When it comes to gifts, giving is often just as fun as receiving. After all, there’s a certain joy to be had in seeing the delight on someone’s face when they receive the perfect gift. However, not everyone shares that view – in fact, many people are content to put zero effort into gift-giving. And when that happens, the result can often be super depressing. Just take these 20 people, who shared some of the truly tragic gifts they’ve received through their lives – from a dead dog’s bed to a literal stack of job applications.
20. This gift card that wasn’t
My uncle gave me a Xbox Live points card for my birthday, when I went to redeem it, it said card not activated. This happened 2 years in a row until my mom told him about it.
Unfortunately, this story is a lot more telling than it may first appear. Indeed, gift cards are activated by the cashier at the till, suggesting that this gamer’s uncle stole these cards. Of course, if it had just happened once, you could have given him the benefit of the doubt. But two years in a row seems like an unlikely coincidence…
19. These childhood-ending gifts
Brother got a pocket knife in a small cylinder package (old toilet paper roll) wrapped like candy. Excited, I started unwrapping mine that looked similar. Underwear. All of it underwear. And once a bathroom faucet. That is when I knew Childhood was over.
It’s always disheartening when your siblings get better gifts than you, but this really takes the cake. Really, who even gifts an adult a bathroom faucet, let alone a child? After all, if you ever need to replace your faucets, chances are you aren’t going to wait for the next holiday season in the hope that someone does it for you.
18. This stationery-themed gift
At Christmas I once unwrapped a box of yellow #2 pencils. I must have looked a little disappointed because my mom told me to just wait and I’d see why Santa had brought them… It was because he also got me an electric pencil sharpener.
Imagine all the excited thoughts that must have swirled around the mind of this kid all those years ago on that fateful Christmas morning. After all, what kind of crazy present could require #2 pencils? Now imagine the disappointment when they opened what was basically the most obvious answer to that question. Less disheartening, more soul-crushing.
17. This morbidly melancholy gift
For my husband’s 50th birthday, his parents gifted him the deed to his own cemetery plot (one for me, too!). An expensive, but poorly timed gift.
On one hand, a cemetery plot is exactly the kind of expense you rarely plan for. On the other hand, what kind of overly pragmatic parent spends their time thinking about buying their child – no matter how old – a cemetery plot? Or for that matter, gives it to them on their 50th birthday? We’re sure that party went down a storm…
16. These shattered expectations
When I was a wee 7 years old, my grandmother placed a long skinny box with my name on it under the Christmas tree. For the next 7 days, my small self drooled over the idea of a play baby stroller folded up in that box, just waiting to be filled with various stuffed animals. On that magical morning, I ripped the box open only to discover it was a VACUUM CLEANER. Not a toy one, either. A real life, serious, small vacuum cleaner.
Apparently, this mistaken grandmother thought a vacuum cleaner would be the perfect gift because her grandkid “loved cleaning” when they visited her. Unfortunately, the reality was that the old woman was actually just a hoarder, so the kid had no choice. You can sort of see the thought process behind the gift, but at the same time, they were still seven years old.
15. This family-destroying notification
My parents told me they were getting a divorce on my 16th birthday
Talk about poor timing. You can just imagine the phone call – “Happy birthday! By the way, we’re getting a divorce.” After all, you wouldn’t expect it to be any more tactful than that, considering how tactless they’ve been in the first place by doing it on their kid’s 16th birthday. The craziest part? They never even got divorced…
14. This afterthought
I got a used gift card once…
You really find out just what someone thinks of you in times like these. Indeed, imagine receiving a gift card that had already been used – whether it had been wiped clean or had some small, arbitrary amount left, it would still feel like a real kick in the teeth. Clearly, whoever gave this gift didn’t value the recipient very highly.
13. This antivirus-obsessed aunt
My aunt insists on giving me Norton antivirus software. The kind you get in a box. She has gifted this to me on 4 separate occasions. She’s funny about it though. Usually a card inside saying something along the lines of “given what you do with your computer…”
Does anybody even use Norton antivirus software anymore? Unless this aunt was giving these gifts in the mid-2000s, we’re struggling to imagine why she thought it was a good idea. Even as a joke present, the novelty would definitely wear off after the first couple of times, so four is just way too many.
12. This last-minute turkey
My brother gave me a hand turkey that he drew minutes earlier for Christmas. This would have been ok if he was 5 or something… He was 21 years old. I framed it and gifted it back to him the next year.
While a handmade gift can be special in the right circumstances, these were definitely not those. Indeed, a lovingly crafted item is fine at any age, but something hastily scribbled at the last minute reeks of an uncaring attitude – and even more so as an adult. Fortunately, this recipient had their revenge…
11. This ill-timed “gift”
The christmas after my mum died I got an alarm clock as my present. Her husband said it was so I “might wake up in the morning now and actually contribute something.” Still salty 8 years later.
To be honest, we’re really not surprised this person is still holding a grudge all those years later. After all, their stepdad must take home the award for “most insensitive” year after year with antics like this. And waiting until Christmas to do it just seals the deal, particularly as it was their first Christmas without their mom. Yikes.
10. This pointless gift card
I got a gift card to burger king while working at burger king from a manager who drew my name for secret Santa. It was literally useless because none of us actually paid for food in the first place.
Sure, they could always use the gift card to bring a friend for free. But somehow, we doubt that’s what the manager had in mind when they were choosing their secret Santa gift – more likely, they just picked out whatever required the least effort or investment. As gifts go, then, it doesn’t get much more thoughtless than this.
9. This thinly veiled hint
Not myself, but a good friend of mine was unemployed around the holidays one year while living with his parents. He received a large gift wrapped box from his parents that contained nothing but a stack of job applications.
What is it with people using Christmas to make a point? It should be a time for loved ones to spend time together, full of joy and merriment. Instead, many people apparently find it the perfect way to get their passive-aggressive point across. Honestly, we can’t imagine a worse time to do it, and that’s what makes it all the more depressing.
8. This punch in the gut
My ex gave me back all of the letters and nicknack gifts I got her over our 1 1/2 year long relationship on my birthday, telling me we’re breaking up, and then driving off with her “best friend” that she had been cheating on me with for 3 months…so there’s that…
We have to say, this is basically the most depressing thing we’ve ever read – indeed, it just gets worse the longer you keep reading. Really, it just boggles the mind how anyone could be this cruel, or even how the poor guy who’d just been dumped managed to carry on after this absolutely devastating breakup.
7. This ex-dog bed
MIL gave my 1 year old daughter her dead dog’s bed as a Christmas present. She said it was for my daughter’s naps.
Sure, dog beds look super cozy, and you could see how they’d be appealing to a young kid. But a dead dog’s bed is something else entirely, and definitely not an appropriate gift. Imagine if the kid grew up to find out what she’d been sleeping on all those years – that’s a fast track to therapy if ever there was one.
6. This re-gifted jewelry
My aunt tried to re-gift a bracelet and earrings I had bought for her a few months earlier to me. It was insulting to hear “Oh Pixie! I got these ESPECIALLY for you!” in a saccharine voice. Funny part is that she forgot we even gave it to her considering my brother and I were the only people in the family that remembered her birthday and even bothered to do anything about it.
Imagine doing this to the only people who cared enough to actually get you a birthday present. And it’s even cringier that this re-gifting aunt went totally over the top, pretending that she’d picked out the jewelry especially for her niece. Somehow, we can’t imagine her and her brother will be too quick to remember their aunt’s birthday again next year.
5. These familiar clothes
My brother went into my room and wrapped up a few articles of clothing from my dresser and a necklace from my closet. He did this three years in a row. The following year I gave him a giant bag that I put a couple of his weights in with a single tootsie roll. He almost cried because he thought I got him some really huge expensive thing.
Wrapping up someone’s clothes as a gag gift is pretty funny the first time you do it. Somehow, though, we imagine the humor wears off pretty quickly when you do it two or even three times in a row. Luckily, this redditor had the right idea and found the perfect way to get back at their penny-pinching sibling.
4. This rocky gift
A ‘magic rock’ which was a pebble they took from the driveway on the way in.
We imagine this was the start of a rocky period in the relationship of the people involved in giving and receiving this, erm, “gift.” After all, you’re traditionally supposed to look further than a stone’s throw away when selecting an appropriate present for someone. Okay, we’ll stop with the rock puns, but this really is one of the worst gifts we’ve ever heard of.
3. This randomly selected gift
My friend’s wife gave me a copy of A Night Without Armor, the book of poetry by Jewel. Not that I actively dislike Jewel or anything, but it was so clearly something she saw on a discount gift rack the day of my birthday and said “yes, this is an object.”
Can you imagine the thought process that must go through someone’s brain when buying a gift like this? Clearly, it doesn’t involve the concept of standards in any way, shape or form. Indeed, it’s clearly more about buying something, anything, no matter what it is, rather than arriving empty handed.
2. This personal gift
When I was 12 my mum gave me a dvd player for Christmas. That christmas, my mums boyfriend bought her a load of dvds (she obviously told him that she had bought me a dvds player). They were all age restricted dvds so when I asked if I could watch them she told me that I was too young for them. The dvd player went straight in her bedroom to go with the TV my dad had bought me the previous christmas. I didn’t recieve any dvds that year either.
This is pretty darn tragic. After all, not only was the mom clearly just buying gifts for herself, she even went as far as to take her kid’s TV, which she hadn’t even bought. Doing that to anyone is out of order, but your 12-year-old child at Christmas? Yeah, that’s about as depressing as it gets.
1. This broken bowl
I was given a wooden sugar bowl, that had a hole where a missing knot in the wood had been. A sugar bowl, with a hole in it. I got a bowl with a hole.
Talk about defeating the object. Indeed, this has to be up there with the most pointless gifts of all time. What’s the use in a bowl that can’t even hold the very thing it’s supposed to contain? We have a feeling the giver of this gift didn’t care very much for its recipient, unfortunately.