"My grandma got me a subscription to Nickelodeon magazine when I was 10. She kept renewing it every Christmas until I was 17. After that she switched it to Golf Digest. I don't even like golf and I still get them every month.
She has not forgotten she's paying for them. She prints off the 12-month order confirmation and wraps it up in a box. She gets the biggest smile when it's my turn to open gifts. If I tell her I don't like it she'll think I've hated my gift for the last eight years. Which is true, but I can't do that to her. I just put on the biggest fake smile and act surprised."
"I was out of town for a few days for work and got a text from my wife as I was pulling into the neighborhood that there was a 'surprise for me' waiting outside. I pulled up to see a gorgeous, fully restored 1957 Chevy 3100 sitting in my spot. I couldn't believe it. I'd been looking for a pickup and my wife knew I liked classic cars, but this was something else.
Just as I got out of my car to check it out, my son's friend and his dad who was coming to pick him up in his '57 Chevy walked off my porch. My youngest came outside and said, 'Daddy! Do you like your surprise?'
He pointed to a "welcome home dad" drawing he had taped to the door. I have never felt worse in my life for trying to play up a scribbled drawing as the best surprise ever. I can't say I didn't love his surprise and I definitely can't say it was a bad gift, but it definitely was the biggest misconception of all time."
"My worst gift was also probably the one that taught me a valuable lesson. When I was a kid, probably 11 or 12, I borrowed the NES game 'Bases Loaded' from a friend and subsequently lost it. My mom found out from his parents and confronted me about it, but I tried to pretend like I had no idea what the friend was talking about, that he was probably lying because he had lost it and didn't want to get in trouble. We lived in a really low-income part of town and I remember that game being like $50, which was not easy for any of our families to throw down for a video game.
I wake up Christmas morning and go directly to open up a box that looks like the size and shape of the new NES game I wanted. I open it up and it's a brand new copy of 'Bases Loaded'. My mom looks at me and says, 'You're going to take that over to his house later and apologize.'
That was my one and only big ticket gift of the year. I never lied about losing someone else's stuff after that (or at least not around Christmas)."
"My son received the worst gift ever from my wife's parents. My mother-in-law had bought both kids some chocolates and she was going to put $50 inside for them to pick out whatever they wanted. She wrapped my daughter's and left my son's out for my father-in-law to do. Since he ignores most things people say, he ended up pocketing the $50 and eating the chocolates and putting the wrappers inside the box.
The next morning, my mother-in-law sees the unwrapped box with no cash and assumes the cash is inside. She wrapped the box of trash and gave that to my son for Christmas."
"I went on a cruise in the Caribbean and brought my Dad back a bottle of spiced rum with the spices in the bottle.
A couple of months later, my dad regifted me the exact same bottle for my birthday. He gave me this whole tale about where he found it and how special it was. I waited until he was done to remind him where he actually got it."
"My ex-wife's grandmother once gave this little toy video slot machine game that she got from the dollar store because she knew 'I liked playing all them video games'.
When she handed it to me, and before I opened it, her words were, 'Merry Christmas, you'll have to buy your own batteries for it.'"
"At our holiday gift exchange in second grade, I got a used Halloween magazine. All pages colored in, crosswords and puzzles done.
I had my mom out shopping the previous Saturday for cool Hot Wheels and a nice Barbie for the two lucky kids who got my gifts."
"When I was around 12 years old, my grandfather, a wealthy man who had virtually nothing to do with me growing up, gave me a plastic outdoor door mat with Santa's face on it for Christmas.
I'm glad it came with the receipt because I most certainly took it back and got my $8.25."
"I told my aunt that I liked Jack Daniels and instead of buying me a bottle of it like most people, for three years straight at Christmas, I've had Jack Daniels related presents and they're all as bad as each other.
The first year I was given a Jack Daniels lamp. Well, when I say 'lamp', it was an empty Jack Daniels bottle with fairy lights inside. The second year I was given yet another empty Jack Daniels bottle with glitter and water inside which I had no idea what to do with. Last year I got a pair of Jack Daniels sunglasses which broke within a week. Fingers crossed I actually get a bottle with Jack Daniels in it this year."
"My grandmother gave me a pineapple, wrapped in newspaper. She told me that if she were to use real gift wrapping paper, she would have to deduct the cost from the real gift.
I don't remember what she got my brother that year, if it was the stereo, the disk-man, or something else, but I got a little red plastic bucket. I do remember not being the favorite grandchild though."
"When I was a child, Pokemon was banned in my house. My mom thought it was excessively violent. So, as a 5-year-old girl, I didn't know much about Pokemon besides the fact that they were the source of all evil in the world.
Christmas rolls up and we're opening presents with my extended family. My young uncle plops a giant atrocity of wrapping paper in front of me, looking proud of himself. Obviously, size indicated quality in childhood presents, because I'm so excited to rip this thing open.
I pull this thing apart, and it's a giant Pikachu. I'm talking over 4 feet in height.
I look at it. I look at my mother. I look at my uncle. I look back at this giant yellow furball, and then cue the tears of horror from young me while mom backpedals uselessly trying to convince me that it's okay, that I don't have to be afraid. My uncle was petrified by the entire scenario.
That thing lived in our crawlspace for years. I still have nightmares about it."
"A pen, yearly pocket planner, and some post-it notes from my dad for Christmas when I was about 12. My sister, who was ten, meanwhile got a mountain bike.
I was heartbroken and my mom went off on my dad for not getting us the same things. Dad's reasoning was that he didn't have enough money to buy us both new bikes. That reasoning didn't sit well with 12-year-old me, but in hindsight, I can see the logic.
My dad's now more aware of purchasing within a budget, but only after one year of telling teenage me that we probably wouldn't get much from him for Christmas because he wanted to buy a second road bike for himself (he also had a mountain bike a the time).
My mom had the opposite problem of making the gifts my sister and I received equivalent down to the penny. She forced us to make our wishlists 'better' when we didn't write down enough stuff, then told us we were greedy and that she couldn't buy us everything on our lists.
The 'best' worst Christmas was the year I wanted a stereo for my room and my sister wanted a Walkman. My sister opened up a brand new stereo while I opened up a Walkman. We both looked at each other, thanked Mom, and asked if she'd mixed up the presents and if she'd mind if we switched. She got mad, started crying, and denied it, then angrily told us to open the other presents.
As it turns she bought us both stereos and walkmans. It would be cool if she'd come into some money and wanted to spoil us, but nope, she bought way above her budget and used those gifts to regularly remind us that we cost her a lot of money and should be grateful."
"On a class Secret Santa, I received a mug from a classmate. It had those brown circles inside, which are left by tea. Also, the inside of it was scratched and I found a similar one later in a nearby grocery shop for about one dollar.
I didn't even get some sweets or something with it, just the mug in a paper satchel."
"My grandmother got my 14-year-old brother an 'N-Sync' CD. He was not into them at all. At the time he was really into R&B and rap.
Apparently, she went to some music store and asked the guy what kind of music 14-year-old boys liked, and for some reason, the dude handed her an N-Sync CD. My brother is the most polite kid on the planet, so he thanked her and tried to put it away so he could return it.
Nope, Grandma grabbed it back from him and opened it up. His face got redder as she tore the plastic off. Soon, she was dancing to N-Sync and said 'Wow I can see why you like them so much' as I bit my tongue to keep from laughing.
I gotta hand it to my brother, he was super polite and thankful and never once let on that he was disappointed. And he was able to sell the CD to some girl he knew in school."
"One Christmas, my dad got me 'The Eagles: Hell Freezes Over', which is I guess a live Eagles reunion concert. Throughout my life, I had expressed zero interest in The Eagles. I don't hate them; I just have no interest in them, so the gift was pretty baffling, but whatever.
The very next Christmas, I go to open a small, DVD-shaped package, and it is the exact same DVD. I thought it was a prank at first, but his earnest expression means he had literally no recollection of buying it for me the year before.
So now I have two of these things that I can't throw away because they're gifts, and I know my dad meant well."
"My great aunt bought us some slices of toast wrapped in paper towels one year. She presented them to us as the Kings presented Jesus with his gold and frankincense. My dad thought it was hilarious.
Unfortunately, it wasn't her being a dotty old lady; it was her getting back at my mum for inheriting all of my grandma's money when she died. Her husband was really embarrassed and slipped me and my sister a twenty each when they left."
"My wife's grandparents didn't like me, possibly because we were living together before we got married.
One Christmas, they gave me a package marked 'To Ed,' which is not my name.
It held a large old-fashioned portfolio-sized wallet, about the size of a shoe. It was leather, with a large bison embossed on the front. The bison was anatomically correct and appeared to be having a personal moment."
"My older sister and I are from my mom's first marriage. One Christmas we got socks from our stepgrandparents while my brother, who is their blood grandson, was given Nerf toys, toy cars, and lots of candy.
I was 10 and my sister was 12, and I don't think I've ever seen my mom that mad before. We were always treated like crap by my stepdad's side of the family because 'blood is thicker than water'.
Thankfully, they divorced when I was 15 and she is now in a happy and loving relationship with a great guy who has an awesome family."
"I was in a bowling league as a kid and we had a gift exchange. I helped my dad pick out something great to give and I wound up with a Polly Pocket.
Another little girl opened hers up and someone actually wrapped up a six pack of Tic-Tacs and passed it off as a gift for the exchange, and the little girl started to cry. My dad felt bad and had me trade her gift for mine. As a kid, I was selfish and said 'No' but he insisted and said he would make it up to me.
I traded with her and she stopped crying and had a huge smile on her face. I don't remember if he ever made it up to me but that's not important. He taught me a huge lesson and am forever grateful for it."
"My girlfriend bought me Halo 3 but it was in Spanish, without the option to change the language. Until this day I remember the small mobs screaming 'Syy diabloso' when they see Master Chief.
She bought me No Man's Sky the year it came out too. She asked me why I didn't like it because I didn't look happy, I told her I just didn't like getting gifts."
"For our office random gift exchange, I bought a wall outlet that can be turned on with a remote. I thought it was a great idea for your Christmas tree or Christmas lights.
The lady who got it came over to my desk and complained about getting it and how useless it was and how somebody was probably regifting it. I later heard her talking to another employee asking who they thought had brought it and they told them it was me. It was very awkward."
Points have been edited for clarity.