How do you react to getting a present you don't like and didn't want? Do you do the polite thing, thank the giver and move on or do you pitch a fit and complain to anyone that will listen?
These stories are the latter. People complaining about the worst present they've ever received and usually acting very ungrateful. From re-gifts to thoughtless gifts to downright weird gifts, these stories have it all.
Her Dad Was Clueless
“I was a 12-year-old, hardcore tomboy who hated anything remotely girly, or pink/purple/sparkly in any way. I was into dragons, wolves, bugs, Pokemon, LOTR, Inuyasha, collecting fake fantasy weapons, making dark OCs on DeviantArt, and wearing kind of annoying stuff like printed fedoras and pewter necklaces with crystals and witchy symbols and stuff. That kind of cringy little pre-teen stuff.
My dad gave me Barbie Princess bedsheets.
Not as a joke. He has no sense of humor.
He was just that oblivious. I lived with him 3-4 days a week my whole life and I was his only child. It still gets me mad.
And I had no choice but to use those sheets at his house until I turned 18. They’re probably still on my old bed to this day.”
Ungrateful Snot Doesn’t Like His Second Favorite Game
“Somewhere in the mid-90s (I guess it was 1993), I got a SNES for Christmas. So far so good.
But I got Donkey Kong Country (second on the wishlist for games) instead of Secret of Mana (first on the list) and for 10-year-old me, this was devastating. Later in life, I realized what an ungrateful little piece of doo doo I was. Sorry, mom!
10 years later I was happy to receive socks as a gift.”
It Wasn’t What They Thought It Was
“The year the Nintendo 64 came out, it was all me and my brothers wanted for Christmas. We rented a system from Blockbuster every chance we got and it came in these black carrying cases.
Fast forward to Christmas morning and one of these boxes is under the tree. We thought maybe my parents had gotten a used one or something and we were beyond excited to open that puppy up.
We saw the tag was from our grandparents, who were very anti-video games. Maybe they came around, we thought. Maybe it’s a Christmas miracle.
We pop open the lid and sitting inside is… a typewriter. An electric typewriter. My grandfather thought we could use it to work on our typing skills. All three of us were devastated.”
An Aunt’s Gift Almost Killed Her
“My aunt gave me an oversized nightshirt for Christmas Eve once as a kid. I promptly put it on and wore it for no more than an hour when an ember from the fireplace jumped out and landed on it, at which point the (very cheap) fabric started quickly burning/melting as I frantically stopped, dropped and rolled myself out.”
The Gift That Keeps Reminding Her Of The Hardest Thing In Her Life
“My mom gave me a baby onesie outfit one year for Christmas. I’d been married for a few years and I had told her that my husband and I were officially trying to get pregnant.
Except – it turns out I’m infertile. We tried for years to get pregnant, meds, injections, IVF, nothing. Eventually, we get with an adoption agency, get picked by a young bio mom – who changes her mind after having the babies (they were twins). We end up moving, have to change agencies – that adoption agency goes bankrupt after we’ve paid them $20,000 (I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP). Recently, we moved again and got into the foster care system in that state – and just when we were approved, my husband lost his job and we had to move again to where we both had work available.
It’s now been 15 years since I got that onesie for Christmas and I can’t throw it away. To throw it away means I’ve given up and I really don’t want to. But every time we move (which has been a few times now), I find it and it reminds me of how long and hard our struggle has been.
I don’t blame my mom – she was excited and meant to be optimistic. But that tiny onesie has turned out to be my own albatross, at regular intervals reminding me of my failures.”
What Kind Of Family Plays A Prank Like This?
“One Christmas, my family got together and gave me a fake lottery ticket. When I opened it up they all played along and told me I should check to see if I won so I did and I won just over $3,000,000!
I was so excited and didn’t know it was fake yet, so I started planning out what we would do with the money and the fancy vacation I would send my parents on and the college fund I’d set up for my niece. They finally decided the joke had gone on long enough and told me it wasn’t real and I got super upset, it was extremely frustrating. I couldn’t help but start bawling my eyes out. “
Wait, He Wrapped Up What?
“While I’ve received a number of bad Christmas presents over the years, I think I’ve probably given the worst of all.
My father got remarried when I was about 20 years old, to a woman who already had three children of her own. The following Christmas marked the first time that our newly formed family would all sit around the tree together and I figured that I’d make it a special occasion. That was why, in addition to the small (and allegedly thoughtful) gifts that I bought everyone, I also purchased and wrapped twenty-four potatoes.
No, I don’t know why I thought that would be a good idea. I just did it.
These holiday spuds were smuggled into my father’s house on Christmas Eve, then hidden beneath the bed in the guest room where I was staying. After everyone had gone to sleep, I tiptoed down to the living room and carefully arranged all twenty-four of them in a wide ring around the tree… at which point, I discovered that I had unwittingly wrapped my ‘presents’ with the same style of paper that Santa had used. Since the youngest of my new step-siblings was about 7 years old at the time, I wasn’t entirely sure that going through with my caper was the best idea.
I did anyway, though.
The following morning, everyone rushed downstairs and gathered to open their gifts. My stepsister — the 7-year-old — immediately suggested that we each unwrap one of the twenty-four identical spheroids that she had discovered. Everyone else agreed (although I suspect that my father was just confused by the appearance of the presents), and we all tore the paper off in unison. A moment passed in silence before my stepsister looked up, grinned, cocked her head to one side, and asked:
‘Have we been naughty?’
I’m not allowed to bring potatoes to Christmas anymore.”
This Guy Is A Real Scrooge
“It wasn’t so much just the gift as the whole situation. I have never participated in Christmas since.
I was in college. We’re all totally broke. I’m chums with this other young woman and one thing we have in common is how passionately we listen to music, it’s practically a religion to us.
I am also passionate about classic lit. I despise some writers of course- that’s part of being passionate.
Well, despite us agreeing to not do Xmas gifts, this friend bought me a classic novel, one that everyone gets forced to read in school so I’d already read it. And I very much hate that author (Dickens). I felt so dirty being sorta forced to lie because I couldn’t tell her I hated it, could I? I didn’t think so anyway. I practically never lie, especially not to people I’m close to, so lying to her felt awful. And complicated! Because for the rest of our friendship, I had to remember to not mention my hatred of Dickens. But what made it truly scarring was learning that she’d pawned her CD collection to be able to buy a few gifts for her dearest people. Her precious CDs that she cherished more than food and oxygen.
She harmed herself so badly to give me something I didn’t like, inciting me to put lies between us. So much pointless negativity. It just broke my heart. Cultural pressures to be generous at Christmas cause unhappiness.
That was the point where my sentimentality, and propaganda absorbed from ads, it all just fell aside and I clearly saw: this stuff is messed up! The pressure, the financial hardship, guilt on both sides are all just plain horrible. So I stopped participating.
For the past 25 years or so, I just buy gifts not because it’s a certain date but only when I feel inclined, and IF I have money to spare and IF I know for sure the person wants that thing, and I tend to give piles of small gifts, rather than one big one, so if something does fail to please, at least the rest of the stuff is still enjoyed.
I’m very clear to everyone that they do not feel pressured to buy me stuff just because of custom, like if it’s Xmas or my birthday or whatnot. Luckily I married a guy who also finds gift-obligation customs cringy, so we merrily go gift free for anniversaries and Valentine’s as well.
It’s been nothing but great, being free of all that pressure and expense! Sadly, a dear friend just got some wee stepkids so I am afraid we need to start doing gifts for them. Kids can’t be expected to understand ‘we don’t give or accept Christmas gifts’ the way adults can. So this year I’m feeling the pressure and stress again and I do not like it.
I’m almost certain whatever I buy will disappoint the kids, I sure got a ton of duds when I was their age. So it’s pointless really. But opting out isn’t really an option when it comes to kids. Ugh.”
It Was Disappointing At First, But That All Changed
“When I was about 11, my grandma gave me oversized underwear and this little coin purse that looked like an old-fashioned swim cap with big sequins hanging off it. I opened the underwear in front of the family and was kind of mortified (and probably showed it a little) but graciously thanked her as I had been taught.
Later, my mom pulled me aside and told me that Nana wasn’t completely all there anymore but that a little gift vendor came around her nursing home selling stuff and she had scraped up whatever change she had to get me a present. I was the only grandkid that she had gotten something for Christmas. She died a year or two later.
I still have that little purse tucked away in my important things box.”
It Was Horrible On Its Own But Compared To His Brother’s, It Was Even Worse
“I’d say I was about 10-12-years-old at the time and into typical boy stuff. I had a brother who was about a year older than me and naturally we played with the same toys and did the same kind of stuff.
Christmas rolls around and one of my older cousins gave my brother a monster truck toy. Nothing amazing but pretty sweet to play with.
I open my toy and it’s A Bugs Life figures. What the heck? I’m pretty sure my confusion and disappointment showed on my face because my cousin said: ‘I wasn’t sure what you guys played with…’
We ended using them as pool toys that we’d dive for. But I always had to watch my brother play with his awesome truck.”
“My grandma gave me a pen and pencil set when I was like nine. I thought it was alright at first. My dad had his own pens and pencils so I had a grownup gift like him, right? But they didn’t work very well and I kinda forgot about them.
Until one day in a grocery store when I saw the same set free-with-purchase taped to a carton of smokes. Uh, I guess that’s why my pencil set said ‘Parliament.’
Thanks, grandma, for my free smokes pen.”
This Guy Hates Hockey!
“I hated hockey growing up. All the kids that played hockey were always mean to me and I never really understood the sport. It was quite clear that I DID NOT LIKE HOCKEY and my family knew it since they were huge hockey lovers.
Christmas 1997. I am 13-years-old and there is a family get together. We do the traditional presents at midnight. I’m getting excited since I usually get something cool from my godparents.
I open the gift; It’s a ticket to an NHL game. Ottawa Senators VS Philadelphia Flyers. The look of disappointment on my face was like no other. I was utterly disappointed. It was like I was being tested and thought it was a gag gift with my real gift elsewhere with a big ‘GOT YOU!’ but it wasn’t.
I proceeded to talk to my mom and tell her how unthoughtful it was since they knew how much I don’t like hockey. My mom was also a little disappointed but all she said was, ‘Smile and thank your aunt and uncle.’
I was then playing with my cousins and it seems that my godparent’s son was quite jealous I got a ticket. He was constantly hitting me and saying really rude things. At one point he wanted to beat me up (I’m three years older than him; he wouldn’t have stood a chance but I was still diplomatic).
I went to the game and I thought it was going to be just my godparents and me; It ended up that seven other people got tickets for free. It just became ‘less special’ since I thought I was the only one that got a ticket. Even my jealous cousin ended up getting a ticket.
To this day, it was THE.WORST.PRESENT I have ever had.”
Re-Gifted Her Own Gift
“My poor mother-in-law ‘regifted’ a collectible Ken and Barbie set I had gotten as a present the year before from my husband and had stashed it away in my husband’s closet at his parents’ house. She found it, wrapped it up and gave it to me the next Christmas.
Granted, this was the beginning signs that she was starting to suffer from Alzheimer’s (she eventually passed away a few years back from the disease) and I never said anything to her. I loved her like my own mother and miss her terribly.”
Just Make Something!
“Six years ago, I got a children’s book on Ireland.
I come from very humble beginnings and I don’t get a lot of gifts generally. But this one really got to me. Yes, I love books and reading. Yes, I love Ireland. No, it wasn’t cute to buy me a children’s book about a country I know virtually everything about.
The year before, I got the Tao of Pooh and Assorted Works of Voltaire. Those should have been a warning sign. Especially since I owned both of them anyway.
TOP TIP: If you are poor and don’t know what to get your significant other, make them something. Don’t waste your money thinking you need to buy them something.
Making something shows you spent time on it, and that you actually care.”
A Terrible Family Has Terrible Gifts
“It wasn’t a Christmas present, but I got a ‘Happy Birthday Barbie Doll’ for my 16th birthday. It had a pink dress and brown hair.
The kicker was, my father had just given my 15-year-old step-brother a BMW the day before. This was December and his birthday wasn’t until August.
I was grounded for two months because I told my dad I didn’t want the doll unless it was capable of pooping car keys. No regrets.
I wasn’t just being a spoiled brat about the car. Had my father not purchased a car for my step-sibling the day before my own birthday and given me a cheap doll for my ‘sweet’ 16, I would have been happy with that gift alone. It was the principle of it. We no longer have any contact. I don’t speak to that side of my family, save one aunt, at all and haven’t in 11 years. Thank God.
They were super abusive. Dad beat up my mom and older sister for 13 years until they finally divorced. He remarried a woman who was just as abusive as him, they got custody of me, and I became their whipping boy (girl). I wore my stepbrother’s hand me downs because they wouldn’t buy me clothes. My stepmother used to make me strip naked and kneel on a pile of rice while praying if I ticked her off. They removed my bedroom and bathroom doors after this even and I was forced to change clothes, shower, and use the restroom while they all watched.
I moved out when I was 17 after my stepbrother assaulted me.
I have no regrets. The things I went through made me the person I am. I have healed.”
The Movies Had A Surprising Star
“My then-girlfriend once gave me a stack of dirty movies on VHS as a birthday gift, no explanation.
I started watching them and they were super low budget and sleazy… and she was in all of them!
They were old and it wasn’t something she was currently doing, she had already told me she used to be a dancer so I wasn’t that shocked and, in theory, the idea doesn’t really bother me and could even be kind of hot – if it was good smut.
It wasn’t. Watching a bunch of greasy, ugly dudes go to town with my girlfriend wasn’t much of a gift.”
A Free DVD Produced By Her Uncle-In-Law!
“It was my very first Christmas with my husband’s family after we got married and we were all passing around gifts. Most of his family very graciously gave us the standard newlywed gifts- dishes, towels, picture frames etc.
But this one uncle. He fancies himself a media producer (tv, radio, YouTube).
He gave me (and all the other women in the family to be fair) a DVD that he wrote, directed, produced, and starred in, about how to be a good mother.
I know what you’re thinking:
-No, I did not have children at the time, nor was I even pregnant
-No, he does not have children
-No, he is not in the childcare/child development field
-No, he did not notice the bewildered looks on any of our faces
My husband is polite to a fault and would not let me re-gift it back to the uncle the following Christmas even though my mother-in-law thought it would be hilarious.”
A Gift That Cost Them A Lot
“A kitten. I was about to make a cross-country move with my then girlfriend and her mother gave us a kitten without any discussion beforehand. It died the next day — a parasite or something. We rushed it to a vet but it was too late. So we got to pay for a vet visit and a cremation.
We also got a parking ticket because we ran into the vet without paying the meter.
To be clear, the big sin was the gift in the first place. There was nothing obviously wrong with the kitten when she gave him to us, and I don’t think she neglected any medical care that he was supposed to have.”