What’s the Worst Gift You’ve Ever Received?

Well-intentioned, but…

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You may be familiar with the situation: It’s the holidays, and your friend, family member, partner, or acquaintance has given you a gift. With some anticipation, you tear back the wrapping paper—but excitement quickly turns to disappointment. While the best intentions might’ve been at work, you can’t help but wonder: What were they thinking?

This holiday season, Mother Jones wants to hear from you about some of the worst gifts you’ve received. They can be funny, not-so-great, or just plain strange.

We’ve asked some Mother Jones staffers to share some examples: My colleague, Olivia Exstrum, tells me that when she was a kid, her grandmother gifted her Victorian soaps—to put in her underwear drawer. She was horrified. Not without a sense of humor, her grandmother has given Victorian soap every year since as a joke. Editor-in-Chief Clara Jeffery says that one Christmas, her mother gave her a book titled, as she recalls, Descent Into Hell: Tales from the Chinese Gulag. And Maorr Zadok, our reader support assistant, says his grandfather once got him office supplies as a gift…when he was only nine years old. His reaction? “I cried a lot.”

Now we want to hear your stories! Tell us about some of the not-so-great, pretty awful gifts you’ve received—and why they were such a bad fit for you. Or, if you’re up for it, tell us about the worst gifts you’ve given—and how that person reacted. If you want to remain anonymous, we understand.

You can fill out the form below, send us an email at talk@motherjones.com, or leave us a voicemail at (510) 519-MOJO. We may use some of your responses for a follow-up story.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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