Musicians Recall Their Worst Christmas Presents

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Wiz Khalifa: a macaroni-colored sweatsuit. The vibrant outfit was given to Khalifa by his dad and stepmom when he was 14, and he threw it right in the trash. “It didn’t even have a hood on it, so it was like a crew-neck sweatshirt with macaroni pants. Wack,” he said, adding that he still hates it and still hates thinking about it. 

Ed Sheeran: a lifetime supply of combs. The singer has way more than one bad Christmas gift to reminisce on, because his grandmother has apparently given him a comb every year. “Without fail, every year,” said Sheeran.

Meghan Trainor: a too-small pair of boxers. Trainor’s little brother ended up upsetting his big sis when he got her a pair of boxers from Nantucket that she already owned. “But he bought a smaller size so that I was just insecure and pissed,” she explained.

50 Cent: a used shirt with a dirty collar. As soon as he unwrapped it, he immediately decided he would never wear it and put it at the bottom of the pile. 50 Cent’s Aunt Sylvia was to blame. “But, hey, it’s the thought that counts,” he said.

Sam Smith: a build-your-own tank. His dad gave him the military-themed toy when he was 11, but it didn’t go over very well. “I don’t think he knew I was gay at that point,” said Smith. “I got really upset.”

Andrew W.K.: fruit baskets. The rocker said he used to get them from older friends of his parents, who thought they were thoughtful, healthy gifts. Although the apples and pears were “very nicely wrapped,” he was not impressed. “It was even apples I didn’t like, like a Granny Smith apple,” said W.K. “I love fruit but I can get that on my own anytime. I don’t want it as a gift…It just doesn’t count.”

Jessie J: an allergy-inducing bracelet. The singer-songwriter was displeased when her sister bought her a plastic bracelet that had a feather in it. “I’m allergic to feathers!” said Jessie. “That was pretty weird. We’ve gotten over it, though. We’re past it.”

Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan: a troll doll. At age 7, he and his 5-year-old brother agreed to exchange Christmas presents and ended up with a bad trade. The freaky doll was no match for a 7” of the Monkees’ theme song. “I wanted the record, so I bought it for him knowing I’d get to play it,” said Corgan. “I was very upset. I refused to accept this present and I kept the Monkees record for myself.”

5 Seconds of Summer’s Michael Clifford: shampoo. He and Sheeran suffer a similar plight, because Clifford receives the same brand of shampoo from his grandmother every year. “I don’t like it,” he said. “Enough with the Black Suede. I’m done with it.”

New Order: socks and weird pie. While New Order frontman Bernard Sumner was bummed about his socks, drummer Stephen Morris was dealing with another not-so-sweet Christmas gift: cheese and onion pie.

Magic!’s Nasri: hand-me-down t-shirts. Nasri was disappointed to find his brother’s old t-shirts waiting for him under the tree. “His actual t-shirts,” he stressed.

Skylar Grey: grapefruit. The pop singer’s mom puts them in her stocking every Christmas. “I like grapefruit, but why put it in a stocking like it’s a gift?” said Skylar. “It’s almost as bad as coal.”

Shawn Mendes: clothes. Like most kids, Mendes was always disappointed to get clothes rather than toys when he was younger. “But now I love it,” he said.

Mary Lambert: footie pajamas. She and her four siblings would always receive pajamas from their parents and wear them on Christmas Eve. But one year, the tradition broke down. “When I was 14, [they] got us onesies,” said Lambert. “I was like, ‘Hell no.’ Half of us were crying.”

Jedward: a Thomas the Tank Engine book. Despite their aunt’s best intentions, Irish pop stars John & Edward were no longer choo-chooing at age 12. “I’m not sure why she thought 12-year-olds would still be into Thomas, but we just smiled and read it anyway,” said Edward. 

Gary Clark Jr.: a teddy bear. The guitarist was surprised to receive a tiny stuffed animal when he was 23 years old, though it was given to him by “a sweet, sweet person.” “It’s not a bad present,” he explained. “But it’s one of those things where you open it up and you’re like, ‘Um, maybe this isn’t for me?’”

Jane McDonald: a self-help book and a nose hair trimmer. She was mortified to receive the odd gifts from her husband and instantly felt self-conscious. “I think Henrik bought them believing they’d be useful, but knew he’d made a mistake when he saw my reaction,” she laughed.

Jarvis Cocker: “Pagan Man” aftershave. Cocker’s auntie gave the strange brand to him when he was 17, and he found it quite funny that she would pick that out for a 17-year-old. “I tried it only once and it smelled foul,” he said. “I think I had it on display in the room for a long time because I liked the name.”

Nelly Furtado: Christmas tree earrings. Furtado received them from a boy in grade 7, and though she thought they were uncool, she said “Ooh, very festive” and changed the subject. “I think he expected me to wear them to class the next day, but I didn’t,” she recalled. “I told him I’d lost them, but years later a friend showed up at a dance wearing them, and I was busted.”

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