‘Tis better to give than to receive…yeah yeah, that’s all well and good, but it’s pretty darn good to receive as well! With the holidays upon us, we’ve collected the internet’s best gift stories. Some are so beautiful they bring a tear to our eyes—and some are so horrible we can’t help but burst out laughing!
I married my wife in Bermuda on a beautiful pink sand beach. My brother was my best man and was great all throughout the day. But the cherry on the cake was at the end of the evening when all the proceedings were done and everyone was pretty drunk and having a nice time. He comes over and hands me two glass bottles full of pink sand. My face was one of confusion. He tells me it’s the exact same sand my wife and I stood on when we got married.
Total cost? Probably $2. But I bawled like a baby. It’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received and thanks to him, my wife and I now have the exact spot we married sitting with us in our front room as a decoration.
2. The Butterfly Effect
For Christmas two years ago, my mother had sent my grandmother a butterfly necklace. Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away on Christmas Eve so she was never able to open the gift. My aunt sent the necklace back and my mother kept it in her jewelry box. This year when I was getting ready for graduation, my mother told me to turn around.
Pretty commonplace since I never wear jewelry and she’s always insisting I wear something. When I looked in the mirror, it was my grandmother’s butterfly necklace. One of my grandmother’s final wishes was to see me graduate college, and this was my mother’s way of making sure she could see it. I cried. A lot.
3. A Healthy Snack
I received a package of fake M&M’s that were actually lentils on the inside. They came in a plastic tube. Who would even produce such a thing?
4. A Leg Up on All the Other Stories
This wasn’t my gift, but it was the most awkward situation ever. A few years ago, my grandma had her legs amputated. Last Christmas, my aunt bought her a pair of socks. It was sooo awful.
5. What is the Meaning of This Gift?
I received a dictionary from my parents with the price sticker still stuck on it. They bought it for five dollars. I wasn’t even mad—I didn’t get anything the year before.
6. Thinking Outside the Box
The year the Nintendo 64 came out, it was all that me and my brothers wanted for Christmas. We rented a system from Blockbuster every chance we got and it came in a black carrying case. Fast forward to Christmas morning and one of these very boxes is under the tree. We thought maybe my parents had gotten a used one or something, and we were beyond excited to open that puppy up.
We saw the tag was from our grandparents, who were very anti-video games. Maybe they came around, we thought. Maybe it’s a Christmas miracle. We pop open the lid and sitting inside is…a typewriter. An electric typewriter. My grandfather thought we could use it to work on our typing skills. All three of us were devastated.
7. Magical DVD
It’s small but meant the world to me. My family wasn’t really into documenting things growing up and my dad died when I was a kid so I had just a few pictures and an old home movie from Christmas ’91. Every year or so I’d pop in the tape and watch the 5ish minutes of my dad and I’d remember his expressions and his voice and it helped when I felt down about it.
It’s a nearly 30-year-old tape and the quality has been dropping over the years. I popped it in this past November (anniversary of his death) and the tape was grainy and the sound was spotty and crackly to the point I couldn’t hear his voice at all. I was crushed. I was bummed about it for a month and on Christmas morning my wife hands me a card and inside it was an unlabeled DVD.
She had it transferred over and the guy who did it did some magic and the sound was back and perfect. I watched it, cried my eyes out and my sons got to clearly hear their grandfather’s voice for the first time.
8. Feeding the Homeless
To give you some context: I’m homeless and ended up out of my house after coming out as trans. December, my savings were starting to run out, and slowly but surely I could afford to feed myself less and less. On the day before winter break, my friend showed up and says she has a Christmas present for me, but we have to walk there. She takes me to the university’s market.
She holds out her ID and says, “This has $174 dining dollars left on it. Buy as much as you can. Merry Christmas.” I bought so much, I could feed myself for a month. I’ll never forget it.
9. Cool Dad
Believe it or not, the most heartwarming thing I ever received was…a rock. Seriously. When I was growing up, I had a special boulder I would sit on. There was a tree growing right next to it, providing perfect shade, and the slope of the rock was just right for leaning against. I spent half my childhood/early teenage years out there reading and daydreaming with my dog; it was where people knew to look for me if they couldn’t find me in the house.
When my parents got divorced and had to sell the property, my dad took a sledgehammer out to the rock, broke a big chunk off, and gave it to me so I would have a piece of it wherever I go. I cried like a baby.
10. Anonymous Angel
One Christmas time was lean for me and the family. Was recently out of work and really had no way of getting the kids anything decent for Christmas. Out of the blue, this guy shows up on my door, confirms my name, and hands me a gift bag and a GARBAGE bag full of wrapped toys, even a couple things for me and the missus. Also a $200 gift card to Fred Meyer.
To this day, don’t know who my secret angel was, but it was just the best gift ever.
11. Momma Rick Rolling
The Christmas after Halo Reach came out, I still hadn’t purchased it, so I asked for it. My Mom let her inner troublemaker loose, bought Halo Reach, replaced the disk with Rick Astley’s Greatest Hits, and then resealed the case. Come Christmas morning, I open the wrapping, get excited and then Bam! Rick Rolled by my Mom.
12. Inept Gift Giving
My brother-in-law likes to snoop for gifts around Christmas, so my family labels his gifts as though they are for me. Sometimes they forget to re-name a couple. In 2002, it was an Xbox with a copy of Halo. In 2003, it was a black video iPod. I got so excited when I opened the wrapping paper, and then my heart broke when they were taken away and given to him.
13. Always Check the Bag
A friend gave me a stuffed bear during the toughest part of my life, and naturally, I kept it on a shelf. Over a year later, I discovered there was a piece of paper in the bag she gave it to me in and it was folded in half and had writing on all sides. I cried like a baby.
14. Hogan Rides Again
The worst thing I ever got was a rubber Hulk Hogan figurine (it looked like it was a Christmas ornament with the loop snipped off) glued to a very effeminate toy horse. An elderly friend of the family gave it to me and wouldn’t stop mentioning how “they are supposed to look like that; that’s how it came from the store” even though I didn’t voice any doubts.
It’s also kind of the best gift I ever got.
15. Regifted & Reusable
My mother gave me a book for Christmas…that I gave to her for her birthday a year before. She acted as though she purchased it for me. I wrote a note in it to her, so I know it was the copy I gave to her. Also, my mother-in-law gave me a box of plastic forks for Christmas last year. I’m chalking that one up to dementia.
16. Knowledge is Power
My sister received a brand new bike…on MY birthday. My grandmother felt bad, so on her birthday, she got me an encyclopedia.
17. Stolen Cards
My uncle gave me an Xbox Live points card for my birthday. When I went to redeem it, it said card not activated. This happened two years in a row until my mom told him about it.
18. Maybe Keep it a Secret Next Time, Santa
Secret Santa 2008: The “minimum” for the Secret Santa was $50. His list of ideas had leather gloves, a knit beanie, gift cards, a cell phone case, and cologne (but specifically NOT one particular brand). I bought him a pair of leather gloves, an X-men beanie (he was a comic book fan), and a bottle of cologne that was not the brand he disliked, but I put it inside a box of the brand he didn’t like just as a fake-out for fun.
The person whose name I drew in the Secret Santa just so happened to be the one who had drawn my name. I got an unwrapped and clearly used (but empty) dollar store flask with a cheap gumball machine sticker of a tiger (??) stuck on it…Yeah, that was the last time I participated in a secret Santa gift exchange.
19. A Hard Scrub
For Christmas, my aunt (Aunt one) gave me and my sister liquid soap that had already solidified. She’s known for being “thrifty” and re-giving old gifts. Aunt two gave Aunt one’s son a shirt for his birthday. After a few years, Aunt one gifted the shirt to Aunt two’s son.
20. The Conception Dress
My mother-in-law pulled out a box in which there was a fire engine red nightgown and said in front of the family, “This is what you’ll wear when you conceive a son.” Yep.
21. Mamma Mia That’s Bad
My girlfriend asked me if I wanted to see Mamma Mia. I said no. A few months later I got Mamma Mia tickets for my birthday.
22. A Hairy Memento
My husband received his recently deceased grandfather’s used disposable razor as a Christmas gift from his grandmother. Complete with hair and all.
23. Waxing Poetic
My grandma gave me a used candle for Christmas. If she absolutely had to give me a candle, couldn’t she have at least bought me a new one??
24. Consolation Prize
When I was 18, I received a Christmas gift from my stepmom’s mom (my step-grandma). It was a wine cooler bag from the dollar store. The card said, “I’m sorry I forgot when your birthday was, but I hope this makes up for it.” Thanks…
25. It’s the Thought That Counts
Someone got me a mountain bike. I have cerebral palsy. They obviously didn’t think this through…
26. I Don’t ‘Like’ This Gift
My girlfriend liked a Facebook status I had posted six weeks prior about something that was important to me that I had wanted to promote. That was the gift. The thing was already over and done too…
27. The Generous Crystal
I was hanging out with a well-known rock musician I’d grown close to when out of the blue he placed a pink heart-shaped rose crystal into my palm and said it connected us on a cosmic level—that any time I needed to talk I should just hold it in my hand and think of him and he’d know. I laughed it off because he’d recently started to believe in some weird New Age stuff that I couldn’t fathom and it was really out of character. He was usually just a chill guy with a great sense of humor.
Anyway, we were in California at the time (of course!) and he went back to his country soon afterward and I returned to mine. Kept in touch as usual, but one day on a whim I decided to “try” the crystal and he phoned me IMMEDIATELY. No joke. Six-hour time difference too, and it was late. He teased me about not believing his promise but I chalked it up to coincidence…
Until it happened again. I was in the bathtub playing with the crystal and I thought of him, mentally asked him to call, and the phone rang. Got out, answered, yep, it’s him. After the third time it freaked me out and I never used it that way again. But still, for years after he died, holding it was the only thing that could pull me out of my darkest depression. I’d just feel such love and comfort emanating from the crystal every time.
These incidents occurred in the late ’80s/early ’90s and I still have the crystal. What’s crazy is that he was battling his own demons that would eventually consume him, and I was just a typical teenage girl with typical teen angst, ten years his junior, yet he gave me a gift that probably saved my life, though he was powerless to save his own. To this day I still don’t know if it’s all been a wild coincidence or if he managed to discover something beyond our understanding…
28. A Victim of Circumstance
I had left some video games lying around in my mom’s room. She found them and assumed my dad had bought them as Christmas gifts for me. So for Christmas I got… my own games.
29. Rekindling the Passion
Used to do B&W photography when I was young … even managed a few solo shows. Then I move to a different province, hit tough times, and end up having to sell all of my gear. Canon A1, ZoneXI field camera, a dozen lenses, 4×5 darkroom enlarger and all the darkroom goodies … everything.
Moved back home, got my life back on track, and then meet my future wife. I tell her my photography past and its unfortunate outcome, and think nothing more of it. My birthday arrives many months later and I open a tall cylindrical tin from her. Inside is a mint condition Canon A1 camera body, and tickets to see David Bowie.
I literally cried. Did I mention I also told her I didn’t think I would ever get to see Bowie live? I asked her to marry me a month later.
30. Starstruck By Himself
My very first Christmas with my husband’s family after we got married, we were all passing around gifts. Most of his family very graciously gave us the standard newlywed gifts—dishes, towels, picture frames, etc. That is, everyone except for this one uncle. He fancies himself a media producer. He gave me a DVD that he wrote, directed, produced, and starred in, about how to be a good mother.
No, I did not have children at the time, nor was I even pregnant. No, he does not have children. No, he is not in the childcare or child development field. No, he did not notice the bewildered looks on any of our faces. My husband is polite to a fault and would not let me re-gift it back to the uncle the following Christmas, even though my mother-in-law thought it would be hilarious.
31. Lost in Translation
It was a shirt that said, “I’m not a gynecologist, but I’ll take a look anyway!” It was from my stepdad’s mom. She knows I want to be a doctor, and her English is no bueno. I found it hilarious. Once we translated it to her she almost cried from embarrassment. I proudly wore it for the rest of the day.
32. We’re in the Money
I once received two forty pound bags of pennies.
I lived in Korea. Spam was highly regarded over there and was quite a bit more expensive than back in the States. At Christmas time, they had Spam gift sets for sale all over the place. So I got a five-pack of Spam as a gift set from my boss and his wife. I’m vegan.
34. Second Time’s a Charm
A family member of mine was gifted a horribly ugly red and brown purse. She hated it and said it was ugly. She then re-gifted it to me and said maybe it was more my style. It was not. Also, rude…
35. The Gift of a Lesson
My cousin had died in a drunk driving accident a few months before, so my mom got me a breathalyzer keychain as my Christmas gift. I see what my mom was trying to do, but still messed up in my opinion.
36. Leave Your Troubles at the Tree
I came home from work one day to find my dad in my front yard planting a mini pine tree. It’s still only like three feet tall to this day. I asked him what was up as I walked up to my door, wondering why he and my girlfriend were covered in sweat and dirt in the Florida heat. He pointed to the tree I hadn’t noticed yet and said, “I bought you a trouble tree.”
My whole life, my parents kept a tree near the front door, and they always said that when you get home, you leave all your troubles from the outside at the tree, so you’re at peace in your house. It’s always served as a reminder to let yourself be at ease when you are at home.
37. Student Reciprocation
A music box from a former student with an engraved plate on the top that reads: “Thank you for giving me the gift of music. Now I give it back to you.”
38. Young At Heart
For Christmas, my ex-mother-in-law got my husband an Xbox. She got me a box of diapers. Like, I was grateful, but not really a gift for me…
39. Sounds Pretty Ruff
My grandmother gave my boyfriend a coffee mug with a picture of a German Shepherd dog on it. He has never owned nor expressed any interest in German Shepherds. He uses it at work. It’s a great conversation starter. “Oh, do you have a German Shepherd?” “No.” “…”
40. Handmade Wedding Dress
My mom made my wedding dress. She made something that fit my personality and fashion tastes beautifully. She recently made my sister’s wedding dress and it was even more beautiful.
41. Better Late Than Never?
My aunt got me a wooden toy playset, recommended for ages 2-4. I was 14.
42. Rest in Peace
My worst present was a kitten. I was about to make a cross-country move with my then-girlfriend, and her mother gave us a kitten without any discussion beforehand. It died the next day from a parasite or something. We rushed it to a vet but it was too late. So we got to pay for a vet visit and a cremation. Thanks, mom.
43. Meaningful Valentine’s Day
Back in elementary and middle school, I was the real unpopular nerdy kid who always was carrying a different thick book every couple of days. I think I practically lived in the library. As an unwanted side effect, I got bullied pretty hard and was never really the object of any attention from the opposite gender, so when Valentine’s day would roll around I never got any of the “school-sanctioned” carnations or candy and never received any gifts.
As one can imagine this really killed any self-confidence I might have had and (on top of other things that were going on in my life) made my then depression a lot worse. Fast forward a couple years to eighth grade and my best friend at the time gives me a gift bag with a heart-shaped box of chocolate and a Siamese cat stuffed animal. It was totally platonic and I guess she just thought I deserved something to look forward to and enjoy like other people on Valentine’s.
I’m now 26 and we aren’t in contact anymore but I still have that stuffed Siamese cat sitting on my bedside table.
44. An Incredible Daughter
When my wife and I got married in 2004, we adopted a petite black lab mix female from a dog pound in Japan. She traveled the world with us, was there for us when my wife and I went through two back to back miscarriages, and was my best friend. She died in 2015. For the holidays in 2016, my daughter (11 at the time) spent her lunch money the previous February (the anniversary of our dog’s death) on a small figurine of a black lab puppy that looked just like ours, wrapped it up, and gave it to me on the morning of December 25th.
She told me that since I always miss my dog, she wanted me to have something to remind me of her. I spent most of the day in tears because at 37 years old, it’s the most meaningful thing anyone has ever given me (other than my wife giving me two amazing ankle-biters who grew up to be smarter than I ever will be).
My mom is an evil genius. When PS2 first came out, it was on the top of my wishlist. My mom got a PS2 box from my cousin and weighted the box to feel like a PS2. I unwrapped it, and without opening the box ran around for a solid 10 minutes in excitement, then pretty much said “screw the other gifts!” and went to set it up. This event was followed by about an hour of crying. My mom still references it as her favorite childhood video of me.
46. That Relationship Doesn’t Seem to Be Working
Christmas last year. I saved up for months to buy my wife a new tablet. Almost $600. She gave me a $25 McDonalds gift certificate.
47. Money Can’t Buy Class
I have a particularly wealthy aunt who spoils the heck out of her own kids, taking them on expensive trips and buying them every new gadget available. When we lived closer, she would join us for birthday parties and kick in for something: dinner, lodging, etc., so I didn’t complain when she invited herself because otherwise parties would be at our dull lifeless house with a few friends.
For my 18th birthday (a pretty big one IMO) she bought me a thrift-store Flintstones t-shirt. That’s it. A big ratty t-shirt with Fred Flintstone and his stupid grin. The woman took her kids to Paris that same year but bought me that as a gift for turning 18. Thankfully I’ve had better birthdays since and without any entitled extended family butting in, but seriously, screw her and her money.
48. Updated Diaries
For my 21st birthday, my Mom went through all her old diaries and copied every entry having to do with me since the day she found out she was pregnant. It turned out to be five volumes and they’re the most precious thing I own. She did the same for my three younger siblings. It took her about a year to do that for each one of us.
49. The Favorite Book
My favorite book in high school was a paperback that had been passed around and read (and underlined, and highlighted, and signed) by 20-30 friends. By the time I reached college, the cover was gone and it was in pretty bad shape. For our first Valentine’s together, my college boyfriend bought a new copy of the book, removed the cover, reinforced it, and used it to re-bind my copy of it. It meant so, so much, and I knew he heard me when I talked about what was important to me.
We were together for four years.
50. T-Shirt Blanket
I made an offhand comment to my mom a few years ago that I would love to make a t-shirt blanket out of all my old t-shirts, but I am too busy and not good with a sewing machine. Last Christmas she got me one and picked the absolute perfect t-shirts for it—ones from high school, college, summer camp, other memorable activities, nerdy shirts, etc. I made a huge clothing donation to Goodwill the previous summer, and she had gone through everything beforehand to pick out the shirts and save them for my blanket.
It was so thoughtful, I cried. I love my mom.
51. The Charitable Millionaire
My “uncle” (grandmother’s cousin) bought me and my girlfriend a flat. He heard how expensive our rent would be so he said for us to find somewhere and he would pay for it and then just charged us half rent. This meant we could afford to live together in a flat there was no way we would have ever have been able to afford otherwise with much more security.
He is a self-made millionaire and thinks that young people have it much harder now and wants to help out where he can. He has also recently bought a house for the homeless and built a cancer wing at a hospital. He is a very generous man.
52. Family Chips In
I went through some really rough times after I got out of the Army. I was broke. I got a job offer 2,000 miles from home and everyone in my family gave me money on loan to make it work. $5,000 they gave me. Due to the nature of the job I had everyone paid back in the first month. I love my family.
53. Comic Relations
My boyfriend once created a custom crossword puzzle with questions about our relationship like the first movie we watched together, the first nickname he gave me and much more personal stuff, some of which I even had a hard time remembering but apparently he didn’t forget a thing I ever said to him.
The resolution of the puzzle turned out to be an email address and a password. Logging in to the account I discovered a cute birthday card telling me how much he loved me and a ridiculously poorly drawn comic with the both of us as cats telling a story about how he burst into my room while I was embarrassing myself singing into a dildo in my hands/paws, ending with us making out. He drew it in MS Paint, I loved it.
It was just so cute, genuine and funny, I’ll never forget it. And of course I still have the crossword puzzle and the comic.
54. Being Kind in Honor of Vonnegut
I’ve always been a huge fan of Kurt Vonnegut. One summer my then-boyfriend now-husband and I were in a bookstore and I saw a signed KV book behind a glass case that was like $500.00, and I casually said: “Someday when I’m rich, I’m going to buy that book.” That Christmas, we were living together and when I opened my gift that morning I immediately started crying. It was that exact signed copy.
It wasn’t the book so much that made me cry, it was just the first moment I felt with confidence that someone really did love me.
55. It’s The Little Things in Life
When I was a kid, my sister was dating the guy across the street. He and my sister would watch movies every Friday in our living room but I wasn’t allowed to watch because the movies would be too scary, inappropriate, etc. One day he came over to watch a movie and I snuck in and watched a little. That movie scared the ever-loving heck out of me and I got kicked out when they found out I was there.
They never told me the name of the movie. Ever since then I had tried explaining the parts I saw to everyone I was friends with (before I could just Google it) and could never find out what it was. Classic “tip of my tongue” situation. The last time I tried explaining it was to my high school girlfriend right when we started dating, when I was a sophomore. Still nothing, oh well.
For my 18th birthday, she gives me the DVD. She had done her own investigating and found out for me. It meant so much, probably the best present I’ve ever gotten. The movie was The Gate, which is still rad. I still own it!
56. Hand-Me-Down Bike
My older sister got a brand new bike for Christmas. My parents gave me her old bike with a bow on it. I know now that my parents were pretty poor and just trying to save money, but when I was a kid it seemed like almost everything I wore or had for years was a hand-me-down. I wanted my gift to be new so badly that Christmas morning that little kid me refused to accept it and insisted that it was a new bike that just happened to be like my older sister’s old bike.
I finally burst into tears when I noticed that the guard over the chain was cracked.
57. That Socks
Socks inside a chocolates box inside a cereal box inside a toy box inside a larger toy box inside a tv box inside a washing machine box. Every box was wrapped.
58. Giving a Gift for Yourself
A pair of binoculars last Christmas from my uncle. After I unwrapped it, he said, “If you don’t like them, I’ll take them.” Of course he ended up with them…I’m glad he picked himself out a good Christmas present.
59. Let’s Play Dress up
My mom used to be an exotic dancer and when I turned 20 she gave me all her old “costumes”…
60. 98 Cents and a Pizza
Eleventh or twelfth birthday present from my uncle’s family: Giant heart-shaped “crystal” (plastic) necklace on a gumball-machine-quality ball chain. The whole family had spent the day complaining about whether or not we would celebrate my birthday, culminating in “just order a darn pizza and we’ll go eat it at Grandma’s,” so I was already feeling extra special that day.
On the way out, my cousin let slip that they had gone out and bought it at the 98 cent store. My aunt looked mortified.
61. Plain Cruelty
My mom once got me a gag scratch-off lotto ticket for Christmas. On it, I had won something like $100,000 – one of the grand prizes for a $20 ticket, so it would’ve been a huge payout at my age of seventeen. She sat through me calling my father (divorced parents), other friends and family members telling them how much better things would be for the next few years, especially college, and that they would all get a fair share.
This went on for about twenty minutes until she told me it was a gag ticket, as she burst out laughing. I left her house Christmas morning on the spot, storming out blind with rage. On the way home, I had to call everybody back and explain what happened, near tears. It took me almost all year to forgive her. I can’t recall anything worse that has happened to me.
It was one of the most intense mixtures of feeling simultaneous hate/rage/sadness I’ve ever felt.
62. Payback for the Long Haul
Ugh, I’m a bit embarrassed to share this, because it still bugs me a lot more than it should 20 years later: I don’t come from a close family, which is a nice way of saying we sincerely hate each other. One year, when I was about 11 or 12, I decided I didn’t want to participate in my mom’s weird compulsion to gather everyone she hates into a room every Christmas.
I stayed in my room, didn’t appear at the strained dinner, didn’t sit around for the strained conversation, etc. I haven’t received a gift, Christmas, birthday, graduation, or otherwise from anyone in my family since. Worse yet, I didn’t catch on right away, so for about two years after I’d go to Christmas and have to watch my brother and cousins open up their gifts.
63. There Must Be a Moral to This Story
I always got socks from my grandmother, and when I was a little kid, I hated getting them. However, when I got older, I actually started liking free socks because I always ran out of them or they fell apart. She got those high-quality LL Bean socks for me, so they would last much longer and were much more comfortable than the generic ones.
Christmas rolled around, my sock munitions were running low, and I was actually excited to get new socks from my grandmother. When I opened the gift from her, it was a couple of T-shirts, and she told me that she probably thought I was tired of getting socks every year from her.
64. Dad’s Too Tired for Christmas
When I was ten and it was my birthday I was at the age where you get unbelievably excited about birthdays because you are getting closer to being a teenager. I could barely sleep all night and when I woke up it was about six. I had to wait two hours (and when you are equally excited and frustrated time goes unbelievably slow) before being able to go into my dad’s room and open my presents. So finally after what seemed like years, I rushed to my dad’s room.
He was half asleep as I cuddled him and asked if I could open my presents. He replied with: “I didn’t get you any.” After that, I had to walk back to my room and try to get back to sleep because dad was too tired. Three weeks later he got me a DVD.
65. Just in Case in California
One time my friend said he was making the rounds because he had bunch of gifts to give out. He was like Santa. He had like a big sack. He gives me a windshield ice scraper. You plug it into your car’s outlet and charge it, so it heats up a bit and lets you remove any frozen bits. I didn’t know what to say. I live in California, so it’s not like this is a common thing. If it ever happens I just pour water on there and I’m good to go.
I tried my best to be thankful. I was never ever going to use this thing, couldn’t give it to anyone. I really would have preferred nothing. Because nothing doesn’t end up making me feel guilty for throwing it away. It sat in my trunk for two years, “just in case” I ever needed it. I never did.
66. All’s Well That Ends Well
A guy I let crash on my couch for free, for months, finally moved out. He left a box with a bow on my table. It was the box that 18-year-old Macallan comes in, and I love whiskey. LOVE IT. Needless to say, I was full of pure joy, lifted the box over my head, and pranced around the apartment proudly proclaiming to my apartment-mates that squatters aren’t always bad.
Inside the box was a brand new bottle of old spice (which is admittedly my favorite shower gel). Ohh, but I was pissed. But then when I went to shower, I found my bottle of whiskey in the tub. HAPPY ENDING!
67. Skating Through the Mud
A skateboard, when I was about nine. I grew up out in the country with no sidewalks anywhere. It was a sad sight as I spent the better part of a day trying to learn to skate in our gravel and mud driveway.
68. Meet Your New Friend, Clarinet Case
My whole life I wanted a dog more than anything. Every year I asked for a puppy and sadly was disappointed every year as well. One year I woke up on Christmas and saw a large box under the tree with my name on it, it had holes in the side and I KNEW this was the year I’d finally have a dog.
I opened the box, it was a clarinet case.
69. Witchcraft Gameboy
Over the summer I went to visit my Grandma and cousin. This cousin introduced me to this amazing contraption called a Game Boy, and spent the entire time watching him play it. That Christmas, Grandma got me a purple Game Boy Color and a copy of Pokemon Blue. It was clearly labeled for me, but mom INSISTED that it was mislabeled and it was actually for my younger brother, who had already opened his toy from Grandma.
I got nothing and he got to keep it, but (being two or whatever) soon decided it wasn’t all that interesting, and I got to play it. She then proceeded to throw away the game because it had potions in it, and clearly that made it witchcraft and against the bible’s teachings.
70. Does Not Compute
My grandma sent me and my sister a brand new computer one year. She’d always been very generous, but this was unbelievable. We were broke as can be and the idea of my sister and I having our own computer just for us was mind-blowing.
71. Nothing Nano About the Size of This Gift
One year I reaaaalllllyyyy wanted an iPod Nano—the skinny one with a small screen and a rotating button. I have to admit they were pretty pricey back then, but somehow my working-class and loving single mother managed to buy me one. I love that woman.
My grandma sent my whole family taco seasoning packets one year. Genuinely surprising and more than a little confusing—but awesome at the same time.
73. A Hunting We Will Go
My favorite gift was the BB gun I got when I was a kid. It was hidden, so I had to go on a hunt for clues to find it. Fun stuff!
74. An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Last year, my husband got me an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil so I could draw more often. I was so surprised because we don’t usually do extravagant gifts.
75. From the Heart
I’m a teacher, and the greatest gift I ever received was a handwritten letter telling me how much I impacted a student’s life. I sometimes get a couple a year and they are always my favorite thing.
76. Wheel of Fortune
My eight-year-old son fell victim to the fidget spinner craze this past spring. So, of course, I bought him one—because it’s only $5, so why the heck not? Anyway, the holidays rolled around, and he was so upset because he didn’t have any money to get me a present. So what did he do? He went into his room, wrapped up his fidget spinner—at the time, his most prized possession—and gave it to me.
I hugged him and thanked him immensely, and then asked if maybe we could just share it, since it’s no fun playing by yourself. Fast forward a few months and we now have eight fidget spinners between us, because it’s become this little inside thing where we buy each other one whenever we get a chance.
77. Living the Dream
My favorite Christmas gift of all time was a Barbie dream house. I had been led to believe that it was no longer available. It had an elevator, guys!!
78. Kitchen Confidential
My best was a Kitchenaid a couple years ago! My mom got her red one a month or so early for Christmas and I had been wanting one sooo bad. She told me “Hey, I had to wait until I was 45!” I was 21 at the time. We all take turns opening gifts on Christmas morning. My husband knew about this surprise gift. Everyone was finished with gifts til 20 minutes later, they tell me to come out into the entryway and there’s another box. In it was my pretty blue Kitchenaid mixer!!
My mom loves to do that with gifts. You think you’re done opening and then bam, surprise. She did that for my brother and I when we were younger for iPods, too.
79. Blast From the Past
Me and my boyfriend have been together since we were in primary school, which for anyone outside the UK is first and second grade. We’re now in our 20s and for Christmas two years ago, he gave me a montage of all of the messages and letters we had written to each other throughout the years. I’ve framed it and kept it next to my bedside ever since.
80. Leader of the Pack
I’ve always loved wolves and there’s a wolf sanctuary in Missouri, so my mother donated money to adopt a wolf for me. We got to go on a tour of the whole sanctuary. Still my favorite ever.
81. Pleasant Surprise
I was the biggest “hip-hop head” as a kid and always wanted turntables. I saw a big box under the tree for me and I just thought that has to be it. On Christmas, to my surprise, it wasn’t the turntables—it was a double tape boombox that took like 20 D batteries. I bumped that thing every day. Still one of the best gifts ever.
82. Man’s Best Friend
I got a puppy one year. She was my best friend for 13 years. Miss ya girl.
83. Popping the Question
I got engaged. He had our daughter who was two years old at the time come down the stairs wearing a shirt that said: “Will you marry my daddy?”
84. Sewing the Seeds
I got a sewing machine when I was about 12 years old. Best gift ever. I just replaced it about 15 years later, but that little machine got put to good use. I was a skinny kid and most of my clothes were hand-me-downs or garage sale finds. So I sewed them to make me look good! Expanded all my girl pockets. Thanks, mom! Best gift ever!
85. Not So Fast, Big Debbie!
Ten years ago, I was OBSESSED with Little Debbie Christmas cakes. Whenever my mom would buy them, I would eat a box by myself and she would have to hide them. We made jokes about it and she called me “Big Debbie.” Anyway… I REALLY wanted a cell phone for Christmas. I had been begging for one all year because I was the last of my friends without one and my older sister had gotten one for her birthday the year before.
That was the only thing I wanted, I told my parents. It’s Christmas Day and my family is opening presents. Before unwrapping, I inspected each of mine to see which was most shaped like a box that would hold a cell phone. After doing size and shake tests, only one wrapped box made sense. I ripped the paper off and I’m laughing just remembering how my face totally sunk.
It was a box of Little Debbie cakes. I pushed it aside to open the other few gifts from my family and when I was done, I sat there frowning—being the spoiled teen that I was—watching everyone else open presents. “Emily, can you pass me one of the Little Debbie cakes?” my mom asked me. I was about to toss the box to her when she yelled, “Don’t you dare throw that box at me. Open it and pass me one like a civilized human being.”
I rolled my eyes and pulled the tape off the box to open it—and couldn’t belive my eyes. Inside, there were no cakes. There was nothing but another box—for an LG flip phone. I may have cried. My mom was laughing hysterically.
86. Family Entertainment
This was the first time I ever cried over a Christmas gift. It was my first Christmas as a mom and my first without my mom, and she was the biggest Christmas lover ever. I opened a gift from my aunt, one of my mom’s sisters, and it was a DVD collection of all the classic Claymation Christmas movies (Rudolph, Frosty, etc.). I cried. I watch them every year with my kiddo.
The best gift I ever received was seeing the expression on my parents’ faces when I enlisted in the Marines and surprised them by being home for Christmas after I had them convinced that I definitely wasn’t going to be able to.
88. The Beat Goes On
The first drum kit that I got when I was 16 years old was the greatest thing ever. I had wanted a kit since I was five. I lost my mind when I removed the wrapping paper.
89. Long Term and Short Term Wins
In my junior year of high school, the folks squirreled every penny to purchase an investment property. They clearly communicated that because of this, there wasn’t going to be much, if anything, under the tree. Flash cut to Christmas Eve and the doorbell rings about 9 PM. I answer it to find a brand new powder blue Univega 10-speed bike.
Still tears me up as they found a way to make this possible!!! I’m 45 years old now and thanks to my business-savvy parents, my family has a solid financial portfolio. Best parents ever.
90. Game On!
I loved the Game Boy SP I got when I was 10 years old. We didn’t have a whole lot of money growing up, and it was the best gift ever. Still have it to this day!
91. Something to Remember Her By
I received a Seiko watch from my wife of 37 years, for Christmas 2014. She passed away three weeks later. I cherish it very preciously.
92. Hoarding: Solved
My mom is the worst gift-giver of all time. She usually just gives you one of whatever she’s been hoarding that she doesn’t have room for. For a while, this was ceramic lighthouses. Then it was little fountains. As a man in his thirties, I was not the least bit interested in either. Then, one year, after my wife and I wondered what my birthday present would be—a fountain or a lighthouse—she surprised me.
She took a lighthouse, drilled a hole in the bottom, put a pump in it, and set it in a ceramic bowl of water so water poured from the top of the lighthouse, like it was flooded or something. Freaking lighthouse fountain. Well played, Mom.
93. A Shiny New Bathroom
My parents renovated my bathroom at their house. It was a “surprise.” Thing is, I didn’t live at home anymore—I had been living in a different state for four years. I was visiting for Christmas with my fiancé. The bathroom is connected to my room and every day for the five days we were visiting we were woken up at 8 AM and had to leave so the construction guys could work.
When I sort of complained about being woken up she called me ungrateful and screamed at me. We didn’t speak for four months.
94. No Reciprocation
I organized a surprise party for my wife’s 30th birthday. Supper at the local pizza place (her favorite), then bowling, then a movie. For my thirtieth, she told me to go out and by myself a cake. When I came home her parents had shown up to partake in said cake. I had to go out again for soda. There was no cake left when I got back.
I have an uncle I don’t really know who lives down south and thinks he’s a cowboy. He would give me gifts of things he likes but I definitely did not. One Christmas when I was a kid, he gave me a detailed book about guns and a check for $8.56. The next Christmas it was a horse calendar and a check for $17.02. Eventually, we figured out that apparently he set out a $30 budget for my gift and would give the exact remainder as a check. He’s weird.
96. This is a Joke…Right?
I should start this by saying I don’t give a care about getting expensive things for gifts whatsoever, but this was just depressing. One Christmas after watching my entire family open all their new iPads, laptops and other cool new devices, I opened my three gifts. The first thing I opened was a bottle of Colon Cleanse.
The second thing I opened was a package of female intimate moist wipes (I’m a guy). The third thing I opened was a DVD about terrorism. After opening my gifts and thinking they are all a joke from my dad everyone just gets kind of quiet and realizes that I don’t have anything else to open. My brother-in-law walks over to me, leans down, and whispers in my ear “that was the most depressing thing I’ve ever seen.”
The best part about all of this is that my Dad bought them new but 1st generation iPads (I didn’t know this at the time). My birthday is right before Christmas and this particular year I decided to treat myself and get a new iPad. While my family was playing with their “new” iPads they just got for Christmas they then proceeded to give me heck and call me a showoff for having the newest iPad that I just bought for myself.
97. Bad Gifts, Worse Dude
A few years back when I was in college, a group of my friends and I decided to throw a Christmas party. We decided that instead of everyone buying gifts for everyone we’d just draw names and buy a $15-20 gift for that person. I got the name of a friend’s boyfriend. He was a jerk, but we put up with him because we liked her. I bought him a smallish sized bottle of Dan Aykroyd’s Crystal Skull Vodka because it was new that year and the rest of my friends were also buying exotic booze as their gifts to liven the Holiday Spirit.
As it turns out he got my name too and bought me a $5 Walmart bargain bin movie with a bunch of low budget sci-fi original type movies on it. It was embarrassing to see everyone else opening up sizeable bottles of liquor and I was the person there with the worst gift. What baffled me was that when I returned it to Walmart, I exchanged it for The Addams Family and Hellraiser, so for the exact same price he could have bought me good movies, he just didn’t care.
But I jump ahead of myself, everyone at the party shared their liquor with everyone else that night. He guarded his vodka like the one ring and let no one try a sip but drank copious amounts of everyone else’s booze. A few months later he cheats on the friend dating him and attacks another girl in our group of friends.
I swear up and down that his bad Christmas gift was the tip of his douche iceberg.
98. There’s No “I” in Photo
I once got a framed and deliberately posed picture of myself that I have no recollection of ever being taken.
99. A For Effort
In the late ’70s, all the cool kids wore Ocean Pacific brand clothing. We were kinda poor, so my mom and grandma made most of our clothes. One year, my grandma made me pants and hand-stitched the letters O and P on the pockets. Looked nothing like the real thing. I had to wear them anyway.
100. The Elephants in the Room
My mother once gave my husband a truly tacky decorative statue of two elephants having intercourse. Kinda hilarious, entirely inappropriate.
101. It’s Not What It Looks Like
I got a gift card to a lingerie store from my grandma. The messed up part wasn’t the gift itself, but the fact that she made my poor 19-year-old brother go in and buy it. The conversation went something like this: Cashier: “Shopping for your girlfriend?” Brother: “No, for my sister…well, actually my grandma…” Awkward silence…
102. I’ve Got the Power
One Christmas, my ex-wife’s grandmother gave me a little electronic slot machine game that she bought at a yard sale. It still had the handwritten $1 price tag on it. When she handed it to me, her words were “Merry Christmas Ken, you’ll need to buy your own batteries for this.” My name is not Ken. And I never bought batteries for that game.
103. Oh You Beautiful Doll
I got a Barbie doll with a pink dress and brown hair. The kicker was that my father had just given my 15-year-old stepbrother a BMW the day before. I was grounded for two months because I told my dad I didn’t want the doll unless it was capable of pooping out car keys. No regrets.
It was Christmas morning and we’re all sitting around the tree with my family and girlfriend at the time. We are all opening presents and I open one from my girlfriend. I unwrap the box and inside I find a flat-billed baseball hat. Strange—I neither wear hats, nor give a hoot about the team whose logo was plastered on the front, let alone the sport. So, I pull it out and hold it up so everyone [but mainly my girfriend] could see. All the adults give a quizzical look. Even my little sister makes a “huh?” face.
So I say something like, “Uh thanks, honey.” Her face drains of color. She says “Oops, that was for someone else, I must have brought it inside by accident.” She then snatches it out of my hands. I hold out the card that was attached to the wrapping: “Hey baby, love ya lots. Merry Christmas.” She was cheating.
There were tickets to some big upcoming game tucked inside the hat too. Needless to say, it was awfully embarrassing to have to essentially break up with your girlfriend in front of your family on Christmas morning via what you thought was a gift.
105. Under-wear the Mistletoe
Every year, my family does a Secret Santa on Christmas. When I was about ten, my aunt had to buy me a gift. So Christmas morning, I open my gift up and find a Christmas sweater along with a pair of poop-stained women’s underwear. Apparently, my aunt was doing laundry and wrapping gifts at the same time and got the two mixed up.
106. Old Chocolate
Expired chocolate, on Christmas, from an aunt who was a chronic re-gifter, yet always expected expensive, top-notch gifts for her children on Christmas and their birthdays. Not only was the chocolate expired, but it was also evident that it had melted completely and re-solidified. When I noticed, I came up with a devious plan. I know I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t help myself. I went up to her with “OMG this chocolate is so good, you have to try it!” In front of the whole family.
I watched her unwrap a piece of chocolate and when she noticed how it looked, she was extremely hesitant to eat it. When she looked at me, I just had a smile on my face: “It’s the best chocolate ever!” And then I watched her slowly bring it to her mouth and try to eat it. She quickly walked to the kitchen immediately afterward.
I think I’ve only seen her once since that moment almost nine years ago.
107. An Unexpected Tearjerker
Growing up I used to absolutely hate that my uncle would get all of us kids the same $1 pair of cheap one size fits all gloves. I clearly remember thinking how I’d really rather just have the dollar, and yet he never failed to get them for us. It was always the last gift my cousins and I would open…Thanks, Uncle Craig.
Craig was developmentally disabled, and although he was well into his 30s when we were kids, he would come out into the street and play baseball with us. He’d ride bikes across town with us, buy us beer and adult mags when we were older…and yet every year, he’d get these darn gloves, even when we were grown adults, his health was fading, and we all moved away.
This will be Christmas number three without Uncle Craig, and as I look back at it now it makes more sense. He was living in a shack that he was renting for $350 a month there were 15 nieces and nephews…We knew he couldn’t afford to get us any toys or anything, but he wanted us to have something more meaningful than a dollar bill, and Christmas was his favorite holiday.
RIP Uncle Craig. I wish there was a poorly wrapped pair of gloves under my tree this year.