The Best Worst Christmas Gifts We Ever Got

...And you thought the loot under your tree was bad?

Compiled by Perri O. Blumberg
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    Electric Bug-aloo

    "I know my best friend meant well when she gave me an electric bug vacuum, because she knows how much I hate insects. You trap a bug in one end of a tube, then press the trigger to suck the bug into wherever part collected the dead bodies. The whole idea grossed me out so much I never even opened the box!" –Beth Weinhouse, Health Features Editor

    Not Sold In Stores!

    "One of my relatives is known for giving horrible gifts, and the year I was 16 I got a plain fleece blanket—the type that rolls up for easy transport. Clearly I wasn't thrilled, so I tried to return it. Well, that failed when customer service told me the blanket hadn't been sold in stores... for three years!"  – Alyssa Jung, Assistant Research Editor

    Cousin Nancy, You Shouldn't Have

    "Every Christmas, cousin Nancy sends a box of holiday surprises: rice pasta (I am gluten tolerant), bars of Ivory soap, or perhaps Trail Mix. But this trout tie? Yes, Nancy remembered that I love to fish, but it's as ugly as sin. I haven't had the nerve to wear it for 15 years, yet I put it on now so you don't think I'm making the story up." –Fran Lostys, Research Manager

    Just Brush 'Em Off and Saddle Up

    "Someone gave me pair of used red suede cowboy boots. And, they came with authentic dust." – Barbara O’Dair, Executive Editor

    When a Joke Goes Way Too Far

    "My ex-boyfriend used to call me 'Larry' as a joke instead of 'Perri.' For the holidays one year, he gave me a Tiffany's robin's-egg blue box. Exciting! Inside, I found a beautiful, initial necklace...but an 'L,' for Larry. I tried wearing it, but it was too hard to explain why the pricey jewelry had the wrong letter. To this day, I'm still in search of a best friend whose name starts with an L so I can pass it along." –Perri O. Blumberg, Assistant Editor

    Slightly Creepy Bedtime Barbie

    "Christmas 1993 was the season for this popular gift—if you dabbed Barbie's eyes with water, they would magically open and close—and that year I received four of them from various friends and relatives." –Caitlin O' Connell, Assistant Editor

    I Thought It Was a Back Massager

    "A few years ago, my sister tore into a present from our parents and saw "deep knead" on the box. 'Is this what I think it is?' she excitedly exclaimed, tearing the final piece of paper off to reveal...a bread maker."  –Drew Scarantino, Rights Assistant

    Easy Come, Easy Go

    "I was given the greatest gift a child could ever hope for: a puppy. And then it became the worst when I had to give it away shortly thereafter because my family and I were horribly allergic to it. Talk about a total bummer!" —Lauren Gniazdowski, assistant editor

    Batteries Not Included?

    "I once got a Christmas gift list that included socks that are warmed by batteries. –Michael Hipwell, digital production and design associate

    And, a Few from Our Readers:

    Everyone has gotten a rotten gift. We asked our readers to share with us the one present that had them running to the store’s returns department.

    1. I once received a toilet seat. —Julie K., Shellsburg, Iowa

    2. The book What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I was in high school and not even dating. —Audrey A., Norfolk, Virginia

    3. A fifth of whiskey, even though I’m an alcoholic. —Clark H., Magdalena, New Mexico

    4. A very nice sweater that someone had worn, stained, and regifted to me. —Belinda M., Orangeville, Pennsylvania

    5. A donation in my name to a cause I don’t support. —Marci E., North Richland Hills, Texas

    6. I got my own Christmas gift back the next year. —Carol E., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    7. A subscription to the Nutrisystem weight-loss program. —Rosemary G., LaGrange, Kentucky

    8. A bar of soap. —Shirley B., Macomb, Michigan

    9. A turquoise man-kini. I am 60 years old and weigh 250 pounds. —Erich P., Phoenix, Arizona

    10. An iron and ironing board from my (now ex-) husband. —Nancy M., South Attleboro, Massachusetts

    11. A book titled 101 Wines Under $5. —Cindy M., Greensburg, Pennsylvania

    12. A bag of cotton balls. —Claudia A., Columbia Falls, Montana

    13. A Christmas tree ornament. I’m Jewish. —Cary L., Royal Oak, Michigan

    14. A pill vial designed like a white elephant and filled with the baby teeth of my friend’s children. —Marcia A., Carlsbad, California

    15. Legos. I’m 34. —Lisa A., Boise, Idaho

    16. I received a book on Chinese culture written in Chinese. —Phil H., Carmel, Indiana

    17. A doorknob. —Sweet I., Jefferson, New Hampshire

    18. A used spatula. —Sheila H., Grand Junction, Colorado

    19. One slipper. —Robin R., Smithfield, Pennsylvania

    20. A book of etiquette from my mother-in-law. —Maureen C., Pleasanton, California

    21. Dental floss. —Lisa C., Alpharetta, Georgia


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    Your Comments

    • kmorgan

      i had that bedtime barbie!we had matching pjs n i brought her everywhere…i was like 6 gimme a break lol

    • April Stroud Roberts

      Some of these are funny because I think the giver was trying to make a point. Apparently the recipient was too busy hating the gift to pick up on the intended message. LOL

      • Treeza Green

        Gift giving is not the time to make a point. Give a gift if you want to and don’t if you don’t. It’s not the time to decode messages.

        • April

          You misunderstand. I’m not advocating that they do so. I’m simply analyzing.

    • Migdalia Negron

      My worst christmas present was the year that I was about 13 years old. My body was changing and I was starting to develop. I was already feeling awkward about it and my aunt gave me a training bra. Which I opened in front of my father, brother, cousins and grandfather. I was so embarassed that I dropped it and ran into my room to cry. She feel bad and gave me $20 to compensate for her bad judgement.

    • Intrepidgal01

      One year my husband bought me a doorbell for Christmas, He wrapped the transformer unit in a separate box and when my 7 year old son asked what it was I told him ” the transformer” he started crying because I had received one and he didn’t . Then he kept trying to figure out if it turned into Optimus Prime. LOL

    • Swills

      How about a gingerbread Christmas tree … KIT
      Yes with what looked like it had seen more than one Christmas

    • Charlie

      Great Read

    • abbey coe

      My mom is the worst gift giver.Every year  its bad but this year tops the cake. My husband got a western shirt that no cowboy would wear not to mention that his a hoodie and jeans kinda guy anyway.  I got a hippie scarf  and tinted chapstick nothing else. I don’t wear anything dressy  or hippie. Scarfs aren’t apart of my wardrobe.  I spend a great deal on her. I always ask and get what she request.  Her useless gifts wouldn’t bother me if she would buy for that person and not have herself in-mind when she buys someone else a gift especially when she is buying for a man. I’m so not kidding. when I was 17 she bought a turquoise arrow head neckless for my boyfriend at the time. I could died when he unwrapped that.

      • Angie.Evan.

        scarves and chapsticks are a perfectly commonly accepted gift. maybe it’s the nature of your communication that has a problem here and not the gifts. just saying. also it’s been years since my mum has given me a gift, so yes i find whinning about the gifts someone has bought you a little insensitive.

        • loretta

          My spent Christmas in the hospital with pneumonia. She has dementia and cannot buy gifts. But that’s ok, cuz I asked God for her to get better. He did. That is the best gift ever. Don’t cry about gitfs you get, be happy for them. We give them anyways because it reminds us of His greatest gift He gave us, Jesus.

          • loretta

            I meant to reply to Abbey Coe, not Angie Evan.

      • Rita

        Maybe she could give you a dictionary. It’s necklace.

    • Lisa21617

      Hey Lisa A. in Boise…
      I am 49, and my BEST gift was a LEGO set! They aren’t all meant for little kids.

    • Rrbari

      Just received a small nail file wrapped in tissue paper.

    • Anonymous

      Those are good gifts and a for time to smile and laugh.I needed that just now. Thanks everyone and R.D.