25 Terrible Holiday Gifts, From the Hilariously Strange to the Downright Rude

disappointed woman on Christmas

The strangest holiday gift I have ever received was something my father sent me when I was in middle school. We hadn't seen each other since I was very young, and he'd apparently had my former age in mind when he picked out my present: a jigsaw puzzle, the sort with about 10 total pieces that's meant for preschoolers. Its art featured a baby duckling with the cheery accompanying text, "HAVE A DUCKY DAY."

I know it's gauche to complain about an object given out of generosity (usually) without the expectation of payment (most of the time), but the truth is, sometimes a present is just so weird/inappropriate/just-plain-WTF, you can't quite believe it. With the holidays right around the corner, I thought it was the perfect time to ask folks to share their most inexplicable gifts throughout the years.

Behold, 25 of the most oddball presents that have appeared under the family tree:


From an ex boyfriend: too small blue sundress to "match my eyes." My eyes are green. -- Daisy

A cookie jar filled with cookies, shipped from my [estranged] mother. It had melted into the shape of the bizarro jar during shipment: a giant blob of cookie. -- Melissa

My 88-year-old grandmother gave me a black lace thong that she bought at her HAIRDRESSER's from a lady selling them out of a bin-bag. -- MamaBean

From my husband's mother. Only gift she's EVER given either of us in the time we've been together, including wedding, his birthday, etc. It was a sort of gas station type gadget language translator, free gift from the casino, to both of us, from her AND her two adult kids. AFTER giving us Christmas lists for her and both kids, on which "cash" was a list item. -- TemerityJane

A re-gifted Lenox hurricane candle holder, minus the hurricane part. -- Katrina

A Spode Christmas tree sugar and creamer set. At $120. I was in college. -- Jessica

A giraffe travel toothbrush cover (yes) & a cloth (Vera Bradley) straight iron cover/carrier. Both from my mother. Same year. -- Claire

Fake key to my dream car from then-boyfriend. Went to the dealership to have it made and everything! -- Beth

A (now-ex) boyfriend’s parents gave me a workout video. -- Jen

Once my Gram gave all the adult guys in our family those CDs where your name gets inserted sporadically. They were football-themed. (Spoiler : They all won the big game!!) -- Sara

My in-laws gave me a collection of antique Alpine goat and sheep bells. -- Amy

In my eighth year of infertility, my husband's grandma gave me a "pregnancy fairy" to hang over my bed. And some tips on how to "do it." -- Tessa

My step-grandmother used to give her biological grandchildren money or gift cards every year, and me stuff from the dollar store with the tags on them. Like packages of pencils and holiday-themed tumblers and stuff. -- Tara

My grandmother always got us PJs for xmas ... usually all the grandkids got matching ones. The year I was 12, my sister was 19, and my cousin was 6, we all got horrible, pink, ruffly Holly Hobbie nightgowns. My sister & I got XL, which were clearly from the little girls' section because they were sized for an 8-year-old. There was also the year my parents, failing at any ideas for my husband, got him four Costco-sized jars of Jif. -- Kate

Google "shampoo cap." That's what my grandma gave me last Xmas. I'm 37 and not bedridden, FYI. -- Peep

Once an aunt gave me a cracked ceramic angel night light from TJ Maxx. I was in high school and was not afraid of the dark. -- Meredith

I got a bag of spice from my mother-in-law. Not fancy spices either. A gas station bag of cayenne pepper essentially. -- Leah

My aunt once gave me a book entitled, "How to Save Your Marriage." My other aunt gave me a Weight Watchers scale. -- Plain Jane

Last year my MIL got my husband (HER SON) salsa, crackers, and a box of Fiddle Faddle for Christmas. -- Lisa

My MIL gave me a gift that was clearly actually for my husband (think tools). Her way of giving me nothing. -- Brenna


My SIL gave me a Jar Jar Binks action figure and a Darth Maul softside lunchbox. When I was 25 years old. -- Fonticulus

One year my grandma gave my siblings & I each $20 except my sister who got a children's book on counting blessings. She was 15. -- Elsha

My grandmother gave me a tiny bow to tie to my "fluffy" to "surprise my husband" for Christmas. -- Maria

A riding saddle. No, I don't have a horse. -- Susan

What's the weirdest/worst gift you've ever received?

Image ©iStock.com/ariwasabi 

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