Few things are as exciting during the holiday season as receiving your Christmas presents.
And few things are more disappointing than opening your presents to find that they totally suck. Nothing kills the joy of anticipation faster than the despair of disappointment—and at times, disappointment can be an understatement! Some gift ideas are so bad that it may not be justified to even call them gifts at all!
Here are 43 stories of some of the worst Christmas gifts people have ever received.
43. 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??
42. 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…
41. It’s the Thought That Counts
Someone got me a mountain bike. I have cerebral palsy. They obviously didn’t think this through…
40. 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…
39. 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.
38. 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.
37. 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.
36. 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…
33. 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.
32. 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?
31. 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.
30. 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…
29. 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?”
28. Times Have Changed
I got a bag full of plastic cowboy and Indian figurines from Kmart—after graduating from college. Grandma never seemed to understand that I wasn’t eight anymore.
27. 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.
26. 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.
25. 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…”
24. When Size Does Matter
One Christmas, I only got clothes as gifts. I like getting clothes, and the designs on them were amazing. The problem was that every single article of clothing was too small for me, and none of them came with a receipt. All those clothes ended up going to my little brother and he got double the amount of gifts, while I ended up with nothing.
23. 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.
22. 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.
21. Better Late Than Never?
My aunt got me a wooden toy playset, recommended for ages 2-4. I was 14.
20. 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.
I once received a used copy of the Snakes on a Plane soundtrack. Upon later investigation, the disk was actually cracked. The next year, I received a DVD copy of the movie from the same person. I have never expressed an interest in that movie…
18. Who Cut the Cheese?
I usually never request Christmas gifts, but when my mother asked me what I wanted one year, I told her I needed an electric razor. She must have misheard, because she legitimately got me a cheese grater.
17. Let There Be Gifts!
My grandma gave me a glittery pink Bible. I am both a tomboy and an atheist. I assume she meant well though!
16. What Time is It?
I had a PSP and really wanted this particular game. The game was only five dollars. I begged my mom for it, but instead she got me a watch. A 13 dollar watch. That birthday sucked…
15. Chomper Challenges
My girlfriend knew I was very self-conscious about my teeth and wouldn’t smile very much. When I did, I’d try really hard to hide my teeth. Well, this girl’s family bought me a toothbrush. It even had my name on it.
14. This Gift Choked
I got a literal lump of coal from my best friend in college. It was a “gag gift.” He said it was the “gift of warmth.” Meanwhile, I bought him an MP3 player.
13. Lactose Intolerant
My sister got me a bag of Kroger shredded cheese one year.
12. Raiders of the Large Jacket
When I was a kid I got an oversized Oakland Raiders leather jacket. I mean, I liked the team, but I was 14 and it was crafted to fit a 300 lb man. I’m 36 now, and never even came close to fitting into it. It has never been worn and hangs in my closet to this day.
11. If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try Try Again
My grandparents are notorious re-gifters. There was this old, broken pinball game thing that every time they’d gift to one of us, we’d purposely leave it at their house. Then they would find it and gift it again in a couple years, like we’d forgotten all about it. This cycle repeated itself several times throughout my childhood.
10. Baby, You Can’t Drive My Car
Someone once gave me a gas station gift card.
I didn’t have a car…
9. Getting Everything Wrong
My grandma gave me a pair of bright red men’s underwear with googly eyes on them. I’m a girl.
8. Tea-ing Off on This One
One Christmas, my mum gave me a little pair of tongs for squeezing tea bags. I must have been like 16 or so at the time. Just for reference, we weren’t a poor family. The reason for no effort on gifts was because me and my brother kinda stopped caring about that sorta thing as we got older and didn’t ask for anything.
But still, we were like “Why would you even wrap this? What a cruel joke.”
To top it off, they sucked. The tongs bent when you tried to squeeze a tea bag.
7. 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.
6. Warning: May Contain Lead
My dad gave my sister and me a pencil holder for Christmas a few years ago. Umm, thanks, I guess…
5. When The Worst is Actually the Best
Growing up I used to 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 Playboy mags when we were older… And yet every year, these damn gloves even when we were grown adults and 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.
4. 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.
3. 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, hun.” 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.
1. 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.
More from Factinate
Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your time!
Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at email@example.com. Thanks for your help!
The Factinate team