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What’s the weirdest Christmas present you’ve ever been given?

Woman in Santa hat opening present

Today the nation will collectively open millions of presents. But how many of those gifts will be weird, wacky or even unwanted? Here, Which? staff reveal their strangest Christmas gifts.

I was about six when I was given my weirdest present.

Having worked my way through a spoiled-brat pile of gifts, I confronted an unpromising-looking parcel from friends of my parents. They had previously sent distinctly underwhelming but well-meaning gifts, but this one was bigger. It even rustled.

Paper was ripped, breath was held. Until I realised they had sent… a pair of pants. That didn’t fit. By quite some margin.

Even as a six-year old I remember clearly sitting there in my disappointment, and not in those far-too-small pants, and thinking along these lines:

1. You can’t buy these singly – they’ve sent the other pairs to some other luckless child.
2. Just how cheap can you be?
3. These are catastrophically the wrong size. What were they thinking?

In a bid to see if this could be bettered I asked Which? colleagues for their weird present recollections – here’s just a few of the responses I got:

Ciara Davey, Senior Social Researcher: ditch it down the drain

I once got a toilet seat – the cheapest plastic black toilet seat you could buy from a friend who knew that my own toilet seat had broken. He hand delivered it on Christmas Eve and whilst I was very impressed with the size of the box, I was less impressed with what was inside it!

Victoria Pearson, Principal Home Researcher: dropping hints

The one I was least happy with was a Ladyshave when I was 15. It was given to me by my boyfriend at the time, but it only lasted for about six days after this gift… It was more a present for my boyfriend than it was for me and I was not happy with it at all!

Gareth Shaw, Deputy Money Editor: political faux pas

‘Where in the world is Osama Bin Laden?’ It’s like a Where’s Wally book but you have to find Osama instead. Worst. Present. Ever.

Jenny King, Head of Social Research: where’s the romance?

My boyfriend bought me an external hard drive for my computer last year. Practical, but not exactly romantic.

Nikki Whiteman, Consumer Action producer: charity gets personal

Here’s one that’s wonderful and wacky rather than just plain weird:

Last year my sister gave charity donations for all of us, but instead of doing the bog-standard ‘buy someone a cow from Oxfam’ thing, she’d researched lots of different small charities that did things relevant to each of us. It was brilliant, and she won the prize for best Christmas pressies in the family that year!

My Dad, who keeps bees, got a donation to a charity that teaches villages in North Africa to make their own honey, and gives them starter kits to keep their own bees. Because I am obsessed with books I got a donation to the ‘donkey library’ – a small travelling library that visits remote villages in Africa and runs lessons for the children.

So do any of these top your weirdest gift ever or can you beat them all? Perhaps there was something strange in Santa’s stocking today?

evelyn says:
29 December 2011

a very small, cheap (as in pound shop cheap) first aid kit. Oh and 2 small anti bacterial hand sprays. No relevance to anything.. Like recent A and E dramas or conversations, just seemingly chosen at random?! Surely the crapest xmas gift?!

A zebra, hand-made from beads and wire.

I was wondering why our nearest John Lewis seemed to be doing a roaring trade in vacuum cleaners in the run up to Christmas. Surely husbands wouldn’t stoop that low?! And they weren’t even buying an extra packet of dustbags to go with it [perhaps that’s for the next birthday].

I got some pants and socks for Christmas, and I’m very happy with them thank you! They fit, unlike Rich Dilks.

Sarah says:
4 January 2012

3 goats…. like, 3 live goats. We didn’t even ask for goats.

I have to ask – why did they give you goats?! and what did you do?

Shelley says:
16 September 2015

Sarah – would you beup for chatting briefly to a mag about your weird Xmas gift of goats?! Please get in touch asap if so, we can offer a fee! Shelley x