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The worst birthday gifts ever received.

The worst birthday gifts ever received.

Some horror tales from “present purgatory”!

We have scoured the web and found some horrific tales of inappropriate gifts and such-badly-thought-through presents; this is possibly the biggest mix-bag of the shittiest birthday and Christmas gifts ever received.

A big shout out to all the sites that contributed to this, and an even bigger shout out to everyone who had to put up with opening some heinously appalling gifts. Your pain was one of the driving forces behind why we created MicroBarBox, so everyone could gift something that would put a smile on most people’s faces… after all most grown ups love a cheeky cocktail!



Lets start with a few short but (not-so) sweet gifts.

Our favourites are the Dog Shampoo, the Bread Loaf, and the Fish Tank.


“I got Tupperware… I was 7 years old…”


“A fire extinguisher”


“I was given a diary for my birthday…. Only to discover half of it was already written in.”


“21 packets of instant noodles for my 21st”


“Booze-filled chocolates. I was five.”


“Fugly necklace boyfriend bought from casino.”


“Was re-gifted a broken popcorn maker.”


“A used copy of People magazine.”


“Jumpstart cables for my new car.”


“Dog shampoo for my own hair.”


“Gameboy game. (Didn't own a Gameboy.)”


“Ugly shirt with detachable Velcro letters.”


“At work: white elephant Squatty Potty.”


“Fat analysing scale for 16th birthday.”


“A used bottle of nail polish.”


“Socks when everyone got Game Boys.”


“A thigh-master from my kid brother.”


“A massive Santa ornament. I'm Jewish.”


“Plaster cast of an ex-boyfriend’s hand.”


“Half-eaten heart cookie on Valentine’s Day.”


“Broken Halloween salt and pepper shakers.”


“Guidebook on sorting your life out.”


“Got a vape pen. Don’t vape.”


“My mom just got me tweezers.”


“From my boyfriend: a bread loaf.”


“Floor-length pink flannel granny nightgown.”


“Inexplicably, an entire bag of scrunchies.”


“Sugar-free black-bean 'chocolate' cake.”


“Pair of white XL granny panties.”


“Fish tank and accessories. No fish.”


“Barbies from grandma. I was seventeen.”




Some that had a bit more commentary around them:

We love the Pregnancy test and the Egg!


"For my 12th birthday my mom wrapped up a sanitary box of pads and gave them to me. You can imagine how mortified I was to unwrap them in front of my family and friends."


"My great-grandmother gave me a toothbrush. I thought it was a joke at first but then she looked me dead in the eye and told me disease in your mouth is not funny."


"My grandma is a little different and one year she decided it would be a fun idea to wrap 100 pennies individually and give them to me as a gift. After opening five or so of them I decided to be done. My grandma however did not let that happen and threw a fit for me to finish. Long story short, and 100 unwrapped pennies later, I got a whole whoppin’ dollar for my birthday."


"When I was nine years old, I had a big birthday party and invited all the girls from my class. It came time to open presents, and I chose a big flowery box and opened the lid. Inside was a box a bit smaller, so I opened that one. Inside that box was another smaller box. I kept opening and opening, and this went on until I had four more small boxes in my pile and had come to smallest box. I open the last box, and it was empty inside. Someone literally just gave me a stack of nesting boxes with absolutely nothing inside. Completely ruined my party mood. 13 years later and I still haven't let that one go or gotten past it."


"Every year I get chocolate and alcohol from my mother-in-law. I’m diabetic and don’t drink."


"My aunty is very, very wealthy. For my sister's birthday one year she bought her a Louis Vuitton handbag. For mine the same year: a towel. A. FREAKING. TOWEL."


"For my 16th birthday, my grandmother and her boyfriend both gave me an egg because it 'reminded me of them.'"


"I received a jar of pickles from my best friend as a birthday present. She said 'I thought you loved pickles'. I do not."


"My grandmother’s never been especially good at presents and has been known to re-gift things to us that we’ve given to her. When I was about 11, there was a special offer on a certain brand of crisp packets to save up tokens and send them in to get a badge. If you’re thinking she gave me the badge, you’re massively overestimating her. She gave me the empty packets and the address to send them to in order to claim the badge."


"I got a block of warm, almost expired cheese. It wasn't even wrapped, and it was given to me in the middle of the school day."


"My aunt lives in Maryland, and the rest of my family lives in Buffalo, New York. It has always been her custom to mail us our birthday gifts so that we could open them at our family parties. When I was substantially younger, she ordered a lava lamp directly off of Spencer's website to be delivered directly to my house (for those of you that don't know, Spencer's Gifts sells some pretty raunchy gag gifts but also decorative/innocent stuff). She always got me exactly what I wanted and I knew my mom told her that I wanted a lava lamp, so I started voraciously tearing at the box and through the starchy packaging paper only to find that the "packagers" at Spencer's warehouse had made quite the error. Staring back at me, making direct eye contact, was the biggest, floppiest, glow-in-the-dark, neon-green dildo anyone in my family had ever seen."


“Unbelievably, I got a pregnancy test from my mother in-law.”




Some more unbelieveable gifts in this batch.

The stuffed dove really does stand out!


“Ex boyfriend gave me a pack of cigarettes after I had quit for 3 months to “celebrate my progress”. Most memorable thing he gave me was clamydia though.”


“My uncle got me a taxidermied dove for my 9th birthday.”


“It was nothing. LITERALLY. My in-laws bring gifts for my husband but not me because I’m not ‘real family’.”


“My husband received his recently deceased grandfather’s used disposable razor as a Christmas gift from his grandmother. Complete with hair and all.”


“A 1kg box of dried milk for babies from my uncle. We don’t have any kids and they knew………”


“My sister got me a rat as a gift. I’m f**king terrified of rats but I decided to let it be and see if it helped curb my fear of them. It did not. Instead, while I was sleeping it got out of it’s cage, crawled up on my bed, and started chewing on my lip. Didn’t sleep for a week after that. Thoughtful gift in the sense she was trying to help but dear God it made my fear so much worse.”


“A box of Hillshire Farms sausages from my wife’s grandparents. I’m a vegetarian, they had known me for 10 years at this point.”


“Had a friend that received a gift from another friend of ours. It was a McDonald’s gift card. When he went to use it there was nothing on it.”


“My mother-in-law gave my wife and me a book about surviving infidelity. Neither of us have ever cheated on the other in 20 years of marriage. Merry Christmas.”


“An ashtray. I was 7 years old. I didn’t smoke then, and I don’t smoke now.”


“My wife used to give me things that were intended for herself. This was a win-win for her and a lose-lose for me. She could give me something, then get mad at me for being unappreciative. One time, she gave me a frilly picture frame, thinking I would never use it. I thanked her and took it to work.”


“About 10 years ago my uncle was giving out Christmas gifts to everyone in the family. He’s mentally handicapped but he makes sure to go to the dollar store to buy everyone something, typically mugs. Now my uncle doesn’t really put much thought into who gets what mug. He just wraps the mug and puts someone’s name on it. Sometimes people get multiple mugs and other times you get none because he doesn’t keep track of who has already been assigned a mug. Well my cousin was married to a Muslim (it’s relevant, I promise) and her gift was a mug that said, “Jesus loves you.” It was the only religious themed mug out of probably 50 and she got it. The entire family was laughing, including her. She thought it was great.”


“A bunch of random tools from my wife. Not tools I needed. Not tools I asked for. Not tools I could use for my hobbies. Just random tools she picked out from Lowes because ‘Guys like tools’.”


“I’m Asian. My secret santa gave me a box of instant rice. I wasn’t offended by the rice. I was offended that it was the instant kind.”


“My sister received a brand new bike…..on MY birthday. My grandmother felt bad, so on her birthday she got me an Encyclopedia.”


“It wasn’t really the gift itself, but what my dad said after I opened it.

It was one of those ninja blenders that a lot of people starting using instead of juicers. I was 16 when my dad gave the blender to me, even though I had never expressed any interest in wanting or needing one. After I opened it, he said he chose this gift because he wanted me to live a healthier lifestyle and hopefully lose a few pounds.

At the time, I was taking ballet classes 5 days a week, and I often performed with my dance troupe on the weekends, so I was pretty fit at the time. It didn’t help that he said this in front of his entire side of the family.”


“My extremely cheap uncle visited my family once for Christmas and upon his arrival he gave me and my brother the chips that he had gotten on the airplane. This man is a Neurosurgeon.”


“I got a spray that you use against foot-odour by my Sister last Christmas, she had packed in a box for a power tool I wanted so I went from excited to disappointed.

She got a quite expensive set of fancy soaps and body products + a gift card from me. Apparently she gave the power tool to some friend and gave me the box.”


“Nothing. One year my very well off (we’re talking millionaires) aunt and uncle got everyone in the family a gift except for me because suddenly, since I was 20, I was “too old” for gifts. But all the other aunts and uncles got gifts, so it wasn’t just me being singled out among the many cousins, but among EVERYONE. If they were not absolutely loaded and they had also not given anything to the other 18+ people I might have understood. But they didn’t.

As an already very stressed out, poor (parents were lower class) college student it really upset me. I spent most of the celebration crying in the bathroom and trying to hide it.”


“My ex gifted me tickets to a big country music concert for some goofy relationship milestone (like 5 months?). I reminded him that I don’t like country music and he said, ‘Well, I do and I already bought the tickets so we’re gonna go so the money isn’t wasted.’ That was a dumb relationship.”




Mumsnet had a few classics too:


“My husband bought me the same book every Christmas and birthday for three f**king years! Couldn’t believe it every time I opened it and he looked all excited and said ‘I know you love Lee Evans!’ Yes I do but not that bloody much! I did check he wasn’t wrapping the same one and giving it to me, I now have six copies.”


“My ex got me a discounted Christmas chocolate orange from a petrol garage for Valentine’s. Except he got hungry on the drive home, so he ate it, and just told me that he’d bought it for me.”


“A microwavable egg poacher. Three birthdays in a row.”


“Ex got me a tube of Twiglets once for my birthday as well as a hair in one hair brush, just random on its own.”


“My partner proposed on my birthday. And I know that seems great but now it’s counted as an anniversary as well so I have to get him a present. On my birthday. Whereas he only needs to get one for both birthday and anniversary. I know his evil plan the dick.”




And finally MoneyWise had some crackers on their site.

How could anyone think that buying fake M&M's as a gift would be a good idea?


“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.”


“A fish 'fryer' - I once got a new aquarium heater that was defective and "cooked" the fish.”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


“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 personalised for you before you send it to someone else!"


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.”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


“My aunt sent me a colouring book and a package of crayons for my 19th birthday. The colouring book was half completed and the crayons were broken in half.

I still have no idea what it meant.”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


“I was about to make a cross-country move with my girlfriend, and her mother gave us a kitten without any discussion beforehand.”


“When my wife was in college, she used to have to walk back home through a scary neighbourhood, 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.”


“My wife got me a trash can for Christmas. I got her an iPhone X.”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”