1. Some old ChapStick.
“Two half-used ChapSticks from my grandparents. That was my gift.”
2. Feminine hygiene products to celebrate becoming a woman.
“I got my first period a couple of days before Christmas, and apparently all of my family members found out. Come Christmas Day, every present I opened was either a box of tampons or pads. I was mortified.”
—Dementors: The Reason I Love Chocolate, Facebook
3. Random Pink Panther swag.
“My grandmother gave me a watch with a picture of the Pink Panther in a pink scarf riding a pink moped. I am a grad student. I have never expressed any interest in the Pink Panther.”
4. A partially regifted wallet.
“One year, while visiting my in-laws, my mother-in-law’s mother gave her one of those matching wallet/checkbook/etc. gift sets. She oohed and ahhed over it and even talked about how pretty the gift box itself was. The following year, my mother-in-law gave me the wallet from the gift set. She didn’t just regift, she regifted PART of a gift.”
—Patty Smith, Facebook
5. A Shrek Chia Pet.
“My dad bought me a Shrek Chia Pet for my seventh birthday and that was the first and only time he ever bought me a present, because after the confusion on my face, he feared ever buying me something again.”
6. A ceiling fan.
“When I was in eighth or ninth grade, I was excited because there was a really big box for me by the tree. It was a ceiling fan. My parents got me a new ceiling fan for my room and that was my only present that year.”
7. Just a bunch of drawer handles.
“My mom got me drawer handles. Drawer handles.”
8. Some leftover toiletries and snacks.
“Five tubes of toothpaste, a bottle of off-brand hand soap, some old cough syrup from a long-gone relative, and a can of plain Pringles. Thank you, grandma.”
9. A poorly thought-out exercise video.
“One year, I got an exercise DVD from my aunt. I was 12, and I remember bursting into tears. Let’s just say I didn’t eat very much for Christmas dinner, and I skipped dessert entirely.”
10. An old math quiz.
“When I was younger, my little sister wrapped up her corrected math quiz and gave it to me. It wasn’t even a 100%.”
11. A repackaged box of Hamburger Helper.
“A box of Hamburger Helper in an orange Nike Air Jordans sneaker box.”
12. An empty box.
“One year, my little sister spent the gift money my parents had given her on herself, so come Christmas morning, she gave me and our two other sisters empty boxes, which she said were ‘full of love.’”
13. A (potentially old) toothbrush.
“A toothbrush. An unpackaged toothbrush.”
14. A perfectly useless SAT book.
“An SAT prep book. I was six.”
15. Well-meaning, expensive pickles.
“One year, my dad got my brother some Xbox 360 games and I got, like, two sweatshirts and a giant jar of pickles. My dad thought it was really thoughtful because I loved pickles as a kid. It was horrible. While my brother played Splinter Cell or whatever, I was fucking eating 20 pickles a day because my dad didn’t want me to waste the expensive pickles.”
16. Someone else’s old underwear.
“A used pair of underwear. No joke.”
17. A lot of age-inappropriate crap.
“A Napoleon Dynamite calendar, a $5 gift card to Claire’s, and a foam Cinderella lamp. All from one person. My age, you ask, when I received said gifts? 20.”
18. A 75-cent skateboard.
“I thought my (then) boyfriend was getting me a dog. He told me to come outside and close my eyes. Then he said, ‘Step up,’ while holding my hands. He got me a skateboard. Complete with the word ‘ill’ painted underneath it, and a price sticker made from masking tape revealing the 75 cents he spent on it.”
19. Monogrammed napkins that were actually a pretty good deal.
“I once received paper napkins with the letter ‘M’ on them. The price tag was also left on, which let me know the gift giver got a pretty good deal on them for 99 cents. But hey, it’s the thought that counts!”
20. A razor that definitely wasn’t used in someone else’s pubic region.
“A used electric razor with a not-from-someone’s-head hair in it. Thanks, grandma!”
21. A pair of very, very poorly timed Spanx.
“The first year I was dating my husband, we celebrated Christmas at his parents’ house. He thought it would be fun to give me lingerie, so in front of his conservative Catholic family, I opened my box of black lingerie, only to find he had mistakenly bought me Spanx! He didn’t know the difference. He still hasn’t lived that one down!”
22. A rabbit fur pelt.
“Ever since I learned what animals are, I’ve loved them. When I was seven, my grandma gave me a white rabbit pelt. I cried for days and my dad had to bury it in the back yard.”
23. This truly sick burn.
“My father-in-law gave me the book How to Art Direct. I’d already been an art director for 15 years.”
24. An old coat.
“When I was 12, a family friend gave me a faux suede charcoal grey coat from a store called Foxy Lady. Luckily, she left the receipt in the box, so I went to return it, and the manager told me they stopped selling that coat in 1999.”
25. And…absolutely nothing.
“Literally nothing. One year, my boss gave everyone a Christmas present except for me. As I was one of the newer hires, I completely slipped her mind. It was incredibly awkward, as she wanted each person to come up, one at a time, to receive their gifts, and I just sat there pretending not to exist.”
Submissions have been lightly edited for length/clarity.