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The Best of the Worst Christmas Gift Stories

4 Minute Read

Have you ever unwrapped a Christmas gift that left you with a puzzled look and painful silence?

Maybe it’s an ugly shirt, a gift meant for someone 20 years younger, or a present that just plain confuses you. Then you fake a smile and say thanks—you know the drill.

We asked some of Dave’s fans about the most ridiculous gifts they ever received. The results are predictable: Stories that produce a little head scratching and a lot of laughing. Let’s check out the best of the worst.

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Makes an Ugly Christmas Sweater Look Good

A National Retail Federation survey shows 60% of people will buy clothes or clothing accessories to give as gifts this Christmas. Giving clothes is common. But the shirt Kasey F. received from a family friend was anything but common.

“The Ralph Lauren logo was just ironed on. The internal tag read Hanes,” she says. The friend bought the shirts in Mexico because he “was amazed at the great deals on designer clothes over there.” Even better, they came “delicately rolled in aluminum foil as wrapping. He thought that was genius because you didn’t need to use tape.”

Ain’t Age Appropriate

A gift that is not age-appropriate isn’t necessarily bad. It just doesn’t fit the person’s tastes. That’s why Fred N. didn’t jump up and down when he received a pink throw blanket with the word “princess” stitched on it. “A little strange” for a 40-year-old male, he says.

Phil C. might say the same thing. He was 35 when he opened a paint-by-numbers set from his aunt. “It was a picture of Mickey Mouse as the sorcerer’s apprentice from the movie Fantasia,” he recalls. “She remembered that when I was a kid, I used to love paint-by-numbers.”

It was yarn-by-numbers for Jill D. at age 16. “My crazy aunt gifted me a Rainbow Brite yarn-thingy. It was like a paint-by-numbers set, but with yarn,” Jill says. She suspected the present wasn’t meant for a teenager. “The box confirmed it—ages four to eight,” she says.

Uh . . . What?

Some presents are more puzzling than a princess blanket. They range from Phil C. and his used bed sheets—“with stains on them and holes in them”—to the porcelain sculpture of praying hands Walt Y. got from his grandmother. “What more could a 15-year-old ask for?” he says.

Walt isn’t the only one who accepted an awkward gift as a teen. “When we were teenagers, my aunt gave my sister and me neon pink and green plastic pumpkins that light up when you plug them in,” Dana M. says. “We’re pretty sure we got them because Halloween decorations were 90% off by then.”

Sarah C.’s story is the most jolting. She has Korean heritage and was given a “beige, mold-lined little bowl” from her uncle Arnold. “It was disgusting,” she says. After the obligatory thank you, he told her to flip the bowl over.

Etched on the back were the words “Made in Korea.” Then Uncle Arnold said “Just like you!” Insert wide-eyed, shocked expression and awkward silence here.

Pretty outrageous, huh? People receive crazy gifts like these every year, so don’t be too upset if you are one of them. Christmas is about more than just presents under the tree. It’s about celebrating the birth of Jesus. Keep that in mind when you open a gift you aren’t excited about.

And remember, it could always be worse.

Save yourself time and energy trying to find all the "perfect" gifts! Our gift finder tool will help you pick meaningful gifts for everyone on your list, and at any budget!

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