December 13, 2023 | Violet Newbury

Terrible Christmas Gifts

Nothing feels as good as waking up on Christmas morning and tearing into the presents under the tree. After all, Santa made his list and checked it twice. Unfortunately for these Redditors, that list went up in smoke. From socks and rocks to a poop-filled box, these stories of the worst Christmas gifts ever will make anyone think, “What was Santa thinking"?!

1. Christmas Was In The Bag

My grandma was quite a character to say the least. I remember one Christmas morning vividly, with my two cousins and I visiting her for the holiday. The whole family gathered there, and we marveled at the beautifully wrapped heap of gifts resting in the corner.

Yet the stunning visual was all a deception. No sooner had we taken in the sight, than we were informed those presents were intended for the "other" grandchildren. Our young, baffled faces didn't have time to respond before our grandmother had darted off into her room.

In an instant, she returned with an old, worn-out Ziplock bag. It was filled with a mishmash of partially used nail polish and a smattering of broken jewelry. Dumping it on the floor between us, she curtly wished us a Merry Christmas. What an unforgettable way to celebrate the holiday.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

2. Not Impressed

This story takes place during the inaugural Christmas shared by my dad and his latest wife. Prior to this, Dad's third wife—my mom being his second—had left him entangled in a web of debt. Eager to make a positive impression, Dad showered his wife's kids with extravagant gifts. 

However, his financial resources were sparse. Unfortunately, this meant that me and my two siblings were given minimal thought. Each step-sibling unwrapped a brand new laptop, whilst I unwrapped a $20 McDonald's gift card.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

3. Raked Over The Coals

My mom was a mixed bag growing up—especially around holidays and birthdays. And when I was about thirteen, she'd go from being fantastical to downright terrifying. We remembered that year vividly: No Christmas tree, no holiday decorations—it was as if Christmas didn't exist. We were all too terrified to even mention it, fearing it might trigger one of her moods.

Then, our dad stepped in. He got us a tree, urged us to decorate it however we fancied, and even joined in, helping with the lights and the star. All this, while mom remained secluded in her room. Once the presents, large and mysteriously shaped, started to appear under the tree, our Christmas spirit picked up.

We all eagerly unwrapped our Christmas Eve gift, only to find big chunks of coal. Naturally, my younger siblings broke down in tears. My dad stalked off to the bedroom...and that's when I realized what had happened. She'd snuck them under the tree while Dad wasn't looking, just to be mean. 

He sent us off to watch Christmas movies while he confronted mom—a rare display of frustration on his part as he usually kept his temper in check. Once he'd calmed the little ones, and after they'd been tucked away in bed, dad asked me to help wrap the rest of the gifts—except for my own, of course. 

Despite everything, the next morning started off on a high note. Mom was up bright and early, making us cinnamon rolls as if the previous night never happened. I won't ever know what our dad said to her, but it seemed to work—she was clearer and calmer ever since.

Eventually, a few years later, mom agreed to get help. She found out she was manic depressive and that it was stress that sparked her mood swings.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

4. I Was Down The River

In our family tradition, the most anticipated gift of Christmas, for each child or grandchild, is said to be from "Santa". It's wrapped in a distinct way. My siblings and I have always known, from our childhood, that the most coveted gift, our ultimate wish, would be the "Santa" present. 

In case that gift was too large to fit under the tree, our parents would creatively take a photo of it, put it into a small box and wrap it up. The only time I ever received such a small "Santa" box was when I was 19. Let's just say it didn't turn out very well. 

I was in the middle of unwrapping a pile of other miscellaneous gifts. Interestingly, about half of them were car-related items like floor mats or a steering wheel cover. The twist was, I didn't own a car. I saw my younger sister get her own car from our parents, while I had to make do with driving their old van temporarily.

Naturally, with car accessories for gifts, a small "Santa" box waiting, and not having requested much else that year, I excitedly concluded that I was getting a car. Upon opening the Santa box, I was bewildered to find a $50 gift card for a hobby store that I loved. There were no car keys, no picture of a car.

Seeing my puzzled expression, my parents asked if everything was okay, explaining that they were at a loss as to what to get me since I hadn't asked for much that year. I confirmed that I appreciated the gift card, but queried about all the car-oriented gifts. 

They responded, "Oh, those are to help make the van feel more like your own". I asked, "Does that mean it's mine"? That's when it dawned on my parents. Their gifts had been misleading. They clarified that they hadn't planned to gift me a car, nor did they intend to hand me over the van. Unfortunately, both never materialized. 

There was an even more frustrating twist. The hobby store where I had a gift card was located in a different city, and I was forbidden to drive their van that far without them. They never could manage to accompany me, so I also never got to use the gift card.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels


5. Show Me The Money!

The most disappointing gift I've ever gotten came from my grandparents on my mother's side. They were the kind of folks who had a knack for making you feel worthless, without even having to raise their voices. Even saying something as trivial as, "the sky is blue," could earn their ire and harsh criticism. Whenever they would visit, my sister and I would make ourselves scarce.

On our birthdays and during Chanukah year after year, my sister and I would each receive a card from them with a single dollar bill tucked inside. They'd always tell us, "we've deposited some money in your account". Not an account set up by mom and dad, mind you, it was a special one they had opened for us. The catch? 

We couldn't touch it until we turned 18. When my 18th birthday rolled around, I was thrilled to finally have a peek at this account. To say the balance was a letdown would be an understatement—I think it just hit triple digits, likely because they chewed up $5 from it every time they sent that token dollar. 

All that anticipation for nothing; it truly wasn't worth the wait.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

6. No Turning It Around

Mom wasn't always the best at picking out gifts that matched our individual preferences. She often chose presents based on what she liked, instead of what we might have wanted. Sometime in the late-80s, she settled on a stereo as my big gift. Strangely enough, she went for a Fisher Price turntable. 

Sure, it was cute, but CD players were already out and vinyl records were a thing of the past. Perhaps the most frustrating part was how she treated this kiddie turntable. She put it on a pedestal, considering it high-end equipment that a kid wasn't supposed to use. So, soon after Christmas, it ended up tucked away in its original packaging in our attic—where it remains untouched to this day. 

Mom had an idea to bring it out at some unknown future date, but her knack for putting things off indefinitely meant that date never arrived. I'm still miffed that she wasted her hard-earned money on a gift I hadn't requested, and more so, one that I never even got the chance to use.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Flickr, Joe Haupt

7. Called Out On Christmas

During one holiday season when I was about 16, my father and stepmother gave themselves presents but had them labeled under my name. That toy I was so eager to get? Never saw it. Instead, I was gifted two games my father had been eyeing. I also received a sweatshirt that was way too large to wear. When I mentioned the size issue, they returned it but didn't give me the refund.

On top of that, they gave me a Warhammer 40k collection, something my dad is a huge fan of but not at all on my wish list. He held onto it, not even allowing me a chance to play with it. Apart from socks and sweets, everything was more or less for them rather than myself. But the drama didn't stop there.

When I confronted them about it, they accused me of lacking gratitude and yelled at me. My dad even physically pushed me against the wall, declaring that he was severing ties with me. Ah, such a "joyous" Christmas...

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

8. Maniacal Mother-In-Law

My mother-in-law has a strong and unique passion for Christmas and faith. Her approach encompasses things like baking a large pink cake and belting out "Happy Birthday" to baby Jesus on Christmas Day. Picture yourself trying to smile through a rendition of this birthday song, while one person carries a lit cake with a wild gleam in her eyes. 

It felt like I'd been cornered by a comic villain, anticipating a superhero rescue any minute. She insisted I provide a wish-list for Christmas gifts. Despite the awkwardness as her daughter's new partner, I gave her a list of modestly priced items. Her reaction left me speechless. She chucked it in the trash without hesitation.

Our first meeting wasn't any more relaxed. I'd been recovering from a cold and had a ragged look. She made an impromptu visit and wanted an introduction. Over dinner served on my rainbow Fiestaware plates, the only thing she mentioned was their varied colors.

Come Christmas Day, I felt a strange mix of anticipation and apprehension as I prepared to spend the holiday with my in-laws. Unwrapping the first gift revealed a budget electric razor, with her blunt comment about me wearing a beard the first time we met. This, despite knowing that I'd been unwell and hadn't shaved, and the fact that I already had all the shaving gear I needed.

Next came a previously used, costly dish set that she got at a bargain. With considerable wear due to years of use, she presented it as an upgrade to my mismatched plates, failing to mention the huge discount she got. With gold-leaf foil decorations, I couldn't even microwave or dishwash them. 

I mentally prepared for an ironic trip to a thrift shop once I got back home. The final gift was a wine rack, despite my minimal wine collection. Yet my mother-in-law had a drinking habit. Nothing from my wish-list was included, and all the gifted items felt like masked criticisms.

My previous job involved dealing with people trying to insult or assault me. This, however, was my first encounter with veiled insults in the form of gifts. The complete disregard for my wish-list was a jarring contrast to my family's usually thoughtful gift-giving practice.

We no longer keep in touch with my mother-in-law due to various reasons. Still, that Christmas experience remains a memorable one, recalling the worst gifts I’ve ever received. It wasn’t so much the quality of the items, but the underlying disrespect that left me wondering how someone who claims to cherish Christmas could act so contrary to its spirit of goodwill and love. Something I'll never forget.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

9. Sad Puppy

At the age of 15, I yearned for a dog, something my mom was well aware of. Christmas morning arrived and, after unwrapping all the other gifts, my mom revealed one final surprise package. It was an animate box, jumping around with holes on its sides, coupled with adorable, tiny pup barks. The anticipation was immense. I was thrill-filled, ready to greet my new companion.

But as I unwrapped the box, I was greeted by a cruel surprise. My heart dropped as tears welled up in my eyes. Instead of a live, cuddly puppy, I found a stuffed animal pup, a vibrating bumble ball toy, and a mini tape recorder playing puppy sounds.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Flickr, Marco Verch Professional Photographer


Sign up to our newsletter.

History’s most fascinating stories and darkest secrets, delivered to your inbox daily. Making distraction rewarding since 2017.

Thank you!
Error, please try again.

10. Strumming The Wrong Tune

One Christmas, my folks gifted me an acoustic guitar. The twist? My brother was the one who had wished for it, not me. So, in reality, my Christmas surprise was the sight of utter disappointment on my brother's face. I found myself pretending to be thrilled about the guitar, trying to dodge the awkwardness. We ended up sharing this guitar, and I faked interest in learning to play it.

This masquerade carried on for about a month. Eventually, I stepped back and let my brother take full control over the guitar. He later scored his own electric guitar on his birthday. He took guitar classes, joined a band—he went all in and still plays to this day. As for me? I can't stand playing the guitar. It's just painful for my fingers.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels


11. Freebie Flub

A few years back, my dad managed to line up tickets for me to watch some of my favorite TV shows being filmed in New York City. My excitement quickly turned into anxiety when I found out that I was supposed to arrange for my own expenses and also stay with my overbearing grandmother in New Jerseysomeone I usually try to keep a distance from. 

To top off the surprise, not only were the show tickets complimentary, but dad had also informed my grandma of my supposed visit. She had prepared a pile of gardening tasks and odd jobs for me when I showed up. In the end, I chose not to go and this decision still ruffles my dad's feathers as he believes I didn't value his gift.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

12. It Wasn’t Written In The Stars

One Christmas, when I was roughly 10 years old, I ended up with stacks upon stacks of Star Trek stuff. Star Trek action figures, mini Star Trek machines, Star Trek ship models, puzzles based on Star Trek, and all sorts of Star Trek toys flooded my present pile. But here's the funny part.

I had actually wished for Star Wars toys. What a mix-up!

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Flickr, JD Hancock

13. Get The Lead Out

During a fun family secret Santa, we'd all tend to spoil each other more than we probably should, even though it was meant to be chill. On one occasion, my Californian aunt and uncle got in on the action; the aunt insisted that her kids also participate so they wouldn't miss out on presents. 

Following the tradition, one of her little ones picked my name. When it came time for the reveal, I received a $5 pen and pencil set from them. In another twist, one of her other kids got my mom as their secret Santa. However, they said, "Oh no, I haven't gotten anything for you yet. I thought we were exchanging gifts on New Year's Eve". 

All the while, those same kids were receiving huge dollhouses and tricycles!

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

14. She Showed Her True Colors

Once, during my high school days, I had a family member—who we've since lost touch with—who thought my passion for art was rather immature. One year, things got a bit out of hand. For my gift, she and her husband gave me a large set of Prismacolor pencil crayons, which I was thrilled about. 

Her husband had taken the time to research what tools a budding artist might need, and chose these for me. Unfortunately, she didn't quite share his sentiment. Before letting me open the Prismacolors, she presented me with a pack of children's crayons, saying she thought it would be a funny prank. 

She went on to snap multiple photos, while saying, "Youngsters who enjoy coloring should receive youngsters' gifts". Even though I felt embarrassed with everyone watching, I still treasured both my professional-grade Prismacolors and my set of Crayolas.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Flickr, m01229

15. Treated Like Dirt

My kid brother was the family's darling. Growing up, he could push any limit without any complaint, and our parents would fulfill his every wish. During my high school freshman year, I befriended a group who were dirt bike enthusiasts. They used to take off to the wilderness or desert nearly every weekend for a ride.

They continually encouraged me to join, even offering an old spare dirt bike for me to use. Encouraged, I requested a dirt bike as my gift that year. Though I knew it was quite pricey, our well-off parents wouldn't find it burdensome. But once my little brother learned of my request, he suddenly decided he wanted one too, despite having no previous interest.

As Christmas approached, anticipation grew. On the morning, I excitedly entered our living room to find a shiny, new Kawasaki KX65 standing there. There was just one problem. It was much too small for me, I quickly scoured the house, yard, and garage, hoping my proper sized bike was just too bulky to bring inside, but to no avail. 

My parents had granted my little brother his whim and left me with a remote-controlled dirt bike.The disappointment seared me deeply. My little brother had received the gift I had so desired without even appreciating it. He hardly ever rode it, and after a few years, my dad ended up selling it for a ridiculously low price.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Flickr, Eje Gustafsson

16. Rank And Vile

Here's how my mom uses holiday gifts to reveal her perception of our family hierarchy. One year, she gifted me a ladies' coat, even though I'm a grown man. Another time, she gave all the grandkids comfy PJs and I got identical ones—except they were child-sized and small, while I stand at 6’1” tall and nearly tip the scale at 200 pounds.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels


17. Stewing Mad

Each year, my mom made it a tradition to take us kids to Dollar Tree. We'd each have to choose one present for every family member. Since there were seven of us in total, each one of us ended up with around five or six gifts, just a dollar each in value. 

On Christmas day, we'd all gather and take turns to unwrap these gifts. It was always a fun experience, even though we ended up joking about the gifts as we grew up. One particular year, I decided to prank my brother and brother-in-law by giving them cans of beef stew. 

My brother-in-law was super annoyed, and at first, I just couldn't understand why. I mean, it's just canned soup, right? Later, I found out that the "beef stew" I had bought for him was actually Gravy Train, a brand of dog food! So technically, we all received the worst presents, but it was all in good fun. 

It might have been disappointing sometimes, especially when we saw our schoolmates with fancy iPods. Nonetheless, we ended up creating precious and hilarious memories.

The Worst Christmas The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Gift Ever!Flickr, Marco Verch Professional Photographer

18. The Unfavored Child

At Christmas one year, every one of my mother's six siblings found gifts under the tree, yet there was not a single one for her. When she questioned this, her parents pointed out a new coat they'd purchased for her, but this was months prior. The following year seemed promising, with numerous gifts bearing her name under the tree. 

However, her hopes vanished as she opened them—they were just ordinary household items wrapped up, with no genuine gift for her once again. I still find it hard to understand how they could have been so unkind.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

19. Double Dissatisfaction

While I was growing up, my mom was determined to demonstrate absolute fairness between me and my sister. Consequently, she'd purchase identical gifts for the both of us. This predictability took away much of the Christmas excitement, as I'd often know what my presents were just by seeing my sister unwrap hers. 

Moreover, she frequently selected items only from my sister's wish-list for the both of us. One Christmas, for example, we both received hair straighteners. But the irony was my sister had curly hair, while mine was naturally as straight as a board. 

In another instance, she got us luxurious soaps, which my sister loved. Only, my skin is sensitive and I'm allergic to most soaps. Unintentionally, in her quest for equality, it seemed she ended up favoring my sister rather than treating us both equally.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

20. Self-Serving Sectarian

My mom really struggles with the art of gift-giving. When she's out shopping for others, it's like she's really shopping for herself, which means people end up receiving gifts that she loves. Or sometimes, she buys a present really early on, like in March, and then loses it by the time December rolls around. 

Then, your "gift" ends up being the story of her misplaced present. Additionally, she's been known to give something like a three-book set piece by piece—a book per holiday, with the final present being the case to hold them all.

As I've aged, I've started to notice this odd trend. I'd rarely get exactly what was on my wish list—maybe something close, but never spot on. My hunch was that she wasn't getting me things I wanted because they didn't interest her. So, I decided to do a bit of an experiment. 

I asked for a gift I knew she'd love—a specific type of Bible. I detailed the exact brand, translation, whether it was hardback or paperback, even the cover design and color scheme. Lo and behold, I received exactly what I'd asked for, every detail checked off. I've kept it as a lesson, a reminder of what not to do when I'm buying gifts for my own kids.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

21. A Time For Change

Four months after my mom passed, Christmas rolled in. This period was a tough season for my dad, who battled with both depression and an addiction to medications, likely fueled by his deep sadness. He was also known for his fondness of alcohol. 

My dad had this hobby of collecting coins, something we participated in as little kids. We'd eagerly help him sift through his pocket change, keenly eyeing the collection for uncommon coins or specific dates that might have a misprint, and be worth a fortune.

I guess he figured we might have carried on the love for coin collecting into our teenage years, just as he did. But, to be frank, we hadn't. As little kids, it was more about spending quality time with him, rather than an actual interest in the coins.

When Christmas came, he surprised us with some collectible coins, which were, unfortunately, the only gifts he gave us. I attempted to look grateful and excited about this, for his sake. I don't know, though, if I managed to hide my true feelings. That Christmas marked the last one when we got presents. 

In the years that followed, our Christmas gifts got reduced to just a card with some cash tucked inside it until we reached adulthood. After that, the concept of gifts disappeared completely.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Flickr, Mark Mathosian

22. Junk Food Jam

Back when I was just an 8-year-old, my parents decided to split up, and my sisters and I ended up living with our mom. We didn't have a lot of money, so our mom could only buy things using food stamps. She made the best of it though, buying items we generally couldn't have like sweet cereals and other treats. 

She'd even wrap them up, ensuring we had something to unwrap. As a kid, it was a thrill, a taste of what we seldom had. But now, as I look back, it's a stark reminder of how tough and financially tight our lives were.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels


23. What A Sham!

I remember one time I asked my boy what he thought about those Roomba vacuums. He told me they were pretty nifty, but warned me not to buy a cheap imitation—he'd done it before, and it was just awful. Fast forward a couple of years to Christmas. 

He hands me a pre-owned, knockoff Roomba! Well, I just broke out in laughter while he sat there puzzled. It took a minute, but once I reminded him of the talk we'd had before, he got the joke.

The Worst Christmas The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Gift Ever!Flickr, Mike Mozart

24. Tool Time Travesty

My uncle has always struggled to pick out suitable presents for me. I remember once when I was seven, I was so fascinated with pretend tools. But instead of toy tools, he gifted me a real tool set because he thought pretend tools were nonsensical! It's an excellent gift for someone older, but at seven, it really wasn't practical, and I eventually lost track of them.

The most unfortunate gift was on a Christmas when I turned nine. He gave me a set of pocket knives, designed mainly for show, complete with a wooden display box. I did not find any use for them, and once, I even ended up cutting my finger while fiddling with them.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

25. Down The Drain

A couple years ago, we gathered for a celebration at my wife's parents' house. Her sister had been really into sewing at the time. She crafted wonderful fleece blankets, each one boasting a unique design. Everyone was thrilled with their gifts. Then, it was my turn. She gave me a plastic bag. What I found inside was puzzling. 

There were two tiny plastic funnels. With a wide smile, she looked at me and said, "You enjoy cooking, don't you"? Honestly, I would have rather received nothing. Sometimes it feels better to be overlooked than to fake gratitude in front of the entire family.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Flickr,

26. This Gift Didn’t Cut It

When I was 16, I was knee-deep in my Art GCSE project, which involved so much cutting and pasting that I often borrowed the kitchen scissors. This habit annoyed my mom to no end. At this time, I had two older brothers; one had just started university, while the other had scored a new job.

My college-bound brother was a huge fan of world maps, so he was given bed sheets adorned with a map of the world. He also received a pricey backpack for his studies. Meanwhile, my brother with the new job was gifted some stylish shoes and soft merino wool jumpers. All of their gifts were thoughtfully presented, beautifully wrapped, and probably cost somewhere between £100 and £200 ($120-$245) each.

When it was my turn, I was handed a simple plastic bag. Inside? A pair of £3 ($3.60) scissors. That was the entirety of my Christmas gifts that year.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pxhere

27. Grow Up, Grandma!

Annually, my grandmother used to give me clothes fit for a six-year-old, even though my brother and I were growing up. It was as if the notion of our growth completely bypassed her mind. After this happened for a couple of years, my mom had had enough of granny spending money unnecessarily. 

Her solution was to ask grandma to send the money to her instead. That way, mom could pick out our presents. Grandma would just need to send a card to accompany them.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

28. A Hair-Brained Idea

Back when I was just a five-year-old and my sister was around nine, our uncle's family quizzed me about my sister's preferences. Honestly, I was clueless. The only thing I was certain of, was that she had a peculiar liking for hollering at me. Lacking any better ideas, I simply told them she was fond of hair ties. Well, that backfired.

That particular Christmas, her present from them was an utterly ludicrous quantity of hair ties and scrunchies, like two hundred or so. She teased me about it for a really long time after that.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Flickr, Elizabeth Thomsen

29. Doily Disaster

When I was around the age of ten, my grandmother mailed some gifts for us from abroad. My brother got to unwrap his present first, and to his delight, he found an awesome vintage toy. Then it was my turn. All excited, I unwrapped my gift only to find a collection of doilies. 

Right then and there, disappointment brought me to tears. I mean, I couldn't figure out for my life what a ten-year-old was supposed to do with doilies. Years later, we still crack up about this in the family. Our favorite punchline? "Well, at least it's better than doilies"!

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Flickr, Bunches and Bits {Karina}

30. Bad Move

So, I received this chessboard, right? Not a bad thing, but the timing was off since my backpacking trip for over half a year was about to begin and I had just moved out of my apartment. This wasn't just any chessboard, but a huge one crafted from glass, even the pieces. And there was no neat case for it, only a box with styrofoam to pack it in. 

Oh, and by the way, I don't even play chess! So, my thoughts were, "Great, now what do I do with this thing? I have less than a week to pass it on to someone else, or it's heading straight for the garbage"!.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

31. It Was A Big Fumble

During one Christmas, my mother brought me along to her boyfriend's family holiday celebration out in the countryside of Michigan. At that party, I received a gift called "The Year in Clemson Football: 1993". It was kind of them to consider giving me a present, but as a 9-year-old, I had a hard time understanding why they chose that specific book.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Freepik, asier_relampagoes

32. Pouring Salt On The Wound

My mom and I have always clashed due to her obsession with keeping a spotless house. As someone with ADHD, that’s not really my thing. I don’t see a future in homemaking, I'm not planning to have children, and I only started ADHD treatment after I moved out. 

This point of contention between us lingered, making me feel less than because my mom saw my forgetfulness and extreme difficulty with organization as laziness. My first Christmas living with my partner, away from my mom’s home, was quite an experience. 

Despite telling my mom not to bother sending a gift, she still did—a book titled, "How to Sew a Button and Other Things Your Grandmother Knew". An underhanded snipe, considering she had previously visited and made negative comments about my partner and me, labelling us as lazy, ill-mannered and ungrateful. I tried my best to brush off her words, but this was the last straw. 

Beside myself, I took the book to our room and shed some tears. Her gesture took all the joy out of my Christmas; honestly, I would've been better off without any gift. Her present seemed harmless, but to me, it felt like her way of emphasising her belief that I'm worthless, and incapable of even the simplest tasks.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

33. The Writing Was On The Wall

Back when I was around 9 or 10 years old, my dear aunt popped the question: "Would you like a calligraphy pen set"? At the time, despite the countless laborious hours under the strict hands of my teacher, my handwriting hadn't improved. Consequently, I strongly turned down my aunt's offer. 

She tried to persuade me, claiming I would enjoy the pen set. But my refusal became more stubborn with each attempt. When Christmas rolled around, I ended up unwrapping a calligraphy pen set from her. The following year, she gifted me a trash can. Surprisingly, I found the trash can more handy, certainly more beneficial than the calligraphy set.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Flickr, Jo Zimny Photos

34. Sound The Alarm

Once upon a time, out of the blue, my dad came to pick me up for a Christmas surprise. We swung by a Walgreens on our way because we had to grab a quick gift for my sister—her unexpected arrival was a surprise! My dad handed me $10 and asked me to pick something for her. 

I spotted a quite trendy alarm clock that I thought she could use and went for it. But, since I still hadn't mastered the art of gift-wrapping, I passed it onto my stepmom. Fast forward to Christmas morning. Gifts were being unwrapped all around—a watch for my brother, a stack of Adidas outfits for my sister, and to my surprise, the same alarm clock I had chosen last night was for me! 

All my dad could utter was, "You picked it". My sister, on discovering the mix-up, simply re-bagged her new sweatshirt and gifted it to me.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

35. Use Your Egg-Noggin’

I'd recently begun dating someone new, and I wasn't expecting anything from their parents—just a friendly "Hi, here's some eggnog". But, it was as if they had strolled through the 'Totes' section of a store and picked up one of each item. Their total spending must have hovered around $75. 

They didn't even really know me, yet their generosity seemed slightly misplaced and definitely unexpected. I appreciate their kind gesture, still, it felt a bit odd. I ended up donating everything to charity, which wasn't a bad turn of events. But honestly, I would've been perfectly happy with just the eggnog.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

36. No Bun In The Oven

So, my sister got me prenatal vitamins as a gift even though I'm not expecting a baby. I'd mentioned I wanted to try them because I'd heard they help enhance your skin, nails, and hair health. But, she picked the wrong timing to give me the vitamins. It was the first time my boyfriend was coming over for Christmas. 

He saw them and totally misunderstood the situation. My family, in jest, added to this confusion which led him to believe that I was pregnant. He came up with an obvious fib about needing to take gifts to my car and simply bolted. Before I knew it, he even blocked me on all platforms.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Freepik, stockking

37. I Couldn’t Brush It Off

When I was around 8 or 9 years old, I was sitting under the Christmas tree with my brother, engaging in our favorite guessing game of predicting the gifts based on their shape. I picked up one present that had the unmistakable feel of a toothbrush. Bursting into laughter I exclaimed, "This one seems like a toothbrush! Who would give a toothbrush as a Christmas gift? That's the silliest idea for a present"! 

I noticed a sudden change in my dad's expression—he looked upset and somewhat defensive. The gift turned out to be exactly what it felt like—a toothbrush, a Christmas present from my mom and dad. As I grew older, I discovered that during that time, our family was going through a severe financial crunch, barely managing to keep things going. 

Despite their struggles, my parents were trying their hardest to ensure we had a lovely Christmas and all our needs were met. Looking back now, my past comment causes a pang of guilt.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

38. Trash Collector

In my family, I often feel like the designated dumpsite. Anything that's outdated, dysfunctional, or no longer needed seemingly finds its way to me as "gifts". My home is a treasure trove of past-their-prime items, from worn-out kitchen equipment, used teapots and a neglected food steamer, to a dysfunctional old-school TV, a 1980s word processor, and a drama-infused karaoke machine grudgingly recycled by my cousin's grandma.

Speaking of my cousin, she's quite adept at the "oh, I don't really need this" routine whenever she opens her presents. In addition to the fascinating collection I mentioned earlier, I've also been gifted a towel, a box of hot chocolate, and a plethora of redundant cat paraphernalia. As a rule, I usually chuck these items as soon as I set foot in my house since they only add to the growing mountain of unwanted knickknacks.

The truly disheartening part of it all is that this circus of inconsiderate gifting involves my closest family members. With every birthday or celebratory season, it's screamingly evident they either don't truly understand who I am or simply can't be bothered to learn anything about me.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Flickr, Marco Verch Professional Photographer

39. It Was Not Crazy Good

At the age of 12, getting an iPod for Christmas was a big deal for me! My love for music was blooming, and I had begun to stash away cash to buy one. My dad kept dropping hints that Santa might bring an iPod, so I opted to spend my savings on different items and patiently waited for Christmas to roll around.

When Christmas Day arrived, there it was—a box that had the unmistakable shape of an iPod! My excitement went through the roof, and I couldn't suppress a joyful scream. With my heart pounding, I eagerly tore off the wrapping paper. When I looked down, I neared screamed. It was a box of Pop-Tarts. I watched as my dad erupted into laughter, suggesting we could potentially get an iPod after ringing in the New Year.

That year, my only Christmas present was that box of Pop-Tarts, which was a big let-down. We ended up having a bit of an argument over it, and he harshly said that none of my extended family really cared about me. Despite the disappointment, I managed to save up from my babysitting gig and bought myself an iPod the following year.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Flickr, Mike Mozart

40. Oh Nuts, Not Again!

My aunt had an endearing habit of randomly giving three identical gifts to my sister, brother, and me. These presents were nothing more than a box of chocolates, some cookies, and a bag of pistachios. The funny thing was, I would always become the unexpected owner of the pistachios. Coincidentally, I'm the only one who has an allergy to pistachios.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

41. This Gift Was A Real Toad

While I was in school, I found myself constantly jotting down notes and I thought LeapFrog's Fly Pentop Computer would be a real game-changer, so I pleaded with my parents to buy one for me. Eventually, they gifted it to me for Christmas. 

The concept was that you could write notes by hand and then upload them as a typed document, and it came with several other cool features. However, it ended up being a huge disappointment. It required a special paper that was ridiculously expensive.

Moreover, the note-taking feature was horribly flawed as well. Only roughly 60% of my handwritten notes would successfully convert into a typed document. The gadget was also supposed to provide assistance with maths problems, but that didn't work either. 

It turned out that it was much faster and hassle-free to write down problems and solve them with a calculator rather than using any special paper. What truly annoyed me was that the pen was simply too big and difficult to handle. My hand would start aching after merely 10 minutes of use. 

The other kids in the class even started making jokes, saying that it resembled my mom's personal device. It turned out to be the most useless gadget I'd ever requested, costing around $200. It left me filled with regret.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Freepik, karlyukav

42. This Present Stunk!

My Christmases were typically modest, usually comprising of new outfits and footwear, topped off with a single dazzling surprise. Coming from a family with roots in the countryside where hunting and fishing were staple activities, I was the sole child. 

When I was a tender age of 12, after the ritual opening of dress-related gifts, I eagerly anticipated that one special present. Handed over a rather diminutive box, my heart pounded as I revealed its contents—a note hinting at a hidden treasure within our home.

I spent an ample part of the day joyfully scampering around the house until my quest landed me in the garage, greeted by an unusually gigantic box. My mind was a carousel of fantastical guesses as I impetuously opened the box, instantly hit by a pungent odor.

It was half full of cow dung. My heart sank down to my shoes. With laughter echoing behind me from my amused parents and grandparents, I dashed away, disappointed. The following day, however, I received my father's inherited 30-06 rifle—so it turned out I was expected to sift through the manure for another clue.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Shutterstock

43. Lies, All Lies!

When I hit my mid-teens, around 14 or 15, my aunt changed her gifting strategy. She stopped giving me usual presents like toys or apparel. Instead, I'd receive a letter stating, "I've deposited $70 into a college savings account for you". 

This account was also her go-to for my birthday presents, so about $140 was added annually for the next 5-6 years. It seemed like there'd be a nice sum ready for me to spend on college books. Honestly, I was okay and thankful for this arrangement. However, when it was time for me to tap into this cash, a shocking truth revealed itself. 

I talked to my mom about the money, but she just laughed and retorted, "There was never any account". I later discovered that this aunt had been exploiting my late grandmother's money. I don't talk to her these days.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

44. Done With Dad

For a long time, my dad would shoot me a text a week before, or sometimes even the week of, Christmas. He'd ask me what kind of tool or garage gadget I had my eye on. I'd give him my wish list, and he'd typically order it online on a rush delivery, since he never really bothered to plan in advance. However, this trend abruptly stopped last year.

Instead of sticking to our usual routine, he gave me a little, low-cost drone that looked like it came from the bargain bin next to the checkout line. The drone itself didn't disappoint me; it was the lack of thought that stung. It just felt like it solidified his lack of interest in me, the last of his kids who still made an effort to maintain a relationship with him.

What made things worse, a few months before that, we'd finally settled my grandmother's estate. The inheritance, amounting to over $50,000, was supposed to be for my sisters and me, but ended up in my dad's bank account. He used the money to refurbish his car, pay off his wife's car loan, redo the driveway, and spent the rest on who knows what. 

Meanwhile, my sisters and I were buried under mountains of student loan debt.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pxhere

45. Knock It Off Grandma!

When I was a little girl, I loved taking my Barbie dolls to a friend's place for playtime. There were loads of Barbie accessories at home that I couldn't take along, like the camper van. Once, I saw an advertisement for the Barbie Corvette and thought it'd be really neat to drive my Barbies over my friend's in that! 

My mom mentioned to my grandma that I wanted it—but dear grandma wasn't the best when it came to gift shopping. She often opted for off-brand items. Instead of the rosy Barbie Corvette I was hoping for, what I got was a blue toddler toy car with a wired remote. I wasn't a toddler anymore, so it was quite awkward for me to play with it. I had to either sit on the floor or bend over to use it. 

Being a polite child, I thanked my grandma, and even played with the toy for a while in her presence before moving on to other gifts. Eventually, knowing I had outgrown such toys, my mom had to pack it away and give it to a younger child living down the street.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pxhere

46. A Little On The Late Bus

Once upon a time in middle school, I put together an Amazon wishlist, filled with CDs and an array of somewhat cheesy young and middle grade fantasy books. Fast forward 15 years and my mom surprised me with every single item on that list at Christmas—despite the fact I couldn't even access the outdated email account it was linked to. 

She had found my wishlist publicly under my name, and her excitement over her gift-giving efforts made me feign joy, unwrapping each item with a bewildered smile. My mom had gone to great lengths to track down many of these books, not realizing that their scarcity was a testament to the age of my wishlist. 

Additionally, I didn't even have a functioning CD player anymore. I was pretty much bewildered when I saw it all. I made a valiant effort to dive into the books, but only managed to get through one before calling it quits. 

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

47. Dad Spaced Out

On one fateful Christmas, I received a gift that was both the best and the worst at the same time. I was 8 years old then, and my heart was set on getting a LEGO Space set—any would do. Bright and early on Christmas morning, my dad, with a sparkle in his eye, handed me a gift accommodating the unique tag, "From Dad". 

This was odd because my parents always labeled their presents as "From Mom and Dad". This year, however, my dad decided to go solo on this particular gift. A rush of anticipation filled me as I hurriedly unwrapped the gift, hoping to see the LEGO Space set I longed for. And then, disappointment. It was a Brix Blox moon buggy—a LEGO knock-off from Sears. 

An 8-year-old me was hit with a tidal wave of two vastly different emotions. The first, pure disappointment. I was so let down, I couldn't even hide my sorrow from my dad. My dream of owning a LEGO Space set washed away. However, this disappointment was balanced with a feeling of pride. 

I felt this emotion knowing my dad had personally ventured out to get this gift instead of leaving the job up to my mom. Had it been my mom, I probably would have ended up with the Space Commander or the Galaxy Explorer that I so desired. But dad, in all his innocence, had messed up, and this made me appreciate his effort even more.

Evidently, the local Sears had all the building bricks together in one section, which must have made it tricky for my dad to find the precise set I wanted. Despite it not being LEGO, the set was fun and my dad and I spent quality time together building it. It hurt that it wasn't compatible with my existing LEGO collection though, and the longing for a LEGO Space set didn't fade. 

The story took a turn for the better a few weeks later when my mom "discovered" a LEGO Space set that she had "overlooked" to send to my cousins. Isn't she wonderful?

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Flickr, Scarlet Sappho

48. Nothing Could Make Up For This

Growing up, I was quite the tomboy. The thought of makeup or jewelry never appealed to me; instead, band t-shirts and hoodies filled my wardrobe. My cousin, a boy of the same age, shared my interests, from Nerf guns to video games. When our family would gather for holiday celebrations, we were rather notorious for scurrying off to the basement to share some quality time over PC games.

A favorite Christmas tradition of ours was to sit side by side, excitedly unwrapping our presents together. One Christmas, cards from my aunt—who understood us pretty well—awaited us. Yet, while my cousin received a GameStop gift card that matched his interests perfectly, I found a makeup gift card in mine. 

This was quite a blow to my self-confidence. The gift made me feel inadequate and pressured to change into someone I simply was not.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

49. A Season Full Of Glee

My old best friend and I once decided to exchange special Christmas presents. She was a big fan of Glee, video games, and owned a Wii console. So, I got her the latest Glee Wii game, along with some other goodies like jewelry, sweets, and body wash. On the other hand, she gifted me a mug. She was unsure about what to get me, so my sister suggested she could pick up some fancy hot chocolate, among other things.

Besides the mug, the only other present was an inexpensive cone of hot chocolate mix sold in CVS, complete with marshmallows. The trouble with the mug was that it’s impractical—it has a snowman with a hat perched on the rim, making it impossible to sip without getting hit in the face by the hat. 

Plus, I already owned more mugs than I needed and I'd mentioned repeatedly how much it frustrated me to receive mugs every holiday.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Pexels

50. The Easy Way Out

Quite some time ago, I spent Christmas at my birth mom's along with my two half-brothers. The younger one unwrapped a GameCube and the eldest got a PlayStation. And me? I received a Staples Easy button. Not only that, but on top of their gaming consoles, my half-brothers also got more presents. All I got in addition to my button was a set of Mega Blocks. The twist? 

I was expected to share them with my youngest half-brother. It was hands down the most disappointing Christmas I ever experienced.

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever!Flickr, slgckgc

51. 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.

Bad Christmas gifts factsShutterstock

52. She’ll Give You an IOU

What ruined Christmas for me this year was when my cousin stole $250 from me. Once she got caught, she said something I'll never forget: “But I need the money and you're too spoiled anyway"! She then proceeded to get to keep half of MY money after throwing a crying fit and refusing to give it back until she got some money from her mom.

After all that, I still don’t know why her parents don’t punish her if they actually care about being half-decent.

Ruined ChristmasUnsplash


More from Factinate

Featured Article

My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.

Dark Family Secrets

Dark Family Secrets Exposed

Nothing stays hidden forever—and these dark family secrets are proof that when the truth comes out, it can range from devastating to utterly chilling.
April 8, 2020 Samantha Henman

Featured Article

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.

Madame de Pompadour Facts

Entrancing Facts About Madame de Pompadour, France's Most Powerful Mistress

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
December 7, 2018 Kyle Climans

More from Factinate

Featured Article

I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.

These People Got Genius Revenges

When someone really pushes our buttons, we'd like to think that we'd hold our head high and turn the other cheek, but revenge is so, so sweet.
April 22, 2020 Scott Mazza

Featured Article

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.

Catherine of Aragon Facts

Tragic Facts About Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s First Wife

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but very few people know her even darker history.
June 7, 2018 Christine Tran

Dear reader,

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 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 Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Factinate team

Want to learn something new every day?

Join thousands of others and start your morning with our Fact Of The Day newsletter.

Thank you!

Error, please try again.