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What Not to Give: Readers Share the Worst Holiday Gifts They Received as Kids

I don’t care what anybody says; the wrong gift can ruin the holidays and possibly even shred a child’s self-esteem to smithereens (as if we didn’t have enough to worry about).

It’s not that parents, relatives and friends gift up shame and devastation on purpose; it just unfortunately happens sometimes.

My mom, (God love her) gifted prepubescent me two training bras in front of my dad on Christmas morning 1987. Seriously mom, what were you thinking? Did you really think training bras needed to be gift wrapped with a fabu bow? I’m still not over it.

I asked you fine, well-adjusted readers for the worst of the worst holiday gifts you received as children. Wow, I can only imagine the thousands we’ve collectively spent on therapy as a result.

One thing I know is true, it’s not the gift that counts; it’s the careful treading not to ruin a child’s self-esteem that counts. I only hope this post serves as a PSA of sorts as we finish up our holiday shopping. Gift with caution friends.

Without further ado, get ready to cringe with these worst-ever received presents!


  • Lessons learned 1 of 22
    Lessons learned
    "a keyboard ... I didn't remember wanting one and didn't like the lessons which followed ..."
    @TsEule via Twitter
  • Crochet dismay 2 of 22
    Crochet dismay
    "I got a vest that was crocheted & looked like a doily instead. I was in middle school- it was mortifying."
    @dairyfreeomni via Twitter Dairy Free Omnivore
  • Take me with you! 3 of 22
    Take me with you!
    "My mom got me this horrible mesh shirt that was flourescent green. That was the last Christmas/birthday she shopped for clothes without me."
    via Krista Marriott
  • O Holy Inappropriate! 4 of 22
    O Holy Inappropriate!
    "My mom's older (male) friend gave me days of the week Jockey underpants - when I was 14."
    @mttsm via Twitter Mom to the Screaming Masses
  • Granny fabulous 5 of 22
    Granny fabulous
    "Every year my grandmother sent me a flannel nightgown. You know, the type a grandma would wear. Do I have to explain why that was a terrible Christmas gift for a kid? ;)"
    via Elizabeth Flora Ross The Writer Revived
  • A decade too late 6 of 22
    A decade too late
    "I was 14 and received a fake dress up make up kit made for 4y/o."
    @lilloveandluck via Twitter With a Little Love & Luck
  • Want a bunny, honey? 7 of 22
    Want a bunny, honey?
    "My next door neighbor gave my one-year-old a LIVE bunny last year. {and no, she did not ask our permission!}"
    @samlovesvintage via Twitter Vintage is for Lovers
  • Hub snub 8 of 22
    Hub snub
    "My 15-year-old sister gave me a hubcap she found on the side of the road. I wish I was kidding. I was 10."
    @xtremeparnthood via Twitter Adventures in Extreme Parenthood
  • Chestnuts roasting on an open tire 9 of 22
    Chestnuts roasting on an open tire
    "My parents have me a set of tire inner tubes for my bike. Before unwrapping the boxes, I thought they were the Barbie perfume & lotion set I had asked for but they weren't :("
    via Miranda Guerrero
  • What in the world? 10 of 22
    What in the world?
    "Apparently I mentioned one year that I'd like a globe. Then promptly forgot about it. Until my cousin (with whom i always got identical gifts from our grandparents) unwrapped Barbie's newest hottest sports car, new Barbie, etc. and guess what I got?! That freaking globe! I was about six & like a spoiled little brat I sat in my grandpa's den and cried the rest of the night! My parents still to this day maintain that I really made a stink about wanting a globe."
    via Emily This is the first day of my life.
  • A natural beauty 11 of 22
    A natural beauty
    "I was a smart, nerdy, bookish kid and my grandma got me a make up kit.. at 10. My mom was pissed and my feelings were way hurt that my grandma thought I needed make up. As a mother of daughters now, I'm pissed off all over again, just telling the story!"
    via Evin Food Good, Laundry Bad
  • Hey, I was gonna wear that! 12 of 22
    Hey, I was gonna wear that!
    "a Crawley Doll. It was bigger than me and used to steal my clothes!"
    @bubblebumukltd via Twitter Bubble Bum
  • Donnie who? 13 of 22
    Donnie who?
    "Donnie&Marie Osmond Barbie Dolls when I was 12. NEVER watched the show & was 2 old 4 Barbies. Still tease mom :-)"
    @LorraineJLola via Twitter
  • Toys for tater tots 14 of 22
    Toys for tater tots
    "A giant, heavy box...of potatoes and crocheted potholders (courtesy of DIY crazy relatives)."
    @mollyanorton via Twitter New Food Eden
  • Go ahead, make my bed 15 of 22
    Go ahead, make my bed
    "new bed. I mean, wanted a new bed so I could stop whacking my shins on the edge of the old one, but really? I think I was 8."
    @kittenpie via Twitter Life of ‘Pie
  • Rock the oat? 16 of 22
    Rock the oat?
    "I received not one, but two shirts that said 'Oatmeal: makes kids husky'. One was pink, the other was peach. They came from the same person."
    via Emily Adventures In Emily World
  • Not that there’s anything wrong with that 17 of 22
    Not that there's anything wrong with that
    "transgender cabbage patch doll, a boy in girls clothing, they were out of the girls.. dec 1983 (mom meant well)"
    @MOMSforOPIE via Twitter Parents for Opie
  • You need to help yourself! 18 of 22
    You need to help yourself!
    "a self help book .. .I was 10...lol"
    @new2two via Twitter New2two
  • Um, thanks? 19 of 22
    Um, thanks?
    "I got my grandma's old china. Yeah, 6 year old me was completely thrilled. Not."
    via Amber Lynn
  • Exercise surprise 20 of 22
    Exercise surprise
    "My Mom got me 'Get in Shape Girl' when I was 8. It still haunts me..."
    via Abigail Herman
  • Picture this … 21 of 22
    Picture this ...
    "One year my father bought me a sweater. Wouldn't have been so bad if he didn't get my cousin a super expensive camera complete with lenses and accessories. His daughter he gets a sweater. His niece gets a camera. WTF?"
    via Carolyn This Talk Ain't Cheap
  • What a girl wants 22 of 22
    What a girl wants
    "Every year, my father, who so clueless about raising two girls, would put razors, shaving cream & deodorant in our stockings as stocking stuffers. He thought that was "girly" stuff."
    via Debra The Harried Mom

What’s your holiday damage? Tell us the WORST gift you received as a child!

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