Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

 You are in: Talking Point
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Thursday, 3 January, 2002, 10:45 GMT
What are your best and worst Christmas presents?
What are your best and worst Christmas presents?
All the weeks of planning, shopping and wrapping are over - the presents given and received on Christmas Day are open.

Some of us may have received a wonderful surprise, others a gift we don't even want.

Either way, most of us feel obliged to say the most sincere "thank you" we can muster.

Have you unwrapped your dream gift? Or was it more of a horror story? What are your best and worst Christmas presents?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

Trousers from my mother that I would have struggled to get into 20 years ago.
Keith, UK

My wife was kind enough to buy me 3 dozen bin liners. I was puzzled until I discovered that she had also very generously hired a skip for me. It would appear that it's time to clear out the attic.
John, UK

I was the overwhelmed recipient of a currency converter. Yippee!
Dan Martin, England

This year I got a cheese selection from one of the in-laws. This cheese had presumably been kept under the Christmas tree as it was well and truly off, and was consigned to our garage - awaiting the return of the bin men, as I kept thinking that my 4 month old daughter needed her nappy changed every time I got a wiff of the cheese.
Richard, UK

The worst presents: something durable - the givers expects to see sight of them later. The best presents: things you can eat or drink. If you don't like the eats give them to the dog. If the drinks are undrinkable, give them to a friend or tip them it down the sink.
John Brownlee, England

Train Set - enough said!
Dave Todd, Manchester, UK

Having my fiancée's children stay over the weekend before Xmas. We had our own pretend Xmas day together, and the sense of being a family together was the greatest gift I gave and received.

My ex-boyfriend gave me a copy of "Pop Idol" for Christmas on video. He will be receiving it back for his birthday.
Anon, UK

This isn't a Christmas present, not was it to me, but I doubt you'll have another "worst present" subject for a while so here goes: a friend of mine was given, for her 18th birthday - from her admittedly batty granny - a catering pack of individual butters, filched, she thinks from a motorway service station. Yum yum.
Camilla, England

The best thing about Christmas for me is spending time with my family

Lisa, Wales
The best thing about Christmas for me is spending time with my family. But this year the gifts were amazing as well! The most touching was a Christmas card from one of my students which said: "Thank you for being a kind teacher"; the most amazing was a laptop from my boyfriend! Thank you student; and thank you Lyndon!
Lisa, Wales

I awoke on Christmas morning this year to find both of my upper brows sadly defunct of any hair! I'd bought my wife, Sharston, a spanking fancy 'Ladies-Shave'. My little boy Adrian and only gone and found this and proceeded to crop all evidence of any eyebrows I wished to have had on Christmas day! Suffice to say Christmas dinner was a slightly subdued affair!
Paul Paddington Moir, Scotland

The Best - the smile on my 4 year old's face. The Worst - Aftershave from my mother-in-law
Spaulding, USA

I got a hot water bottle.
Nick, England

My favourite niece sent a handmade Christmas card to me

Li-U Chan, Taiwan
My favourite niece sent a handmade Christmas card to me. She is only eight years old, but she made this card very seriously. Although this card is somewhat simple, this card is still my favourite Christmas present in this year.
Li-U Chan, Taiwan

I have been married for 10 years and have told my sister in law repeatedly that I hate "smellies" every year she gives me the perfume and bubble bath for Christmas.
She does not even get the hint when she gets them back for her birthday!
Liz Ashford, South Africa

My best gift was a chic fountain pen with cartridges of purple ink. My worst; three pairs of tights which would have fitted me thirty years ago.
Athena, Malta

I bought myself my worst ever Christmas pressie. I ordered an England rugby top from the official RFU website, and the RFU wholesalers sent me an Australian jersey by mistake. As an England fan living in New Zealand, I would rather be eaten by a shark than wear an Australian shirt!
Andrew Stevenson, New Zealand

£200 for working on Christmas day was the best present I got this year!
James Pittman, England

The best Christmas gift I got this year is a wedding invitation from my senior high school English teacher. She is a excellent teacher, I think. She is always amiable and sincere. But I had not even heard that she had a boyfriend! What a surprise!! I sincerely hope she will have a wonderful marriage.
Te-Sheng Su, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan

The best present that I received was my wife telling me we were going to have a baby. I can't comment on the worst gift because I am having trouble recalling the rest of them.
Joe, US

The best gift this year was having my brother and sister all together at Christmas this year. The whole family was together for the first time in 30 years. I wish everyone could have been together like we were.
Barbara Heisler, US

I was given a handsome but visibly used hair comb by a well-meaning but slightly dotty aunt

John Rooney, UK
My neighbour gave me a bottle of washing up liquid! However it did have a nice smell and I had just run out.
Christine, UK

I have received some overseas telephone calls from friends and family member with very joyful voices, it's the best Xmas present for me this year. Unluckily, I also received an extra personal income tax bill from the Tax Authority with the due date by end of December. That's the worst Xmas present which I have ever received.
Ruth Ho, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC

I was given a handsome but visibly used hair comb by a well-meaning but slightly dotty aunt.
John Rooney, UK

The best present I received this year was the look of delight on my wife's face when she discovered a stocking by the fireplace on Christmas morning. This is her first Christmas in England, and her reactions to everything seasonal take me back to my childhood days!
Andy Hoffman, England

My worst was also my best. A newspaper encouraged the readers to send mail to the Marines in Vietnam. I received almost 20 fruitcakes that holiday. It was so nice to be remembered. (I haven't eaten fruitcake since.)
Don Coleman, US

My worst present this year and possibly ever was from my wife - a small bag of polished stones, the type that go in dry arrangements Lovely, just what I always wanted !
Charlie, UK

I got the best present a student can get - lots of money!
Peter, Finland

My dog when I was 10 - he was with us for 12 years. Worst was some dodgy toiletries at about the same age - they bought me out in a lovely itchy rash!
Rachael, UK

Who on earth would give a genuine leather coat to a vegan?

Seha Alturk, USA
Who on earth would give a genuine leather coat to a vegan? A stranger, maybe! But mine came from an old, old friend who thought she was buying me a really elegant present. Next year, she got sick and herself became a vegetarian
Seha Alturk, USA

The best Christmas gift I received this year was a Christmas greeting card given by one of my students. She is a very poor student but she bought a very expensive card and made me feel the true meaning of Christmas. The day before I received the card I was very upset and restless. When I received the card, I was so happy that I forgot all my worries.
Albert P'Rayan, Indian in Rwanda

Instead of ploughing through the shopping malls and department stores, I decided to make several copies of a photograph that I had taken of a particular dilapidated farmhouse in California and frame them as gifts to family members. The remarks that I received indicates that this was perhaps one of the best gifts that I have given. I find that the best sort of gift is that which contains a bit of one's self within it. It's something that can't and will not be exchanged on Boxing Day (or the day after Christmas here in the colonies).
Mark Wood, USA

Christmas socks are the worst. You can only wear them for one week a year without looking silly and as a result they last for years!

Stuart Woodward, Japan
Christmas socks are the worst. You can only wear them for one week a year without looking silly and as a result they last for years! In the end you can end up with a whole drawer full of them.
Stuart Woodward, Japan

The best Christmas present I ever received was a bunch of those little marzipan fruits. Smell and taste are the most potent means of recalling pleasant times! But I think that buying people what they would buy for themselves (like clothes) is as silly as buying them an everyday meal. The worst gift I ever received - all too frequently - was a cheque. With all the interests and pursuits people know each other to have, the gift of a cheque betrays a lack of interest in one's individuality that borders on contempt (unless the recipient is truly in dire financial need).
Paul Connor, Canada

I'm a 37-year-old mother of three. I have just received a pair of gold laced black fishnet tights, together with shiny black gloves, some wild perfume, a "body mud" treatment and numerous other useful presents from my hubby's family. Do you think I have an image problem?

I was given a dance music CD by my elderly aunt. I am 30 and have never heard of the artist.

James Allan, England
The best Christmas present I have received was a greeting card sent by an old friend in New Zealand five years ago. Without her news for several years, I heard from her and I was really moved. The worst present I have received was given by our government this year, because from this year on, we have to work on Christmas in Taiwan.
Yu-han Tseng, Taipei, Taiwan

I was given a dance music CD by my elderly aunt. I am 30 and have never heard of the artist. Suddenly I feel very old!
James Allan, England

My wife obviously knows me very well She bought me the Complete Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy on CD. It's wonderful! I've been waiting for a copy ever since I first heard it on the radio in 1978.
Phil Goodey, England

Our neighbours have a teenage son, now getting into "techno". I gave him a set of headphones with a pointed request to use them.
Dr Stuart Savory, Germany

All I asked Father Christmas for this year was peace and love in the world. It's what a certain carpenter boy asked for 2,000 years ago and humankind has been praying for it ever since. I'm hoping that Santa is just running a little late this year and that it will drop down my chimney any moment. Then again, perhaps he posted it, and in that case it could take years to arrive!
Felicity McNae, Chester, England

A Manchester United fan kit. I support Man City.
Joshua, England

I've only opened a couple but by far the best was bought for me by my ex-girlfriend's eight-year-old niece - a large "chocolate cup" with a mini hand whisk and chocolate sweets to float on top. Lucky I stocked up on hot chocolate and milk! Thanks Jade, it's great.
Tony Kenny, UK

My best Christmas present this year was definitely The Complete Novels of Charles Dickens

Peter Bolton, UK/US
I was very surprised to be given a videotape from Chicago. On the tape are my cousins and two nephews' Benediction and the lovely Christmas play performed by them. I have not seen them for a long time and I miss them very much. This is the greatest Christmas present I have received.
Wan-Chen Wu, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan

My best Christmas present this year was definitely The Complete Novels of Charles Dickens. As for my worst, I wouldn't dream of quantifying Christmas to that extent.
Peter Bolton, UK/US

Some big speakers for my iMac! Lets hope the rest of the street shares my music tastes!
Marc, UK

There is a shop that sells equipment for the disabled. They gave me a present. A wheelchair muff to keep me warm and dry. I do not know many businesses that give their customers expensive presents. I just thought you might like to know it can happen.
Paul Frosdick, England

I was given a four-drawer filing cabinet for Christmas eight years ago. Maybe it was a hint about my study. Not a good present though.
Steve Brookes, England

See also:

13 Dec 01 | Business
Sales growth jumps to 13-year high
14 Dec 01 | Business
UK shoppers shun economic gloom
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Talking Point stories