Image by Harry Strauss from Pixabay

Whoever began the tradition of giving presents to people on their birthdays is a total genius.

Think about it. You did absolutely zero work to be born. That was all your mom's pain and toil.

Nevertheless, you are rewarded with presents and attention every single year for the rest of your life. Frankly, that doesn't add up. But nobody in their right mind would end that tradition and doom themselves to never receiving gifts anymore.

Some of those annual presents are better than others, of course. And some are the absolute worst of all time.

Redditors gathered to share the truly bizarre and disappointing gifts they've received from friends and family over the years.


YoWhatTheDuck asked, "What is the worst gift you’ve ever received for your birthday?"

Test Run 

"My uncle and aunt gave me a broken toy car when I was like 5. They let my cousin play with it before it was my birthday and he broke it." -- SmokeWineEveryday

"Man if I was ur parent, I would've threw that toy car back at them so hard" -- lycacons

"That's a straight up d**k move" -- piuamaster

All Comes Down to the Expiration Date 

"An anti-aging cream. Would be cool if I wasn't 9 years old. Opened it and it was obvious it was used before, also had hair in it. Mom put it in the trash immediately." -- m3714246

"I would have used it to vanish out of existence if it was a cream that makes you look 10 years younger" -- GodTierAimbotUser69

"You could still be 9 years old if your mom didn't trash it" -- PacoMahogany

Can't Beat the Classics 

"When I was ten my grandma gave me a plain white towel. I wasn't good at hiding my disappointment so my mom made me apologize and pretend that I loved it."

"There was no way that I could tell it apart from all the other plain white towels we had."

-- NerdyFrida

Dude Needs a Calendar or Something 

"One year my uncle got me batteries, with a note that said 'toy not included.' Another year he wrote IOU on a piece of paper." -- saltiestteacher

"Sucks as a birthday present, but a hilarious joke. He could've given something else too."

"An IOU can be extremely valuable, but from the sounds of it not much from your uncle." -- nobodynr15

"See I would do the battery thing as a joke for half an hour, then bring the actual toy out" -- teedo

Local Memorabilia 

"A key chain in the shape of Texas with the name and phone number of a random traffic lawyer. I've never been to Texas or expressed interest in the state, and I didn't know the lawyer." -- Cats_Waffles

"Holy sh**, was it Jim Adler, the Texas Hammer?" -- Mr_Mori

"Oh wow. Sounds like you got a Jim Adler key chain! Those fetch a few thousand dollars nowadays!" -- texasbravo

"This Year, I Got You My Naked Cooties"

"My mother in law gave me her used bathrobe. I don't know how one could possibly say FU you more eloquently without words than that."

"Still stuns me 20+ years later."

-- thepanichand

Kinda Reversed That One 

"Last birthday I lived with my family they all went out to eat without me lol" -- 1836547290

"Could be the best present, just depends" -- 01kicka**ius10

"Did they sing?" -- BtDB

Breaking Even 

"I was buying $5 cd I wanted on my bday, my (now)ex said he hadn't gotten me a gift yet, so he said he'd just buy it for my gift."

"About a week later I was buying groceries, and a $5 bill was in my change and he is it eyeing it. He tells me 'hey... you never paid me back for the cd I got you for your birthday.' So, I gave him the money for it."

-- not-a-real_username

The Perfect Shape for Wrapping 

"my dads side of the family used to give my siblings and me entire costco sized packs of corn muffin mix for our birthdays/christmas. always corn muffin, never any other kind."

"like, we would unwrap the present and it would be 10 boxes of corn muffin mix. i cant offer you more context because there literally isnt any."

"it was always a mystery. my parents used to fight about it lol"

-- Totally_Kyle0420

Couldn't Resist the Temptation 

"Last year for Christmas I got a half eaten meat basket from my In laws! The Summer sausage was cut in half and wrapped with plastic wrap and the cheese spread had been opened" -- jpm1188

"In what world does this seem okay or even occur as a thought" -- BrutalWarPig

"Just looking out for you, and making sure it wasn't poisoned lol" -- not-a-real-username

Birthday day

When I was a kid my dad gave me the money I got for Christmas on my birthday.

Christmas, I got money. Birthday, I was allowed to spend it.


Not amused

A day at an amusement park where my father explicitly went out of his way to make it excruciatingly clear that we were not there FOR my birthday.

I was 8.



My uncle gave me a Xbox Live points card for my birthday, when I went to redeem it, it said card not activated. This happened 2 years in a row until my mom told him about it.


My ex's sister-in-law did this to several of us every Christmas and her dad would always feel bad and mail the equivalent in cash. Year 5 or 6 we checked the balance of a card during presents, found it was unactivated and he asked her to leave the house without the gifts she had already opened.


Unkindness of strangers

The year my husband invited friends over for my birthday so I got to make my own birthday cake, along with dinner for 8 people...and received no gifts



Everyone forgetting that my birthday happened despite the fact that I'm a twin but everyone remembered my twin's birthday instead of mine.

Edit to clarify some things: I'm a fraternal twin. My twin brother is taller and looks older than I am. He was a college football player.

I'm a slightly shorter, skinny person who looks vaguely hispanic while also looking white at the same time despite the fact I'm half Japanese.

My twin is a more outgoing person than I am. I'm a very quiet/introverted personality. IDFK how my parents forgot. They just did.


Year after year

I have a few: I was taken to a steakhouse for my birthday one year. They all knew I was a vegetarian, but my family all wanted steak. I had complimentary bread and cole slaw for my birthday that year.

I planned a big party when I was 16, almost everyone I invited said yes, then no one showed up.

An ex-bf and I had planned a weekend getaway for my 30th at a fancy hotel. We were supposed to meet there. He never showed (he claimed he'd been called into work but I think he was cheating on me). I ended up getting sick (food poisoning maybe), had to beg the front desk to bring me some bread in the middle of the night. I checked out at dawn to drive myself 2hrs to home.

I loved celebrating my birthday as a kid, but now I actively ignore it.


Not cool

I had just worked off the baby weight and was finally down to a Small again. My mom, who loves to take digs at my weight, bought me a bunch of tent-like drape-y clothes in Large.


What now?

My Grandma told me my gift was that she was going to quit smoking, for my 13th bday.

Had it been true it would have been great but she gave this gift to me many times already.


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