We Asked People About the Weirdest Christmas Gifts They’ve Ever Received

Is it truly the thought that counts?
Collage: VICE / Images: Courtesy of Ash, Katie, and Ezekiel Shaffer

The festive season is upon us. And for those who celebrate Christmas, that means decking out homes in lights, putting Michael Bublé on repeat, and — of course — gift shopping.

That last one is central to the holiday and is both an art and a skill. Gift guides are a godsend for when you have no idea what to wrap in a big red bow, but sometimes, you just gotta lean into your weirdness. While there is a risk of being labelled a horrible gift-giver, random presents can also mean new inside jokes, dinner party stories, and re-gifting potential, so why not? 


In time for what might just be the strangest Christmas season ever, VICE asked people: What’s the weirdest Christmas gift you’ve ever received? 

Ash, 22


Photo: Courtesy of Ash

Last year, my manager got me a Nicolas Cage sequin pillow. Nicolas Cage had become a joke between my colleagues and I after I found a jumper online with the actor’s face plastered all over it. I kept telling my colleagues that I’d buy it, but I was only joking. Nicolas Cage is cool and all but I’m more a fan of how he has become a meme, like when his face is added to random products, like the pillow. It just makes me laugh. I now keep the Nicolas Cage pillow on display in my bedroom as a warm welcome to guests.

Andrew, 22


Photo: Courtesy of Andrew Rathburn

When my girlfriend’s aunt reached out to ask what I wanted for Christmas last year, I said that I loved anything Reese’s, thinking that she would just get some candy or something. I was wrong.

She started shopping for anything Reese’s-related and even got her friends in on it. They picked up all the special Reese’s stuff they saw in stores. She gave me candy bars, cereal, socks, a T-shirt, travel mugs, calendars, and ice cream. You name it — if it’s Reese’s, it was most likely in that gift box. There must have been at least 50 items in there. To this day, I still have candy left over that I was not able to give away to friends or family.  


Katie, 20


Photo: Courtesy of Katie

My aunt knows I love Taylor Swift. Last Christmas, she got me a prayer candle with a picture of Taylor in an astronaut suit. I was honestly confused at first because I’m not at all religious and didn’t understand what a prayer candle was. But in the end, I just thought it was really weird and funny. I think she got it from a dollar store and I’m pretty weird, so she knew I’d embrace the randomness of it. 

Ezekiel, 22


Photo: Courtesy of Ezekiel Shaffer

A few days ago, a box showed up at my door. Nobody ever sends me anything so my interest was piqued. I opened the cardboard box only to find another box inside that was covered in Christmas wrapping paper. I opened it and found a horse head mask. 

I laughed but I didn’t recognize the address on the box. I called a few people who I suspected to be behind it, but they all said it wasn’t them. Eventually, I just stopped trying to find out who did it. 

Abel*, 19


Photo: Courtesy of Abel

I got this moose plush toy when I went to Canada for a rugby tour. When I got back, my friend and I decided to hide it in random places and whoever had it by the end of the year would have to do a challenge.

We placed the moose everywhere, sneaking it into each other’s houses and in each other’s bags. Once, I hid it in his car. He even put it in one of my shoe boxes because I love my shoes and he knows I would check them out a lot. Wherever it could be stashed, it was stashed. This went on for nearly six months. 


He won in the end by giving the moose to me as a Christmas gift. My challenge: I had to go ice skating with him. This was back when I was like Bambi on ice, so I wasn’t a fan. Gifting me something that I originally bought myself? Damn, he played me good. 

Alex, 30


Photo: Courtesy of Alex

My mom gives small gifts every year, usually socks and books. Last year, she presented me with a glue stick and then wandered off. I opened it and was very confused. I looked at my dad who nonchalantly said, “it’s really good glue.” I just thought it was the most random gift I’ve ever received. I never asked my mom about it. After all, it wasn’t her first time giving a weird present. 

My mom is a school principal and one year, she gifted the school’s custodian what she thought was a penknife of tools. It turned out it was a joke gift for male grooming, featuring a tape measure, small scissors, and a little comb. The guy was staunchly religious so I doubt it went down well. My mom’s a wee innocent soul and was mortified when she found out. 

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
*Name has been changed for privacy.