
Trying to move on, I politely thanked him, set the magazine down, and refocused on the next gift. It was even more bizarre. From the shape of the package, I could tell it was a DVD. It was a Forrest Gump DVD—with the cellophane wrapper missing. Forrest Gump is a solid choice, except I already owned a Forrest Gump DVD. Now here I was suddenly the proud owner of a second copy that appeared to be used.
I thanked him again and sat there quietly, trying to wrap my head around how he could have arrived at the conclusion that a used magazine on a topic I didn’t like, and a secondhand DVD of something I already owned would make for good Christmas gifts. He got a little quiet, then sheepishly volunteered, “I, uh, got bored, so I watched the movie yesterday".
I just stared at him. He continued, “And then I, uh, hadn’t seen that issue yet…so I went ahead and read through it. I think you’ll really like it!” I slowly responded, “So, you got me a magazine because you wanted to read it and then watched the movie you got for me because you were bored?” His only response was, “Well yeah, I guess so". I left shortly after that.
The next day, I returned the GPS system for a full refund. About a week later, he called and said he didn’t think it was working out. “No problem,” I said, “I don’t think it’s working out either". But it wasn’t over yet. As we were wrapping up the call, expressing well wishes and all that, he paused for a beat and said, “Hey, uh, were you still going to give me that Christmas present?”
6. Oh Goodie!
My lovely sister was a multimillionaire. She had bought each of her four children, who were between the ages of two and twenty-one, their own homes for when they grow up. One year, a week before Christmas, she told me to rush over to her company, saying that she had a Christmas surprise for me. So I drove over to meet her during my lunch break.
She met me in the parking lot and handed me her company’s goodie bags. I got T-shirts and notepads with her company logo on them. The only thing of value was a rechargeable USB charger, but it didn't even work. She then told me to count that as my Christmas and birthday present all in one. Unbelievable.
7. I’d Rather A Side Of Fries Than That!
I don’t usually complain about any present gifted to me because it’s always the thought that counts; however when I was about 12, I got the worst gift ever. My mother had married someone who came from a very large family. He also had a child that was a year younger than me. Every year my stepdad’s parents had a giant Christmas party.
All seven of their kids and their spouses, along with all of their kids, would come. I was the oldest of all the children; most of them were quite a bit younger than me. We started opening up presents from the grandparents, and I was waiting my turn. I saw that every boy in the group was being gifted a giant dragon statue. This thing was really cool. Every one of the boys got the same one, but with slight variations. I couldn’t wait to get mine!
The time came for me to open up my present, and I was handed a much smaller package. I was really confused, but I was just hoping it would grow once it hit the sunlight. Sadly, I opened it to find a nice action figure type doll…of Ronald McDonald. I was speechless. It was not a mistake at all because once I opened it, the grandmother said that I could start collecting them all. That was the first time I felt like a complete outcast in that family.
8. Too Old For Christmas?
We went to my dad's side of the family for Christmas like we had done every year for the previous 17 years. I had turned 18 a few months prior. For some reason, everyone decided that I shouldn’t get a gift from anyone. So, I got nothing. I still don't understand why. Every other one of my cousins older or younger than 18 got something from someone, and I just sat there awkwardly while everyone acted like nothing was wrong.
9. I Got Burned
I participated in a voluntary office Christmas exchange that had a $30 limit. The gift I received was a CD-R of the giver’s favorite album. I was less than enthused but nonetheless slid the disc into my car to check it out, only to find out that it was blank. The person had written the band name and album title on the disc…but forgot to actually burn a copy.
10. They Fed Me A Load Of Lies
One year my parents worked for months putting together this awesome art kit. It was a big toolbox filled with good scissors, glue, paint, colored pencils, glitter, and every other thing a crafty little kid could want. However, the problem was, that every time they would go upstairs to add to it, they had a running joke.
They would constantly say, "We're going upstairs to feed your present," or, "We need to take your present for a walk" and then they would chuckle. There was one thing they didn’t realize. On Christmas morning, instead of being a little kid who was stoked to get a huge box of art supplies, I was a little kid who was devastated that I didn't get a puppy.
11. This Gift Gave Me A Meltdown
One year, I wanted Pokémon Sapphire or Ruby so bad for Christmas that it was the only thing I had asked for. A few days before Christmas, my sister’s father came home with a GBA cartridge wrapped in wrapping paper and set it on one of the Christmas tree branches. He said, "You can't open it until Christmas". I was so excited. My third-grade brain assumed he had gotten what I asked for.
When Christmas Day came, I opened it immediately. There I saw Ice Age 2: The Meltdown staring at me. It was the first time I faked liking a present.
12. My Present Totally Blows
One time when I was ten years old, my mom gave me and my brother a packet of plastic rainbow bendy straws each for Christmas. It was disappointing—but the reason for it was even worse. Apparently, she was mad at our dad for having brought us back three days late from his part of the holidays and took it out on us. Well, I made the best of it.
For the next two months, I happily took my brother's discarded pack and proceeded to make a million rainbow flutes that I would incessantly try to learn to play. I suspect our mother lived to regret her choice since I also never cleaned any of my discarded flutes up.
13. My Roommate's Half-Baked Idea
I had gotten all my three roommates little care packages with goodies I knew they liked for Christmas. It was all small stuff because I was super broke at the time. I never expected a gift back, but they were always so sweet to me, so I wanted to do something nice for them for our first Christmas together. A week before Christmas, I knocked on one of my roommate’s doors and gave this dude his little candy gift basket.
I told him Merry Christmas and that this was just a little thing I wanted to do as a thank you for being my roomie—no need to get me anything. He grumbled, “Oh, thanks, Merry Christmas,” and shuffled back into his room and shut the door. Whatever. I tried. A few hours later, I was chilling in my room, and he came in. I looked up, and he said, “Merry Christmas. I didn’t have time to get you anything, so here you go". I really wasn’t expecting what he did next.
He dropped a potato on my bed. A big old russet potato. I’m still not even sure if it was his potato, since I had never seen the man shop for groceries during the entire time we lived together. I didn’t even have time to process what on earth had just happened before he quickly exited and went next door to his room, slamming it shut. He didn’t get any of our other roommates any presents. We never discussed the potato after that.
I ended up eating it later. It wasn’t half bad, all things considered.
14. Eccentricity Is No Excuse For This One
I had a well-to-do aunt, had a lovely house, and a pretty high-income job, but she was very eccentric. She would always ask for a Christmas list from me. So, I would send her a list for a few years, only to realize that she would get me something from the Dollar Store, wrapped in re-used wrapping paper from the previous Christmas.
When I was eight or nine, I once got cologne from the Dollar Store. One year I decided to ask for only one thing to see what happens. Boy, did that backfire. I asked for a Seattle Seahawks t-shirt. The package arrived. It was indeed a t-shirt—used Buffalo Bill's t-shirt with some stains on the logo.
15. Grandma’s Got To Learn
My dad's mom always favored my dad's sister's kids over me and my two brothers. She would always get them better gifts than us. One year, in particular, takes the cake. One of my cousins got a brand new PS2, while I got a pre-school toy. My younger brother got a talking dinosaur from the gas station, and my older brother got a used model car.
My dad was so embarrassed—so he came up with a plan. He pulled my grandma aside and said, "Please stop buying my kids Christmas gifts. They see what's going on here. They're not stupid. I'll buy the gifts from now on, and we can just say they're from you". The following year, I got a hockey jersey, my younger brother got a PS2 with lots of games, and my older brother got some Xbox games. Thanks, "Grandma".
16. Christmas Computer Crush
I started loving computers at the age of seven. I used to go to our local kid's club, learned to code early, and was addicted to everything related to them. When I was 11, my grandma called me and told me she had sent money to my parents to buy me a PC. I was so excited. All my friends could not wait to see it and play with me.
I could not sleep for days on end. Finally, Christmas Eve came. We did the gifts in the evening, so I rushed under the tree. Surprise! I got a mobile electronic organ player. My Mom told me, “It has buttons, right? Just like a computer". That’s not even the worst part. She had taken the money my grandma sent for MY computer and bought a new washing machine. I’m still upset with her for that.
17. You Don’t Even Know The Hoff Of It
When I was 14 or 15, one of my Christmas presents from my parents was a Baywatch duvet cover. I had never watched Baywatch and had no interest in it, so I had no idea why they bought it for me. Not only that, but I was embarrassed to have it on my bed when my friends came around. Although Baywatch might still have been on TV, it wasn't a cool thing for kids my age to be into.
I politely put it on my bed for a few weeks, then tossed it in the back of the wardrobe and hoped nobody would mention it again. Years later, I found out the disturbing reason why they got it for me. My dad was concerned I might turn out to be gay because I had never put up posters of women in my bedroom or anything. I was also never really interested in “manly” stuff, and all my TV crushes growing up were tomboys like Darlene from Roseanne.
So, here was this duvet cover with a group of women in swimsuits that I had now because, obviously, if I had been gay, the sight of Pamela Lee's cleavage would sort that stuff out for me.
18. Get The Drift People
My extended family used to do this thing where you would put your name on a piece of paper, put it in a hat, then draw someone out, and that's who you would get a gift for. It was supposed to be anonymous. I got two terrible gifts in two consecutive years. The first was a DVD of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. I'd literally never watched even a second of those movies, and I'm pretty sure the franchise was up to about number four or five at that point.
The very next year, someone got me a cheap pair of fake leather driving gloves. They were about two sizes too small. I guess not being a 'car guy' at all somehow convinced my uncles and aunts that I was secretly a drag racer or something. Finally, the year after that, my mom got my name. You're supposed to put the name back if it's immediate family, but she kept it knowing I got screwed two years running. Thankfully, she got me a Kindle Fire.
19. Victoria Should Have Kept This Secret
When I was 10, my grandma came to visit a little before Christmas time and brought my two siblings and me our own gifts. I can't even remember what my older sister got; it was something really good, though, because she went off on her own to play with it. I distinctly recall my little brother getting the most awesome remote control toy car. It was so cool.
I was pretty bummed, as I had been trying to find a better one to replace my old one, but I tried to suck it up and be happy for him. Then we got to my present. It was small, but I didn't mind…that is, until I opened it. It was a thong. I was 10, and my grandma got me a light baby blue thong from Victoria's Secret. I remember it clearly.
It was one of those really little ones with just a small line to go between your cheeks, and it had a pretty small front too. Needless to say, I was pretty upset. I didn't want to yell at her, but I was 10. What on earth was she thinking? I felt like I was going crazy. My parents got mad that I wasn't being grateful. I ended up having to sit in my room for a while.
My grandma was pretty confused and tried to come up and comfort me; I guess she really thought it was a good present. She said I should save it for later. I felt at a complete loss, I barely even knew what that stuff was, and anything I did know about it was solely due to the internet. Years later, I dug the underwear out from the back of my drawer, and she was mortified.
20. Wrap Yourself In This Grandma!
My grandma used to load my cousins with gifts, while my siblings and I, not so much. Cheap after thoughts would be an understatement. Well, we are all about 17-18 years old and fed up with it. So, we decided to get revenge. We got grandma the cheapest fleece blanket from Walmart that we could find. It was $5 on sale for $3. Christmas rolled around, and we all had one present apiece from grandma. We opened them in unison.
When we realized what it was, we all burst out laughing. It was the SAME bargain fleece blanket that we got her. Everyone was wondering what the joke was. We told grandma, “Open your present!” She opened it and was CLEARLY disappointed, BUT she couldn’t say anything because she got us the same exact blankets for our presents. So we said, “Oh grandma, great minds think alike! We really are family, same wavelength!”
Needless to say, that was the last year we got presents from her. It was totally worth it.
21. I Bought Her Pearls And She Got Me What?
I was working a horrible job making less than $1,600/mo, and my long-term girlfriend at the time wanted a Tiffany & Co. pearl necklace which cost over a grand. I starved myself for three months to save up for that necklace, and she was beyond ecstatic to receive it. So when it was time for my gift, she handed me a Starbucks holiday mug with a purchase receipt from 10 minutes prior. Well, that disappointment was nothing compared to what she said next.
She told me, "I didn't want to get you a gift because being with me should be enough. But I found it in my heart to get you something small for X-mas".
22. The Furby Fiasco
When I was eight or nine, I really wanted one of those Furbies who were really popular back in the day. Come Christmas, and my aunt was proud to give me my present, hyping me up, saying that it was something I really wanted. Then I opened it. It was a plushy Furby keychain. I don't remember much from that moment, but I was told my face fell when I saw it.
I was raised not to complain about receiving gifts, so when she asked me if I didn’t like it, I forcefully and badly smiled, reassuring her that yes, I liked it, and I was just surprised. I even put it on my jacket zipper to prove my point. Well, the joke was on me. It turned out to be a gag, and she had, in fact, bought me a real Furby that she gifted me after. Still, the immediate disappointment was hard to hide!
23. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
My brother would get a pile of presents or something pretty expensive like a foosball or air hockey table. One year, I was really into Green Day and the emerging "alternative" music of the mid-90s. And my mom bought me a few CDs. I thought, “Wow! Awesome gift!” Except the CDs were Toni Braxton and Mariah Carey and something else I've completely forgotten. In the aftermath of the gift opening, my mom realized that she spent waaaaay more on my brother than me.
She looked at the pile my brother got and the few gifts I got, then made a big show of stomping around the house, claiming she had more for me, claiming she must have misplaced them. Never once did she find these "misplaced" gifts. And, to make it worse, my birthday is shortly after Christmas, so I would never get much for my birthday because the budget was blown on Christmas.
24. I Gave Him HIs Fancy Threads, Along With The Boot
I was dating and living with a guy. For Christmas, he wanted a very fancy and very specific-looking button-up shirt. I spent a month making him the shirt and making sure that it was perfect. I also made us a lovely Christmas dinner with some fun drinks. When Christmas morning rolled around, I gave him his shirt. He tried it on and loved it!
He then proceeded to get a panicked look on his face. He reached into his pocket, pulled out a $100 from his wallet, and said, "Um...here you go. My friends are coming over today, so you have somewhere to be, right?" Basically, he was paying me to leave. But the bright side was, I knew right then and there how he actually felt about me. He was dumped before the new year arrived.
25. This Christmas Transformed Me
When I was ten years old, I was crazy into Transformers and He-Man. That’s all I asked for for Christmas. We were spending the holidays that year making an RV trip to Florida. The whole family was packed in the RV along with our cat. My Mom had a little tree set up in the back of the RV with presents underneath. I would stare at them, trying to figure out what each one was.
I was so pumped for Christmas and to finally get to our destination. I spent mile after mile staring at the gifts. Christmas Day finally came, and we were at a small campground in Florida. I eagerly opened presents and came to the one I was hoping to be something awesome to add to my He-man collection. I ripped open the paper, and to my surprise and horror, it wasn’t He-man.
It wasn’t Transformers either. It was SMATH. SMATH is a game, like Scrabble, but instead of words, you make mathematical equations. Just what every 10-year-old boy wants to do in his free time—math equations. I was devastated. I politely feigned excitement, but I was an empty hollow shell inside. After the disappointment with SMATH, we packed up the RV and continued to the next leg of our trip.
But the misery didn’t end there. We headed out and made a big loop out of the campgrounds but saw a small lump of something we left behind at our campsite. My Dad parked the RV and jogged back to the campsite as my brother, and I watched him. He got to the lump, and I saw him hang his head. That lump was our cat, it got out of the RV without us knowing, and we ran it over as we were leaving.
So, on the same Christmas morning that I received SMATH, instead of my He-Man, we also ran over our beloved family cat.
26. Not The Model Christmas I Was Hoping For
When I was six years old, I really, really wanted an electric train set. I was like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, harping on about the BB gun that he wanted. The big day arrived, and there was a large box that looked pretty close to an electric train set in size, but my parents would dictate in which order the presents were opened, and of course, it was saved for last.
I don't remember the other gifts, but I do remember the big electric train set-sized box, but it wasn't an electric train set. It was a box filled with sweaters and socks. Just what a six-year-old boy wants—sweaters and socks. The worst part was that the person who the gift was from wanted to see me model the sweaters, and my parents forced me to.
Just what a six-year-old boy with his heart set on an electric train set really wants—to be disappointed AND have to model sweaters he didn't like in the first place.
27. I Couldn’t Sink My Teeth Into This One
My aunt wasn't in the best financial situation, and she had arthritis and cancer. She was sweet beyond what she should have been but gave me two bad gifts that I’ll never forget. When I was 15 years old, she gave me a floppy black hat with an elastic piece on the back that had pennies glued to the bill with glitter glue. Then the following year, when I was 16, she gave me a vampire makeup kit. I had never mentioned anything about vampires. I was your run-of-the-mill jock worried about sports and friends.
28. Scammed In Second Grade
This happened during the class gift exchange when I was in the second grade. Imagine being a kid, watching everyone else open dolls, cars, and glitter pens while you get office supplies. I was sitting there with a calculator, tape dispenser, and stapler. Apparently, the girl who drew my name was in the hospital a lot, and her parents just grabbed things from the gift shop.
I have no idea why a teddy bear wasn't on the list. I ended up giving everything to my Nana, since she was a teacher.
29. The Selfish Self-Gifter
My dad would stereotypically buy things for people that he wants. On the surface, it’s understandable, “I like XYZ thing, so it must be a good present!” But no, that’s not what I mean. It was so much worse. When I was five, he bought my siblings and me survival gear—bandaids, flashlights, MREs. The year after, he bought us a kayak, which, at least ostensibly, he could have taken us out on, but he didn’t.
Then, when my siblings and I were 8, 11, and 15, respectively, my dad bought us an electric toothbrush. No, not an electric toothbrush each. AN electric toothbrush. Which he then, promptly, reclaimed and, I believe, still uses. The following year, he bought us an on-faucet water purifier. Suffice to say, my dad and I don’t get along.
30. She Thought This Gift Was Nothing To Sneeze At
I was in my 20s, and by that point, you're not supposed to care as much anymore, but I had worked dozens of hours of overtime at my factory job to buy my mom a custom-made birthstone ring for Christmas that year. The medication I had been taking had recently gone from prescription to over-the-counter, so my mom thought it would be great to get me a year's supply.
So for Christmas, I got a bottle of allergy medication from Costco, while my sister got beautiful leather boots, and my brother got an Xbox. I cried all the way home.
31. The Christmas Treasure Hunt
In my family, large and exciting gifts get bespoke riddles and clues leading on a hunt that culminates in the present. One year, I drew a sister of mine in the exchange who HATED frogs. So, I purchased her a pair of well-made, stylish scarves as she was about to move to a colder part of the nation. I also bought her perhaps the most grotesque frog-shaped coffee mug I have ever seen in my life. And then I wrote out a five-step scavenger hunt to the mug.
As I was setting everything up on Christmas Eve, I told my dad about what I was doing. He laughed, but then he got a little somber. He told me about the gift he gave his youngest sister for her fifth Christmas. It was a gigantic box, beautifully wrapped. In it, he carefully layered pastel tissue paper. As she peeled back layer after layer, her excitement became palpable.
The tension was building. WHAT COULD IT BE? It was a single piece of nickel gum. He told me, "She was absolutely crushed. I'll never forget how badly I hurt her. So just keep that in mind". Despite his warning, I didn't feel too bad. After all, I had gotten her a real gift as well.
Christmas morning arrived. As fate would have it, this same sister drew MY name for a gift.
It was a decent-sized box, about 8x10x4 inches. It was heavy but not noisy. There were many things on my list that would have been a good fit for that box. So I opened it. Inside was an Amazon box. I open that, and there is another wrapped box, then within that, a slightly smaller wrapped box. Inside THAT one was several rocks embedded in a tissue nest, and another WRAPPED. BOX.
I opened that one to find a packet of duct tape. At that point, I just looked at my dad. He started laughing and finally choked out, "Forget about that story!" My gift ended up being a gift card, which was plenty and appreciated. And she got a kick out of her frog mug, even if it only gets used by her husband to creep her out.
32. The Nostalgic Neighbor
My neighbor across the street was an old German woman who survived WWII. She had immigrated to the United States, married a GI, and had a family. When I was young, she dealt with her dementia-riddled husband until he passed. She moved in with her family when I was about eight. One day when I was about 14, she just suddenly popped by the house a week before Christmas.
She wanted to drop off gifts for my middle brother and me. She was shocked when I came out to help her inside. I guess she had forgotten how old I was, and she didn't know that my mom had had my youngest brother, who was then about four or five. She brought us Dollar Store Barbies.
33. My Parents Are A Bunch Of Phoneys
My sister got her first phone in her freshman year of high school, so I was fully expecting to get my first phone during my freshman year of high school. I kept talking about how excited I was, especially since I was the only kid in my whole grade without a phone. Christmas day came, and we started opening up the presents under the tree. With every box, I was hoping that it would be my new phone, but I wasn’t finding it.
I was starting to give up hope, but my sister opened up one of her presents, and it was a new phone to replace her old one. That made me even more hopeful that I was going to get a new phone. Well, I was in for some serious heartbreak. So I opened up my last few presents and nothing. No phone. I was trying so hard not to cry and to be grateful for my other gifts, but I was absolutely crushed.
It might have been okay if nobody got a phone; after all, I could've understood if my parents couldn't afford it. But the fact that my sister got a new phone was devastating. To top it off, I asked if I could get her old one, and my parents said no. It turned out that my parents had hidden a final round of presents for us to open later on when we thought we had gotten all our gifts. Mine was a new phone, so I did get one in the end, but those few hours beforehand were still very soul-crushing.
34. Picture This
I was getting into photography, and there was a very specific lens that I wanted. This led to the cringiest moment of my life. A close friend of mine mentioned that she knew someone who sold lenses super cheap, and she might be able to get in contact with them. Christmas came, and she got me a gift. It was an exact replica of the lens…but a coffee mug.
The only problem is that nowhere on the box did it say it was a coffee mug. I was thrilled, but I didn’t realize what it was. She had to awkwardly explain that it was not actually the lens.
35. Just A Double Whammy Christmas
I had been dating my girlfriend for 14 months. Our first Christmas was low-key because we had only been going out for two months at that time. A year later, we were living about 45 minutes apart. I was finishing college while she was just starting her career. It was going to be our first real Christmas as a couple. I had planned to spend the morning with my family.
I was then going to drive to her place where I would spend the weekend with her. I called her on Christmas Day to see what time she wanted me to come over that afternoon. Well, I got my present early. She broke up with me on the phone. She told me the holiday had her thinking about spending holidays with her own family and she couldn't picture a future with me in it.
She didn't see me as a husband or father to the kids she wanted. So, I got broken up with and insulted for Christmas.
36. My Husband Gave Me The Suckiest Gift Ever
The entire family gathered together, and everyone was opening nice gifts. I got my husband a very nice watch, a leather laptop bag, and his favorite cologne, which was expensive. I spent a good amount on him. He handed me my gift, and I opened it. It was a hand-held vacuum cleaner. The entire family went silent. I looked at him with an "Are you kidding me?" look.
Smiling, he said, "So you can vacuum out your car and don't have to spend quarters at a car wash!" I went into the bedroom and bawled. This was the only thing he got me.
37. A Dramatic Discount
My aunt and uncle are comfortably well off, but get us presents from discount stores. I could tell you about my mother's “glamor poncho” or my brother's airport thriller novel, but their most recent Christmas gift is the one that's caused me the most inconvenience. Last Christmas, they gave me a small anthology of short plays based on Shakespeare, which I actually thought was quite nice since I did my undergrad dissertation on Shakespeare.
However, I learned that their AmDram group had been trying to perform the anthology since before the pandemic. I figured they must have brought the books in bulk for the group and given me a leftover copy. What's worse is that my uncle actually reminded my dad that he had brought me this book. My dad lied, saying that I had read it and loved it so as not to offend him.
Now I've got to read that bloody anthology cover-to-cover and find things I liked about it, or my dad and I are toast.
38. If The Shoe Fits
When I was in first grade, we had a Secret Santa. Parents were asked to buy an inexpensive gift for their child's classmate to be opened during the last class before Christmas. Just before class ended, the gifts were handed out by our teacher. I sat near the back, and as I waited for my teacher to give me mine, I watched most of the class open their presents.
All the boys were getting Matchbox cars and Legos, and I was pumped. I finally got my gift, and the box was huge in comparison to everyone else's. I ripped the wrapping paper off, expecting to find a giant Lego set, but what I found just confused me. It was a shoebox. I was looking around and seeing my friends check out all of their fantastic new toys, and here I was, just sitting with a shoebox on my desk.
I wanted to cry. I wasn't going to let anyone see me cry, so I tried to hold back the tears. My lips were quivering, and my eyes were red, but I wasn’t letting anyone hear my sobs. My teacher noticed me looking into the distance and barely keeping it together and walked over to my desk. She asked, "What's wrong, honey? Why are you upset? Didn't you like your gift?"
I said, "I GOT SHOES!" I was barely keeping it together, and if I said anything else, I was going to break into a full-on sob. She bent down by my desk and said, "Really? Let's open it up and see what it looks like. I'm sure your gift isn't as bad as it seems". I'm thinking, “Yeah, right, there's nothing good about shoes”. But, I opened the box anyway because she asked me to and I looked inside. I don't see any shoes, but there is a smaller box inside. It was a box of Legos.
39. I Wash My Hands Of This
We weren’t speaking to my father-in-law when my kids were born, but we decided to extend the olive branch when they were elementary school age. They had us over for Christmas one year. What a disaster. The kids were really excited to be having Christmas with these newly discovered grandparents. However, they were puzzled when we got there, as there was almost nothing under the tree.
My father-in-law finally told them that they had presents, but they had to take them home unopened and save them for Christmas morning. When he realized that they were, in his words, “pouting,” he let them open them. They each got a tiny bottle of dollar store hand soap, and one of them got a re-gifted change purse.
40. This Was Touching...But Weird
When growing up, the family would all gather at grandma’s house. Out of the 12 or so cousins, only three of us were boys. When I was about 12, we were all peeking under the Christmas tree. We could see that the two other boy cousins got the same present, but mine was different. Their gifts were long and relatively thin, whereas mine was more of a box shape.
When it came to opening up the gifts, my grandmother gave them their presents at the same time. They got skateboards—totally cool. Later on, I opened mine. I got a touch lamp. It was not just any old lamp. It was the old-fashioned type with frosted glass and flowers on it. It was both the best and worst Christmas present ever. I got that lamp because my family would always go to church with my grandma, so she knew me best. That’s how I wound up in this whole mess.
After church once a month and on my general weekly visits, I would sit in her lounge room and mindlessly play with her touch lamp. Hers was the same model as the one she gave me. It had different brightness you could cycle through when you touched it. It was endearing to me that she thought I would want one. But also, what was a 12-year-old going to do with an old-fashioned touch lamp?
41. This Does Not Deserve A Bra-vo
When I was 15, I was very embarrassed and self-conscious about every part of myself. I didn’t talk about periods, bras, or anything like that with my mom. It humiliated me. It wasn’t that I couldn’t; it’s just that, even today, I find it embarrassing. My mother knew this and decided that a wonderful Christmas gift for me would be bras. Bras for Christmas.
It was embarrassing, to say the least. I’ve always seen it as a really personal and intimate thing, and she bought me bras. And then, because she was watching one of my sisters open something else, she had the AUDACITY to say to me, “Did you get your bras? I couldn’t remember". In the end, they didn’t even fit.
42. Add This To The Pile
My grandmother was terrible at picking out clothes. When I was around 13, she got me a shirt with a puffy zippered panel on the chest to, I guess, store things in. I wasn’t sure. She gave it to me on Christmas Eve, and I had to make sure I wore it on Christmas Day when she came around. The bulk of the clothes she bought us were worn once or twice, then promptly stuck in the back of the closet for a year or two until I outgrew them and had to get rid of them.
43. Ham For The Holidays
I was a bratty five-year-old snooping around the Christmas tree. There was one gift for me that was wrapped in brilliant gold foil and looked like a Christmas ham from the grocer. I asked my grandma if she really got me a ham, and my whole family thought it was cute. A few days later, I was back snooping, and I touched the “ham,” and it barked.
I realized it was a Smoochie Pooch, which was an animatronic dog that would move its head up and down like it was giving kisses. It was a popular toy that year. So, being the moron I was, I loudly announced I knew I had a Smoochie Pooch to the family, who were not pleased with my detective work. Finally, Christmas came, and we went to open our first gifts.
Of course, I picked the pooch. I danced around like a freshly fed girl you see in those dumb videos and declared my knowledge to the world. Well, I was about to get what was coming to me. I ripped open the foil, and it was a ham! My family replaced my beloved poochie with a spiral sliced ham. They gave a five-year-old a ham.
They wound up giving me the pooch later, but I was given the ham too. We took it home and ate it.
44. Secret Santa Drama
When I was 17, I was in a Christmas play with a cast that was between the ages of 10 and 18. We were doing a Secret Santa, but instead of just doing one gift at the cast party, we were required to do one for each day we had a performance. So, the total was 12 gifts. Well, I didn't have any money, so the kid I got received a little gift bag with some candy in it. I received nothing.
I thought that stunk, but it was my first Secret Santa day, so, whatever. On the second day of the Secret Santa, there was still nothing for me. I gave my kid some stickers. The weird thing was that this kid came up to me with some expensive toy, all excited and saying it was from his Secret Santa. This continued a couple more times.
I was getting nothing while this other kid was getting double presents, so I just said, “The heck with this,” and stopped bringing gifts. The kid still kept getting his presents from his "Secret Santa," so it was all good. Then, one night before we closed up, some busy body figured out that this kid was actually getting expensive toys and gadgets from his mom. Apparently, the first gifts I gave him weren't good enough and made him cry.
His mom had a stash of gifts ready in case this might happen to placate her little musical theater angel. The busy body tried to shame me in front of a bunch of our friends about it too. At this point, I still hadn't gotten anything from anyone! Finally, on the last day, I got some homemade dolls with Xs for eyes that had their hands stitched together.
45. He Learned His Lesson When He Got Schooled
It was the year I had just had my second kid, so I was a ball of emotions. I decided to get my husband something nice. I made him homemade waffles—which were his second favorite thing in the world, got him the new video game he wanted, and gave him a little loving—his first favorite thing in the world. I wasn't expecting a gift, and I didn't want one.
I just wanted to watch my oldest kid enjoy Christmas. To my surprise, I got a gift from my husband. I was touched. Until I opened it, he gave me a roll of toilet paper and two packs of ramen noodles. There was some awkward laughter, and we all moved on. His mom then leaned over to me and said those items were part of his family's inside joke and tradition.
Well, it would have been nice if I had KNOWN about that beforehand! I was crushed and did my best to avoid him the rest of the day. His mom noticed my feelings and asked him, "So where is her actual gift?" When his response was, "What gift?" he got a severe talking to from his mom. Especially after he pulled the line, "Well, I just gave her a cute baby".
A couple of days later, after learning what he said, I considered moving our kids and me in with my parents for a few days. We agreed after that fateful Christmas morning that we wouldn’t buy presents for each other anymore. Instead, we should divide the money we save up and buy what we want.
46. A Christmas Creature Classic
My friend sent me this doll creature thing that literally scared the life out of me when I opened it. It was the type of toy that you would see in horror movies. It had an enormous mouth with fang-type teeth made of hard plastic and a soft body with weird colors. It looked like a genuinely horrific gremlin creature, and it terrified me.
I buried that sucker in my closet because I felt guilty at the thought of giving it away. I'm kind of hoping if I keep it buried in the closet long enough, it will just mysteriously vanish, and I won't have to worry about it coming to life and finding me if I throw it out.
47. Playing Favorites
My husband’s stepmother gave me, a 36-year-old at the time, a kindergarten-size backpack. Then she added insult to injury. When I opened it, she said, “I actually bought that for a child a few years ago, and she hated it. So I threw it in a closet. I saw it and thought you’d like it. None of us did; we all think it’s ugly". Wow, thanks.
That same year they gave my three children gifts totaling $15 altogether. They had the clearance stickers still on them. Meanwhile, her biological granddaughter opened up a $300 unicorn. They even made sure we knew it cost $300, and then they pointed out to everyone our clearance stickers and what great deals they were. They weren’t.
They then made my kids leave the room so the granddaughter could take pics alone with her unicorn. It was the last Christmas we visited them.
48. The Nutcracker
I had been with my girlfriend for around two or three years. Her family considered me a part of their family, but my girlfriend’s mom, and aunt, were probably the most hypocritical and kooky insane people you could ever meet. Her aunt believed that if you use a GPS, you don’t deserve to live in that state. Mind you; she proceeded to get everyone lost when she was driving us around on vacation.
She had lived in that state for 27 years by that time. Her mom is a manipulative person. For Christmas one year, I went over to my girlfriend’s home to celebrate with them before celebrating with my girlfriend at my house. I got a present from the aunt who sent something over. It was a single rubber duck that had the bottom torn out. A note was stuffed in the opening, and on that note was the sentence, “If you are reading this, you destroyed the birdie!”
But it got even more confusing from there. I also got a painted rock that was just painted black with the words “best buds” on it. Her mom’s gift was even worse! I got a nutcracker. I didn’t fully understand it at the time. But I finally got it when my girlfriend’s dad took me aside and said in a hushed tone, “I’m sorry for the gift, but my wife has given that to my oldest daughter’s boyfriends too, as a threat". So, all in all, I got a broken rubber duck that blamed me for destroying it, a painted rock, and a threat that if I did ANYTHING to hurt my girlfriend that her mother would use the NUTCRACKER on me.
49. A Last Ditch Effort
I had been with my boyfriend for a little over two years. Things were going steadily downhill, but, as sort of a final effort, I went all out on his Christmas gift, as much as I could afford to. I found a cozy housecoat he had been eyeing, his favorite chocolates, and a new video game he talked about getting. On Christmas night, we went to his mom's to open gifts.
However, he disappeared halfway through the evening, and I gave up trying to find him. Finally, I sent him a text saying, "We need to talk. I'm going home now. We can exchange gifts tomorrow. If you want to continue this relationship, I'm open to discussion". I walked the 10 minutes home all by myself, alone, and went to bed. When I woke up, my heart sank.
He never came home that night. He didn't answer my texts either. He did eventually come home TWO DAYS LATER. He handed me my "gift" without a word. It was an unwrapped, beige sweater that had a stain on the front and was at least two sizes too small. I stupidly still gave him his gift and broke up with him right that moment.
50. I Had To Log Off Of This Game
My brother and I only wanted one gift, and we were willing to share it. So, we begged and begged our whole family to chip in for a PlayStation 1, to which they obliged. We were well-mannered kids with good grades, and it was only one gift, so why not? Christmas Day came, and there was one big box under the tree with both of our names on it. We literally couldn’t wait to open it.
Our ex-step-father instructed us to open it first. The excitement was palpable as we ripped all the paper off in a Tasmanian devil-like flurry. There it was—the trademark black Sony box with a picture of the PlayStation on the outside. In my nine-year-old mind, I could already picture how amazing the Ridge Racer graphics were going to be!
We quickly cut the tape and opened the box lid. It was a log!?! A piece of firewood. Oh, but it gets worse. It turns out our ex-stepfather thought that it would be really funny to take all of the money our family gave him for the PlayStation and spend it on himself. He then opened the expensive gifts he bought for himself, with the funds intended for the PlayStation, while we watched. My mother spent the rest of the day crying.