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A toilet seat and 'a little weed': Your stories of surprising holiday gifts

From timepieces to toilet seats, readers share stories of holiday gifts that surprised them.

Sometimes, wrapping paper conceals a surprising gift. Readers shared stories of times they were surprised during the holidays.
Sometimes, wrapping paper conceals a surprising gift. Readers shared stories of times they were surprised during the holidays.Read moreLloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun Media Group / TNS

Did Santa bring everything you asked for? Or did you find surprises under the tree?

If it was the latter, you're certainly not alone. As another holiday season wraps up, the Inquirer, Daily News and asked readers to share their stories of holiday surprises.

From a duplicate timepiece to a toilet seat given in earnest, we're sharing a few responses.

Have your own story to tell? Fill out the form below, or email We'll be sure to add some of our favorites. (Responses have been lightly edited.)

"As our children got older, traditions changed. In 1995, our family headed to the King of Prussia Mall to shop and eat out. We split up — my husband took the two boys and I ventured through the stores with our daughter. The hustle and bustle was fun, since most of my shopping was already done. The goal for the day was to find a gift for my husband. I bought a beautiful mantle clock — mission accomplished! We all met up for lunch and by the way the kids were talking, I knew something was up. Looking under the table, my husband had a bag from the same store where I purchased his clock. I'm a pretty good judge of shopping bags and knew he bought me the same clock! I returned his since we only had one mantle. Although I can't remember what I bought instead, it still makes me smile that we bought each other the same gift. We were married for 15 years at that point and sure could judge what the other wanted. Still can today after 37 years of marriage!" — Denise Kossuth, 58, of West Chester

"Received a toilet seat, unwrapped, no receipt. It was a serious gift." — Pat A., 56, of Abington

"My wife (then my girlfriend) and I had traditional Christmas Eve at her parents, where we exchanged gifts. After a lovely dinner, her father gave me something special. It was a small package. He said he found it under his mattress and figured it was mine. A small hash pipe, some hash and a little weed were in the package. His daughter and I were sophomores in college at the time. It was not our stash but her younger brother never fessed up, even when I offered it back later in private. I had the pipe for more than 30 years. Now, I wish I had saved it to pass on." — Harry, 63, of Radnor

"A Dallas Cowboys starter jacket, when my whole family were diehard Eagles fans, especially my dad. Meanwhile, his sister got it for me and as soon as I opened it, without hesitation, my dad stood up, walked over to the trash can and threw it out, laughed and said, 'I can't believe my own sister, my flesh and blood, would do something so cruel!' I was real young but I wasn't dumb. I still hated the Cowboys and bled green then, too." — Chris S., 30, of Bensalem

Our staff also shared stories of holiday surprises:

"When I was about 7 years old my parents took me Christmas shopping, probably Sears or K-Mart, to buy a kid about my age a present. Knowing funds were limited, I picked a plastic clarinet because it was cheap, leaving money left over for my parents to buy me something better. Christmas morning arrives and guess what? I had a plastic clarinet waiting for me under the tree. Let's just say this trick never worked again." — Alejandro Alvarez, online photo editor

"When I was three years old, my mom took me with her to buy Christmas presents. She bought my dad a watch, and then talked to me about how it would be a surprise and we had to keep it secret and not tell my dad. Very excited to be gift shopping, I nodded along. When we got home, my dad asked if we'd had a good time shopping. I said yes, and then proudly burst out: 'And I'm not even going to tell you that we got you a watch!' I had no idea I'd given away the secret, and on Christmas morning, my dad acted surprised as anyone when he unwrapped it." — Justine McDaniel, staff writer

"In college I got my mother a 'microphone mug' for Christmas. It was a beer mug that had a microphone built into the handle. My mother neither drinks much beer nor does she do karaoke. One of my friends was horrified and insisted I not give my mom that gift. Wisely I took that friend's advice." — Jason Laughlin, staff writer

"My father had an aunt who was a nun. When I was a teenager, she gave my mother a set of six oversized coffee mugs for Christmas. They were emblazoned with images of animals — cows and bears and elephants — jumbled together. The nun, Aunt Anna, was in her 70s by then and her eyesight wasn't great. But our eyes failed us, too. We used the mugs for a year before one of my mom's friends, having a cup of tea while visiting, pointed out that the animals depicted on the mugs were engaged in an orgy." — Chris Brennan, staff writer