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Young girl | Source: Getty Images
Young girl | Source: Getty Images

People Share the Worst Gifts They've Ever Received

Salwa Nadeem
Jun 04, 2024
01:24 P.M.

Whether it's the holiday season or one of those months when you have to attend a friend's wedding followed by some birthdays, exchanging gifts helps bring smiles to your loved one's faces; unless the present is so terrible that it leaves them with unanswered questions.

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A woman opening a gift | Source: Shutterstock

A woman opening a gift | Source: Shutterstock

Gift-giving is an art that requires a delicate balance between thoughtfulness and practicality. While a well-chosen present can bring joy and happiness to the recipient, a poorly chosen one can leave them disappointed and unappreciated.

Some Redditors opened up about the worst gifts they have ever received, from the bizarre to the downright offensive. They weren't expecting to unwrap something that leaves them speechless, that too in an unexpected way.

Comments have been edited for clarity and grammar.

1. That's Not My Wishlist!

A person holding a phone and a card with a laptop in the background | Source: Shutterstock

A person holding a phone and a card with a laptop in the background | Source: Shutterstock

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u/P0werSurg3: My parents found the Amazon wish list of someone with the same name as me but NOT me. Although they thought it was a bunch of weird items, they didn't ask me or any other family member to see if they had the correct list.

As a 24-year-old male, that's how I got a maternity body pillow for Christmas.

2. The Beloved Dog

An empty dog bed in a room | Source: Shutterstock

An empty dog bed in a room | Source: Shutterstock

u/everyone1hatesme: My mother-in-law gave my 1-year-old daughter her dead dog's bed as a Christmas present. She said it was for my daughter's naps.

3. Gifts for the Couple

A person holding two gift boxes| Source: Shutterstock

A person holding two gift boxes| Source: Shutterstock

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u/lunnrais: The very first holiday after my wedding, my MIL sent my wife and me, each separately, the same self-help book on how to survive living with an abusive spouse.

Not how to divorce or anything, but how to live IN the relationship with an abusive spouse. Not just to her, not just to me. To both of us. Two copies of the book.

4. Crockpots Every Year

A woman talking to someone | Source: Shutterstock

A woman talking to someone | Source: Shutterstock

u/sevensevensixseven: I received the same crockpot from my ex-husband's mother three years in a row.

She gifted his new wife one last year. I'm confident this woman has a pallet of crockpots stashed somewhere in her house.

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5. The Savage Present

An alarm clock | Source: Pexels

An alarm clock | Source: Pexels

u/[deleted]: The Christmas after my mum died, I got an alarm clock as my present.

Her husband said it was so I 'might wake up in the morning now and actually do something.' Still salty eight years later. He's dead now, though, so who is the real winner?

6. It's Supposed to Be like That!

A child standing with his hands behind his back | Source: Pexels

A child standing with his hands behind his back | Source: Pexels

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u/The_Brain_Fuckler: I got a rubber Hulk Hogan figurine (it looked like it was a Christmas ornament with the loop snipped off) glued to a very effeminate toy horse.

An elderly family friend gave it to me, claiming the gift was "supposed to look like that." I didn't voice any doubts, but they still insisted that's how the toy came from the store. It's also kind of the best gift I ever got.

7. Are You Afraid of Clowns?

A clown figure | Source: Shutterstock

A clown figure | Source: Shutterstock

u/mayonnaisejane: Clowns. Every year, a new clown. I tried to tell my Abuelito I didn't like clowns, but he still gave me one.

I got a new clown figurine, doll, lamp, picture, or whatever every year for Christmas and birthday. I have BOXES of clowns.

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Thankfully, sometime in my mid-twenties, my father managed to divert him to kittens. But that was only after four awkward years when he decided I loved cows. I don't love cows, either.

On the bright side, since I kept them all on my dresser growing up, I was never afraid of clowns. They're just background noise to me. I could probably walk into one in a dark alley and just be all, "Oh... it's just one more clown."

8. My Uncle's Gift

A puzzled young boy | Source: Shutterstock

A puzzled young boy | Source: Shutterstock

u/ediaNS: My uncle gave me an Xbox Live points card for my birthday. When I went to redeem it, it said, "Card not activated." This happened two years in a row until my mom told him about it.

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9. Is That a Rock?

A woman holding the lid of a gift box with a scarf inside | Source: Shutterstock

A woman holding the lid of a gift box with a scarf inside | Source: Shutterstock

u/gennieb7: A few years ago, my aunt gave me a rock. She gave presents to me and my two older cousins, asking us to open our presents together.

She made my cousins go first, and they got scarves. When I opened my present and pulled a rock out of the package, I looked up, waiting for her to laugh. Instead, she asked, "Isn't it wonderful?"

I said, "Yeah, I love it." She told me she had dug it out of her garden the previous summer and said she knew I would think it was so 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.

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10. One Pair of Socks

A pair of socks | Source: Pexels

A pair of socks | Source: Pexels

u/justatypo: The first year at family Christmas with my now-wife, her Nanna gifted me one pair of socks.

The best part was that it was one pair of sports socks you get in a pack of 10. So, she bought a pack and just wrapped one pair for me.

Of course, at the time, I wanted to act super grateful, so I pulled off my current socks super enthusiastically and put on the new ones as soon as I opened them.

11. The Missing Packages

A video game store | Source: Shutterstock

A video game store | Source: Shutterstock

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u/I_am_paperclip: I had some excess cash when I got home from college. I decided to invest in some new video games 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 opened the box. Inside it were several other packages that had been mailed to our house with my name on them.

It turned out my brother had taken half of my games and hid them from me until Christmas… Worst present ever.

12. The Difference in Treatment

An angry older man | Source: Shutterstock

An angry older man | Source: Shutterstock

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u/77jeep: One Christmas, my millionaire dad and his wife gifted my brother a house and a new Escalade for his family while they gave me a gift card to Men's Warehouse for $200.

When he turned 40, they gave him $100,000. However, when I turned 40, they bought me dinner. They provided him with a 'college fund' of $250,000.00 for his kids.

When his kids dropped out of high school, they handed him the money to spend on cars, etc. Meanwhile, when my kids (straight A) graduated high school, my father and his wife told me it was my responsibility to pay for my kids' education.

Once, when I asked why there was such a difference in treatment, my dad told me I was being ungrateful.

13. You Should Be Grateful!

A frustrated teen girl sitting on the ground | Source: Shutterstock

A frustrated teen girl sitting on the ground | Source: Shutterstock

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u/morgueanna: I was a step-grandchild, and my grandmother sold Avon to feed her QVC addiction. So, while the other six grandchildren got genuine leather jackets, diamond jewelry, motocross lessons, and, one year, an actual motocross bike, I got plastic Avon jewelry.

For reasons too long to list here, I got placed with my grandparents two weeks before Christmas when I was 16.

I watched everyone open their gifts. Then, one aunt gave me a Walmart bag with some socks. Meanwhile, another aunt said I should be grateful that the family was taking me in instead of leaving me on the street. She believed that was my present.

Seven aunts and uncles and their spouses, along with my grandparents, and that's how they treated me in a situation that was out of my control. Needless to say, I don't talk to my family anymore.

14. Some Bizarre Gifts

A red paperbag | Source: Pexels

A red paperbag | Source: Pexels

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u/MizSanguine: My brother received a pocketknife wrapped like candy in a small cylinder package (an old toilet paper roll). Excited, I started unwrapping mine that looked similar.

Underwear. There was only underwear inside. And once, a bathroom faucet. That is when I knew my childhood was over.

15. Resolidified Chocolate

A chocolate bar | Source: Pexels

A chocolate bar | Source: Pexels

u/SquatChick315: I got expired chocolate on Christmas from an aunt who loved gifting her old presents to others yet always expected expensive, top-notch gifts for her children on Christmas and birthdays.

Not only was the chocolate expired, but it was also evident that it had melted entirely and resolidified.

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When I noticed, I went to her and said, "OMG! This chocolate is so good, you have to try it!" in front of the whole family.

I watched her unwrap a piece of chocolate, and when she noticed how it looked, she was hesitant to eat it.

When she looked at me, I just smiled and said, "It's the best chocolate ever!" Then, I watched her slowly bring it to her mouth and try to eat it.

She quickly walked to the kitchen immediately afterward. I think I've only seen her once since that moment almost nine years ago.

16. The Book

People in a bookstore | Source: Pexels

People in a bookstore | Source: Pexels

u/hickory-smoked: My friend's wife gave me a copy of "A Night Without Armor," the book of poetry by Jewel. Not that I actively dislike Jewel or anything, but it was so clearly something she saw on a discount gift rack the day of my birthday and said, "Yes, this is an object."

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17. The Cool Ball

A boy holding a light ball | Source: Pexels

A boy holding a light ball | Source: Pexels

u/BloodChicken: The only present I got for Christmas was a little light-up ball. You put your finger on the two metal tabs, or you and someone else while holding the other hands, and the ball lights up.

It wasn't awful, but it was underwhelming. After I figured out what it was and how it worked and tried it with a few people, Dad asked me if he could try, so I said sure.

I passed him the ball, and he immediately threw it on the ground hard enough to break it. "I thought it was a bouncy ball!" he said.

18. That's My Gameboy!

A boy mowing a lawn | Source: Shutterstock

A boy mowing a lawn | Source: Shutterstock

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u/tall_where_it_counts: When I was about 12 years old, I mowed lawns to earn some money for myself, and I spent many months saving up to buy a Gameboy Advance.

I loved this thing and played it incessantly for hours every day. Two months later, on my little brother's birthday, my parents bought him a Gameboy Advance game, just the game cartridge. He didn't have a Gameboy.

I was frustrated because I was forced to share my Gameboy with him, and when I was visibly salty about it, my parents told me to stop being selfish.

It's not that I didn't want to share with my brother, but it was unfair that they bought him a gift he could not use without borrowing my prized possession. When I expressed my annoyance, they made me feel guilty about it.

19. Taxidermy Gone Wrong

A brown deer | Source: Pexels

A brown deer | Source: Pexels

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u/Tarsala3791: I received a taxidermied deer hoof with a candle holder stuck where the ankle would be. Only it's bad taxidermy, so it is constantly shedding a fine white powder on the table.

20. I Was Excited

Gift boxes under a Christmas tree | Source: Shutterstock

Gift boxes under a Christmas tree | Source: Shutterstock

u/christinagleas: When I was a wee seven years old, my grandmother placed a long skinny box with my name on it under the Christmas tree about a week before the holiday.

For the next seven days, my small self drooled over the idea of a play baby stroller folded up in that box, just waiting to be filled with various stuffed animals.

On that magical morning, I ripped the box open only to discover it was a VACUUM CLEANER. Not a toy one, either. A real-life, serious, small vacuum cleaner.

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My grandmother claimed it was a great idea because "I loved cleaning when I visited her house." That's because you're basically a hoarder, and your house is disgusting, Granny.

21. Cotton Balls in a Bag

A person holding cotton balls | Source: Pexels

A person holding cotton balls | Source: Pexels

u/Thewrongbakedpotato: I got a Ziploc bag filled with cotton balls with the words "ghost poos" written on the bag with a Sharpie.

22. My Aunt Was a Re-Gifter

A pair of golden earrings and a bracelet | Source: Shutterstock

A pair of golden earrings and a bracelet | Source: Shutterstock

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u/pixierambling: My aunt tried to re-gift me a bracelet and earrings I had bought for her a few months earlier. It was insulting to hear, "Oh Pixie! I got these ESPECIALLY for you!" in a saccharine voice.

The funny part is that she forgot we even gave it to her, considering my brother and I were the only people in the family who remembered her birthday and even bothered to do anything about it.

23. My Brother's Present

A man drawing on a notebook | Source: Shutterstock

A man drawing on a notebook | Source: Shutterstock

u/[deleted]: My brother gave me a hand turkey that he drew minutes earlier for Christmas. This would have been okay if he was five or something. He was 21 years old. I framed it and gifted it back to him the following year.

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24. Box of peanut butter cup cookies

Woman's hands dipping cookie in coffee | Getty Images

Woman's hands dipping cookie in coffee | Getty Images

Deleted user: My father-in-law gave me a box of peanut butter cup cookies, but the package didn't mention peanuts anywhere. He pretended to forget about my severe peanut allergy.

I saw him laughing as my husband rushed me to the hospital. I GOT MY CRUEL REVENGE! Three days later, I received tons of angry texts from my furious mother-in-law.

At that moment, my husband burst into the room, his face red, yelling, 'WHAT DID YOU DO TO DAD'S CAR?' I had secretly filled it with dozens of air fresheners – the one scent he absolutely despises.

He couldn't even sit in it without gagging. My husband was fuming, but I calmly explained it was a taste of his own medicine. Now, both our families are in a standoff, but I feel my point was made loud and clear.

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47. A plastic pig

A plastic pig | Shutterstock

A plastic pig | Shutterstock

Deleted user: Every New Year's since I was 6, my stepmom has given me a plastic pig. Yes, a pig. Every. Single. Year. I always acted surprised because she has some mental health issues, and I didn't want to upset her.

But this year, my sister couldn't take it anymore.She: "Are you seriously still clueless?"Me: "Clueless about what?"She: "Check the underside of the pig." I looked, and my heart just stopped.

There was a tiny note – "Just because it's funny!" Every year, it turns out, my stepmom thought it was a hilarious joke to give the same odd gift. There was no deeper meaning, no secret treasure, just a quirky sense of humor that I never quite understood.

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An older woman giving a gift to a man | Source: Shutterstock

An older woman giving a gift to a man | Source: Shutterstock

Receiving unexpected gifts isn't something new. Like these Redditors, it has happened to most of us, and we may have also kept some of those gifts to give them to someone else later.

However, some of these stories revealed how people choose expensive items for their favorite person in the family while they give something useless to the person they don't like. Has something similar ever happened to you? We would love to know about it.

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