Worst Christmas presents: ‘My dad bought me knickers from Aldi’

Readers on their least-treasured gifts, from psoriasis shampoo to electric tin openers


Christmas may be a time for giving, but when the givers get it wrong, the seasonal atmosphere can quickly turn from festive to frightful. We invited readers to get in touch to tell us about the worst - or the weirdest - gifts they’ve ever received. Here are some of the hilarious - and heartbreaking - answers we received.

Catherine Regan, Brighton, UK

My ex husband spent lavishly on himself but was a keen bargain hunter when it came to present giving. I was definitely a paid-up member of the pudding club that Christmas morning ; eight months pregnant with our first child. He said I should come out to the front of the house for my surprise, and there - with a red ribbon - was a man’s mountain bike. He insisted I take it for a spin, which was physically impossible. I got a lock for that bike the following year. We only had six more Christmases.

Anne Mclaughlin, Derry

Based in London, far away from my parents in Derry, I was thrilled to receive a packaged gift. Excitedly I pulled apart the wrappings to discover ... psoriasis shampoo. All the way from Donegal. My mother explained tersely that there would be no other gifts as the shampoo was not cheap.

Janina Louw, South Staffordshire, UK

Father bought me three-pack of knickers from Aldi.

Helen O’Keeffe, Dublin

My worst present was on my first married Christmas ... an electric blanket. It was so practical and unromantic that I promptly burst into tears.

Michaela Forster, Warrington, UK

I twice pointed out the desired Clinique gift set to the husband in the weeks leading to Christmas. Under the tree sits a box, the right size, right weight, nicely wrapped. Was a “practical” TomTom satnav. My face must have run the gamut of emotions before I settled on (Oscar-winning performance here) joyous wonder. Inside I was throwing an enormous toddler-style strop. I took ungrateful to a whole new level - but for crying out loud, who wants to be reminded of how bad their sense of direction is on Christmas morning!

Fiona, Toronto, Canada

My ex mother in-law bought me sheer see-through PJs . I discovered this as I was holding them up on Christmas Day (in her good drawing room ) and could see all my in-laws looking at me through them! Also accompanied by a box of scrubbing pads. I think it was very clear what she was saying ... I’ve a great arse and keep a clean house!!

Kim Ivory, Rojales, Spain

My fiance had two lovely dogs, but a really horrible tin opener that you had to stab into the tin and sort of crank around with your hand to cut the lid off. It always took me ages to open the dogs’ food while they sat dribbling at me awaiting their meal. On Christmas Day I was dumbfounded to open my gift and discover ... an electric tin opener. We did not get married.

Kay Denison, Norfolk, UK

My (then) mother-in-law gave me a tissue box cover that looked like a pair of old frilly knickers. To say I was not impressed was an understatement!

Claire Allan, Derry

It was the work’s Secret Santa and our office of journalists all stood around waiting to receive our gifts. There were some funny ones (a four-pack of scotch eggs to someone with scotch egg habit) the usual smellies and bottles of wine. Mine was a pocket sized book - A Guide To Caring For Goats. For a long time I wondered was there a joke I was missing. But no. Just goats. I never found out who was responsible.

Nigel Carvill, Dublin

My brother once gave me (and all my siblings) a half pound of Kerrygold butter for Christmas. Not even a pound! Go figure. I’m still scratching my head.

Jane Lomas, Chelmsford, UK

I once received a broken windchime. Yep, broken. It had bits missing and it was lopsided. Before Christmas I thought I was out of favour with the sender, but the windchime confirmed it!

Trish Casey, Dublin

Once my sister, who at the time seemed to have a lot more cash to spend on presents than us, presented us with a very beautifully wrapped bottle of dessert wine. We stuck it in the fridge and it was only when we came to open it we discovered it had marks of a previous corkscrew! It had been opened and repackaged to look new. A step too far with re-gifting.

Emily Lyons, Co Dublin

Definitely the worst was a foot spa from my then boyfriend now husband, we’d been dating for a couple of years and made the big move to buy a house together. Christmas came around and I received a foot spa - which my mother thought was very considerate! I would love to have a picture of that moment (pre hi-tech mobile phones!!)

Eliz Reid, New York

Not what I got, but what I didn’t get. I really wanted to learn how to cross-country ski; no one else in family was athletic, in ANY way. On Christmas day I woke up to four sets of skis, boots, and bindings.....for everyone but me. I really didn’t get anything comparable.

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