What’s the Worst Present You Ever Received from a Partner?

Occasionally on this site, we ask you guys a nosy question and you can share your answer in the comments section below. Feel free to share your age, gender, relationship status, sexuality, etc., if you feel that it’s relevant to the answer. This week’s Question of the Week:

What’s the worst/most inappropriate/most disappointing gift you’ve ever received from a romantic partner at the holidays?


  1. I agree with Kristina. My boyfriend got me this awesome high end waffle maker that I mentioned once during the summer. It was amazing not only because it was something really awesome that I really did want, but that he remembered me talking about it so long ago.

  2. You know, if you’re wondering what to get for your significant other, this would be a great question to ask them. Start a conversation about holiday and birthday presents. Ask about traditions. When do you open them? Does everybody tell each other exactly what they want, or is guessing part of the fun? What’s the worst present to get under the tree, or from a secret santa?
    It’s interesting learning about the traditions your partner grew up with, and then you’ll get some insight into what makes a good gift and what makes a bad one. Just keep asking general questions about gifting. You’ll learn which things your specific partner would hate without having to make those mistakes yourself.

  3. Sometimes a kitchen appliance can be awesome, if it’s what you want. My husband (an amazing gifter…I’m pretty lucky) got me a super awesome frying pan one year for Christmas, and to this day, it’s still one of my favorite presents ever. It has a copper core! And can go in the dishwasher! Giving good gifts is about knowing your partner and getting them something perfect for them.

  4. My husband has always picked out wonderful useful quality gifts. I, on the other hand, am terrible as picking out things. Sometimes I think I would be better off giving people money. How’s this for odd : a sugar bowl packed full of plastic monkeys? DIT barrel of monkeys, see? Yeah.

  5. In college, my live-in bf gave me:
    1. Navy flannel sheets that showed EVERY little stain…eww.
    2. A tongue scraper (WTF? I am obsessed with oral hygiene and my breath has to be impeccable)
    3. Lotion socks for ‘scratchy feet’
    4. Screw You.

  6. My bf “didn’t know what I wanted”, so got me nothing. He’s not cheap or boring, he just really fell short this year.

  7. ^ While a kitchen appliance is the archetypal wrong gift coming from a man, a ring – any type of ring – is the number-one present not to be requested or hinted at by a lady. Trust me, he got your hints, and they probably sent him into panic attacks.

  8. I had been hinting towards a gorgeous ring I’ve wanted all year (and when I say “hinting” I mean I made it VERY obvious that this would be the “it” present). My DH even had a sly smirk on his face whenever I mentioned that ring in December. So could imagine the look on my face Christmas morning when I opened a kitchen appliance?!?! no joke. I don’t know how “YSL Arty Ring” translates into “Fancy coffee maker”. I have NEVER been more disappointed with a gift in my life.

  9. Johnny, I think that sounds awesome. When paired with something of sentimental or romantic value (even just a hand-made card that shows a bit of effort… cut out your faces from a photo and stick them on two snowmen!) and you can’t go wrong. Either way, getting her something you know she’ll love shows that you put a bit of thought into it, and that you know her well. – Em

  10. OK, I got my little lady something.

    She’s a musician by trade (performer and teacher), so she has a real need for portable music. A few years ago I got her an ipod, which she still loves.

    This year I got her one of those ipod speaker docks, but it’s a foldable, super-durable one meant for travel. I’ve heard her wish for an iPod dock out-of-season, and but I think she’s forgotten about it and will never expect to get one from me.

    But I’m not done. If I understand the female gift-receiving psyche correctly,
    an awesomely practical, high-end gift is crassly unromantic unless accompanied by flowers or a pink card with a love poem in it or some other schmaltz.

    How am I doing? She’s not going to post somewhere about what a dumb-ass gift-giver I am, is she?

  11. I usually find myself single at Christmas, which makes gift giving a little more simple. I use the money I would end up spending on a significant other on myself, which isn’t so bad.

    One year, when I did have a boyfriend, he ended up giving me a “Ninja” food processor. I love to cook, and it was something we did together, but come on, isn’t there an unwritten rule about giving women appliances? And crappy appliances at that. As it turns out, he broke up with me on New Years Day and I never used the processor. It did however follow me to my apartment and actually just got donated to the goodwill. I just hope some sorry fella doesn’t buy it for his lady as a Christmas gift.

  12. Last year my stocking contained two items: a single egg-shaped candle and a can of sardines. I don’t even like sardines – I have never purchased them or even eaten them in front of my partner. I just have no idea.

  13. Autographed picture of Garth Brooks.
    (I am not a fan, it wasn’t cheap and we really could have used that $$ for living expenses at the time!)

  14. My husband has never been entirely spot on or creative when it comes to gift giving in our 18 years of marriage. I have learned to expect anything other than what I would actually want when I open a present from him. This became pretty clear early on on our union. I can’t remember if it was our second or third Christmas together but it was early enough in our relationship that my expectations were still pretty hopeful and high. There were only two gifts for me under the tree when I woke up so I figured they must be pretty special and probably expensive. Talk about disappointment when I opened them and discovered a six pack of blank VHS tapes and a thermal travel mug from the Texaco station…both clearly purchased that morning. Over the years no gifts have been as bad (or worse) than those, but I can’t say they have greatly improved. Needless to say, I shop for myself now ;o)

  15. Not a holiday present but rather our first anniversary present. I was hoping for flowers, and maybe some lingerie, or jewellery – something romantic at least. Instead, I got a hat, and a pregnancy workout video.
    We’re still married 20 years later, but it’s one of the few things he’s never been forgiven for.

  16. Not me, but my mother: Dad bought her a ShopVac for Christmas after 20+ years of marriage. Major fail. He no longer buys gifts without input from his 3 daughters.

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