One popular way for a person to show someone how they feel about them is through gifts. The more personalized the present, the more thought and love went in the creating the gift for a specific person. On the other hand, it's also a great way for someone to show how little they care about someone else.
Just ask these people, who took to Reddit to talk about the most insulting Christmas gift they'd ever gotten from a family member. Content has been edited for clarity.
“His Face Was So Sad”
“My best friend’s parents had gone overseas with his older brother over the Christmas break to watch him perform in gymnastics. They had an extended holiday while they were there.
I went to hang out with him the day before Christmas (he was all alone at his house), and he was so excited about the present his parents had left on their bed for him. He picked it up, felt it, and thought it might be some new clothes he had asked for. He ripped into that thing.
He finally got it open and was not stoked to find that the present was a Coca-Cola towel. Like, a ‘Buy 3 12-packs and get a promotional towel.’ His face was so sad.
Same parents bought a $15 alarm clock from The Warehouse for the aforementioned older brother for his 18th birthday (which is a big birthday where I’m from).”
“I Don’t Go Over There Anymore”
“My mother is notorious with messing with me about my weight and made me feel terrible about it my whole childhood. Now that I’ve been to therapy and reflected on my childhood, I was actually pretty thin. I just had anorexia and thought I was way bigger than I was because of all the things my mother said/did.
Anyways, I’m 20 now and haven’t lived with my mother since I was 18. A couple Christmases ago, I thought, Why not, I guess I can go over to the family home. So I did, and she ‘gifted’ me with a pair of jeans about 3 sizes too small.
She knows dang well while I’m small, I do have wider hips and a butt, but she likes to make me feel terrible.
So she innocently said, ‘Oh, I thought you were smaller, guess not.’
Like taking a jab at my weight again even though it isn’t that bad, it’s just how my body is shaped. I don’t go over there anymore.”
Poor Guy Paid To Be Disappointed
“I’ve never really been one to expect gifts, because for some reason I feel guilty accepting them. When there is an occasion where a gift is traditionally given, I tend to give a short list of practical things I may want or need, and a few simple ideas of things that I really like.
My mother is the queen of false promises in this regard (and in general). She would always say that going out to dinner was my birthday present growing up, and that was fine with me. The issue is that we would never go out to dinner, and when we finally would go out, there was no mention of my birthday, and she had forgotten all about it. This happened all growing up.
I think the worst promise she made was last year when she came to Boston to stay with me for a week. I let her have my bed, and I slept on the sofa. She said she hated my mattress, and that no one should have to sleep on that junk. She said she was going to get me a mattress for Christmas. I refused multiple times because it’s a huge expense, and I finally gave in when she wouldn’t stop talking about it. I offered to put $350 towards one that she picked out for like $700. I mailed her my portion of the money for the purchase of this Christmas gift.
When Christmas came, she gave me dollar store trinkets, a huge, ugly coffee table from a yard sale, a plastic bag with like 50 marked down socks, and a few clearance fleece throw blankets.
Still didn’t get my money back.”
“He Never Cared Enough To Call”
“Is nothing an acceptable answer? My parents showered my sister and me in gifts when we were little, most likely to make up for their guilt of not wanting to be together and not actually wanting kids (my mother has told me on several occasions that my dad pressured her and she didn’t want children).
So after my parents stopped pretending to like each other, my sister and I went completely unnoticed. I never received a birthday or Christmas present after I was 7 years old. I moved out at 18 and I didn’t hear from my dad until I was probably 27 or 28. My parents eventually divorced and my dad remarried. After not speaking to him for about 10 years he called me up and wanted to play dad.
I wasn’t not speaking to him out of spite, it was just that he never cared enough to pick up the phone and call me and I had no reason to call someone who had no interest in me as a person. We talk now, but I still don’t get a card or a gift on my birthday or Christmas. I’ll never tell either of them that it really hurt me, because I hate both of them so much.
So yeah, neglect is my worst gift.”
“Didn’t Think Too Much Of It”
“I think I was around the age of 10, it was Christmas and my family was celebrating at my aunt’s house. This specific aunt had something against her sister, my mom. When it was time to open gifts, she came out with a joke gift for my cousin. The joke gift was a mexican bingo game called Loteria. After my cousin unwrapped it and my aunt saw she looked a little disappointed, my aunt brought out her real gift which was a new bike.
When the time came for me to open my gift from her, she picked up the game of Loteria and gave it to me. I didn’t think much of it cause I was a kid; I wasn’t happy but I wasn’t going to complain cause it’s not like I deserved anything. Now that years have passed (I’m 21) it’s come up a couple times how my aunt did that out of spite. My mom’s talked about it to my grandma a couple of times and she always cries when it’s brought up.
We were pretty poor when I was a kid because of my dad’s hospital bills (he had cancer) so it really hurt her when my aunt did that. I still to this day do not care for my aunt because of this.”
“I Was So Excited I Cried”
“So my (now ex) boyfriend decided it would be a fantastic idea to put on a massive show at my family Christmas by getting me tickets to a musical I have wanted to see since I was little girl. He hadn’t actually bought the tickets yet, but had a super cool set up for the gift. It was a mask like the one from Phantom Of The Opera, accompanied by a printed out poster of the dates it was in my town. I was so excited I cried from happiness.
He got major brownie points with my whole family. Then later on that night he told me he would buy the tickets, but only if I managed to lose 15 pounds. I’m not by any means overweight at all. I was 5’5, and 120 pounds at the time, I mean perhaps I could tone up a little but nothing major. Anyways I had never been more devastated in my life. I think the worst part about it was he had known I had a pretty bad eating disorder in high school, and doing something like that would trigger it.
We broke up about 3 months after that. I did eventually get to see Phantom of the Opera this summer with my current boyfriend who isn’t an emotionally abusive idiot.”
“They Aren’t Coming Back For Christmas This Year”
“Last Christmas I hosted Christmas at my house and invited my mom, dad, his wife, and my brother and his wife. My husband and I went out and bought them all thoughtful gifts, like the new Echo, a nice dehydrator that my brother has been wanting and stuff like that. Mom and I spent all Christmas eve cooking, and helping me clean up. My brother and his wife slept the whole time… she’s kind of a little princess… So Christmas morning we’re opening our gifts… My mother wrapped a bunch of my old stuff growing up or stuff I gave her over the years, didn’t wash it or anything just wrapped it and brought them as gifts to my house.
Okay, that I was okay with because I got a lot of her antiques and family heirlooms. My brother and his wife on the other hand gave me seashell garland (which I sold in a yard sale after for $.25) and my husband, who prefers the heavier drinks, cheap little drinking glasses.
Which both of these gifts still had the $2.00 price tag on them from Ross Dress for Less store. But they got my mom clothes, and electronics, and my father a canvas and something else. I wasn’t very happy with them, and needless to say they aren’t coming back for Christmas this year.”
The Performance Of A Life Time
“My extended family gets together every year and does a huge secret Santa. And every single year the person my uncle selects from the hat gets shafted. Now usually the gifts are funny but also personalized, and the price point is around 100 bucks. For example my dad got my cousin one year, and turned a small photo of my cousin at the age of 8 playing softball, into this beautiful 3 foot poster. It had this intricate frame, like you’d see in a museum, with this enormous photo of my extremely nearsighted cousin, choking up on the bat and squinting into the camera with a look that either said ‘Bring it on’ or ‘I just pooped my pants.’ Everyone laughed at the gift, and it gets hung up around the holidays every single year. That’s the kind of gift we all expect.
My uncle, however, tries to use the holiday as an excuse to clean out his house, and gets offended if you laugh at your gift. So it’s become another family tradition to see how overjoyed for the gift you can act without him realizing you actually hate it.
One year he got my dad. That year Dad received a gift bag filled with tissue paper and old newspapers. “Next time you need to give a gift, you’ll be one step ahead of the game!”
Twice he’s pulled my name.
One year I received a coffee table book on trees, with half the pages ripped out, and the other half doodled on by my then toddler aged cousin. ‘She’s going to be an artist one day, and now you have a ‘Kiera original’ drawing. That’ll be big bucks.’
The next time he had me, I got a single leather woman’s driving glove. Just one.
‘Do you know how expensive a pair of these are? Even just the one is a huge gift!’ he exclaimed.
Other gifts he’s given:
A dvd case for the movie Mulan 2 with no disc inside.
‘Didn’t you say you had a bunch of loose dvds around you needed to organize?’ was his reasoning.
A ‘fart noise’ toy that made fart sounds when you pushed the button…batteries already dead.
‘Just go buy some new batteries and trust me you’ll laugh until you puke,’ he justified.
An empty printer paper box filled with old highlights magazines
‘If you donate them to a doctors office you can claim the tax deduction!’ he said excitedly.
Thanks Uncle Peter. Can’t wait for you to get hammered and give the toast at dinner again while crying into your 5th White Russian of the evening.”
“A Ridiculously Rude Move”
“My brother has always been VERY into Nintendo. I think he’s had every console that’s been popular in his life. The DS came out when he was 13 or 14 and he was absolutely begging for one for Christmas. He swore he’d forsake any other gifts and even candy if he could just have a DS. My (rather well-off) uncle noticed and started dropping blatant hints and stating to my parents that he was going to get my brother one for Christmas. Amazing, they thought, he gets what he wants and we can get him other gifts too! Win win!
Uncle’s annual Christmas party rolls around. The house is packed with his/my mom’s family, my aunt’s family, my dad’s side of the family, and his housekeeper (HK) and her extended family. Two DS shaped boxes sit tantalizingly under the tree. My brother and HK’s grandson are excitedly whispering to each other and bouncing around in excitement because their names are on them. Come present time, my uncle makes a big show of presenting HK’s grandson his DS and having everyone watch him unwrap it. A few minutes later it’s my brother’s turn.
He excitedly rips off the wrapper to find… soap on a rope (clearance tag still on) and dollar store deodorant. He was crushed. My uncle is grinning like he just told the best joke ever. To make things even worse, my brother wasn’t a stinky early teen. He showered obsessively and had discovered old spice (after being told heck no to Axe) by that age. Even if he HAD been a stinky teen boy, that’s a ridiculously rude move. He excused himself and cried on their front porch while HK’s grandson showed off his new DS and the multiple games my uncle had bought him.
My parents tried their hardest to find him a DS, but they were sold out everywhere. He got to unwrap the games they had bought him in anticipation. They made sure he got enough Christmas money to buy one once the holidays passed (he actually had enough left over that he helped me buy one as well so we could play games together). My mom had already been on rocky (but improving) terms with her brother for years, but that’s what I remember as being the beginning of the end of their relationship.”
“They Thought It Was Hilarious”
“I hate ketchup. At work one year we did a secret santa gift exchange and everyone did a really good job and got people really cool gifts with a lot of thought. I bought my person tickets to a Chiefs vs Packers game because they were from Wisconsin but never got to go to a game at Lambeau. They were really happy. Other people got free dance lessons and cool stuff like that.
The person who drew my name was the only person at the entire company to take this opportunity to be rude. They bought me three giant bottles of ketchup. And they thought it was hilarious.
I just stood there kind of dumb founded as the person who gave it laughed really hard. Everyone else just stood there staring at him.
It sucked because everyone else tried really hard and I spent a good amount of money on my gift. And the person who got me was a prick. Not cool. Literally made me hate the person.”
“It Was Cheap And Thoughtless”
“I was more or less an indentured servant for a year working for a European family. I was paid $400 a month to watch their children 6 days a week from 7 AM – 6 PM. Not only did I care for the children, but I also was expected to clean their three story house daily and do their laundry (I had to iron socks, underpants, and bed sheets). I lived in a tiny room in their attic and had no functioning shower, so I had to bathe using a tiny sink that only had cold water.
I worked so hard, and cried a lot because it was such hard for so little pay.
The family provided me with room and board, health insurance, and they were supposed to provide me with language lessons. The problem with the language lessons is that they began at 6:00 pm in another town, and they never let me leave early enough to attend.
When Christmas came the mom gave me my gift from the family, and I was excited about it until I opened it.
It was a single glass votive for a tea candle that said ‘Merry Christmas’ – it was cheap and thoughtless. It actually hurt because of how hard I worked for these people, I even saved one of the kids from choking to death.
When it came time to renew my contract, I declined and sought work as an English teacher making $3,000 euros a month.
I kept the votive for a while to remind me hard work isn’t always rewarded, but it felt good the day I smashed it to shards throwing it in the garbage.
“Zero Effort Went Into That”
“I honestly should have seen this coming, because my mum has never been able to differentiate basic differences between two objects. I once asked for Hero Quest, and was given 20 Questions, a game that I can play for free, right now. Her reasoning was that being a board game, it’s a family activity, and she didn’t want to play Hero Quest, so it was a waste of money. That already is a pretty bad present. Especially since Hero Quest is worth a ton now, and 20 Questions is still intrinsically worthless. But on to the main story.
My parents went to America many years ago with my younger brother and sister, and I was left home. I’d excitedly given them a list of stuff I’d like for them to buy me, just clothes that were hard to find over here. Well they came back from holiday, and were furious about the state that the house was in. This, and I’m being deadly serious, was not a huge deal. I’d had a max of one person around at a time, and the ‘mess’ was a few plates in the living room because they’d come home early, and I hadn’t washed them up yet.
Anyway, as a result, they weren’t going to give me the clothes, and I was like Okay, chill.
The next part, you may be able to guess. Four months or so on, it’s Christmas, and my gift is the clothes they’d bought me from America. The Tommy Hilfiger shirt I’d asked for is a generic white shirt that didn’t fit me, the black roll neck sweater is a generic long sleeved roll neck top, and the Levis 501s are Levis, but they don’t fit, and they look like middle aged dad jeans. So that was my Christmas gift, a set of clothing that for the most part didn’t fit, that I’ve never worn, and that I had no way to return.
I appreciate I sound like a whiny, entitled brat, and I accept my fair share of the blame for expecting too much. But even with clear details, zero effort went into that. I guess at least I didn’t pay for them, but it was a terrible Christmas.”
“Everyone Acted Like Nothing Happened”
“My parents were divorced and my younger sister and I were spending Christmas for the first time with my father’s side (I believe I was around 11). So we went to his new ‘wife’s’ house and were amped, because we never got to see my father during Christmas as my mother has us all the time.
So a couple days before Christmas, I went to go take a nap because they had nothing to do in their house. Little did I know my father and his squeeze at the time decided this would be the perfect time to go buy gifts. They took my sister and they left. Don’t know if they intend to take me or not, but they went.
They bought my sister over $1,000 of stuff. I’m talking a Sega Dreamcast, games, so much stuff she wouldn’t even use past a month and gifts for the woman’s daughters. So they come back gift wrap everything and I wake up, and I walk in on them putting the gifts under the tree. I run back to my room all giddy and existed. I went to sleep that night happy, because I knew gifts were going to be opened on Christmas.
We didn’t open in the morning, we waiting for the party gathering on Christmas Day. My sister opened like 10 gifts worth of items in front of everyone and everyone is exchanging gifts, the daughters got their gifts and then I looked under the tree and there were no more presents.
I asked the woman and she said ‘I don’t know.’
We were at her house, so I turned to my father and asked him and he simply replied ‘Oh I forgot.’
I sat in the party and slowly began to cry eventually my father took me to the bedroom and told me to stop making a scene. I layed in the bed for I think the rest of the day crying and slept. Woke up next day and everyone acted like nothing happened, and I had to help clean up all the gift wrap as I was one of the first people awake.
Got a great gift that year, my father’s a disappointment.”
He Put His Needs Ahead Of Hers
“My abusive (now ex) husband knew I had a ‘wish list’ at the jewelry store. An annual tradition in our marriage at his request.
I did not have a Rolex watch on the list. I had an Ebel watch on that list.
Apparently, husband never heard of Ebel and thought that none of my family would have ever heard of Ebel. So, he got me a Rolex.
Here’s the worst part. He gave me the watch before family came to the house for the Christmas Eve celebration.
I told him, ‘Thanks. But to be honest, I hate Rolex because if you don’t wear them constantly, they don’t keep time (because of the self-winding they’re famous for.) Would you mind if I exchanged it for the Ebel? I really love the Ebel. It’s cheaper, prettier, I love it and frankly this Rolex is a lot of hype.’
He said no. He demanded I pretend to be delighted and surprised when he gave me to watch in front of the family (to show off).
When I resisted that notion, he said, ‘Yes. You will do this for me. I need to show your family what a rich man I’ve become (or something about that notion). If you do this for me, you can keep the Rolex AND I’ll get you the Ebel. If you don’t, you’re going to regret it because I will make this the worst Christmas of your entire life.'”