There's a Latin idiom that sounds like this: Noli equi dentes inspicere donati. Meaning, you don't look a gift horse in the mouth. A guy named John Heywood supposedly used this phrase in some Middle English text way back in 1546 but some experts think it's much older than that.

Since a horse's teeth can reveal a lot about the animal, including its age, checking its mouth would be a sign of mistrust towards the gift giver. This would be bad manners. So let's do that.

We at Bored Panda discovered a couple of Reddit posts (one and two) that asked users essentially the same question: what was the worst thing you received for Christmas? So given that the holidays are just around the corner and some of us will have to force a fake smile while unpacking our presents, here are a few memorable times when people were immensely disappointed by theirs.

#1

My grandmother bought me a little piano book when I was about 10. It was meant for a 6 yr old. It had some little electric buttons on it to look like a numbered piano, and nursery rhymes with numbers over the words so you could play the songs.

Things like Three Blind Mice and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. It was a real baby present, and as soon as she gave it to me she was immediately embarrassed and offered to exchange it for something for an older kid. I guess she was also embarrassed because we lived 1000km away and didn't see each other very much and probably remembered me as a younger kid.

I learnt every f**king one of those songs.

She died 18 years ago now. I still miss her so much.

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#2

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas It was a shirt that had "I'm not a gynecologist but I'll take a look anyway". It was from my stepdad's mom. She knows I want to be a doctor and her English is no bueno. I found it hilarious. Once we translated it to her she almost cried from embarrassment. I proudly wore it for the rest of the day.

wheelchair_boxing , JESHOOTS.COM Report

#3

Every year my Mom would take us all to Dollar Tree to buy one gift for each member of the family. At the time there was five of us kids plus Mom and Dad so we would get 5-6 presents all worth a dollar each. Christmas, we would sit around and take turns opening them. Eventually this would turn into gags as we got older.

One year I thought it would be a funny idea to give my brother and brother in-law a s***ty can of beef stew... My brother in-law was so pissed off (he was a serious fellow). At first I didn’t know why and was in shock. I didn’t think a can of soup was that bad. Turns out my dumbass bought them Gravy Train a can of dog food. Which turned out to be hilarious to everyone else who were mocking me. My brother and I took it a step further though and decided we would try a few bites. It was the most awful thing ever. Wet, slimy, chunks, of puréed grit that makes me gag thinking about it but we were “tough” and could not show our disgust to the other.

When my sister first got married (to the serious fellow) we each got her pregnancy tests which turned out pretty fun.

All of our gifts we could have perceived to be the worse. Honestly it did suck sometimes seeing kids at school with iPods. None were great, most were thrown away or broken minutes after receiving them. We were poor. What started out as a $20 Christmas for Mom and Dad has created years of fun memories.

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Penelope
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thank you for putting a smile into this list. 😊🎄🎁

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#4

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas A giftcard to a lingerie store from my grandma. The f**ked up part wasn't the gift itself, but the fact that she made my poor 19 year old brother go in and buy it. As he told it, the conversation went something like this: Cashier: "shopping for your girlfriend?" Brother: "no, my sister...well my grandma..." Awkward silence...

handikat , unsplash.com Report

#5

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas Christmas morning around the tree with my family and gf at the time. We are all opening presents and I open one from my gf. I unwrap the box and inside I find a flat billed baseball hat. Strange, I neither wear hats, nor give a s**t about the team whose logo was plastered on the front, let alone the sport. So, I pull it out and hold it up so everyone [but mainly my gf] could see. All the adults give a quizzical look. Even my little sister makes a 'huh?' face.

*You say, "But totes, maybe it was gift to a male friend. Are you against your gf having male friends??" No, I am not. Just wait:

So I say something like, "uh thanks, hun." Her face drains of color. She says 'oops, that is for some one else, must have brought it inside on accident.' Then snatches it out of my hands.

And then I hold out the card that was attached to the wrapping: Hey baby, love ya lots. Merry Christmas.

And to clarify; yes, she was cheating. I guess there were tickets to some big upcoming game tucked inside the hat too. Needless to say it was f**king embarrassing to have to essentially break up with your gf in front of your family on Christmas morning.

*Typos and s**t: am not a writer.

**And Happy Holidays to you too!

totes-muh-gotes , mediamodifier Report

#6

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas Grandma got me a pair of jeans that were way too small with a card that read "Lose some weight, then maybe you will fit into these".

I was beyond furious, and our relationship was never the same. I didn't shed a tear when she passed away.

Sumo_Cerebro , unsplash.com Report

#7

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas When I was 15, I really wanted a dog. My mom knew this.

Cue Christmas morning. After we had opened any other presents, my mom came back with one last one...it was a wrapped box with holes in the sides, bouncing/moving some, and puppy barks of cuteness.

I got sooooo excited to open it and meet my new best friend. When I opened it, it had a stuffed animal puppy (not taxidermized...), a bumble ball toy, and a small tape recorder with puppy barks.

My heart sank and I just sat there and cried.

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#8

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas I had left some video games in my mom's room, she found them and assumed my dad had bought them as Christmas gifts for me. So for Christmas, I got... my own games.

unknown , Kelly Sikkema Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
11 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I know someone who had their phone confiscated by their parents and ended up getting it back as their Christmas present and nothing else. Whist her twin sisters were spoilt rotten.

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#9

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas My uncle got me a giant block of cement once. He put random things throughout the block and gave me a miniature hammer and chisel. I actually chiseled through the whole thing and found some coins and what appeared to be a arrowhead. My uncle is the strange one in our family.

nathanlegit , Anaya Katlego Report

#10

My mother is terrible at gift giving. She shops for others with herself in mind, not them, so everyone gets s**t she likes but they don't. Or she buys it in March and then can't find it come December, and your gift is her telling you that's what happened. Or she'll buy, say, a book trilogy in an art box, and she'll give each book one holiday at a time, then the final gift will be the box.

As I grew older, I started seeing this. I never got anything that I specifically asked for, possibly a close approximate at best. I figured it was because nothing I asked for interested her, so I tried something: I asked for something that she would be into.

I asked for a Bible. I specified the brand, the translation, hardback/paperback, and the book cover including the color scheme. I got exactly what I asked for, down to the last detail.

I kept it as a reminder of what not to do to my kids.

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#11

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas It was the first Christmas my father and current stepmother had together. My step siblings each got a new laptop computer, I got a $20 gift card to McDonalds.

Mystic_Waffles , unsplash.com Report

#12

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas My dad bought my mom an actual human skull for Christmas a few years back. He wrapped it in a box some toy came in. My parents are weird; this wouldn't have raised an eyebrow at my house. Unfortunately we did our gift exchange at my maternal grandmothers who is much less creative with gifts. My dad and brother waited for this to be the last gift given. It was a big presentation. Upon opening it my mom squealed and shoved it back in the box. She was excited but knew it would t go over well. Of course now everyone wants to know what is in the box. My grandma insists my mom take out the mysterious gift and show it to the room. My aunt started screaming, made her kids leave the room. My grandma almost fainted and told us to get it out of the house immediately. 'Twas hilarious.

tldr my dad se7en'd my mom on Christmas in a hilarious fashion.

twiggy_twangdoodles , Trnava University Report

Otter
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Oh God, there was a real human skeleton in one of my college anatomy classes, and it was impossible to forget that it was from a real formerly living human. The professor said it was India, so everyone called it "Mr. Patel" in acknowledgement of its former humanity, and kept their distance. Who the hell would want human body parts at home!

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#13

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas I got an empty box of a toy I really wanted. I was 9.

spoonie_tatoonie , unsplash.com Report

#14

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas My grandmother gave my boyfriend a coffee mug with a German Shepherd dog on it. He has never owned nor expressed any interest in German Shepherds.

He uses it at work. It's a great conversation starter.

"Oh do you have a German Shepherd?"

"No."

"..."

StrangeFarulf , unsplash.com Report

Vic
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Do you have a German Shepherd?? Nein!! Keeps them wondering if you said no or have 9 German Shepherds..

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#15

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas I got a book called "Coping with Being Adopted" from Santa while I was in high school. Was news to me....

AngryCyclops , Sinziana Susa Report

Penelope
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That’s something my little brother would have done…wrap that exact book up and label it to me, from Santa. 😂

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#16

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas I had mentioned to my uncle one year that I wished I could grow a beard like his. Come Christmas time my uncle hands me the present he got me. I unwrap it and what do you know...It's his beard in a Ziploc bag.

ainen , Monika Stawowy Report

#17

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas When I was 13 I was taking drum lessons and was desperate for my own kit.

My mum worked at the Early Learning Centre (preschool age kids shop for non-UK chaps). Mum and Dad got me this little plastic toy drum and made me play a tune on it.

I tried my best not to look upset, I failed and stopped just short of bursting in to tears.

Turned out to be a sick joke, the drums were wrapped up in the dining room.

IronSkywalker , Jason Pofahl Report

#18

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas This wasn't my gift, but it was the most awkward situation ever. So a few years ago my grandma had her legs amputated. Don't feel bad, since then, her health has improved a ton. Anyway, last Christmas my Aunt bought her socks. It was sooo awful

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#19

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas Book about how to take criticism, gifted by my mother-in-law.

PM_ME_POW , unsplash.com Report

Jo Choto
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'd look for "How to Deal with a Toxic Mother in Law" and give her that book.

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#20

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas When I still lived with my parents they got me a cards against humanity deck. Right after I opened it they told me I’m not allowed to play it until I turned 18. I was 15 at the time

neon1876 , wiki Report

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#21

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas My cousin had died in a drunk driving accident a few months before, so my mom got me a breathalyzer keychain. It wouldn't have been so bad, but the card it came with said it was "from" my cousin.. I see what my mom was trying to do, but still f**ked up, IMO.

heyitsEnricoPallazzo , www.flickr.com Report

Littlebunnyfufu
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is like parents who want to take their kids to the burn unit to explain how dangerous fire is. Ugh!

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#22

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas A calendar with half nude pictures of my father and stepmother

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#23

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas I am going to answer for my sister. When I was about five (making her nine) our uncle/aunt/cousin family asked me what my sister liked. I had no idea. All I knew was she liked to yell at me. So I dumbly replied she like hair ties. For Christmas that year my sister received an assortment of an insanely high number, like two hundred different high ties, scrunches, ect. She didn't let me live that down for a looong time.

chubbybunnybean , unsplash.com Report

Andy Acceber
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Aw, that's on them for letting the five year old pick the present. Apparently at nine, your sister was already difficult to shop for. At least you didn't suggest anything cruel or self-serving. Hair ties was a fine guess.

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#24

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas My grandma gave me bright red undies with googly eyes on them and an extra piece of black cloth to put your d**k inside as the "nose"....I'm a girl.

Sbo8890 , unsplash.com Report

Vic
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

maybe grandma thought it was a lipstick holder.. XD

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#25

My mother passed away when I was in high school. One of the years after she passed, my dad kinda-sorta forgot to buy me a big Christmas present. So I came downstairs, went to get my stocking (we still do stockings), and pulled out a fistful of 20s. He'd run to the ATM early that morning so I'd have something.

The cash was great and all, but at the time, it felt awful because I just missed my mom, and wished we could have a "proper" Christmas.

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Nice cuppa tea
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Poor dad wad depressed and couldn't get his head around doing Christmas

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#26

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas Every year my family does a secret Santa on Christmas. When i was about 10 my aunt had to buy me a gift. So Christmas morning i open my gift, and i find a Christmas sweater along with a pair of my aunts s**t stained underwear. Apparently she was doing laundry and wrapping gifts at the same time and got the two mixed up.

Swirlingmystic , Sincerely Media Report

#27

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas Probably a box of my grandmother's ashes wrapped to look like a gift.

My mother did this.

PavementBlues , unsplash.com Report

#28

My parents got me an acoustic guitar one Christmas. Problem: my brother was the one who asked for a guitar, not me. So essentially my Christmas present was seeing my brother absolutely gutted. Meanwhile I had to pretend I was happy. Awkward.

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KT
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

i don't get how parents can be THIS daft. Do they not pay attention to their kids as individuals at all?

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#29

My Mom rarely cared what gift we might actually want or what our personal tastes were and most often she would select a gift based on her own personal tastes. In the late-80's she decided to buy me a stereo as the main/large gift for whatever reason and she selected a Fisher Price (the children's toy brand) turn table (record player). This is after CD players were invented and of course nobody played records any more. The worst part was that she decided to treat this stereo as some sophisticated equipment that was too good for a child to play with so after Christmas she stored it, in it's original box, in our attic where it has remained until this day. It was supposed to just be stored there until some arbitrary time but my Mom is a huge procrastinator and that time never came. I'm still salty that she wasted all the money on that stupid gift rather than on something I might have enjoyed and actually got to use.

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#30

30 People Share Messed Up Gifts That Ruined Their Christmas Grandms got me a douche and a hospital gown that "would make a nice dress if someone sewed it all up" for me. That was weird.

pyewacketcg , JESHOOTS.COM Report

Irishwoman abroad
Community Member
11 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Sounds like Grandma got her gifts free from the hospital that year!

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