People From Around The World Share Terrible Christmas Gifts They Received

People From Around The World Share Terrible Christmas Gifts They Received

Many people find that the holidays are the most stressful time of year, and no wonder. For most of us, it's financially taxing and brings out family drama. To add to the stress, you have to find the perfect gifts for the people you love--and the people you're not so fond of. It's the thought that counts, but a lot of people don't seem to put much thought into gift-giving. We asked people from around the world to tell us about the worst Christmas present they ever received. The worst offenders? Grandmas, distant aunts, and recently divorced dads.

woman-in-gray-cardigan-giving-white-gift-box-1261373-300x200.jpgJen Batler

62. The gift you give yourself.

My Aunt & Uncle once gave me a note saying they donated $50 to their own charity in my name. Their charity involves them driving around the country sightseeing and "spreading the word of god." I respect their beliefs and desire to share them with others but they're just traveling around the states enjoying themselves and are far from having financial difficulties.

christmas-gift-2979922_1920-300x200.jpgImage by Couleur from Pixabay

61. Half a steak.

My parents gave me a card that was an advertisement for getting a $20 gift card when you purchase $100 worth of gift cards from Outback Steakhouse. So they bought $100 worth of gift cards for people, got another $20 gift card for free, and then gave me the ad for that scenario. It's the thought that counts.

christmas-791142_1920-300x200.jpgImage by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

60. Sounds like an O. Henry story waiting to happen.

My parents once sent me a box of, what I can only assume, were used items from their own house. I knew they couldn't afford to send anything, and I was surprised/excited to see a package from them. When I opened it and found their used, but very clean, kitchen items (such as a funny mug, a mug warmer, etc.) I couldn't stop crying because I felt so miserable that they felt they needed to send me something so much that they sent their own things because they couldn't afford to send anything else.

wash-1264608_1920-300x190.jpgImage by Thomas Wolter from Pixabay

59. Be careful what you wish for.

Nintendo Power Glove.

What made it really bad is that I specifically begged my parents to get it for me. It was so expensive for my parents budget that I bargained with them to get me the Power Glove in lieu of getting other presents - it was my only present from them that year.

The novelty of glove wore off after about a week when I realized that I had been duped and that it was a total piece of crap and useless as a controller. I think that set a sour taste in my mouth regarding early adoption of novel technology.

christmas-216911_1280-300x199.jpgImage by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay


58. Give with one hand, take with the other.

My mom gave me my deceased grandpa's shotgun, which was pretty cool. In the same moment, and in front of my family, she informs me that I have to pass it down to one of my siblings' children, because I'm gay and my adopted children wouldn't count as family.

christmas-2890413_1920-300x200.jpgImage by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

57. Hungry or cold, choose one.

I actually asked for socks this year because I actually need them and well, I'm broke. I got a bag of Doritos instead.

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56. So much for fairness.

Well, I didn't get the gift, but this sure must have felt like the worst Christmas ever to my brother.

We had gone down to our grandparents' house for the season, and I had asked for a ps3. I saw a ps3-shaped box under the tree and I was hyped. Come Christmas Day and sure enough, a brand new $300 ps3 awaited me. Well, my little brother opens his present and it's... a marble racing kit. Mind you, my brother was 12 at the time and his brother, who is only 2 years older, just got a $300 console. He was mad, and mom actually had to take him out later that week and buy him a psp.

Funny enough, I'm back at my grandparents for Christmas, and we open presents tomorrow. I also brought my PS3, which my brother has enjoyed playing GTA 5 with me.

christmas-3820030_1920-300x169.jpgImage by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

55. Yikes.

Condoms from my mother in law in a Christmas stocking one month after giving birth to a child with serious disabilities. At the time, and now, we weren't sure about my son's prognosis. It just seemed mean.

santa-claus-2886624_1920-300x200.jpgImage by Couleur from Pixabay

54. What's the date today?

One year I got two Spongebob calenders. Two. Mom forgot that she bought me one just after Thanksgiving and apparently in the last minute holiday rush saw the exact same one and thought I'd like it. Now it's a family joke.

advent-1875040_1920-300x185.jpgImage by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay

53. That's the sound of holiday joy.

I was 22 my cousin was 21. She gave me a toilet paper tube filled with rice and taped closed on the ends. "Its a rain maker! I know how you love to make music!" She didn't even bother to color it.

background-2999743_1920-300x200.jpgImage by Jill Wellington from Pixabay


52. The best gifts are useful.

This was for Hanukkah but whatever. We had some friends of my parents visiting and they had no idea it was Hanukkah until they were there. They were embarrassed they had no gifts and ran out to procure them. That year I became the proud owner of a brand new set of toenail clippers.

hanukkah-2197684_1920-208x300.jpgImage by Evgeni Tcherkasski from Pixabay

51. It's a time for cheer.

Leading up to Christmas one year when I was about 9 or 10 I begged my parents for a mountain bike. Come Christmas, whilst opening gifts, I looked around and realized there was no bike. My dad hands me this one gift and has a big grin on his face. I get excited thinking it must be something really cool. I opened it and it was a little toy pink Barbie mountain bike. He started laughing, and his laughing coupled with the fact I had been duped led me to tears. Now he is laughing harder, pausing every 5 seconds to say "I'm sorry". My mom didn't know about the gag and was not amused. My dad is really cool and I have no idea why he did that to me. Never has he done anything that mean to anyone besides for me.


50. Bet it upped your golf game.

When I was ten (this was about 1995), I really wanted this new fighting game that all of my friends had. I remember watching the commercial for it over and over again that holiday season. My mom told me we couldn't afford it, and I (very sadly) accepted the fact.

Come Christmas Eve, Mom tells me I can open one of my presents early. She hands me a distinctively game-shaped box and tells me she asked the clerk at the store what game every boy wanted. I tore open the present more excitedly than I've opened any gift in my life before or since... reveal a copy of Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge.

chocolate-santa-claus-490825_1920-300x199.jpgImage by congerdesign from Pixabay

49. Mom's lost it.

One year, when we were kids, my brother got the worst Christmas gift ever. We were opening up our presents. My mother had this all-too-proud-of-herself look as my brother unwrapped a box. He suddenly got this puzzled expression on his face, and I looked at what he got to see what was the matter. He picked up the box, turned it upside down, and shook it, almost as if expecting something previously invisible would suddenly fall out. But much to his disappointment, the completely empty box was his present! My mother, in all her wisdom, thought she was so clever to give him an empty cardboard box because he could use it to store baseball cards (and no, she didn't include any baseball cards with the box). The look on my brother's face.... I will never forget it. He still can't laugh about it to this day.


48. The real gift is laughter.

I received dog poop. Plastic dog poop. From the novelty store. 40 years ago (1974) my younger brother handed this to me because all the stuff I wanted was too expensive: guitar, amplifier, etc.

I said to him, "I'm never getting anything I really want, so they (my parents) might as well give me poop in a bag." My brother remembered that I had said that and made sure I got it. He passed in 1993. The plastic dog poop still lives.

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47. Keep mum about it.

My grandma has consistently given me pajamas and an ornament for Christmas every year. The ornaments have gotten cooler, the pajamas keep getting worse. I'm in my my twenties now, how do you tell your grandma that you sleep naked and the present she gives you every year gets donated? You don't.



46. Say cheese!

Well for Christmas this year my mum bought be 5 pairs of the control top granny panties a la Bridget Jones Diary. I was opening them from my stocking JUST as dad started clicking pictures for this years' Christmas facebook album. So I'm sure there'll be about ten pictures of me gaping at the largest set of underpants the world has ever seen for all my granny and aunts and uncles to see.

portrait-of-young-woman-326561-300x200.jpgPhoto by Min An from Pexels

45. Growing up is hard to do.

I didn't really get anything last year. My mom bought me some conditioner about a month ago (to be fair, it's from Body Shop and I'd asked for it.) and my dad didn't get me anything. But I'm not really that surprised or disappointed. I lost my job in May and had to move in with them and this has been a financially difficult year for them, so I knew not to expect anything. I'm not even all that sad, really, it's just sobering. This is what being an adult feels like. But if my Christmas present is not being homeless AND my parents agreeing to take in my cats as well? That works.

So if we're going to call it what it is, this year I got a heaping dose of harsh reality coupled with adulthood. And yeah, it kinda sucks.

woman-wearing-white-dress-sitting-near-christmas-tree-1143000-300x188.jpgJen Batler

44. Money isn't the best gift.

A picture of a dollar. In all fairness my grandparents did put away savings bonds for me and this was a way for them to display this to the rest of my family, but that was it. Still that being said that sucks to get as a 7 year old, you aren't thinking 11 years in the future, you want something tangible here in the now with kung-fu-grip, sound effects and a compass on the stock that tell times and stuff. Unfortunately my Dad has them and we are not on speaking terms. And it's not like it's nearly enough where I'd want to rock the boat or take up legal action to get them. So I guess they are lost in the ether forever. Thanks Memaw and Pepep.

selective-focus-photography-of-red-crayola-crayon-placed-on-1668285-300x171.jpgPhoto by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

43. Not the most romantic.

My ex had planned to take me to Seattle to spend Christmas with his family. I was so excited, never been to Seattle, first time meeting his family, alright! Day we are supposed to leave, he tells me he bought a plane ticket and is going alone because I am "too sad" and his "family will hate me."

When he returned, he gave me Victoria's Secret lingerie still in the sale bag, and then asked me to model it. Quality person.


42. Jacket for two.

First of all, my grandma was known for giving pretty crappy gifts, but this one took the cake. One Christmas my cousin was in town to celebrate with us. My grandma gives us a gift that had both of our names on it. We proceed to open it and there is ONE pink striped knitted jacket with fake fur around the ends. She says it is for us to share. To SHARE. I live in Florida, and she lives in Canada, how do we share a jacket?? Luckily, we decided to 'take turns' she lucked onto the first turn and I never saw it again.

brown-gift-box-under-green-christmas-tree-1734427-200x300.jpgPhoto by Irina Iriser from Pexels

41. Very resourceful.

So I'm American but I've lived in Dubai for the past two years. Christmas isn't usually a big deal for my family anymore because we all live so far away. Anyway, so last year, I Skype my parents while they're opening presents. It's my sister, her husband, and my parents opening boxes in front of the camera. Everyone's laughing, they're drinking spiked egg nog, it's good times. Then, they go to open the presents from my aunt who I had also, incidentally, lived with the year before when I was looking for work. Because of this, when I had gotten my job in Dubai, I had left ONE bin of clothes at her house which I had planned to retrieve at some later date (she's a very sweet person but also a little strange and a TOTAL hoarder so I never thought one little bin of clothes would be a nuisance). No. No. No. She had decided it'd be a great idea to return JUST MY UNDERWEAR with the family's Christmas gifts. To be clear, she had used MY UNDERWEAR to pad their Christmas gifts for shipping. So I got to watch, from across the world, as my mother, father, sister, and brother-in-law had to paw through my underwear to get their Christmas presents.



40. Close, but not quite there.

My grandma always got me classic grandma gifts. We only saw her twice a year, at Thanksgiving and Christmas. So on Thanksgiving, she would ask all her grandchildren to write down a few things that they wanted for Christmas. One year, I must have been somewhere around 10, all my friends on my street were getting those super cool RC cars for their birthdays and stuff. So I told wrote down that I wanted one too. Instead, she got me this very silly looking race car, with a remote attached to it by a 2 foot cord. And it only went forward or backwards. I didn't show my disappointment, because my parents raised me well.

The year that Godzilla came out (the one in the 90's) I had asked for that on VHS. What grandma got me was a Japanese Godzilla movie from 1985, with really bad dubbing.

At the time, I didn't think they were bad gifts, I just understood that my grandma was, well, old, and she just didn't get it. And that was okay, I was just happy to get anything.

white-and-brown-christmas-gift-box-with-card-726228-300x200.jpgPhoto by from Pexels

39. Those could be worth something someday.

One year my parents decided to clean out their pantry. Instead of throwing things out, I got cookbooks from the 70's and a bunch of different, half-used spices that had expired years ago. I warned my girlfriend ahead of time that my parents were not the best at choosing gifts. She still had a hard time believing that was my "big" gift. My parents are not poor, just oblivious.

person-holding-gift-box-with-red-ribbon-beside-string-lights-1687049-300x200.jpgPhoto by from Pexels

38. It's all about the hair.

Three years ago my mother gave me a bottle of shampoo and conditioner. The conditioner bottle was almost empty and the shampoo bottle was only half full. When I told her, she said they must have been like that when she bought them and changed the subject.

close-up-photo-of-a-gift-box-wrapped-with-red-string-1661951-300x169.jpgPhoto by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

37. Start that beauty routine early.

When I was 13, I did secret santa with my friend group. Come gift day and I received a small rectangular box with poorly wrapped orange paper on it. Honestly, it looked like scraps of paper had just been stuck on. I open it and it was anti-wrinkle cream. Now this girl made it obvious she got me for secret santa and was bragging about how good her gift was going to be. She told me she didn't have time so she just took her mum's stuff.

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36. Keeping it in the family.

Definitely one of my presents from last year. When I had gotten home from college I found myself with some excess cash. I decided to invest in some new video games for my self and had them sent to my house. The strange thing was I had only received half of the games. I emailed the suppliers and told them I hadn't gotten my packages yet and was growing quite sad. Well Christmas morning came around and I was opening up my presents. I got to the one from my older brothers. I tore the paper away and open the box. Inside there were several other packages that had been mailed to our house. With my name on them.. My brother had taken half of my games and hid them from me until Christmas... Worst present ever.


35. Better hurry up, then.

A fairly distant relative once gave me three promotional (freebie) vouchers for a clothes shop I didn't really like. Each gave £5 off a purchase, per £50 spent. 15 year old me didn't have enough money to be spending £50 on clothes in one go, and the vouchers had actually expired on December the 23rd.

photo-of-gifts-1701531-300x200.jpgJen Batler

34. Glad she's getting help.

I have an aunt who is mentally challenged, and I always get the strangest gifts from her. Last year I got a bag of tiny plastic sheep. The year before I got disney footie pajamas that were many sizes too large. Another year I got an 8 gallon container of mouthwash.

But this year I think some treatments for her illness are doing really well for her and she got me a nice shirt that actually fit. It made me very happy to see that she could figure out what I wanted.

christmas-themed-wallpaper-714696-300x200.jpgPhoto by from Pexels

33. Maybe next year.

This was actually really funny. It was from my Grandmother. I unwrapped it and it was a little tin box. I opened the box and there was a fake gift card there, like an indication of this is where you put the gift card. And I just looked at her like... what is it or what's going on? And she goes "It's a gift card holder. You can put all your gift cards in there." And I just started laughing saying noooo, you are supposed to put a gift card in here to give to someone! It was really cute though. Bless her heart.


32. Great for sushi.

I'm ALWAYS grateful for anything I receive, so I wouldn't call this the "worst" gift, just the least useful. Every year for the past 3 years my boyfriend's mother gets me a brand new Black and Decker rice cooker. I don't even make rice that often but I now own 3 rice cookers. And yes, I act surprised every year.

adult-beautiful-blur-celebration-281417-300x196.jpgPhoto by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

31. For all the squirrels in the room.

A few years ago my aunt gave me a rock. She gave presents to me and my two older cousins and said it's time for the big girls to open their gifts. She made my cousins go first and they got scarves and I opened my present and pulled a rock out of the package and looked up waiting for her to laugh and she said "isn't it wonderful??" So I had to be like yeah, I loooove it!! She then told me that she had dug it out of her garden the previous summer and she knew that I would think it is sooo cool.

The following year she gave me acorn tops because "some people know how to use them to whistle and I don't know how to show you or explain, but I'm sure you can figure it out." She is a tad eccentric. Both were pretty terrible presents.

low-section-of-woman-247076-300x200.jpgPhoto by Brigitte Tohm from Pexels

30. Is there a naughty list for adults?

Child of divorce here. My step-father, when I was really young, got it into his head that he was supposed to replace my father. So when, at 5 years old, I refused to call him dad (because I still had a relationship with my father) he got mad and gave up on me. His entire family treated me like crap. My younger brother, who was his kid, was thankfully spared, but I dreaded the holidays because of it. I distinctly remember watching my brother open piles of awesome presents only to receive for myself one of those cheap make-up kits from CVS/Dollar Store and a used, opened Jamaican Barbie. Her face was even scuffed. There is no better way to tell a little girl that you hate her than to give her a used Barbie. What kind of adult mistreats a child for something out of their control, I will never understand. My children will never be allowed to interact with him or his family.

photo-of-woman-sitting-near-the-christmas-tree-936700-300x200.jpgPhoto by NastyaSensei from Pexels

29. It's a bad time to joke.

Literally coal.

Straight A student, never got in fights, helped in the community, never talked back, helped around the house and paid for everything I owned with jobs since I was 12.

Sister got a Gamegear (dating myself I know) along with games etc. as her stocking stuffer, let along her other presents. I got a piece of coal. After the laughter died down I asked if I could open my real presents to be told that WAS my present. When asked why and what I did to deserve it I was told 'you didn't do anything wrong, I thought it would be funny.'

Stopped holding my breath for sibling equality or even something resembling it after that.


28. Some gifts are made for regifting.

This year the big gift from my parents was a 1.5 foot tall penguin statue. What am I supposed to do with that? It's not like my house has a penguin theme. The saddest part is I would feel bad getting rid of it because my parents were so excited to give it to me. It's now sitting in the closet of my spare bedroom.

christmas-3861502_1920-300x190.jpgJen Batler

27. Gift with purchase.

I received a Victoria secret backpack. I graduated college 2 years ago, have a career and am a frequent Victoria secret shopper so I know for a fact they got it for free on one of their purchases.

woman-doing-gift-wrapping-1687045-300x200.jpgJen Batler

26. Stay warm this Winter.

The year before said Christmas my 3 cousins had gotten me a nice coat. It was actually a really good gift, I wear the thing all the time even now 4 or 5 years later. The very next year at Christmas they all got me... the exact same coat. Literally the same except with blue striping instead of red. I was actually wearing the original coat that night when they gave it to me. I'm still not sure if they just thought "Man this is such a good coat, I bet he needs two of them" or just plain forgot they had given me one.

I never said anything about it though. A gift's a gift.

christmas-scrabbles-bokeh-photography-728458-300x154.jpgPhoto by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

25. Young and broke.

This year my little brother gave me a wallet. Not so bad, but it was obviously about 10 years old and really just a crappy wallet. He is 9 and I know he was trying hard so I thanked him and told him it was a great gift. Later that night be comes to me looking really troubled and confesses to me that he only gave me the wallet because he had been broke for a few months and hadn't used it. He also didn't expect to get money for Christmas, but he did, and now he was worried he was going to lose it if he didn't get a wallet. I gave him back the wallet.

adult-beautiful-christmas-cold-293029-300x200.jpgPhoto by from Pexels

24. A question of belief.

I'm very agnostic. Last year I received a jewelry box that resembled the book "the first Christmas," and even has the nativity scene on it. I was given a plethora of Jesus themes bracelets and necklaces when opened and there was even a "Jesus scented perfume" inside that I've never even tried smelling. I stood holding th gift in shock for a very long time, and it took every ounce of strength for me to not burst into laughter from feeling so awkward.

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23. A face full of ouch.

I got an expensive makeup kit from my aunt. I don't wear makeup and I dress like a tomboy. She was my secret santa and nowhere on my list was there anything to indicate that I wanted or would use makeup. There was definitely not a gift receipt involved.

When I opened it she said, "Now you can look pretty!" Now I stipulate "NO MAKEUP" on my list every year.

child-577010_1920-300x200.jpgImage by Ruslan Gilmanshin from Pixabay

22. Her love is XXL.

My grandmother, always, without fail gives me the most god awful, ugliest shirts I've ever seen. To top it off, they are always like size xl or xxl. I'm a somewhat fit fellow, usually wearing a medium, maybe a large depending on the shirt. I see her often enough, she knows what I look like and even generally wear. God bless her for trying but I'm always amused at how ridiculous the shirts are.

photo-of-christmas-presents-749354-300x200.jpgPhoto by from Pexels

21. Too sweet to smash.

For yankee swap at work this year I got a pinata and mini candy. Easily the worst gift. I decide to make lemonade out of lemons and put it together for everyone to smash. I start putting the candy in it and the girl who got it walks over, asking what I was doing. After I told her my plan, she looked at me incredibly confused and asked me why I wasn't taking it home to put on display in my room. She was dead serious. I just kinda stammered out an "oh thats a great idea what was I thinking."

Worst part is my gift was this nice set of 8 different beer glasses for whatever type of beer your drinking, I also threw in a Calvin and Hobbes book so it would reach the minimum money. She of course left with it.

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20. All set for stationery.

When I was 13 my parents got divorced. My father never took care of the Christmas thing before, he had no idea what to get me and my younger brother. So he got us pens, pencils, paper, staplers, staples, rulers...and the like. Not to be ungrateful, but it was the worst Christmas ever.

brown-bear-plush-toy-1661286-300x169.jpgJen Batler

19. It's the dolphin that counts.

When I was 5, I was told the best presents were handmade ones. So for my older sister I decided to paint a picture of a dolphin (her favorite animal) on a piece of wood. It looked terrible and she obviously hated it... Young 5 year old me didn't understand. I began to cry and asked her why she didn't like it. After being told it looked terrible and was stupid she threw it in the fireplace to use as firewood. It was a sad Christmas.

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18. So they can learn to share.

I have an aunt who insists on giving everyone in my very large extended family Christmas presents even though nobody wants them. Some presents that my cousins and I have received: My 14 year old brother got salt and pepper shakers this year. I received a $5 gift card book of $1 McDonalds gift cards that was made out to her daughter, with only $3 inside. My cousin and her family came home to a garbage bag of presents that were soaked in dog urine (most were stuffed animals. at least they didn't have to bag it up to throw it away.) The best, in my opinion: two brothers received a matching set of socks - one sock each.

snowman-592022_1920-300x200.jpgImage by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay

17. Even gift cards can be ruined.

Not myself, but my girlfriend usually gets screwed. Her mother was originally form Kansas and they moved out to Massachusetts when she remarried her step dad. Her mother is the black sheep in the family (she being the only normal one). From her grandparents she gets shirts from an online catalog ever year since she can remember. Her mother has told her grandfather over and over to stop but they keep sending the same ugly clothes every year. Also my girlfriend's stepdad has a friend, Wayne who comes over during the holidays. This is the guy who sleeps in the same clothes for three days in a row on her couch. He gets her younger sister at least $150 worth of Harry Potter crap every year. My girlfriend? A $5 gift card to Dunkin Donuts.

christmas-present-83119_1280-300x200.jpgImage by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

16. Take care of those chapped lips.

My aunt Donna was notoriously stingy at christmas and we often got whatever was available at the only thing open on Christmas in the 90's - convenience stores. My sister and I once recieved 2 chapstick's a piece. I was 13 and she was 9. Needless to say Donna doesn't visit on Christmas anymore.

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15. The gift that keeps on giving.

Not so much a worst gift as a worst wrapping/opening. My family and I were having Christmas dinner and we had invited my boyfriend over. He was my first boyfriend, I was 16, so I was really anxious to come off as cool. At dinner my mom announced that we still had some presents to open (she had forgot about a box that my Grandma had sent). So I get mine and it's a tube, like a small version of a poster tube. I open it and it's full of cloth, so I pull out the first thing... and 8 pairs of sexy underwear come flying out. My lovely Grandmother had thought it would be hilarious to tie the underwear together so when I pulled one out they all came out. I don't know who was more embarrassed, me or my boyfriend.

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14. So crafty.

Hubcaps from my parents for a car that wasn't mine. I had borrowed one of their spares for a few weeks when mine was non-functional around Christmas time. It was missing a hubcap so they bought themselves some hubcaps and gave them to themselves as an present through me because I only needed the beater for a few weeks. I didn't even put them on, just left them in their living room. My parents are also fond of the classic dish towels or underwear as a present fallback position.

dog-1926763_1920-300x214.jpgImage by Wokandapix from Pixabay

13. At least she's trying.

My grandma always gives very interesting gifts. 5 years ago I received a bottle of body wash, a box of lucky charms and a ring watch. 4 years ago I got a trash bag. Her reasoning for the trash bag was that we had recently heard a sermon that this Christmas you should donate a bag full of items to those in need. The next year I got gifts that started with the first letter of my name. Extra gum (I don't chew gum) and Eye shadow (I don't wear make up).

I will say, she's just trying to be creative. and I do love her and all her kooky gifts.

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12. You can't fake sentiment.

One year I got a jar of pennies from my grandma. She said my grandfather was saving them FOR DECADES. However, I didn't see one with a year below 1990 and I got it in the early 2000's, there was exactly $10 in the jar, and it was in a coffee jar with an expiration date that was a few months after that Christmas. Later I deduced that she went to the bank and asked for $10 in pennies.


11. A stuffed animal would have been better.

My uncle gave me a fox skin he cleaned himself. He got the fox off of the road. Clumps of hair were falling out, and it smelled awful. I was 10 or so, and I threw it across the room and screamed in terror. I was very apologetic afterwards. That's an Alabama Christmas for you.



10. Can't transform those tears.

When I was in first grade I absolutely loved Transformers, they were my favorite. Waking up and watching Generation 1 cartoons was the highlight of the week. I had a couple of the toys, like Optimus and a couple of the main characters. I always wanted Soundwave, his voice was so cool! Easily my favorite Decepticon.

Fast forward to that Christmas and we did secret Santa in class. My mom went Christmas shopping and brings home my gift to give for secret Santa. The name I drew was a boy I didn't really care for, but no big deal, not like she picked up something awesome. She gets the gift wrapped and I take it to school the next day.

We all get our gifts and open them up. My mom ended up getting him Soundwave. I was a bit upset at first, but maintained my composure. "It's ok, I'll plead with her at home later. I thought she knew he was the one I wanted so bad." Then I opened my present... it was a cup. A plastic cup with some generic cartoon characters on it I couldn't even recognize. The combination of hurt emotion and let down were too much then. I broke down in tears. When I got home I told mom that there must of been a mistake, maybe it was the wrong box she gave me. She said, "No but I'm sorry honey. I'll talk to Santa and we'll see what we can do this year."

I did not get Soundwave that year. or ever.

christmas-3024428_1920-300x200.jpgImage by Terri Cnudde from Pixabay

9. A risky gift-giving scheme.

I have gotten kitschy gifts from girlfriends; things like chocolate bars, and stupid books, and to be honest, I did not mind. If they took the time to put some thought into it, or at least write and adorable note, I was pretty happy.

With that in mind, my worst Christmas gifts have come from these online gift exchanges I participate in. These only work if everyone puts some effort into the gifts they buy; not everyone does, however. During a book exchange, I got a used mystery novel (nothing to do with my stated interest) that came with a note "Sorry, I am a poor college student and did not have the time or money to really shop." I stopped doing the gift exchanges for a year after that. Then I joined up for a record exchange and hit the jackpot: I got two records that really matched my interest, and the person really put a lot of thought into the gift. Awesome.

After the record exchange, I decided to give the Secret Santa exchange a shot. I received a used comic (the list price was 2.99 new) without any note. The strange thing is, this person spent $6 on shipping so it would arrive on time. I was furious. I was not expecting an expensive gift, but was hoping for one with some thought behind it. Crap, if they sent a well thought out letter and $5 something homemade, I would have been happy. Sadly, I won't be doing gift exchanges after this.

In case you are wondering, they never wrote a follow up issue to the comic, it was a 25 page comic without any continuation of the story.

christmas-4645449_1920-300x200.jpgImage by Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto from Pixabay

8. Some family members are more equal than others.

Because I have step-family, Christmas used to be, visit my dad's family Christmas eve, then open presents with him Christmas morning, head to my mom's to open presents there, go to my stepdad's family (stepmom's family intentionally celebrated once we went to my mom's house), and then end the evening at my mom's family's party.

Well, my stepdad's family was always a miserable experience, we were never really accepted by the other children our age, so I would have to cling on to my stepsiblings, but they also wanted the time to see their cousins etc. The uncles and aunts really did not know who we are, so eventually, my siblings and I would beg my mom to just let us stay home, but she wouldn't hear of it. When the family opened presents, it meant sitting around while everyone else received multiple gifts, and we'd get maybe one gift from my step-grandmother. Back to the main story, we are at the opening of presents, all of the cousins received nice toys, clothes, etc., whereas my siblings and I opened up socks. Now I know lots of people love socks for gifts now, but 11 year old me could tell that it was a sign that we truly were not accepted into the family. Fortunately, it also was a sign my mom could no longer ignore, so we were never forced to attend after that.

The frustrating thing, my stepsiblings on both sides were treated much better by my families, given equal gifts, and being included in all of the festivities.

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7. Bringing families together.

The worst present I ever received was a white, button-down shirt by my grandmother. It was from Sears, and of actual good quality.

It wasn't so much the shirt that was a problem, it was the fact that I was the only one to get a present. My brother and sister (from a different father but my father adopted them when he married my mother and they still think of him as dad) did not, nor did my stepsister or stepbrother. I was always the favorite grandchild. I don't even think my cousins got anything. Now, my siblings didn't care. We all knew how grandma was and she was old and we were expecting it. No big deal.

My stepmother, however, did not understand. While I can see why she was upset, her explosion was not necessary. She was always trying to push me and my older siblings out. So she exploded. How dare my grandmother bring presents for one child and not anyone else. How could she possibly think that was appropriate. My grandmother fought back. She didn't have a lot of money and she felt bad not getting anyone anything and her children have so much and I do not.

We children sat there listening to all of this until my father yells at both of them, "Stop it!" and slams his fists on the counter. "It's Christmas!" He stares at both of them for a few seconds, then gets his keys and drives off. My grandmother leaves shortly after.

My father doesn't return until the next day. He had to work that night and calls my stepmother from work. He drove to West Texas (from Abilene, TX) to see the snow.

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6. Christmas brings out the worst in people.

A PS2.

It's not so much the gift, but more how we got it. My parents are divorced and have been since I was about 6 and my brother 3. When I was about 13 or 14, my brother and I used all our Christmas money combined to buy the PS2, although we were about $100 short (in Australia, it's $500 for a PS2.) My dad moved interstate after he got remarried and was back over for Christmas, and he hadn't gotten us a gift yet. He asked us what we wanted and we asked for him to put in the extra $100. His response? "Get your mother to pay for it."

Now, to put that into context. My mum was working 3 jobs to pay the mortgage, to pay for us to go to school, to eat, be clothed etc. My dad decided to try and (successfully) dodge his Child Support and for the both of us, only got about $200 a month from him in support. So we told our mum, she paid the money to get the PS2 and abused my dad over the phone. That was the realization that my dad no longer cared anything about us.

He now has 3 other sons and showers them in gifts, sends them to private school, buys them whatever they want. My brother and I got nothing from him growing up. The worst thing was seeing my mum try so hard every Christmas to get us what we wanted and when she couldn't afford it, break down and cry.

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5. Christmas cruelty is the worst.

When I was about 12, maybe 13, I was at my stepfather's parents house. My step-father was a complete jerk to me and apparently had learned his ways from his parents. Despite being in this family for ten years they never seemed to think of me as family, more like just my mother's daughter. Well these people were never hurting for money, years of being greedy lead to a nice retirement. Funny enough only my stepfather and his parents thought this way, everyone else loved me and I them.

So Christmas rolls around and they're handing out presents. Me and my two cousins are sitting there and the one to my right gets a present then the one to my left gets a present then the one to my right, back and forth but missing me in the middle. The whole family is watching as they get a huge pile each and in the end I got one box. Now the fun part, there's two prepaid gift cards on the tree. The grandpa jokes around for a few minutes about it and then hands one to each of my cousins on either side. There's an audible gasp from the rest of the family as they realize that I got squat for Christmas and he had just openly joked about it.

In the end I got a $5 sweater (they left the markdown tag on it) that was a size 2XL...I am nowhere near that size, I could have fit another person in there with me. And somehow he was confused as to why I just walked out without saying a word, he was offended I didn't say thanks for a crappy sweater when the other two cousins got about $200 each worth of presents. I was always taught to be grateful for every present because the giver didn't have to do anything, young me wished he hadn't.


4. Brothers stick together.

$60. My parents split when my brother and I were young (6 & 10, respectively). Every year, our bio-dad, who wasn't really a "father" to me at all, would give us each $100 in cash or gifts.

I had disassociated myself from my bio-dad after a few years; it was clear that he didn't love me or want me in his life. I was the unexpected child that turned his life upside down. My brother, on the other hand, was truly his "son." They bonded, spent time together, etc.

One year, for Christmas, my brother brought both of our gifts back from a weekend of custody visits (I had stopped going some years prior), and the gifts were smaller than usual - $60 each.

I accepted mine, didn't care if I gut a gift from bio-dad or not, but I wasn't going to turn down free money. In a car ride with my mom a few days later, she mentioned that we didn't each get $60 - I was supposed to get $20, and my brother the full $100.

My brother took it upon himself to say that the disparity wasn't "right," and gave up part of his allotment to make us equal. At then-12 or so years old, he was making some important and heavy decisions (he eventually cut off ties to our bio-dad, too, after this).

I took "my" $60 that day and night him a video game he'd been wanting for a few months. I still don't know if he knows why I did that, or if he knows that I know what he did too split the gifts.

That $60 was a horrible gift to realize that, truly, my bio-dad hated me; it was a great gift to realize that my little brother loved me.

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3. Keep 'em guessing.

Phantom rollerblades.

But let me explain. When we were little tykes one of our favorite things to do was roller skate around the neighborhood. I spent half my childhood in skates. But that was the 80s and it was a sleepy suburb down south and quad skates were still the thing. I'd never even heard of inline skates, nor imagined such a thing could exist.

When we moved to Big City up north in the early 90s everyone had rollerblades, and absolutely everyone my age had them. I guess I wanted them in an abstract way, in the same way you tend to want what your friends have, but I don't remember ever voicing this want.

But my parents saw people skating on these things on every sidewalk and bike trail, and decided that us kids had to have them. So that first Christmas along with our gifts came a special notice that we would soon be getting rollerblades. Which meant that they were too costly for my parents to afford at the time. I was quite grateful for the promise of such a nice gift and more than willing to be patient.

The years went by and every Christmas it seemed there would be some mention of the fabled rollerblades but later, when there was money for them. I think I must have worked out in my head that they were ridiculously pricey and was more than willing to forget the whole thing except now the friends I'd managed to make since the move had rollerblades and I did want to go skating again. I figured I'd have to learn to use inline skates at some point.

Whenever I mentioned the rollerblades to my parents I would be told they were coming for Christmas "Don't you remember?" and then every Christmas they would have forgotten.

By the time I realized they weren't coming I was probably 16 and no longer interested, and frankly I could have bought them myself if I was. I have to wonder why my parents kept the rollerblade charade going for so long. What was it that compelled them to constantly promise but never deliver this one specific gift?

I've never learned how to rollerblade, for the record.


2. One for the family history books.

When I was 14 my single mom was struggling to afford to raise me and my 2 year old sister. Being the good guy I thought I was growing up to be I asked my father if I could move out with him to give my mom a break for a while. Dad accepted and I moved. Fast-forward to Christmas of '91, I'm 15 living with my dad and his wife and her 2 kids. We are going to travel from our house outside of San Francisco to his wife's mom's house in LA for Christmas. The date is 12/21. 12/22 my dad and I are going to fly to Texas just for the day to check out his new job. He was in construction for a national company so this was not abnormal.

So we leave, I'm thinking great here's some me and dad time. Things haven't gone that great. I'm 15, used to pretty much taking care of myself, I've gotten in some trouble and of course my dad isn't accustomed to raising a teenager either. So, we've had our struggles. I'm thinking we'll do some talking, maybe think on how to live better with one another.

We are picked up by 3 guys at the Dallas airport, transferred to an office location where dad and I are sat in an office with another gentleman. Said gentleman begins to explain that this is an inpatient rehabilitation center for kids, that I'll be there a minimum of 6 months and that my dad will be leaving. Well needless to say I wasn't having it.

As I lay on the floor, being held in a 4 point restraint, I watched my dad walk out the door without saying goodbye or answering my pleas asking why he was doing this to me.

The place was awful (you can look it up, used to be called Straight, Incorporated and Kids before that). My dad left me there 3 days before Christmas. It took my mom 4 months to get out of him where I was and then to get my uncle to come there and get me out. In that time I had no contact with anyone I've ever known.

So there, merry Christmas to me.


1. The saddest Christmas of them all.


While the rest of my family opened gifts I sat nearby watching them open gifts. I eventually went back to bed when I realized I had been forgotten about. This was when I was about 12 Years old. I made myself a Christmas card that I opened later that night.

I come from a family of 5 kids and my aunts and uncles were down for the holidays along with my grandparents. It was intentional as far as I know. My mother at the time was not a nice person. My dad spent every day that I can remember working to provide for our family so I only saw him on Sundays and even then he was too tired to do anything with us because he was always working.

I was the middle of 5 kids at home so the attention that I got was usually negative attention from my mom. I learned later that my grandma on my dad's side would send presents every year for all the kids and that my mom relabeled all of the gifts for my siblings.

I was the middle child a couple years apart from the others on both sides of me. I didn't really stand out or get into trouble. I remember that having a C average in school was ok for all the others but for me to get noticed I had to do better than the rest I maintained an A average for the first two years of high school while playing a sport just to get something but even then it didn't get much better.

I ended up slacking off and failing most of school until I met my favorite English teacher, he helped me enjoy class and reading so I managed to pull it together and graduate high school. I was the first to graduate high school in my family and my dad was the only one at my graduation but he had to leave early because of work.