Whether we like it or not, birthdays come around every year. Parties, celebrations, and the best part—gifts—are all part of the “ideal” day and can leave us with lasting memories. However, a big birthday bounty sometimes turns into a big birthday bust. These Redditors share some of the worst presents they received on their birthdays that turned their memorable day into one best forgotten.
I was celebrating my 31st birthday—and that’s when I came to a serious turning point in my marriage. I told my wife that I didn’t want any gifts and that I would rather spend time with her. So, the night before my birthday, she let me take her out to dinner at a very nice and pricey restaurant. She spent the entire time on her phone on Twitter and Facebook—but then it got even more unpleasant.
The next night, she threw me a birthday party. She invited her friends. I got to do all the cooking and cleanup from it while she patted herself on the back. I'm very happy that she is now my ex-wife.
My family doesn’t have a lot of money, so I don't normally get a lot of stuff for my birthday or anything really. I'm normally totally fine with this, with the exception of my 15th birthday. I woke up that morning to see flowers—nice flowers—on the counter with a card. I immediately went to thank my dad for doing something so thoughtful, but I was wrong. They were for my stepmom. He was able to spend the money on my stepmom, but he wasn’t even able to get me a card for my birthday.
I had an aunt who always gave me the worst presents on earth. Since my parents raised me to always be thankful, I would never say or do anything about it, as that would be disrespectful. She had a habit of buying socks from a bargain store—six for a dollar—and I'd get one pack. They were so cheap they would get holes on the first use.
On my 15th birthday, she handed me a wrapped box. I was tentative and tore the paper off. It was an OKI dot matrix cartridge for a printer I did not even own. So I smiled, told her I appreciated it—and truly did—because anything was better than those socks—and figured I could return it to Staples for a $5 store credit. Well, I was in for an even more unpleasant surprise.
Later that night, I opened the box to make sure everything was in there, and there were socks stuffed in it. I put a pair on, and the ankle section ripped off in my hand and came up to my knee.
When I was around eight or so, there was nothing I wanted more than a fish tank for my bedroom. Naturally, my mom didn’t want to get me a live animal that would require care and attention, because she didn't think I was up to it. So, instead, she got me a VHS tape of fish that swam across a TV screen. She thought it was hilarious and still brings it up every chance she gets.
For my 18th birthday, I just wanted to have a fun party. There were no presents required, I just wanted a nice normal get-together by the pool, the emphasis on “normal”. My uncle decided to take many prescription pills at my party. He took about thirty more than he should have. They were muscle relaxers since he had a slipped disc. This was pretty usual behavior, so I wasn't that upset.
I walked into the house and asked what happened to him. My grandma said she told him that he needed to go “swim it off” in our pool and didn't understand why everyone was so upset. At least the EMTs were friendly. Half of my friends excused themselves and left early. My best friend and her boyfriend stayed and we just wandered off after my uncle left and did stuff on our own. But they saved the worst for last.
When we came back, my mother announced she was leaving to live with her boyfriend across the country. All I wanted was a normal party.
It was my sister’s ninth birthday and it was off the hook. I was only six. We had all the kids from the neighborhood, the cousins, and school friends, and some kids just showed up. There was a big cake, balloons, and music, and all the parents were drinking and laughing. Things got rowdy. We were running around the house playing tag, or something.
My cousin, who was two years older and bigger than me, came barreling down the stairs. I turned the corner, he slammed right into me, and I was literally flying through the air. The house was pretty old at the time and featured a second front door, like a screen door only made of glass. I smashed side-first into the thing, breaking it into a million little pieces.
My entire arm was cut up, including an especially impressive slice right along the inside of my elbow, and from my upper eyelid to the hairline through my eyebrow. There was blood everywhere. Kids were screaming and my sister, like a trooper, was trying to calm everyone down. It's been nearly two decades, and I can still remember her calm as an Army Sergeant saying, "Ok! The party is over! Everyone find your parents", as I'm being hurried to the car.
In the end, I got fifteen stitches on the arm, and five on the forehead, and I had to wear a cast for about a month. My sister fussed and fretted over me for nearly a year after that, as she was pretty spooked over the whole thing.
For my 8th birthday, I got a bunch of toy cars and trucks and stuff. It wasn’t stuff I actually liked to play with, but rather stuff my younger cousins would have liked—and the reason why was seriously disturbing.
I had just been diagnosed with leukemia and was supposed to die in a couple of months. So they got me stuff they could hand down to my cousins after I croaked. I survived and gave my grandmother, aunt, and uncle grief about that for years.
I was looking forward to my eighth birthday for weeks because I had found my present in my parents' closet. It was a sick T-Rex figurine wearing these cool dark sunglasses. I couldn't sleep the night before the big day, so I laid in bed wide awake for about five hours just shivering because I was so excited. On the day of my birthday, I was literally sweating at the dinner table after the cake.
My brow was dripping wet because I knew my mom was going into her room to get the present. My knees were shaking uncontrollably and I started to get slightly dizzy. I thought it was just the sugar or the whipped cream from my cake that was making me nauseous, so I didn't say a word. I just sat there about to explode, staring intently with furious concentration at the door.
When she finally came in, as she was mouthing the words, "Happy Birthday", an excruciating pain ran up from where my appendix used to be and into just underneath my ribs. I tried my best to ignore it because I wanted that T-Rex so badly. It got worse and worse, and I was trying hard to keep a straight face and just kept staring at my mom.
By then, she had stopped talking and was looking at me in horror because I had gone beetroot red. There was one more bout of pain, and I blacked out. Then, I woke up in the hospital. It turned out I had a hernia. I was so excited, I had burst a few blood vessels in my temples from trying to suppress the pain. I still got the T-Rex, so I guess it wasn't that bad.
My mom and her uncle’s birthday is on the 15th and mine is on the 20th. For their combined birthday party, they decided to throw it on the 20th, inviting practically everyone in our family and forgetting about my 10th birthday. Not one person remembered, not even my mom.
I was so angry and upset that I didn't even remind them, and only told my nan once she saw that I wasn't having a good time at the party. Then she added insult to injury. In a panic, she scrounged around the house for a present…and found me a basket of potpourri.
For my birthday, I was taken clothes shopping, something which rarely happened as we never had much money growing up. I was told I had a three-hundred-dollar limit. I was ecstatic. The clothes I had been wearing for years, which had rips, tears, holes, and stains and had been the subject of plenty of ridicule from many people at school, were finally on their way out for new, stylish ones!
After spending an hour picking out a variety of different designs and brands, we worked our way to the register, only for my mother to stop me and exclaim, "I forgot my cash". She told me not to worry and said, "We will put it on layaway and come back for it tomorrow". However, there was never a "tomorrow", so I never got them. To this day, I always have a tiny vision in the back of my head of all those clothes collecting dust in the back of an aging store.
My mom and stepdad married the day after my 10th birthday. From then on, my mom told me that I’d had ten birthdays, but they hadn't had that many anniversaries, so my birthday didn't matter. My stepdad was a jerk, so he didn’t disagree. They generally got me things like socks and on my 16th birthday—but this year, my present was a total slap in the face. My stepdad grounded me for being on the internet working on my extra credit summer project
We only had one computer, and when he got home from work, he told me he needed it right there and then. I was grounded the entire summer and was not allowed to use the computer, nor was I allowed to go to the library since I was grounded. I really wanted the extra credit because the teacher was a notorious toughie, but I didn’t get it.
When I was about to turn five, I asked anyone and everyone for my own Nintendo. Every kid I hung out with in the neighborhood had one but me. I wouldn't even have to buy games, I could just borrow them. I woke up on the morning of my fifth birthday and my father led me downstairs. I looked eagerly towards the TV, but he led me past the TV and out the side door to a pile of newspapers.
He had taken the basket off of his bike and very awkwardly and ineptly welded it to my bike, ignoring the fact that it should have been screwed on. He had also tied the handle of my red wagon to the back of my bike, and somehow in all of this, he had punctured my back tire. His "gift" was that on the first day, he had folded the papers for me.
It took me six months to get an NES, and by then the SNES was already being advertised to come out in a little over a year. It also didn't help that, due to my father being religious, 10% of all my money went to the church, and 15% to my college fund, which my mom took around my 15th birthday so she could move to London and marry a British guy.
An ex-boyfriend hyped up my birthday gift for days, so I was pumped. On my birthday, he presented me with a small, flat box. When I opened it, I was so confused. Inside was a passport—his passport. That’s it. Just his passport. No tickets for a trip, no promises of a trip once we saved up together. He literally just gifted me his passport. I did the polite thing and accepted the gift, but I’m still baffled by it.
I was an Army brat which meant we moved frequently. Since I was born over the summer, it was pretty normal to be in the process of moving on my birthday. We also didn't have much money, so new toys and books were pretty special. For my 10th birthday and my sixth move, I got my very own suitcase. I was pretty devastated. To this day, my parents don't understand why that wasn't the best present ever.
For my 16th birthday, every family member and close family friend was there, even grandma flew into town for the special day. I was so excited for my sweet 16 birthday! Well, I was in for the disappointment of a lifetime.
Too bad no one remembered it was my birthday; they were all there to see my brother graduate from high school. My mother remembered once we got home and I went to my room and cried. Plus I got yelled at by my dad for being a brat.
When I was about five, I got this round present from my uncle that was about the size of my head. I opened it, and lo and behold, it was an onion—a giant freaking onion. I wasn't a picky child at all, but everyone knew I hated onions. I was also very gullible, so I started crying. I didn't even pretend I liked it. As soon as I started to cry, my uncle stopped laughing and took my real present out from behind his back.
It was one of those children's sets of plastic musical instruments. I was so happy. I think it was because anything was better than a stupid onion. My uncle took the joke gift back, and apparently, they had onion soup that night.
For his 18th birthday, my boyfriend got a car. Meanwhile, I got 50 dollars and wasn't allowed to have a party as my father "doesn't like people coming over". And the humiliation didn’t end there.
When my sister had her 13th birthday, she got a party with 50–60 people in a rented hall and received a total of about $500. Then, my parents weren’t sure what to get her, on top of paying for the party!
My mom was born on the 23rd of December. Her mom had always made these nasty veiled comments about how my mom took a Christmas away from her. I'm also pretty sure my mom was an unplanned baby, as my grandparents were in their 40s when they had her, which was old for the early 1960s. They never really celebrated her birthday, they just called her Christmas presents Christmas/birthday presents. One year, they actually did buy her birthday presents in addition to Christmas presents. This was the year their house got looted and all the presents were taken.
Last year, this girl I was dating totally forgot my birthday. She spent the whole year apologizing and telling me how she was going to sing me this special song on my birthday and whatnot. Fast forward to my birthday this year. Well, I was in for a surprise—but it wasn’t a gift.
She'd been acting really sketchy and I asked her about it. She hung up on me without a word, then dumped me via text message a few minutes later.
The worst is giving your friends good presents on their respective birthdays and getting absolutely nothing in return or something horrible. I used to give out birthday presents to a group of friends up until my 20th birthday. That's when I received a gift card from a grocery store on the other side of town, nowhere near where I lived. It had $3 on it.
They thought it was hilarious, but I didn't. Since that day, I've never bought those friends who "pooled together" and bought that gift card anything on their birthdays. I hardly keep in contact with them today.
My lung collapsed a week before my 21st birthday. They tried to fix things but everything they did failed. Finally, on the day of my 21st birthday, they operated and removed several pieces of my lung, added some staples, then did something called a pleural abrasion. They shredded up the inner chest wall to make the outer part of the lung adhere to it to prevent it from collapsing again.
A new word needs to be made for how painful it was. They chose not to give me any pain meds, as they had put in an epidural the day before. But then it got even worse. After the surgery, they were moving me to a different floor, and in the rush, they accidentally pulled out my epidural. Three days went by before someone finally listened to me about how I was in excruciating pain.
When they finally realized what they had done, they put me on “the button”, where you get a small dose of meds every few minutes, whenever you hit the button. After a few months, I healed up from the surgery. Though my wounds had healed, I still had a strange, new type of pain in my chest. It was more electrical and fiery than the pain I had from the wounds.
I would come to know that pain well. Ten years later, the pain is still there. Most days it's moderately annoying, some days it's overwhelmingly crippling. Most guys go out on their 21st birthday for their first legal drink. I went into surgery and came out with something I was not expecting.
On my most recent birthday, I got a birthday card from my grandma. I thought, "Oh cool. Let's see what ol’ Grams has to say for a birthday card". I proceeded to unfold a letter that basically said that she considers everything I have been striving to do pretty much a waste of time and that I should "get with it" and pursue a different career.
She also pointed out that I would have to die to become well-known as an artist. I may mention that although I am an artist, I had just gotten a pretty decent gallery showing, and I have a framing business that I don't consider a failure at all. Thanks for the uplifting birthday letter, Grandma.
The little girl I used to babysit for had just turned 11. I knew her mother very well, and let's just say, she's not the best mother in the world. They arrived at my boyfriend's aunt's house, as the mother was dating her son/my boyfriend’s cousin. The mother and the boyfriend locked themselves in his room, leaving the little girl in the kitchen by herself. The mother had bought a sad little expired cake for her.
The whole day the little girl was asking everyone who crossed her path, "What are we doing for my birthday"? Finally, my boyfriend, his aunt, and uncle took her to the movies and then to dinner. Meanwhile, her mother was watching TV with her boyfriend all day long. The mother then decided to spend the night there, along with the little girl.
So, the next morning, the little girl woke up around 7 AM, just wandering around the house. My boyfriend's uncle was already up at the time, and again felt bad, so he found his bike and his daughter's old bike, and took the little girl bike riding around the area. When they got home at around noon, the little girl's mother was still sleeping. I can't imagine the pain of seeing your own mother lounge around the house like a spoiled teenager on your birthday.
When I found out about it, the day before Easter, I came up with a plan. I went to the store and bought the girl the biggest Easter basket I could find. When I saw her, I walked right up to her, in front of the mother, and said, "Sorry for missing your birthday, I hope you like this basket. Remember that when you're hanging with us, we will never forget your birthday". I looked straight at her mother, gave her a disappointed look, and walked away.
My aunt Dorothy was getting pretty bad dementia late in her life. For my 16th birthday, she mailed me one of those fancy cheese balls with the sliced almonds, except that she didn't wrap it or anything. It was just a cheese ball in a cardboard box, sent through regular post across five southern states during summer.
The box was very well-taped, so the smell didn't hit me until I got it fully open; then, it punched me in the stomach. I instantly puked and some of it splashed on my birthday cake.
When my husband and I were dating, his aunt took her own life, and his family decided to have the funeral on his 18th birthday. So, not only was his entrance into manhood marred by the loss and funeral of a much-loved family member, but now every year on his birthday everyone gets really depressed. We had been dating for two months when it happened. So, to make him feel better, I bought him a Dodge Charger RC car and let him get to second base that night.
The night I would be turning 21, at midnight, my best friend at the time decided we needed to be at the bar to celebrate when midnight hit. The bar owner was there and heard it would be my birthday, so he said drinks were on him. Shortly after arriving, my friend started acting tipsy, but she hadn't had anything to drink yet.
I asked her what was up and she said, "I just drank a ton before we came. You think I was going to just sit there while you got [trashed]"? She was supposed to be the designated driver. She definitely drank a ton because she was looped. I figured if we stayed a few hours, she would be ok, but I was so, so wrong. Before midnight even hit, the other girl who had come with us informed me that she had to go home.
We were her ride, so I had to be the designated driver on my birthday. A few days later, I was having my big 21st birthday party. It was even more of a disaster. My tipsy friend got me a keg. All my friends were there, and we were all drinking. At one point, I walked out onto the back porch, only to see my boyfriend making out with a friend of mine. I just stumbled back inside mumbling that I needed another drink. I hate birthdays.
For my 18th birthday, two of my best friends pitched in and bought me a giant pink buzzing…thing, because they found it funny that at 18, I was still a virgin and not really interested in dating. They were convinced that I was never actually going to sleep with anyone, so they were doing me a favor. I was horrified.
I hid it under my car seat as I was still living at home, and had the type of family who would go through my room on a regular basis and so I thought my car was the safest place. My stepfather decided to surprise me and clean out my car a few days later. He just set it on top of my dresser and never said a word to me about it. I still wonder if he thought I used it while driving.
On the night of my 21st birthday, I was going to San Francisco to see my favorite band. That’s when disaster struck. My friend was driving onto the on-ramp to the freeway when a minivan ran a red light and T-boned into the side of my brand-new car. I bought it just six weeks prior. The driver was unlicensed, an undocumented immigrant, and had "borrowed" the car from a "friend". We missed the concert and spent our night in the hospital instead.
When I was around 11, I really wanted a Gameboy and Pokemon. When it was time to receive my presents, my father handed me two gifts. I went to open one that looked about the size of a Gameboy, and I tore it open to find one of those key-ring games. My dad said, "That's the one you want, right"? I just replied, “Yeah, dad, that's the one".
I was about to open the other, when he said, "That's chocolate. You can open it after dinner".
So I played with that thing for about four or five hours, and finally, dinner came around. I opened the other one to find a Gameboy and Pokemon. My parents burst out laughing.
When I was about 10–11 years old, my grandma got me the most humiliating gift imaginable. She thought it would be a good idea to buy me a bra and underwear set, knowing full well that I would be opening this in front of everyone. At 11, I was mortified. I also had an aversion to wearing a bra at that point, and it was a terrible gift. Then she insisted that I take it out of the box and hold it up to show everyone because she was “so excited” that I was “blossoming into a woman”. Thankfully, my mom stepped in and told her it was an inappropriate gift and she took the box away.
My brother broke both of his ankles after his team won their high school Super Bowl. It was snowing, and in celebration, he went to "slide" across the grass. He was still wearing his cleats, so they caught on the ground, and he managed to break both of his ankles. He had surgery on his 18th birthday and wasn't able to walk for about three months afterward.
I was turning 13, and all my friends had cell phones; I had been asking for one for a year. I got a small box about the weight and size of the cell phones at the time and started getting excited. Then, I took some of the wrapping off and saw a Nokia box. I was ecstatic. I’ll never forget what happened next.
I opened it and inside was a pair of socks with a few well-placed rocks to weigh it down. My dad thought it was hilarious.
My sister once decided to get revenge on me for not "lending" her money so she could buy some "essentials". So, on my 20th birthday, she called the authorities, showed them a mark on her leg from where she had her boyfriend hit her, and told them I did it. I was taken into custody and spent the day locked up. She dropped the charges, but only because my mom found out. My mom planned to testify as a witness, saying that my sister had the mark from the previous day while she was out.
I once got $20 from my uncle for my 18th birthday, with a stipulation that the "only thing" he wanted was for me to wash his van. I told him "no thanks", and that he could just keep the money. Then, he begrudgingly gave me ten dollars without any conditions. I had recently got a job a few weeks prior to turning 18, and I didn't feel like washing some stupid van on my birthday.
On my birthday, I received a copy of Dead Poets Society, a leather-bound journal, a fountain pen, and some weed. These were four different gifts from four different friends, and while on their own, each was pretty cool, the result wasn’t. I felt I had unlocked my hidden writing potential while high, filled half the journal with poetry, and then was placed on watch all night because my pal thought I might have been following the plot of the movie and was about to take my life.
The day before my birthday, my brother was in an accident. It was nothing crazy serious, but he ended up needing stitches and it was a bit of an ordeal. The next day, my birthday, the neighbor brought over a cake and a present. I was the one who answered the door. I saw the cake and present and got excited because up until this point, most of the day had been, as expected, focused on my brother who got in the crash.
I was about to express my gratitude for them remembering my birthday and bringing me a gift when they said, “Is your brother here? We brought him something to brighten his day”. The cake and the present weren’t for me. We still joke about it over 10 years later, though.
When I was about 12–13 years old, I received a dictionary and book on building your vocabulary from my parents, and a thesaurus from a family friend. It was a not-so-subtle, coordinated attempt to get me to expand my vocabulary. Imagine coming downstairs on your birthday and seeing three presents, opening two from your parents, being confused but excited because the last present was from someone else, and getting a crummy thesaurus.
For my 26th birthday, I just wanted to take the bus up to NY from Delaware with my good friend at the time, to get out of town. I had enough money to spend on a relatively decent time for both of us, and was looking forward to having some fun, because we both desperately needed it in our lives. On the ride up, my period started.
Since I have a severely irregular cycle, I was not prepared and it made for an uncomfortable trek through the city to the train station, to say the least. Since my friend was a girl too, she sympathized and we decided to head to my friend's place. We were to stay at my friend's place, which turned out to be a two-hour train ride from the metropolis, in a dank, trashed basement of a really dirty house with eight cats and Marlboro chain smokers. And it only got more miserable from there.
We went to a goth club and I felt miserable, physically. I came to the realization that I was too old to be in a goth club. I spend an hour leaning against a brick wall two blocks away, having my last smoke while listening to distant car alarms and staring into a puddle. Nobody bought me a single drink that night. I woke up the next morning with severe cramps and a fever.
I sucked down some Advils, bled into a borrowed pad, and ate a half-stale bagel. As soon as I felt a little better, I told my friend, "It's my birthday weekend and we will have fun". We headed out towards the city. The closer in we got, the more nauseous I was becoming. That’s when I made a crushing realization. I had food poisoning. I found myself in the closet-sized bathroom of a small cafe, puking.
Feeling bad, I decided to pay for both of our travel fares from that point on, which racked up to a good $150 or so. I then spent the night crying to my ex on the phone about my terrible birthday. He told me I deserved it and hung up the receiver. I spent the rest of the night crying and apologizing to my two friends for being such a mess and sick.
We spent our last day eating pizza. I bought myself a mini key lime tart as a birthday cake for myself. We all shared it at the train station as we said goodbye. I wished my friend luck with his rock band and dirty house and thanked him for being a man. My friend and I went to Oddities and I bought a bag of petrified blowfish, a mink skull, and a resin-cast squirrel paw.
We walked around in the sun looking at vendors. As we were waiting at the bus station, I decided my clothes stunk, so I went to change in the bathroom. Right as I was finished changing, she knocked on the door and with a sense of urgency said, "Our bus is here. We gotta go”. I noticed she was carrying my bags and I asked her if she got everything. It wasn't until halfway through Delaware that I realized my bag from Oddities was left behind at the bus station.
When I was turning 10, I invited all my closest friends, and several other lesser friends to a big birthday party at a local pizza place. We were then going to see a movie afterward. My parents couldn't afford much, so my present from them was a couple of pizzas. When it was time for the party, none of my friends showed up. Not a single one. One claimed to have gotten me a present anyway, but I never saw it. I believe it was at that point that I realized you can never depend on other people, no matter how close you are to them.
I was turning 15 and my best mate and my then-current girlfriend decided it would be a splendid idea to get me a very spontaneous present. It was a couple of hamsters in a tiny cardboard box with a few dried twigs under them. I do love animals, but two hamsters, without any prior notice, are not the greatest of gifts for a 15-year-old boy.
I had no place to keep them, as I lived in an apartment at the time, nor did I have the money to buy a cage for them or anything else for that matter. I kept them in my emptied bin for about two days with some paper and managed to create a makeshift hamster watering hole. However, those little guys knew how to escape my elaborate cage, and were roaming freely around the apartment when I woke up on day three.
Luckily, the security guard turned out to bring his hamsters to work and he was more than happy with another two, so everything turned out better than expected, sort of. He got fired two weeks later for swimming in the pool on duty and putting up curtains in the guard house to make it look nicer and feel homier.
On my 27th birthday, I was also celebrating five years to the day of having quit a seven-year smoking addiction. My dad gave me a six-pack of Bud and two cartons of smokes. I was very underwhelmed, but I thanked him for the six-pack as nicely as I could, trying to be polite at least. As I was leaving, he said, “Don't forget your smokes”.
I said thanks and told him that I hadn't smoked in five years and didn't intend to start back up. He stood up, grabbed the cartons, and stuffed them in my backpack. He said, "We all know there's no way you're gonna do that, so quit lying and don't waste these smokes"! I said goodbye, left, and put the six-pack and cartons on a table at a rest stop on the way home. The next day, I spent 12 hours playing Shadowrun, and had a great birthday then!
My birthday is the day after Christmas, so it typically has been a lame birthday. There is no real recognition of it or gifts, etc., which is cool because I'm not materialistic, to begin with. My father died on the 23rd of December, and since then, the entire holiday season has been different. I'd rather spend the time remembering him than celebrating, but this year was kind of rough.
My mom asked me to drive my loafing 24-year-old brother to work at five in the morning. That was alright, but I had planned to grab lunch with a close friend as my day's celebration. She made me promise to cancel any plans because she had plans for me. Those plans kind of never happened. She brought me out shopping to get me a TV as my birthday/Christmas gift.
I didn't want one because I'm not materialistic, don't watch TV, and would rather the money go toward my education, but I went along with it. But then everything turned around in an instant. When we got to the store, she changed her mind and began shopping for my brother instead. A half-hour later, she was trying to get me to help her pick out a camera for him, a scanner for her, and nothing for me.
I asked if we could at minimum go out for drinks or dinner, and she asked me what I had in mind. Before I could answer, she said, "Oh, never mind, we're going to this new Mexican place. It's really classy and I heard good things about it”. It was Chipotle. But that got canceled too because my brother was too tired from work.
The night came to a climax after I drank a six-pack and was forced to go to an AA meeting because my mom was convinced I had a severe drinking problem.
On my 16th birthday, I came downstairs for breakfast and my dad told me to check the garage because there was something very special for me inside. Obviously, my fevered sixteen-year-old mind went straight to CAR, CAR, CAR, CAR! I opened the door to find that he'd emptied and swept the garage and right in the middle was a toy Porsche with a red bow on it. He laughed and laughed.
For my 18th birthday, I was a senior in high school and REALLY wanted a laptop. My boyfriend at the time was buying a new one, and his old one was a pretty sweet Alienware. We had made jokes about him giving it to me for my birthday. So, when the day came and I was opening up my gifts, he walked in with this giant box. It was decently heavy.
I opened up the wrapping paper and it was an Alienware box. Of course, I proceeded to flip out, excited as anyone could be. I opened it and there was a weight taped to the bottom of the box and a stuffed animal inside. I was so mad.
I got the game Jenga, which by itself isn't all that bad. However, for me, it's a bit mean as I suffer from essential tremors in my hands (shaky hands). An aunt of mine gave it to me and after opening it, I asked if it was a joke. Her reaction was devastating. She looked confused for a minute before making the connection and falling into a fit of laughter.
The rest of the family joined in and all had a good laugh at my misfortune. In hindsight, it is funny because when she bought it, she honestly didn't realize the folly of her gift purchase.
On my 14th birthday, my grandmother bought me two Teletubbies dolls, a Teletubbies DVD, and trading cards. She started to tell me in an extremely excited voice, "These are what all of the kids are going on about, and they're the next big thing and you're going to love them". They were certainly the next big thing for children around the age of two. Of course, I did my best to be thankful to her, and that was all I got for my 14th birthday.
My grandparents were super low-effort, low-budget at every birthday. One year, they got me a second-hand coloring book from a swap meet. It was almost completely colored in by what appeared to be a 3-year-old with a single green felt pen. I was 18 at the time! They actually thought it was a good gift because it was Disney-related and I was going to college for animation and design.
In between games of StarCraft II, my friend and I would go onto a webcam site and have a little competition to find the ugliest model. You could buy certain things off some of the models for tokens. So, one day on my birthday week, my friend invited me into his house and gave me a gift bag. I instantly knew something was wrong because my friend was handing me a present. It was the most disturbing present I’ve ever received.
As I slowly took the wrapping off, the room began to instantly fill with a strong smell of perfume. I realized that sitting before me was a pair of leopard-spotted panties from one of the people I chose during our little game. The panties had an assortment of stains on them. My friend didn't have a credit card at the time because we were 16, so he had his parents buy it for him. I’m not sure if it was the best or the worst gift I ever received.
I got a credit card for my 18th birthday and was told not to use it because it wasn't "active yet". When I landed my first real corporate job a year later at 22 years old, the company ran a credit report on me and found out I had a $350K line opened. I was completely confused. He showed me the credit report printout. When I saw the bank's name, I remembered that my dad had accounts with them but didn't think anything of it.
When I got home I called the bank and inquired about the account listed on the credit report and that's when I found out the dark truth. My father had tricked me into signing a co-mortgage, and not credit card paperwork on my 18th birthday. I had received debt on my big day. I was angry and sad. My older sister and my mom were at his house for dinner and that's where I confronted him.
I didn't pay a single cent. It was the first time that I can remember standing up to my father. I called him out in front of the family and I threatened court action. I also called the bank and informed them of the situation. It was all resolved less than a week later.
On my 21st birthday, my boyfriend of about nine months took me out to dinner. Once we got there, he decided that we should sit at the bar since it was crowded, and we would have to wait for a table. It was fine with me, except it turned out he knew the bartender. She came over several times during our meal to chat with him.
Later, he took me to a bar to hang out with his friends. He did not get me a gift. A few weeks later, he dumped me out of the blue. That’s when I found out the devastating truth. He was now dating the bartender. Apparently, he had been cheating on me with her for a while, and they were secretly sleeping together when she served us on my birthday.
I received a card from my paternal grandparents on my 18th birthday. I opened it up, expecting the usual bonanza, which was a $20 bill if I was exceptionally lucky. Instead, I got a tersely worded note from my grandmother, explaining that she and my grandfather "don't believe in giving grandchildren gifts after they turn 18". They should've just FedEx-ed me some dog poop, at least I would've gotten a laugh out of it.
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