If it's the thought that counts, sometimes you have to wonder, What were they thinking? We asked around and came up with this gallery of ghastly gifts - plus a fun idea for what to do with them. Also check out our great gift ideas to avoid making the blunders below.
Very pregnant and turning 40, Beth was dismayed when her husband bought her stretch marks cream. She didn't need the cream, she insists, "but I get back at him by telling everyone the story. Make sure you spell his name right: M-i-k-e F-i-t-z-p-a-t-r-i-c-k."
Related: Gifts for the Mom Who Does It All
Save it for Halloween?
"A relative once gave me an angel that was holding a little electric candle," recalls Sandra. "The angel's arms swing back and forth, and when the candle tilts the wrong way, it looks as though she's trying to stab herself in the chest."
Related: Gifts for the Happy Hostess
A Clear Signal
One holiday season, Laurie was hoping for an engagement ring from her boyfriend of four years. "I assumed that the automobile emergency kit he gave me was a joke and that I would find the ring between, say, the bandages and the road flare," recounts Laurie. "No dice. I realized then that I should leave him, so maybe it was the perfect present after all!"
Related: Best Gadget Gifts
So Bad, it's Good
Every year, an aunt sends Randi a wildly patterned, strangely colored hand-knit sweater with "things coming off it." Still, says Randi, "if she ever got me something ordinary like perfume or scented hand cream, I would be disappointed. The sweaters tell me that she's alive and kicking."
Related: DIY Stocking Stuffers
Revenge is Sweet
One Christmas, Traci received a puppy from her husband. She did not want a dog - he did. "The next year, I gave him a kitchen mixer. Ha!" Traci remembers gleefully.
Related: Gifts for Pets and the People Who Love Them
It's All About Me
"My husband's mom presented me with a stationery set. However, I discovered that all the envelopes were already addressed to her," reports Holly. "And she didn't even put stamps on them."
Related: Gifts Under $20
So how can you turn a present that misses the mark into something fun? Take a page out of my sister's book. Each January, she and her friends bring their most awful presents to a party and swap gifts - along with a lot of laughs.
Now the members of the group find themselves hoping that they will receive bad gifts; the more grotesque the presents are, the more likely they'll be a hit at the holiday get-together. When Ruby, one of the regulars, got a hand-painted wooden handbag in the shape of a house (the roof opened up), her first thought was Yessss!
Tell us: What was the worst present you ever received?
More from Good Housekeeping:
- Great Gifts Under $30
- Classic Toys for Kids
- Gifts for Men
- Gifts for TV-Obsessed Teens
- For More Tips & Tricks You Can Count On: Subscribe to Good Housekeeping & Save!
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.