Awesomely Bad Gifts We’ve Received

If you’ve been on lately, you may have stumbled upon something we call the Sad-to-Glad Gift Guide, where we colorfully rehash the lamest gifts we’ve received—and then provide much happier alternatives. But did you know that we actually polled the team at Madewell HQ to get those stories? Well, we did. And there are even more. Check out the peculiar group of holiday gifts some of our designers, stylists and marketing mavens have gotten in the past.

Giftee: Kate, marketing guru and ceramic armadillo recipient

Gift: Mexican talavera

In her words: Oh, god. We saw an armadillo in Austin and I was fascinated by it because I had never seen one in person. My dad took that too literally and bought me this talavera armadillo from a Mexican imports store on Congress Street. Mind you, I was living in a 450 square-foot apartment in NYC with absolutely no outdoor space. Needless to say, the armadillo now lives in my parents’ cactus garden.”

Giftee: Ash, dress designer and spice seeker

Gift: A big ol’ vat of Tabasco sauce

In his words: “My love of spicy food is well known, so my good friend thought to give me the ultimate ‘perfect’ gift: a mini-keg of Tabasco sauce. The size is a bit insane, but I actually end up putting it on almost everything and am working my way through it pretty quickly!”

Giftee: Jac, denim designer and avian aficionado

Gift: Quacky shower cap

In her words: “I had a pet goose growing up named Squawee and I just love all things feathered, so I have become a habitual recipient of weird bird memorabilia. This latest gem is from an old boss who bought it for me while on a work trip in Copenhagen.”

Giftee: Lisa, superstylist and graphic tie getter

Gift: Dramatically illustrated neckwear

In her words: “If you couldn’t tell, my mother (the gift giver in question) lives in the Southwest. These neckties were originally gifted to my uncle, husband and brother, but I soon found them stashed away in my own suitcase while unpacking from Thanksgiving with the family. Yup, everyone loves gifts from my mom.”

Gotten an amazingly bad gift? Send photos to us at—we’ll feature our favorites in a future blog post.