Who doesn’t like gifts? Yeah, maybe it wasn't the literal thing someone wanted, but hey! It's the thought that counts! But it's those exact thoughts that had these people thinking, 'Why would someone give me this?!'
These people dish on the most awkward gift they ever received that left them scratching their heads. Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
Her Weird Brother-In-Law
“My very materialistic sister dated (and eventually married) a pretty rich guy. They met on New Year’s Eve so by the first Christmas they shared they were together for a year. The whole first year he showered her with gifts and trips and all kinds of stuff, even paying for her education. He seemed like a great guy but because he was a little weird and shy, my parents didn’t meet him until that first Christmas.
Well, he showed up with gifts for all, really nice and thoughtful things. My sister opened hers last. It was a huge box, inside was another box, and another, that old gag with maybe 10 or 12 boxes.
We were all thinking, ‘At the bottom, there is a ring, he’s going to propose!’
When she got to the final box, it was a single roll of toilet paper and a can of Campbell’s soup. I just about peed myself with laughter looking at my sister’s dumb face. One of the top 10 moments in my life if I’m being honest. We never got an explanation as to why, it wasn’t an inside joke or anything, just a weird thing from a weird guy. I like him (maybe even more than my sister does) but my parents definitely think he’s a weirdo.
About eight years after this, I moved across the country and my first Christmas without the family, he sent me a half-eaten box of stale Triscuits and a ziplock bag of hair that had fallen off their cat. There was no card but he wrote ‘You suck’ on the wrapping paper with a sharpie. My reward for being the only member of my family to not shun him for his weird behavior over the years.”
The Mystery Gift
“I was 15 when my family was feeling it financially. They had just purchased a home for the first time, and money was tight. We all knew Christmas was going to be a bit threadbare. Lots of used books and handmade gifts. Whatever, we were in our own house for the first time, with a proper yard filled with trees. We were fine with it.
Most of the packages under the tree were small, but there was one, labeled for me, that was quite large. A rectangle close to four feet long, a bit less than a foot wide, and maybe two inches thick. As it sat there until Christmas Day, I wondered what the heck it could be.
Eventually, Christmas morning came. My sister and I finally woke up and stumbled out for presents. I went through my Christmas stocking first and score! I got two chocolate oranges. Then I finally went after the presents. A couple of books later, I finally set in on the mystery gift.
I pulled off the paper to reveal two boards. No, literally, just two wooden boards. I stared at them in confusion. The tag said it was from my dad. Was he giving me shelving? I stared at the present is what my dad later described as ‘abject confusion.’
I finally looked up at him as I asked, ‘Are you giving me shelving?’
Now my dad is a pretty reserved person. He doesn’t show a ton of emotion, but at that moment, he laughed harder than I have ever seen prior or since. This was a full-on guffaw, head tilted back, red in the face, eventual tears streaming down his cheeks.
Eventually, he gathered himself enough to say, ‘Look at the edges.’
And what I saw was a brass latch keeping the boards together. I flipped the present, and on the opposite edge were four brass hinges. So I popped the latch and opened the boards. And what do I find but that dad had routed out the interiors of the boards, lined them with purple velvet, and sitting there like the Symbol of State was my very own sword. A hand-and-a-half replica of a British sword from the 1300s. Something my dad had found in an antique shop.
That was almost 20 years ago, and I still have the sword. Dad and I made a scabbard for it, wooden slats covered in stitched and embossed leather. It sits next to my bed as my first line of defense should someone break into my home.”
Who Put His Name In The Hat For Secret Santa?
“My family got together on Christmas to party and exchange gifts. Each ‘adult gets an adult’ and each ‘adult gets a kid’. The names were picked from a hat, months in advance. Gift prices weren’t set, but they typically ranged from 30 to 75-ish dollars. It just depended on the person.
I was still in the kid’s category at this point in my life and months before the party, I found out my uncle (also godfather) had me.
There was some drama between this uncle and the family, which I don’t have all the details but he had been showing up less and less over the years. I didn’t think it would affect Christmas, especially having me as his giftee, well I was wrong.
He didn’t show at the party, but he dropped the gift off in advance so I wouldn’t be hung out to dry.
When it came time, I opened it up. It was a bag of popcorn with some nuts and chocolate drizzle. To any kid, it was some fancy popcorn. Honestly, I was shocked. Yes, I double-checked the bag and there was no additional gift card or anything. But hey, even as a child I knew beggars can’t be choosers and this was all extra. Real present time already took place at my own home.
Throughout the party, the question was raised, ‘So, what did you get?’
I said, ‘I’m eating it.’
I saw many looks of horror that day. People were beyond livid on my behalf. But, it was what it was. Another uncle tossed me 50 bucks because he was that heated.”
A Gift Basket From A Store Owner
“The stepmother of a guy I dated is a lawyer. We’ll call her ‘Sally’. One day she got a call from a woman who ran an adult store, asking for advice because some weird guy kept coming in, taking pictures of everything, and then she learned he was opening his own shop down the street and was basically just copying hers. Sally told her she didn’t think there was any legal recourse but offered to write her a ‘scary-sounding letter’ from a lawyer, hoping it would make him stop. She did, and it worked. The adult shop lady was thrilled.
One day, Sally was about to head home for the day when her secretary came in with a giant gift basket from the store owner. In a hurry, Sally asked her to stuff it in her car in the only spot it would fit, the front passenger seat.
Sally was driving home along a back highway when she glanced over at the box and realized it had super graphic pictures on it. Thinking of her super-conservative housekeeper, she decided she needed to at least get rid of the box. She couldn’t throw it out at home because the housekeeper might find it. So she pulled everything out of the box, which one thing was this giant, sparkly, purple ‘adult toy’, and proceeded to roll down the window and toss the box out the window.
Then she heard a ‘BEEP’ and saw flashing lights on behind her. She got pulled over.
Struggling to move the things and put out her license, Sally managed to turn on the adult toy. She couldn’t turn it off.
A young cop came up beside her and saw her sitting with this twitching toy in her lap. Luckily, she managed to convince him that all she did was throw the box out the window, but still, it was littering. So he made her walk back down the hill, and through the mud in her Loubatins to pick up the box. Once she got back into the car, she figured out how to turn the toy off, and angrily shoved it into her purse.
Fast forward to about a week later when Sally had some dental work that needed to be done. She had just started dating a guy, we’ll call ‘Steve’, the father of the guy I was dating. Steve offered to take her to the dentist and drive her home after since she’d be kinda loopy. He was waiting in the lobby when the receptionist asked him to give her Sally’s health insurance card. He dug through her purse and hit something that started to buzz. Confused, he pulled out the giant purple toy, in front of a waiting room filled with children and old people.
They eventually married, so I guess it all worked out for the best.”
“Uh, Thanks, Mom”
“One year I came home for Christmas in a very long time. My mom had been asking me what I wanted for Christmas and I told her I didn’t want anything. I had everything I need and not to get me anything. Well, come Christmas morning there were a number of gifts with my name on them. We always handed out all the gifts first and we each had a pretty decent pile. And we always start with the youngest and go up so I was like third or fourth in line. Everyone had pretty normal gifts, like gloves, PJs, the usual winter gift stuff.
My turn came up, I probably had eight or nine small packages to open. I opened the first one and it was a box of hamburger helpers.
I laughed it off and said, ‘Uh, thanks, Mom.’
Then I continued. After three boxes of hamburger and tuna helpers, there was a couple of cans of Chef Boyardee and Spaghettios.
I ended up saying, ‘Do you think I’m not eating or something? Or are you trying to kill me? What’s with all the random food?’
Her response was, ‘No, I just felt bad that you didn’t have anything to open on Christmas! You can go put those back in the cabinet when you’re done.’
The Gift Was For Six To Ten Year Olds, Not Grown Adults
“My family has an uncle who works out of the country for 75 percent of the year. He’s an underwater welder for massive ships, and thus doesn’t really have a chance to keep up with the evolution of any family besides his own wife and kids. Every year for Christmas, it never fails that he still gets my brother who is 28 years old, and me who is 25, gifts that would be great for any 10 to 15-year-olds.
It usually ended up being something that could at least be used sometimes, like sunglasses with flames on the side. Or could at least be a small desk or bookshelf decoration.
Now I know, he means the best by these gifts and does love us, so no one in our family has ever said anything about it. We just open the gifts, laugh out loud while opening them (because in our minds, we’re thinking ‘what the heck are we going to do with these?’), and he takes that as ‘Oh they totally loved the gift!’ But, one year takes the cake, for sure.
Two years ago for Christmas, my brother and I (26 years old and 23 years old at the time), received matching Sock ‘Em Boppers from the said uncle. Sock ‘Em Boppers. If you don’t know what Sock ‘Em Boppers are, you can give it a quick search on the Google machine, but essentially they’re giant blow-up cylinders to use as gloves that six to ten-year-olds use to playfully beat each other up.
This was definitely the biggest ‘what in the world’ gift we’ve ever received from our uncle out of all the toys he’s ever given us. This wasn’t something I could use once or twice to at least get some use out of it. This wasn’t something I could display on a desk or bookshelf. This wasn’t even something my brother and I would have used ten years previous as 16- and 13-year-olds.
As soon as everyone left and we were cleaning up and organizing our gifts, my brother and I got to the Sock ‘Em Boppers in our gift piles, and just looked at each other, and attempted to say, ‘What was he thinking?’ before busting up laughing halfway through.
Bless our uncle’s heart.
At this point, his gifts just become donations to one of the neighborhood toy organizations (for example, Toys 4 Tots), so don’t worry, they’re not going to waste.”
“I Didn’t Want A Horse”
“I didn’t want a horse. My mom got me one anyway as a Christmas present when I was in high school, thinking it would be a good way for me to develop self-discipline. Or something.
I even got my ‘gift’ several days early. Turned out this horse became spooked really easily. Which if that’s not a sure sign you don’t want that horse to be someone’s first horse, I don’t know what is. She probably got it dirt cheap and didn’t stop to think why it was so cheap. But I digress.
Anyway, I got this horse well before Christmas because it was being kept hidden at our neighbors’ place across the street. While enjoying its temporary quarters, the horse spooked, jumped, and impaled its hindquarters on a fence post. And they needed me to help keep the gaping wound clean. The wound ended up getting infected, the infection spread, and my already worst Christmas present ever got euthanized a couple of days before Christmas.”
He Gave Her A Christmas Gift, But It Was July
“The guy I worked with in community college bought me a pair of gorgeous diamond stud earrings. But it was a bit weird since we had never spoken before that day. We weren’t even acquaintances because we worked in different departments. He used this very expensive gift to ask me out.
He asked me out for the weekend at his place.
His exact first words were, ‘You look like a woman who knows she deserves the finer things. Merry Christmas.’
It was July.
Needless to say, I did not accept. He started arguing that he’d bought this beautiful gift and why wasn’t I thankful? I tried to explain that buying a crazy expensive gift for someone who doesn’t know you puts them in a very difficult position, one I didn’t appreciate being put in, but he wasn’t having it.
My coworker who worked the desk with me had to tell him (with a lot of cuss words and a couple of threats) that the dude needed to back down.
That was the end of it for a while. At most, two or three months, he stopped trying to speak or bother me again. Then I came into work one day and heard he’d been fired. A bunch of people were asking if I was okay and had he tried to do anything to me.
I was freaked out and confused.
I found out he had put a dead rat in the cabinet under where I stood at the service desk with a note that said something like, ‘Just reminding you what you mean to me.’
Anywho, that’s also the story of how I got offered a desk job in the back and a 75 cent hourly raise.”
His Drill Sergeant Forced Him To Open The Gift
“My bunkmate in the Air Force, let’s call him ‘Neil’, had a brother who was deployed and knew he was in boot camp and knew where since Air Force boot is always in Texas. Anyway, we were about to go to eat when we did a mail call. And here came this huge package for Neil.
Our drill instructor made him open it in front of everyone. Neil saw who it was from and slid it open a little before asking to please throw it away as his face went blood red. The drill sergeant laughed and ordered him to open it. It was a huge blow-up doll. The drill instructor made him tie it to his hand the whole day.
To this day I have never seen anyway get smoked as hard as he did ever. And still can’t believe they let that go on for as long as it did.”
“The Growling Kept Getting Louder and Louder”
“When I was six, my dad told me I could unwrap one specific present early. I went to tear into the thing and it started making this horrifying growling noise. I was so freaked out. He encouraged me to keep going and when I got the paper off the box, it was full of holes desperately stabbed in it like some kind of animal was inside. And the growling just kept getting louder and louder.
My dad was laughing so hard from the couch. He had put one of these prank fart machines in the box. When I got the thing open, we started playing with it together and we put it in my little sister’s diaper and told the babysitter she had been a little gassy. I don’t think I had ever laughed that hard in my life.
Also, there was a present in the box with the fart machine. It was an industrial-strength hot glue machine and it was not an appropriate gift for a six-year-old girl, but that thing got me through every school project and my college art education. I still use it to this day and I’m 27.”
All He Wanted Was A Camera
“When I was a kid, I was obsessed with film (I still am) and wanted nothing more than a video camera. In the late ’90s, they weren’t cheap for a young teenager. I told my parents for two years I wanted a mini DV camera, as their old VHS was horrible quality and enormous.
When Christmas came that second year, I got some clothes, candy, and a video game.
Then they said, ‘Oh yeah, we have two more things for you. Open this one first.’
I opened the first gift and it was a nice camera tripod, then I opened the second smaller box. I thought it was going to be my camera, but instead, it was a nice camera bag/case.
I looked at my parents confused and they said, ‘When you buy your own camera, these will come in handy.’
His Girlfriend Was Offended
“When I turned 19, my friends got together and turned up with this massive rectangular box. When I say massive I really mean it, it was easily six feet tall, and they just turned up to the restaurant holding that and put it next to the counter for the entire restaurant to look at it. They didn’t let me open it until we were done with dinner.
Fast forward to the end of the dinner. I had been really curious all dinner long to find out what it was. So we got down to opening it, and they had filled the whole thing with old newspapers, making me dig through it to find the actual gift, and making a mess of the restaurant at the same time. Finally I felt something hard and grabbed it.
It was a picture frame with only a Trojan rubber and the words, ‘In case of a miracle, break the glass.’
I thought it was the funniest thing ever, but my then-girlfriend obviously thought my friends were daft and was clearly thinking ‘what the heck’ the whole time. I think she actually felt offended by it.
I still have it at home, and I still have it intact. Because I really like it.”
His Little Brother Was Excited To Give Him The Gift
“When I was about 10, my little brother who was three at the time, was very sweet. He told my parents he had a present for me but didn’t want anyone to see it and wanted to wrap it himself.
Christmas morning came and I was very moved by the shoebox-sized gift my little brother taped up as best as he could and made my Mom wrap it for him. He excitedly brought it over and I noticed it was pretty light but his eyes were giddy with excitement for me to open it. I figured it was a hand-drawn picture or something, so I made a big show about being excited to see what was inside. As I started to remove the tape from the box, I noticed a little odd smell but figured it was just because the old box was in the basement.
When I finally got the lid open, my brother excitedly exclaimed, ‘Merry Christmas!’
I got to see what he was so excited about for the past two weeks. The box contained a dead hummingbird that had run into the window, an earthworm, and a few scattered saltines in case the worm and bird got hungry.”
You Could Tell Who Was Grandma’s Favorite
“It was Christmas morning when my Grandma rolled in for gift giving. At the time, my sister was 12, I was nine, and my brother was five. My grandma was a bit nutty and played favorites like how some old ladies play Bingo; loud and aggressive. The order of favoritism followed by our birth order. My sister’s gift was 100 dollars in cash and a gift-wrapped scarf and glove set from Macy’s. I, on the other hand, received 20 dollars in a regular postal envelope. Just cash, no card or anything.
And then came my little brother’s turn. He received a Kid Cuisine in a Food Lion grocery bag. The poor kid even opened the box hoping upon hope there was some cash in the TV dinner box. He ended up being disappointed that morning.”
She Hurt Her Cat, So Pay Back?
“So I cared for a friend’s cat while she went away. Shortly before my friend returned, I accidentally crushed half of the cat’s tail in a screen door. The vet said either the tail would heal or the injured part would fall off. I told all of this to my friend when she returned. I begged forgiveness and thankfully, she forgave.
Fast forward two weeks. It was almost Christmas and my friend came for dinner and she brought me a present wrapped in shiny red paper with a red bow. I opened it immediately, excited. Inside was the part of the cat’s tail that fell off.”