RebeccaWell, it certainly wasn't a bloody A La Carte kitchen (still bitter). My nan's friend Mary used to come to our house for Christmas day sometimes (not anymore, they fell out). And she'd bring us tins of soup. I was always impressed with her commitment to giving us something, anything from her cupboard lest she looked ungenerous. Thinking about it, her dentures weren't great, so it's possible that soup was on the menu most days. I miss Mary.
Alison TaylorIn my early teens I was pretty distraught to discover a Wham album instead of Madonna's first album THAT I ASKED FOR (cue massive strop). A pack of sanitary towels on the basis that they 'would come in useful' (they were wrapped up with some knickers) wasn't particularly glamorous either.
Allan MottAt the time I opened it, my worst present felt like the best present, until painful reality set in. In 1989 both my brother and I were super-excited to find a brand new Nintendo Power Glove under the Christmas tree. It was an expensive gift, so we were happy to share it and couldn’t wait to hook it up to our Nintendo downstairs. Our happiness ended, however, as soon as we started using it.
Turns out the fluid motion and gameplay promised in the commercial WAS A GREAT BIG FUCKING LIE! Even for the games it was specifically designed for, it just didn’t work. We tried to use it with every game we rented, but eventually it was just abandoned, destined to do nothing other than gather dust.
SiamMy mum once gave me a German/ English dictionary. I don’t think presents (whatever the occasion) get much worse than that! To be fair though I needed it for school, and I’m Jewish so we celebrate Channukah in my house, and you get 8 presents (one for every night the festival lasts), so it wasn’t my only present… but still!
DaniIt's a tie between a safe from my dad - as in one you store precious items in and bolt to the floor. No kidding. I opened it one Christmas in my teen years, and expected something wonderful inside. It was empty. That was the gift. I kept the unused safe for ten years and finally installed it in my house last year! Another fabulous gift would be a some hair from a hair brush and dog food courtesy of my brother (I did give him some trimmings of my pubic hair the year before, so this was his vengeance i guess).
Squeamish KateOne year I got rubber gloves, I think maybe they were supposed to be a joke...
OliviaI don't really like talking about Christmas presents - isn't that weird? I feel like the bad ones trigger massive feelings of misery, because people who you care about buying you bad presents means that they don't know you at all (mega depressing), and the good ones feel incredibly intimate. Am I crazy for not wanting to share that stuff? AM I???
SallyThe year my mum was feeling more pious than usual and painted the house dark green before handing me a multi-coloured Fairtrade belt made of straw. Now I get cows in the form of an Oxfam envelope, but I can't complain because of charity and that. (The belt, though, is probably pipped by the one mug I got last year - a joint present from my two thirty-year-old cousins. Fine, except for the tell-tale ridges on the bottom that say: “I come in a set, look how stackable I am! Your family hate you.”)
StevieDad once bought me a selection of chutneys when I was 14. A girl who stole my best friend from me in year 7 bought me a 50p rubber. It didn't even have any decoration or amusing slogan on it. Bitch.
HattieA doll's house. I'd wanted one for years but then I watched an episode of Are You Afraid Of The Dark that made me super scared of them (and being turned into a doll). Of course that was the Christmas my parents got me one. And then it turned me into a doll. It sucked.
AlisandeA black fur jacket that had lime green feathers scattered through the fur. I’m not telling you who bought it for me (it was a good while before Mr. Fitz), but they did take care to pair it with a pair of black PVC culottes. Both items were bought from a Russian sex worker market, apparently. Neither was ever worn, obvs.