Dec 012011

A while back, I wrote a blog post titled What Do You Want For Christmas?, and a number of you shared what you hope to find under your tree come Christmas morning. So today, since all I really have to write about is that I’ve been working on the paper and making headway, I thought it would be fun to share some of the worst Christmas gifts we have ever received. You know, those things that you tear the wrapping paper off of and think “Huh? What in the world am I supposed to do with this?”

Yeah, I know, we’re supposed to be grateful for whatever we get and accept it with grace and all of that, but let’s be honest here, we all have gotten a gift or two over the years that really made us question the reasoning of the person who gave it to us, or at least wonder if they even know us! I know I have.

Now, I’m not talking about the aftershave and ties all Dads get from their kids. Those don’t count. Unless your kids are in their thirties and should know better. I’m talking about the gifts that come from people who probably should have just stayed home and watched reruns of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, instead of going to all of the trouble to get dressed, leave the house, and fight the crowds to buy that!

And fruitcake doesn’t count! Fruitcake is not a Christmas gift! There have only been 250 fruitcakes ever made, and they just get regifted over and over every year, because nobody actually wants to eat the darn things!

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I’ve gotten my share of strange gifts over the years. Maybe more than my share. I had an aunt who always sent me a popcorn ball every Christmas. It always came wrapped in a big box, inside of which was a smaller wrapped package, which held an even smaller wrapped box. Usually three or four boxes that I had to get through to finally reach that same dumb popcorn ball. And it was always stale! I think she made a couple million of them up about the time Truman left office, and sent them out to everybody in the family every year. Yes, everybody in the family. My mom, my dad, my sister – every Christmas we each got a box inside a box inside a box, until we eventually got down to that damn popcorn ball!

One year, one of my employees gave me a baseball cap with a screen printed picture of a golfer. Why a golfer? I’ve never played golf. I’ve never expressed an interest in golf. Why not a fisherman, or a hunter, or a fat guy sitting on a couch? A golfer?

My first mother-in-law was the stereotypical one from hell that we all hear about, and that woman did not like me even one tiny bit. But my father-in-law at the time was a really nice guy, and he made her buy everybody in the family a gift every year, even though I don’t think she really liked any of us, even her own kids. But I knew I occupied a special place on her list, because one year she sent me an onion. A big, raw Bermuda onion. If you send a guy who is deathly allergic to onions an onion for Christmas, is there really more than one way to interpret it? Another year I got a used, rusty flashlight she had apparently picked up at a yard sale someplace. Perhaps the weirdest gift she gave me was a paintbrush. Yeah, that makes about as much sense as a golfer’s baseball cap, doesn’t it? 

So how about you? Come on, don’t be shy. What’s the worst Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

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Nick Russell

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  33 Responses to “Worst Christmas Present Ever?”

  1. Remember what they say. “It’s better to give than to receive.”

    One Christmas in the late 1950’s my father gave my mother the Polaroid camera he’d been wanting, and my mother gave my father the mink coat she’d been wanting. Everybody was happy.

    So maybe your problem is you should have been giving (to yourself) and not receiving.

  2. I have a friend that did the same thing, gave his wife a portable fishing setup to keep on his motorcycle to use at lunch time. The first year we were married my wife recieved a zip lock back full of Wine Corks from my mother … my wife does not drink wine …

  3. Should be BAG full of wine corks

  4. Great post Nick…. Well my worst Christmas gift had to be way back in college. I was a photographer working a Fraternity Christmas party at the University of Missouri. We would photograph the whole event and then they could order prints later. Well they were all exchanging gifts and at the end there were some left over gifts so me, the photographer, was given a gift. Party ended, I packed up my camera gear and headed home. On the way home at 1 am I “rolled” thru a stop sign and got pulled over. I was dressed professionally and not intoxicated but got a ticket for the stop sign.. Then the officer looked and and saw the “gift”. Now it was pretty obvious that this was probably a liquor bottle in one of those gift boxes. The officer took the unopened bottle out of the box and asked me if it was mine. I explained that I was given a gift and didn’t know what was. Well the big problem was that I was only 20 years old…. Yes you guessed it. Under age possession of alcohol. Had to go to court and pay a fine and attend alcohol awareness classes to get “rehabilitated”. This insident haunted me for a long time as 7 years later I was getting my US Coast Guard captains license and all alcohol offenses on your record are looked at very closely… My “alcohol awareness” center was no longer operating so verification of completion was proving difficult. Well after 2 days of convincing a bunch of Coast Guard interagators that I had been properly “rehabilitated”, I was finally able to put this “worst gift ever” to rest.

  5. Three chromed and rubber-coated coat/pant hangers from my parents. Now I must say that was also the year my dad bought our family of four, three day passes to Disney World, to use while visiting their Florida place.

  6. You know those yellow corn on the cob holders you stick into the end of hot corn on the cob so you can hold it and a DVD–from my husband at the time. Could be why he is no longer my husband!

  7. Even though you said aftershave doesn’t count, that is what i got for several years from some relatives. Now what is a guy with a beard suppose to do with Old Spice? And it wasn’t like they didn’t know that i had a beard, i saw them several times a year. :>)

  8. Hey Nick, just send any of those fruitcakes to my husband. He loves fruitcake any time of the year.!!

  9. Nick I love fruitcake as a gift. Fruitcake is rather expensive so receiving it is a gift at Christmas especially if you are a fruitcake lover like I am. If I get enough I can store it in a dry dark place and eat it all year long. Ummmmm!

    I do realize that not everyone loves fruitcake. I just happen to be one in those 1 in a 100,000 people that do.

    Happy Holidays
    Please send me a fruitcake!!!!!!!
    It’s about time

  10. 12 metal reindeer napkin rings, from goodwill, cause i was told that was where she got them, i have never used a napkin ring at home EVER. I felt they needed to go back from where they came, so i donated them right back to goodwill.

  11. A French/English dictionary. I have no idea why. I don’t speak French, never expressed a desire to learn, and did not plan a trip across the pond.

  12. A pet rock. About 3 or 4 years after the fad had ended.

  13. A bottle of Heinz ketchup. I have no idea why.

  14. A pair of sunglasses that were so big they covered half my face

  15. A puppy. We were newlyweds living in student housing and between school and work, I had about seven hours a day to sleep, eat, and study. So hubby gives me a puppy! Just what I needed.

  16. Sounds like your ex mom-in-law was related to mine. On our first Christmas together, my wife’s mom gave me a tire pressure gauge. We didn’t have a car. A few years later she gave me subscription to a crossword puzzle magazine. I never expressed any interest in crosswords. And on her last Christmas, she gave me a cigarette lighter. I never smoked.

  17. Bedroom slippers in the shape of dogs, specifically, miniature schnauzers. I love that breed of dog, but I would never wear those slippers!

  18. Divorce papers. That puts a damper on the holiday spirit!

  19. A pen and pencil set made to look like Saguaro cactus. I was living in Florida at the time.

  20. Not sure I ever got a bad gift. When I was young we didn’t have much and everything was appreciated and I received more than I deserved. As I got older and need less that is what I received. Guess I was lucky, I am not sure I ever received a gift that was sent with bad intentions….. Of course we always tried real hard to remember the reason for the season…

    Hope your bad gifts are all gone and those that give to you do so out of love and not some sense of having to……


  21. The worst gift I got came from my Aunt who sent my wife and I a large bird cage that she had painted with gold spray paint sprinkled with LOTS of silver glitter. Opening the large gift, which was only wrapped in wrapping paper and no box, resulted in lots of glitter falling from the bird cage and onto the carpeted floor. There was also a trail of silver glitter that led away from the Christmas tree and out the back door towards the trash can.

  22. I was ten years old and having the best christmas ever. I got my first cabbage patch doll! So these very elderly adults hand me a gift, and when i opened it, there was a scooby- doo backpack inside that read- You’re an Awesome boy!

  23. No, you are wrong about fruit cake. They must replenish them somewhere. I know because my husband LOVES them and eats the ones he receives.

  24. Seriously? You sure you didn’t make some this stuff up? You are a pretty good writer and all. (let’s not go overboard)
    An onion? Are you f**king kidding me? Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever even been in the same room with someone that miserable.

    I was just now trying to think of any gift that I could consider the worst gift ever, and I’m coming up empty. There have been some little silly things, but not all by themselves, so I don’t think that really counts.

    Now, there are many gifts that I don’t necessarily “need”, like that box of After Eight mints, or those chocolates with the cherries inside. *drool* Man, they don’t last long. I don’t even eat that stuff for the rest of the year, since I KNOW I’ve had way too much at Christmas.


    An onion.

  25. I wish I was making it up. Bob. Oh, I could tell you stories about that woman that would make the onion seem pretty normal in comparison.

  26. the worst Christmas present I ever received was the Christmas that we got nothing at all. I was 9 yrs old. Dad told us it was because we were so bad that he skipped us. The truth came out that he drank all the money away mom had put away for our Christmas. We did get a stocking full of fruit and candy at the party our mobile home park gave for the kids. Now the best present I ever received was Christmas Eve 1969 from my husband who was in Viet-Nam, it was the last thing I ever expected. It made it one of the best Christmas ever

  27. meant to say a phone call

  28. My ex-husband got me bathroom scales and a black jogging suite. Now you know why he is the EX- husband.

  29. Sorry. I like fruitcake.

  30. One year my husband gave me a long handled stick with a round stiff brush on the end. I asked him what it was for and he said you wanted something to clean the ceiling fans.

  31. I’d like more stories about that onion giver. If you’d prefer, I can send garlic this year, just for old times sake.

  32. As kids, we only got our stockings (with lots of nuts and oranges) and 1 other gift. Never amounted to much of anything to remember, BUT one year I get
    this really big, heavy box. Boy or boy, I thought I had finally hit the big time!
    To my surprise is was a Webster Dictionary… useful yes, exciting no…

  33. This is not a present I received but gave. For approx. 15 yrs I gave a friend of mine cheese packages from Hickory Farms. This is a man who had everything so I figured I can’t miss with this gift. The last on was a yard stick of different cheeses.
    My friend passed away , it was then that his sister told me he hated cheese, sausages, mustards etc. All those yrs I could not wait for Hickory Farms to show up at the mall, he was the first gift I knew would be done!! I still laugh when I see these for sale.

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