A recent Reddit thread asked users, "What's the worst gift you've ever received?" and some of the answers are so absurd it'll make you feel better about those hideous sweaters your parents give you every year (or might even get you to look at that savings bond they set up for your birthday).
These gifts range from overly practical to functionally useless to downright bizarre, and yet still were gifted anyway. Consider this a crash course in what NOT to give your loved ones.
1. 'Maybe it's a Christmas miracle'
The year the Nintendo 64 came out, it was all me and my brothers wanted for Christmas.
We rented a system from Blockbuster every chance we got. Fast-forward to Christmas morning and a Nintendo box is under the tree.
We thought maybe my parents has gotten a used one or something and we were beyond excited to open that puppy up.
We saw the tag was from our grandparents who were very anti-video games. "Maybe they came around", we thought. "Maybe it's a Christmas miracle."
We popped open the lid and sitting inside was.... A typewriter. An electric typewriter.
My grandfather thought we could use it to work on our typing skills. All three of us were devastated.
2. It cooked the fish
I once got a new aquarium heater that was defective and "cooked" the fish.
3. It had a balance of 53 cents
My aunt once sent me a birthday gift that was a Walmart gift card for $10. It was also mostly empty and had a balance of like 53 cents.
4. Bad Secret Santa
Secret Santa 2008: The minimum for the Secret Santa was $50.
I bought him a pair of leather gloves, an X-Men beanie (he was a comic book fan), and a bottle of cologne.
The person whose name I drew in the Secret Santa just so happened to be the one who had drawn my name. I got an unwrapped and clearly used dollar store flask with a cheap gumball machine sticker of a tiger stuck on it.
5. Definitely not the cool uncle
I got really excited one year when my uncle who was usually pretty terrible when it came to gifts handed me a wrapped present in the shape of a video game case.
Turns out it was a metal puzzle that he got in a magazine he didn't want.
6. Some things can be worse than nothing
But not only was it nothing — I later saw that the woman my husband was having an affair with texted him while he was out shopping for my gift, and she told him that he better not buy me anything.
7. Yes, fake M&M's
Fake M&Ms from the dollar store. They were lentils on the inside. Yes, fake lentil M&M's. They came in a plastic tube.
8. A nice pen...with her initials engraved on it
From my sister-in-law: a nice pen with her initials engraved on it.
I mean, I know you regift, Susan, but at least check that it wasn't personalized for you before you send it to someone else!
9. The careless regift
My mother gave me a book for Christmas that I gave to her for her birthday a year before. She acted as though she purchased it for me.
I wrote a note in it to her, so I know it was the copy I gave to her.
10. Fool me twice, shame on you
Not once, but twice in my life my parents bought me a brand new bike, had me open it incredibly excited on my birthday, had me take it out to the driveway and try it out... then explained to me that it was too big and told me that my older brother was getting the new bike and I was getting his old one. On my birthday.
They loved me, they were just clueless.
11. Thanks, Dad.
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 schpiel about where he found it and how special it was.
I waited until he was done to remind him where he actually got it.
12. An Amazon delivery — he was surprised
Wife and kids gave me some socks I had ordered from Amazon for myself. They intercepted the box when it was delivered and wrapped them up.
I was surprised.
My parents would give me groceries. Boxes of cereal, bags of chips, that sort of thing.
Not like I could do anything with them — they would just go into the cupboard and my dad would eat them. Happy birthday.
14. 'I still have no idea what it meant'
My aunt sent me a coloring book and a package of crayons for my 19th birthday. The coloring book was half completed and the crayons were broken in half.
I still have no idea what it meant.
15. 'He explained how he haggled the woman down from 15 dollars to 5'
My incredibly wealthy uncle gave me the world's most hideous pink fabric bag for my high school graduation.
I tried to be polite about it because it was nice that he had gotten me something even if it wasn't my taste. But he couldn't help but brag about how he had purchased it from a blind street seller in India and that he had haggled the woman down from fifteen dollars to five.
He made a great big show of explaining that he had just yelled louder and louder at the poor woman until, I assume, she gave him the bag so cheaply out of fear.
The gift itself wasn't so bad, but it was a constant reminder of just how horrible some people in the world are and that sadly I have to be related to some of them.
16. One pile of yard sale junk is...still junk
My mother-in-law loved to spend her days hitting every yard sale she could find, buy a bunch of stuff, then drop it off at our house.
My wife and I would literally go through the whole pile of junk, say "yay or nay?" to keeping each item, and just donating whatever we didn't want.
Sometimes we would get lucky on some items, but the most annoying was when we were first married and she kept giving us baby clothes "as a hint" or "just in case", fully knowing we didn't want kids and weren't having any.
I finally had to tell her to knock it off.
17. A chemistry set — it 'mysteriously' disappeared
Got a chemistry set for a birthday when I was a kid.
Used it once, then it “mysteriously” disappeared and I never knew what happened to it even though I would want to use my present.
A few months later (and a few weeks before Christmas) the police knocked on the door.
Turns out my ex-step-father went full Breaking Bad with it and the police had been tracking his activities for months.
18. 1,000 mealworms
My brother and I have this slowly escalating prank war where we send each other strange things in the mail.
The last thing he sent me was 1,000 mealworms.
The scariest part was knowing that something was alive inside (there were holes in the box) but not knowing what it was.
19. 'I love tie-dye, but this was different'
I got a “tie-dye kit.”
Normally, that would be really cool. I love tie-dye. But this was different. There was no dye. No shirt. No rubber bands. Only empty bottles.
20. We'll give it a C for creativity
A rubber Hulk Hogan figurine (it looked like it was a Christmas ornament with the loop snipped off) glued to a very effeminate toy horse.
An elderly friend of the family gave it to me and he wouldn't stop mentioning how "they are supposed to look like that; that's how it came from the store," even though I didn't voice any doubts.
It's also kind of the best gift I ever got.
21. DVDs can be insulting
My very first Christmas with my husband’s family after we got married, we were all passing around gifts.
Most of his family very graciously gave us the standard newlywed gifts — dishes, towels, picture frames etc.
But this one uncle fancies himself a media producer (TV, radio, YouTube). He gave me (and all the other women in the family) a DVD that he wrote, directed, produced, and starred in, about how to be a good mother.
No, I did not have children at the time, nor was I even pregnant.
No, he does not have children.
No, he is not in the childcare/child development field.
No, he did not notice the bewildered looks on any of our faces.
My husband is polite to a fault and would not let me re-gift it back to the uncle the following Christmas even though my mother-in-law thought it would be hilarious.
22. Well, guess we'll keep it
I was about to make a cross-country move with my girlfriend, and her mother gave us a kitten without any discussion beforehand.
23. He got her a security alarm
When my wife was in college, she used to have to walk back home through a scary neighborhood, and in the winter it was particularly frightening because it was dark out.
She sometimes gave her stepdad a hard time about this because he was capable of giving her a lift but didn't want to.
One Christmas, in his attempt to give her something to help her through those times, I swear, and you aren't going to believe it anyway, he got her a security alarm.
And that isn't even the end of the story. Because I was a teenager, I decided to set that alarm off in her house as a prank. You know what? It didn't even work.
24. Took it right out back to the dumpster
My wife got me a trash can for Christmas. I got her an iPhone X.
25. A bunch of useless junk — 'the only gifts I received on those given years'
A handmade conch shell horn (they just haphazardly sawed the pointed end off), a $5 O’Charley’s gift card, and three packets of Swiss Miss. The catch?
These were three different Christmas gifts from my in-laws and the only gifts I received on those given years. I’m not a musician, I’ve never eaten at O’Charley’s, and I’m lactose intolerant.
26. Message received
For Valentine’s Day, my boss got me an oral hygiene kit. It came with a tongue scraper and dental tools as well as a toothbrush. Message received.
27. 'My last name was misspelled on the back (which is also his last name)'
My husband is a high school teacher and one year got me a hoodie with his school logo on the front for Christmas.
It was a men’s extra-large (I'm a ladies extra-small) with my last name misspelled on the back. Which is also his last name.