The Most Insulting Holiday Gift You've Ever Received

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For many, the holiday season comes with a few guarantees: you will be surrounded by people you don’t normally elect to spend your time with, and you will exchange gifts with them. On rare occasion, when the stars align, you’ll receive “a gift” that serves to highlight your flaws—or the flaws your crappy cousin thinks you possess. (This is coming from someone who was once offered a Weight Watchers membership as a Christmas gift.)

So, tell me, what’s the most insulting present you’ve ever been given? It doesn’t have to be something that results in years of therapy—anything comically disparaging is on the table. Bonus points to all who recognize the offense and laugh in the face of stupidity. Extra bonus points if you still own the thing out of guilt.

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Before you head to the garage to see what happened to that old ThighMaster your grandfather gifted you in the late ‘90s, let’s check out those holiday party disaster stories from last week.

Happy holidays, flamesonthesideofmyface’s mom ran over her freakin’ foot:

One year my mom ran over my foot with her car right after we got to my uncle’s house on Christmas Day. (I thought we were parked and opened the back to get the presents, she was trying to Meadow Soprano the car into a more perfect configuration I guess, since we had to pack a lot of cars into a small driveway). My then-boyfriend had to carry me just-married style into the house, past the dining room filled with all my relatives already eating (we were late, as always), and into the kitchen where my aunt proceeded to fill the biggest pot she had with ice water. It just happened to be the chicken pot she had just used and had hurriedly rinsed out, so when bits of chicken fat came floating to the surface, I thought it was skin from my mangled foot. Turns out, my foot was completely fine thanks to my hard boots and the ground being muddy, my foot sank in when she ran over it, so it was just bruised. But hey, someone had to top the year my younger cousin gave us all a truly violent and fast-acting case of norovirus on Christmas Eve.

Let’s give it up for Tofutti Klein and ol’ tuna dick:

My husband works for a company that’s incredibly conservative. I generally hate his holiday party because I feel like it’s impossible to have fun, I always have to monitor what I say so I don’t let my evil atheist liberal views slip. ANYWAYS, about 15 years ago when the company was still relatively small, they invited some client bigwigs to the holiday party. One of his coworkers drank way too many martinis during the cocktail hour, and was pretty drunk during the plated dinner. Upon taking a bite of her entree, she loudly proclaimed that the tuna was so good it was like a big dick in her mouth. It was like a legit record-screech moment, total shocked silence followed by nervous tittering.

The company is much bigger now and she no longer works there (unrelated to the tuna comment), but that moment was legendary and still gets whispered about every holiday party. She is my hero.

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Ember found out her future husband would become her husband because of a holiday party? Who knew good things can happen post-disastrous drinking:

I worked at a company for 7 years, and we usually had holiday parties, but sometimes they were holiday/release parties and those were off the hook. Open bars, great food, dancing, music, etc. They were always exceptionally well done.

There was the occasional “oh it’s awkward” moments - but one year I was sitting there with my boyfriend, who was in my same department (it was cool with the company - and we had been dating about 7 months at this point) when one of our friends and his wife come up and hang out with us. They were waaaaay drunker than we were and they start gushing about how cute a couple we were and so on. It progresses and the wife ends up hitting on my boyfriend. Our co-worker apologized but then he’s all - it’s cool, our marriage is open. AND WINKS AT ME. We noped out at that point.

For a GREAT story though - one of the parties where it was a dual celebration, me and a bunch of my friends/co-workers were hanging out around a table outside, drinking excessive open bar drinks, (except me, I was driving later) and my then boyfriend (same guy as above - but at this point we had been dating a year and a half) was smashed. So we’re talking about names and such and I say I hate my last name because it was my ex husband’s. He drunkenly looks at me, smiles this giant smile and says “You’re right. It should be <his last name>.” I just gaped at him, he laughed and turned to talk to someone else, and I looked around the table like “Did anyone else just hear that?!?” and LUCKY FOR ME - a bunch of our friends were just like “OMG DID HE JUST SAY YOU SHOULD HAVE HIS LAST NAME?!?” The next day (after a very vomity car ride home) he had NO memory of saying that. A year and a month or so later, he proposed, and we still joke about his drunken admission so early that he wanted to marry me.

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BrianGriffin, every teenager felt that:

I’ll skip all of the tear-filled Christmas eves as a kid where my mom frantically panic-cleaned the house preparing for my grandmother (her mom) to arrive the next day. Inevitably I’d move something into the wrong spot and get yelled at. Also inevitably grandma would come over the next day and comment on the one spot of dust that was missed.

Anywho. Most embarrassing Christmas story was when I was sixteen. A few days before Christmas was my girlfriend’s large Italian family’s holiday party. Unbeknownst to me, her family’s puppy had gone through their trash the night before and tore some stuff apart. Including a tissue-wrapped condom from our escapades the afternoon before. This was brought up to us, at dinner, right after the lasagne was passed around. With all fourty-five hundred aunts and uncles and cousins also at the table.

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Tisha’s department head was a sociopath:

I used to work in a psychology department at a university and back in the day, the head of school used to give nearly everyone in the department a fresh goose for xmas dinner. Why did he have so many geese? He purposely selected geese for his animal studies so he could gift their carcasses when the study was over.

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And Assistant Undersecretary of Only Okay reminds us that your boss is not your friend:

Oh! I thought of something new and awful! My old bosses used to give these really, truly out of touch Christmas speeches every year, though I started after this story it stood out as legend among employees. One year the store manager’s daughter (who also worked at the store) was diagnosed with cancer. During his speech, my boss has everyone bow their heads while he says a prayer for her health (keep in mind pretty much everyone who is not my boss is a cynical, agnostic, 20 something). Between that Christmas and the next, the manager’s daughter goes into remission and recovers from her diagnosis. That year at the Christmas party during his speech my boss reminds everyone of how they’d prayed the last year over this woman’s cancer, which was now cured, basically taking credit for her recovery! He truly believed he achieved everything on his own.

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Drop those gifts in the comments and please, include pictures if you’ve got ‘em.

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About the author

Maria Sherman

Senior Writer, Jezebel. Opinions expressed here do not reflect my own.