"When I was 8 or 9, my aunt took the money she would normally use to buy presents for her nieces and nephews and donated it to Heifer International. The donation was equal to something like two goats, so we all got cards at the family Christmas party saying that she purchased a portion of a goat in our name. I was confused and wanted to meet and play with the goat. They explained the goat was given to another family that needed it. I was devastated. Looking back, it was actually a really cool gesture, but 8-year-old me was severely disappointed."--
"I'm Asian and for several years in elementary school, I got math books. It was always the textbook for the next school year so that I could work through all the chapters ahead of time. The worst part is that my parents were divorced and my mom was forcing me to tell my dad that I was the one who wanted math books for Christmas. So my dad would ask me if I really wanted a math book and I would begrudgingly have to say yes."--
"My mother is the queen of 'what-was-she-thinking' gift giving. This is the list of items I've received over the years: Nail clippers, a mechanical pencil, a ceramic skull ashtray, a cardboard cowboy hat, a metal Buddha paperweight that made my fingers green from handling it, a bottle of a West Coast blend with my father's name on it and labelled 'to help you enjoy retirement'. The drive home from my parents' place on Christmas Day usually involves a brief stop somewhere with a trash can."
"I was once given a rotisserie chicken, no utensils, and told it was the only food I was getting that day. Eating a whole chicken with just your hands is an odd way to celebrate Christmas."
My redneck uncle found a roadkill fox one Christmas. He skinned it, treated it, and gave it to me. I kinda freaked out when I opened it up. The hair was falling out, and it smelled awful. He later gave me $20.--
"A box of my grandmother's ashes wrapped to look like a gift. My mother did this."--
"We were the type of family that made 'lists' for Christmas, and at the top of my list was a digital camera. This was the before iPhones. We always opened our stockings first, and for some reason, my mother put a ziplock bag of batteries in my stocking. I remember thinking, 'Yes! I'm totally getting my camera!' But no. Instead, I got a disposable camera. When I had the look of pure disappointment, she says it's because I always break things, so this way I won't break it. The worst part was that my older brother got a digital camera, which he didn't even ask for and when I asked what the batteries in my stocking were for, she says, 'Oh, people always need batteries.'"--
"I was seriously depressed all through high school; cutting class and partying myself into a stupor, that sort of thing. I was given a carving set and a fifth for two Christmas, two years in a row. At the time I was stoked, for obvious reasons, but looking back I realize how awful that was."--
"I have Alopecia, so I'm completely bald. I had a relative gift me one of those fake hair extensions that are on a scrunchy. I had lost all of my hair and had been bald for four years. I never wore wigs and this relative knew I was bald. She did it anyway, and it hurt a lot."--
"My ex-sister-in-law once gave me a case of Slim Fast for Christmas. I was definitely fat, and I knew I needed to lose weight but, really?
"I literally got coal. I was a straight-A student, never got in fights, helped in the community, never talked back, helped around the house, and paid for everything I owned since I was 12. My sister got a Game Gear along with games as her stocking stuffer. 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.' I stopped holding my breath for sibling equality or even something resembling it after that."--
"My uncle gave my mom a gallon of orange juice one year. The year before he gave her a vibrating hair brush. Some people get all the luck."--
"One time, my brother had just passed his driving test and was waiting anxiously for his license to come in the mail. My sister picked up the mail that had his license ID in it and proceeded to hold it for about a month, then when his 18th birthday arrived, she wrapped it up still in the envelope and handed it to him. I was furious for days even though it didn't happen to me."--
My family has a tradition of everyone opening one gift the night before. Usually, my parents would pick which one and it would usually be something small so that we'd save the big surprises for Christmas Day. One year, when my brother was around 15, he was dead set on opening one specific present, and my mom gave in and let him choose that one as the one he got to open on Christmas Eve. He opened it, and it was a wooden box. He was so shocked that it was just a box, and he kept yelling 'THAT'S IT? IT'S A BOX!?' over and over again. I don't know what he was expecting to be in there, or why he wanted that specific one so bad, but he was very disappointed."--
"Last Christmas, we had reached the end of all the presents and my mom pulls out one more. She says it's for me and it's the most expensive one here! I'm thinking it's a signed art print or something. Nope. My college diploma. I asked if we kept the receipt, I wanted a refund since I was still unemployed."
"I had a grandma who was so ridiculously cheap, she gave me a can of corn and one of my siblings a computer mouse one year. Another year, she gifted our family like, 20 cans of spam. Needless to say, the spam was fed to our dog, and we stopped talking to her for awhile."--
"A hideous bracelet with my name spelled wrong from my aunt and uncle. They gave my cousin an $80 dollar outfit from American Eagle plus another $70 dollars on a gift card."--
"A can of expired spinach from a neighbor. I didn't even know canned spinach could expire. This was five years ago. I haven't talked to them since."--
"My mom gave me a flashlight one year. Thank you?"--
"It was my first Christmas with my now wife. She got me a box of oranges and a Lord of the Rings 'Elvish' translation book."
"I once got this super ugly t-shirt from my sister. If I remember correctly, I was about 15 years old and she was 13 years old. I awkwardly said, 'thanks' and pretended to be really happy about it. It remained in my wardrobe, and I never wore it. Six months later, she told me where she got it: my own wardrobe. Basically, it was so ugly I never wore it and I didn't even know I had it, and she took the opportunity to re-gift it to me."--
"I got a rotten watermelon with a N'Sync CD inside at a church Christmas party. That was the weirdest thing ever."--
"I once unwrapped a box of yellow #2 pencils at Christmas. I must have looked a little disappointed because my mom told me to just wait and I'd see why Santa had brought them. Turns out it was because he also got me an electric pencil sharpener."--
"One year, my mom got me cake mix because she knows I like cake. The sad part was that she was so excited about it. I hope my disappointment didn't ruin her Christmas!"--
"I received a brick one Christmas."
"My husband told me once his sister had him pitch in to buy his parents a printer for Christmas. On Christmas Day, he got the printer from the family as a present! 'Oh look, it's the printer I bought.'"--
"Shampoo and conditioner from one of my sisters. Huh? I have plenty of shampoo and conditioner, and I use them every day!"--
"A small moose in a Christmas outfit carrying a camouflage hunting bag and slingshot. I don't like hunting, so it was basically a completely random gift. I got it from my stepmother, a notorious regifter. I had to coo over how cute it was and put it up on the mantle every year so she wouldn't catch wise. That is until they got divorced and I could finally trash the Chrismoose."--
"This year, my husband gave me drain cleaner. It was the fancy extra strength hair clog removal drain cleaner. He even wrapped it. I've only been married two years."--
"My godmother gave me her husband's used underwear. Literally the worst thing ever."
When I was 9 years old, there was a present under the tree that made all kinds of noise when you picked it up. Every day after school, I'd pick it up, shake it, ask my parents, 'What's in it?' No answer, of course. Christmas break was torture. Finally, Christmas came and I went right after that present and opened it. To my horror, it was filled with a bunch of worthless rusty nuts, bolts, washer, old spring, and bent nails. I was devastated. I had been with my adopted family for only about three months and it was the first Christmas where I had my very own present.--
"When I was in the eighth grade, somebody forgot my secret Santa present and gave me a rock wrapped in crumpled graph paper."--
"My step-grandmother gives hilariously bad gifts. She acts like she's unaware of doing this, but I think she laughs to herself about it. One year, she got me a styrofoam alligator head with light up eyes run by a small solar panel. The cover depicted it floating in a pool. I don't have a pool. And I've never expressed love for gators."--
"Some batteries and a $5 McDonald's card."--
"My grandmother got me a 'Can of Socks,' which is literally what it sounds like. A can that you have to open with a tin opener with socks in it. I have no idea what kind of minds create something like that."--
"We used to do a secret Santa in my family. It was about $20 dollar limit, and you made a little list of things you would like in that range. I have one aunt who was notorious for bad gifts unless it was one of her kids. Anyway, she drew my name when I was 13 or 14. She worked for JC Penney so you knew whatever you got was from there. It was a very skimpy size small shirt with a gift receipt. I was never anywhere near a size small and had even put my size on the original list anyway. My aunt says she wasn't sure what to get but to return it and get something I like, whatever, this isn't totally unexpected. I returned it for a whopping $0.73. Thanks."
Miriam Doerr Martin Frommherz/Shutterstock
"On my 20th birthday, my aunt got me a kids coloring book and a box of colored pencils. I wish I was lying."--
"I received NASCAR earrings. My dad won them in a claw machine."--
"A cute lotion dispenser...that I had given to my grandmother the year before."--
"A broken, used, 30-year-old food processor. 'You probably only have to get one part replaced, and it will be good as new!'"--
"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."
"Back around 1990, my grandfather bought me a handheld radio. He got it cheap because it was the display model and didn't come with a box. So, he borrowed an appropriately-sized box from my cousin because we were all staying at their place for Christmas. It was the box from a Gameboy. I had asked for a Gameboy, but my parents refused, so when I unwrapped that gift, I went insane with happiness. Then I opened the box, and had my dreams shattered. My parents later told me that I was so obviously disappointed, but was trying not to let my grandfather see that, that I just stood there, unable to form words. Luckily my grandfather took that as a sign of extreme excitement and gratitude."--
"My parents have a habit of buying weird/cheap stuff just to up the gift count. Recent examples include: A build-your-own-plywood-scorpion kit, a Dollar-store lighthouse knock-knacks, because 'I collect lighthouses,' a pink floral Dollar-store multi-tip screwdriver. Screwdrivers are useful and it's not bad to have a spare or two, but they did this three years in a row. Also, my husband has a fully equipped workshop, and I spent several years in a technical job that required me to have tools."--
"My mom got me size zero jeans. I'm a size six. When I looked at her, confused, she smugly said, 'Oh, I know you're not that thin, but these are something to work towards!' Right? This is the same woman who put me through 'Modeling School' when I was 8 years old."--
"My mother bought me bedsheets when I was 12. Sure, they're something you use quite often, but for the 12-year-old kid who sits there super excited on Christmas, bedsheets were the one thing to bring you down. And it wasn't a sort of placeholder gift with something inside, or alongside something the 12-year-old would actually enjoy. Nope, just a bed sheet. So when all my siblings spent the next days playing with their new fancy toys, I had my bedsheets."--
"A pack of hotdogs and an alarm clock."
"My grandmother on my mother's side is a very odd person, and I've never really gotten along with her. She gave me her autobiography last year."--
"My dad got me ACT study supplies."--
"I was around 7 years old and all I wanted were Legos. I asked for one set. I wake up Christmas morning and I shake all the boxes. The biggest one I shook sounded like it had Legos in it. To my dismay, it was just a box filled with small rocks. I'm still traumatized to this day."--
"A friend of mine gave me a lighter shortly after I quit smoking. This wasn't one of those big cool lighters with a trigger that you pull, it was small and lame. I don't really care about the size of it, but who the heck gives someone quitting smoking a lighter?"--
"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 eight-gallon container of mouthwash."
"My uncle once gave me a safari hat and a roll of film. I live in the Midwest, had no plans to travel, and don't own a camera.--
"My mom bought me a box of catheters for my birthday as a joke. Turning 14 was a weird day."--
"Some daft alarm clock from my grandma. It was meant for old people and I was 8 years old at the time. It had a very loud computer voice announcing the hour, but the worst part? It was the same thing my dad brought her when she was complaining about not being able to read her own clock."
"High end, beautifully made, sturdy wooden coat hangers. My sister-in-law bought them for the family gift exchange. You were supposed to buy for a couple but she made sure to tell me when my husband opened it, 'Oh, those are just for him.'"--
"A couple years ago, my aunt gave me five $1 scratch cards. I won $1."