Ah, Christmas. The season of gifts, giving… and crap gift-giving.
We got 25 guys and girls to share the worst gift they’ve ever gotten at their school, office, and barkada Kris Kringles, from expired condoms to hotel shampoo bottles to cold, hard cash. Read on and prepare to welcome your upcoming Kris Kringles with excitement and a sprinkling of dread!
TRUTH: People still manage to eff up gift-giving even when there’s a wish list involved.
“This was back in the '90s. I had said that I wanted to receive a cassette of an album by one of my favorite bands, which was just right for the P100 minimum amount. My Secret Santa gave me one of those blank cassette tapes which cost a fraction of the minimum.” –Ana, 32
“I had asked my Secret Santa for a specific book so that she wouldn’t have a hard time picking out a gift for me. When she handed me her gift, it turned out to be a shell bracelet. When she saw my disappointment, she tried to redeem herself by saying it was from Africa, but it looked like the sort you could buy from street vendors here. Everyone else in the group was happy because they got what they wanted, except for me with my shell bracelet. I don’t even wear bracelets.” –Liza, 25
There are the gifts that lack imagination…
“I received an unlined notepad and a pen. That’s it. I had to put on a fake smile and say an enthusiastic thanks anyway.” –Nikki, 23
The gifts that come in deceptive packaging…
“When I was in first grade in 2001, I asked for a cell phone from my Secret Santa. Meron kasing cell phone pinsan ko; akala ko mura lang ‘yun. As I unwrapped the gift, I saw a box for a Nokia 3210. I was so happy, but when I opened it, there were a dozen SO-EN undies inside.” –Chit, 23
The gifts that are blatant counterfeits…
“Back when Giordano Classics was huge in the '90s, a classmate gave me a knockoff Giordano wallet. It was so fake, the logo was unrecognizable.” –Patty, 33
“In the '90s, a Secret Santa gave me the second album of the Pinoy band The Youth. It should’ve made me happy because I had asked for that album as a gift, but the entire album was recorded on a blank cassette tape and was basically pirated. But he had thrown in tracks by another Pinoy band, Alamid, because there was space on the B side, so that’s a plus, I guess.” –Miko, 36
The gifts with the unnecessary extras…
“At a grade school Kris Kringle, the class had set a limit of P50. I received two Good Morning towels, plus change from what wasn’t spent from the P50 budget.” –Miyabi, 23
The gifts that are not quite appropriate for a Kris Kringle…
“At a barkada Kris Kringle in college, I received a Winnie the Pooh stuffed toy, with Winnie holding what appeared to be a pot of honey. I noticed that there was a hole at the top of the pot, and that’s when I realized that the gift was a toilet paper holder. Getting a stuffed toy of a cartoon character you couldn’t care less about was bad enough, and the toilet paper part just made it worse.” –Kai, 31
The gifts that have gone past their use-by date…
“Worst Kris Kringle gift I’ve received would have to be a box of condoms. I have no problems with being given a box of condoms since I’m pro-choice and all that, but these were expired condoms. I had a feeling he just rummaged through his drawer of random objects; I’m pretty sure those were there for a really long time.” –Baian, 27
The gifts that make you wonder if the gift-giver even knows you at all…
“The gift wasn’t bad per se, but it was the worst for me because I received one of those gift boxes that include lotion, cologne, and body wash—all meant for men. I don’t look like a boy naman ah, and I don’t think I ever gave off the vibe that I was batting for the other team, either. But because the gift-giver was a friend, I had to smile and pretend that it was all okay when deep inside, sobrang inis ako.” –Joanne, 33
“Every year, my family takes part in a Kris Kringle among relatives on my mom’s side. When I was 12, my lola, who was in her 70s at the time, was the one who picked out my name. She gave me a Hello Kitty wallet. I’m a guy.” –BJ, 36
And the gifts that seem so random, it’s like the gift-giver just grabbed the nearest object at home before stepping out the door.
“I got a sequined head elastic with a giant fake jewel and a big feather in the middle. It looked exactly like something a Mardi Gras dancer would wear. I kind of want to know what was going through the gift-giver’s head when she was wrapping that gift.” –Laura, 31
“I’ll never forget one gift in the third grade. It was a little plastic plant inside a glass case. I remember I had a sad look on my face when I opened it. Weird thing is, I still have it today.” –Molly, 24
“Back in high school, somebody gave me a flower vase. With no flowers. I was 14. I had no need for a flower vase.” –Donna, 32
“A fancy scented candle when I was in the fourth grade. Who gives a scented candle to a 10-year-old student?” –Mara, 23
“I was in grade school then, and we had a P50 cap for our Kris Kringle gifts. I got one tiny hotel shampoo bottle.” –Leo, 32
Then there are the gifts that prove that Secret Santa had given up on trying COMPLETELY.
“I spent a whole weekend looking for a gift for my Kris Kringle. Our group had a wish list so I had to look for something specific, but I put in the effort to make sure I found what my monita wanted. When the day came, I was so excited to receive my own gift, thinking everyone else had put in the same effort. During the gift exchange, a friend handed over a crisp P1,000 bill and said, ‘Sorry, I was so busy kasi.’” –Dane, 29
“This was at a class Kris Kringle in college. The limit was P200, and I told my Secret Santa to just get me anything and that I’m not hard to please. On the day of the Kris Kringle, he didn’t give me anything; he just whipped out P200 in cash. I wasn’t pleased at all.” –Frank, 27
Some gifts are so unwanted, they’ve entered the Kris Kringle Hall of Shame, like the figurine…
“At a high school Kris Kringle, I said I wanted ‘anything but a figurine.’ I wasn’t really picky because I wanted the gift to be a surprise, but I made sure to state that I didn’t want a figurine because I had no use for one. Guess what I got? A huge angel figurine.” –Pam, 33
“I hated receiving figurines when I was younger. In high school, I received one for Kris Kringle; it was a little swinging bench with two people seated on it. For one, it didn't look new. Another, it was broken. It made me want to give better gifts to people from then on.” –Jam, 24
And the picture frame…
“In high school, I got a picture frame with a mirror. Along with it were two packets of Rebisco biscuits with chocolate filling. I went home crying, and my Nanay feared that someone had bullied me. They all laughed when I shared why I was crying. Nanay had to buy me something to make me feel better.” –Amoree, 28
Although in rare moments, a picture frame isn’t so bad.
“Mahaba buhok ko noong elementary, and my Secret Santa gave me a comically large green comb. As in sobrang laki niya, hindi mo magagamit pangsuklay sa totoong buhay. I tried to trade gifts with another classmate na nakakuha ng—wait for it—photo frame. She wouldn’t trade with me, though. Mas okay na raw ‘yung frame kaysa doon sa suklay.” –Glaiza, 31
Once you get a handkerchief set as a Kris Kringle gift, you don’t think it can get any worse.
“I attended two Christmas parties on the same day, and in each one, I got three-in-one handkerchief sets. So I went home with a new hanky to use for each day of the week. Except Sundays.” –Ian, 30
But wait, IT CAN.
“I got a handkerchief set. And that’s not the worst part. A friend at the same party told me that he had actually given my Secret Santa that same handkerchief set as a gift just minutes earlier, which he then passed on to me.” –Joriben, 31
At the end of the day, a crap gift is still better than no gift.
“I think I take the cake when it comes to worst Kris Kringle gift received because since high school, I haven’t received any at all, save for one picture frame that turned out to be broken. This trend continued until I was already working. Even in the yearly Kris Kringle with my cousins, my present always somehow gets lost. I think I’m cursed when it comes to Kris Kringles.” –Ryan Paul, 25
Happy holidays, CGs! May your Secret Santas give you a gift you actually like—or at the very least, give you a gift, period.
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