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Crappy Homemade Gift

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"It's a love coupon book!"

Try to stay away from arts and crafts,
I don't want your homemade bubblebath,
And cookies are better when they're made by professionals

Presents are supposed to come from the heart, not just from the store. Getting someone something they really enjoy can be a better feeling than getting them something that you really enjoy. Some characters will try and embrace this spirit by ditching the tradition of going to the store and buying expensive things and making presents at home, with homemade materials, to really impress the person. doesn't work. The gifts end up sloppy and unprofessional, if they even look like what they're meant to resemble. Characters will step out of their comfort zone to craft things they've never made before and will discover that pottery, knitting, painting or the like isn't so easy. If they can't make anything, they may attempt to regift something they find sentimental and special.

Reactions to these presents vary. In a lot of cases, the gift-receiver will still be heart-warmed by the attempt, even if they think the actual gift is atrocious. But others might be upset by the gift and demand something better- preferably something really, really expensive. Not everyone is thrilled by this display of holiday spirit, after all. By the end of the work, however, they usually come around and accept the gift they got, realizing it's a gift of love, rather than a gift of money.

In some Played With variants, the gift might not actually be all that crappy- it could be well-made, thoughtful, and even reasonably expensive despite the "homemade" part. Despite these presents being pretty good, though, they end up being Overshadowed by Awesome to the point where their effort seems wasted, or they're being given to someone who wanted something "better", regardless of how good the actual gift was.

These gifts can lend themselves to the True Meaning of Christmas — the hard work put into them and the joy they bring might be depicted as being all that really matters when it comes to the holiday...even if the good, expensive things are welcome too.

Compare Homemade Sweater from Hell, Unwanted Gift Plot and My New Gift Is Lame, all of which may overlap. Also see Well-Intentioned Replacement. Contrast Convenience Store Gift Shopping for another type of lame gift-giving.

Compare and contrast Handmade Is Better, in which someone thinks that something handmade is better than store-bought alternatives—a mindset which the recipient may or may not agree with.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • One Doraemon chapter has Nobita worry over finding a good birthday present for Shizuka because he's broke. After meeting his late grandmother through the time machine, he decides to fold her handmade paper cranes. However, when he tries to give it to her at the party, she mistakes them for trash, and cheerfully directs him to the wastepaper basket.
  • Zigzagged in Gals!. Ran doesn't have enough money to buy presents for her boyfriend, so she tries to make her own gift. After multiple failures, she manages to knit a lousy scarf, which she tries to give to Tatsukichi. He's touched by the gesture, but Ran accidentally gave the scarf to an escaped monkey instead of Tatsuki, and the creature refuses to give it back, so she ended up giving him no present at all.

  • British Comedian Josh Widdecombe has a routine complaining about people giving homemade jam as a gift. As well as the quality of the jam, he points out that the jam is often presented in jars that used to contain proper jam.

    Comic Books 
  • Monica's Gang: One comic has the gang making gifts for each other as they play Secret Santa, with disappointing results: Smudge gives Maggie a painting which he made with objects he found in the garbage; Maggie bakes Franklin a pie, but can't resist eating it; and Franklin devises a trap to give Smudge a bath rather than an actual gift. Finally, Monica and Jimmy respectively present each other with a poorly-knitted scarf and an insulting caricature, which leaves the girl in tears.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: In one strip, Calvin is using clay to make his parents a Christmas gift, specifically an ashtray. Hobbes points out his parents don't smoke, which makes Calvin mad, with the implication being he doesn't have the skill to make anything beyond a very crude bowl.
    Calvin: OK, Michelangelo, YOU sculpt something!
  • Citizen Dog sees Mel out celebrating his birthday at a tiki bar paid for by his dog Fergus. Neighbor cat Cuddles arrives and plunks a very odd sculpture on the table; he explains that he's been taking a ceramics class and realized that his latest project vaguely resembled Mel's head.

    Fan Works 
  • By the Sea: In an inversion, Cody makes his lover Obi-Wan a patched-together necklace of colorful seashells strung on a strip of torn cloth that likely looks objectively crappy and amateurish. Obi-Wan is so overcome with emotion at receiving any kind of gift at all, let alone from someone he can genuinely call his love, that he's left speechless, and he never dares to take it off until it's broken in a fight and Cody sends him a more durable chain for the shells.
  • Mall Rats: Lincoln has a history of making these sorts of gifts. The previous December, he had made Leni a coupon book full of favors from him following a last-minute shopping spree and a dress he was intending to buy her getting sold out.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Rapsittie Street Kids: Believe in Santa, Ricky really wants to give his classmate, Nicole, a special gift, but he has no money, so he gives her the teddy bear his mother gave him. She outright rejects it and throws it in the trash, breaking his heart. However, when she finds a letter he wrote to Santa, she realizes how much the bear meant to him and goes to retrieve it, not only to return it to him but also to thank him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In A Christmas Story, Ralphie's aunt makes him a present every Christmas. For the year in the film, it's a PINK rabbit suit/footie pajamas that look like a Halloween costume. His thoughts:
    Adult Ralphie (narrating): Aunt Clara had for years labored under the delusion that I was not only perpetually 4 years old, but also a girl.
    • Despite his protests, his mother makes him model it for the family. His father says he looks a deranged Easter Bunny.
  • Subverted in Babe, where the gift (a huge dollhouse) farmer Hogget made is absolutely stunning, but his granddaughter throws a screeching tantrum because "it's not the one I saw on television", while her beaming parents look on.

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules: Manny breaks Greg's video game device and tries to make him an Apology Gift. Unfortunately, being only three, the best he can come up with is a ball of tinfoil with toothpicks poking out, which Greg's friend Rowley accidentally sits on.
  • Dirty Bertie: In the story "Nitwit", Bertie's grandmother knits him a sweater as a belated birthday present, but he hates it, because not only is it too big and in a colour and pattern he hates, but it has holes.
  • Lampshaded and discussed in The Girls Series. In "Girls Under Pressure", Ellie mentions that she makes all her Christmas gifts and the reception is mixed, with Magda expecting something more shop-made. However, when Ellie stitches stuffed toys for her friends in the present day, they genuinely enjoy them and Ellie's negative attitude towards them is positioned as part of her eating disorder angst.
  • Hogfather: Death's manservant, Albert, recalls how as a boy he used to stare through the window of a local toy shop at a huge rocking horse on display, dreaming of owning it, although there wasn't a chance of that as his family were dirt-poor. In his stocking on Hogswatch Day, he found a little carved horse that his Dad had personally made for him... and all he could think was that it wasn't the big horse in the window.
    Albert: No. Only grown-ups think like that. You're a selfish little bugger when you're seven. Anyway, Dad got ratted after lunch and trod on it.
    • After his stint as Hogfather, Death buys the rocking horse for Albert.
  • In There Was An Old Lady Who Wore Green Boots by Yulia Voznesenskaya, Agnia's granddaughter Natasha bakes a pie for her grandmother's birthday, but, thanks to Natasha's manner of doing everything in a hurry, the pie is... not completely inedible, but is undercooked on one side and overcooked on the other, and the filling is too salty. To avoid embarrassing Natasha at the party, Agnia pretends it was she herself who baked the pie.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Home Cooked Meal", Miss Enright knits Mr. Boynton a sweater. It's extremely short in the body, long in the arm, and very tight; so much so that when Mr. Boynton compliments it saying it looks like something out of Esquire Magazine, Miss Brooks quips it looks like something "Out of Esquire, by Seabiscuit."
  • Big Time Rush: Shows up twice in "Big Time Christmas":
    • The very end of the "Three Bears" sketch on Miranda Cosgrove's in-universe Christmas Special involves Little Bear giving her some homemade mittens. They're sloppily made and have a lot of hanging threads, but Miranda declares the present to be "just right".
    • When the boys are talking to Snoop Dogg about presents, he shows them what he got for his grandmother. They expect it to be something glittery and expensive, but it turns out to be a homemade candle-holder, which he explains as being what Christmas is all about. In turn, the boys decide to make "something homemade" for Bitters, which is just a poorly-made gray clay thing that even they can't describe. He still welcomes it, though.
  • Friends:
    • Played With in "The One With Unagi". Chandler and Monica decide to give each other homemade gifts for Valentine's Day, but they both forget. Chandler gives her a mixtape he found at the bottom of his drawer and claims he made it, while Monica's "gift" was much less impressive. She's so impressed by the mixtape that she showers him in gifts and food, which he's happy with, but then they decide to actually listen to it...and she discovers the tape was one Janice gave him, bringing the gift right back around to being crappy.
    • In "The One With Phoebe's Dad", Monica and Rachel decided to tip their building staff with cookies instead of money that year, reasoning it was "personal" and "showed they cared". However, it seemed like everyone hated their cookies- the mailman, for example, brought them their newspaper all destroyed and a package of ornaments crushed. When their radiator gets broken, they try and get the superintendent to fix it, but he refuses to do it for several days, implied to be because of the cookies...until Ross's attempt to bribe him fails, and they discover he actually did enjoy the cookies but he can't get the parts to fix the radiator until the store opens on Tuesday.
  • The Golden Girls: The decision is made to trade homemade gifts among the girls for Christmas rather than buy expensive ones at the store, except they turn out to be the likes of a hand carved spigot for maple syrup and a calendar featuring naked pictures of Blanche's lovers.
  • iCarly: In "iChristmas", Carly ends up in a world where Spencer was born normal. One of the changes made is that Freddie is now dating a girl named Rona Burger, who everyone hates. To demonstrate this, Freddie is shown giving her a thoughtful Christmas present- a digital picture frame filled with pictures of them. She yells at him for not getting her a Pear Pad and stomps on his foot before storming off.
  • Mama's Family:
    • Due to a mix up, Thelma thinks Vinton is getting her an expensive bracelet for her birthday, only for it to turn out he actually handmade her an incredibly awful "cocktail belt" decorated with keys (Vinton being a locksmith) and the initials "MH" for "Mama Harper." Thelma's not thrilled, to say the least.
    • Iola constantly gives these, as she's fond of handicrafts but always makes bizarre, impractical, or tacky things. The Harpers once try to sell some at a yard sale, but can't even give them away.
  • Modern Family: Jay breaks away from his usual pattern of getting Gloria jewellery as a gift by taking a ceramics class and surprising her with a clay 'bunny' he made himself. Gloria is unaware of the gesture and smashes it believing it to contain jewellery. When Manny tells her it was a homemade gift Jay was proud of she clearly would have been touched were it not for how mortified she was over how she had she just smashed it in front of Jay.
  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody: In "Christmas At The Tipton", London pulls Maddie's name for Secret Santa. Maddie is thrilled because she's expecting something super expensive, but that's the year London decides to try making her own gift. Maddie ends up with a misshapen, ugly sweater she can't even wear and spends the entire night trying to get rid of it until London makes it clear that she really did try and make something for her. Maddie has a change-of-heart by the end.
  • Victorious: In "A Christmas Tori", Tori pulls Andre's name for Secret Santa and is having trouble finding a gift. She tries to make him a tiny, clay guitar, and though it actually turns out pretty good, Trina discourages her from giving it to him, claiming that the gifts need to be really creative and special. Tori's still confident about the guitar until she sees the awesome gift Robbie got Cat, which is a week of being followed by a man with a cotton-candy cart, and has second thoughts.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: In "Hal's Christmas Gift", when Hal and Lois' already stretched Christmas budget is wiped out after the car is wrecked, they declare that the family will give each other home-made Christmas presents. Surprisingly, the boys give their parents thoughtful and well-made presents (although it's later revealed Malcolm bought his hand-made clocks with a credit card no one knew about) while all Hal can manage is a crappy Boggle set.
  • The Regime: Corporal Zubak and the Chancellor exchange Christmas gifts. His gift to her is a portrait of her that looks like it was made by a six-year-old. When Vernham is asked if she likes it, she manages to say that she appreciates it, but puts her foot down when he tries to hang it in the same room as her official portraits of state.

  • In the Songdrops songs "The Mother's Day Song" and "The Father's Day Song", which are identical except for the parent and the occasion, the protagonist tries to make a nice day for their parent but fails miserably. One failure is that he tried to make his parent breakfast, but the oatmeal splattered up to the ceiling, the orange juice spilled on the floor, and the bacon turned out so badly that it broke the stove.

  • Binary Break: Sophie works really hard on painting and decorating Jordie's backpack so it has a pig picture of his wrestling OC Phantom Tiger. Unfortunately, when Jordie said he wanted a wrestling backpack he wanted a real wrestler and doesn't appreciate Sophie wrecking his backpack (and not even spelling the name right - she painted "Pantom Tiger").

    Web Animation 
  • Civil Protection: Mike recommends giving people a Christmas Brick, which is a brick with the recipient's name chiseled in, wrapped in old newspapers, maybe with some shoelaces as ribbons. It's made from materials that are common and free After the End, the effort you put in means they can't get too mad, and it should lower their expectations for next year.
  • Homestar Runner: In the Strong Bad Email "what I want", Strong Bad's list of crappy Decemberween gifts that he doesn't want includes some home-made efforts: seashells with office supplies glued to them "for absolutely no reason", and a "forgettably precious" "31-karat" clothespin reindeer ornament with googly eyes named "Klibber", which Strong Bad calls an "anti-gift" because it's both home-made AND an ornament.
    Strong Bad: Our last gift items are all about the false notion that just because you made something yourself, it's not a worthless piece of crap.

    Western Animation 
  • 6teen: Jonesy decides to make Nikki a clay bowl to celebrate their three-month relationship. Unfortunately, his lack of practice causes the end product to resemble a female breast, much to his girlfriend's embarrassment.
  • Adventure Time: In the short "The Gift That Reaps Giving", Death is shown to repeatedly gift his girlfriend Life mixtapes. He doesn't seem to realize Life doesn't actually like them, and she's more pleased when he gives her a CD for her birthday instead (although it might be because she has no device capable of playing a tape).
  • Big City Greens: In "The Gifted", Tilly and Cricket give their father Bill homemade Father's Day gifts. Tilly creates bizarre sculptures of found objects, and Cricket gives Bill "Cricket Coupons", pieces of paper offering chores and good deeds. They begin to realize that their father is pretending to like their gifts because he loves his kids, and trick him into admitting it with a deliberately poorly-made sweater and a box full of spiders, which he fears. After this, Tilly tries to destroy her old gifts out of shame, but Bill stops her, telling her that he loves her gifts because they're unique and made by her.
  • Bob's Burgers:
    • In "Father of the Bob", the kids scramble to assemble a Christmas present for Bob out of junk from their grandfather's basement. All of their homemade constructions collapse spectacularly, but the basement rummaging turns up an old newspaper with the first review of the Bob's Burgers restaurant. In a touching moment, Bob realizes that his gruff, seemingly uncaring father has held onto this memento of his son's success for years.
    • In "Better Off Sled", Linda finds knitting more difficult than anticipated when she tries to make scarves for the kids' Christmas gifts. While Bob knits two nice scarves, Linda can only produce one that is lumpy and lopsided. To her surprise, the kids prefer the ugly scarf over the normal-looking ones that look like they came from "a boring scarf store".
    • "The Secret Ceramics Room of Secrets" begins with Linda admonishing Tina, Gene, and Louise for their "half-assed" homemade birthday gifts for their grandmother (such as a necklace made of one noodle on a string). Rather than put in the effort of making better gifts this year, the kids try to break into the eponymous abandoned ceramics room and pass off other kids' old pottery as their own. They succeed in getting in, but ultimately realize that a genuinely homemade gift, even if it turns out crappy, is better than lying to their family.
  • CatDog: In the Christmas Episode, Dog gets Cat one of these every year, with the current gift being a boat made out of popsicle sticks. When Winslow points out that Cat throws away Dog's gifts every year, Dog reasons that it's so the kids at the dump will have something to play with.
  • An episode of Clone High has Abe give Cleo a "love coupon book", which offers free loving deeds. Though he put a ton of effort Cleo, being Cleo, is instead just indignant and upset that he didn't just buy her something expensive. Then she goes on to give him the present she got him, which she just dug out of a dumpster on the way to the party.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: In "Super Bike", Timmy asks his dad to buy him a bike so they can participate in a father-son race. Much to his dismay, his father instead builds a bike out of rusty pipes and manure bags. This is apparently something that happens with Timmy's dad a lot, as he's constantly home-making household items and gifts nowhere near as good as the real thing, including a watch he gives to Timmy's mom that apparently shocks her to tell the time.
  • In the The Ghost and Molly McGee episode "White Christmess", Scratch with help from Geoff tries to make a homemade Christmas gift for Molly, but each and every attempt is a disaster. It's all done through a song sequence called "We’re Going D.I.Y this Christmas".
  • The Looney Tunes Show: In the "Chintzy" Merrie Melodies music video (part of "The Shelf"), Daffy is unimpressed with the childhood photo of him and Porky together that the latter gave to him for his birthday. He then explains to Porky in song that chintzy gifts are ones that are homemade like scarves and sweaters, and gifts that are not chintzy are expensive things like gold and gems. One of the lines in the song is "Try to stay away from arts and crafts".
  • The Loud House:
    • In "Picture Perfect", Lincoln makes his parents a coffee mug every year for their anniversary. However, he's no good at pottery, and the mugs look droopy. The parents like the sentiment, but they secretly hide the mugs in the attic. When Lincoln discovers the secret, he decides to make them a better gift: a family photo. The photo comes out looking wrong, with things like the twins fighting and Lily running around naked, but the parents love it as they think it sums the family up well.
    • Zig-zagged in "Season's Cheatings". Lincoln rigs the Secret Santa so that Lily will buy him a gift, knowing that she can't due to her young age so he'll actually get the gift from his parents. Only this time, the parents have Lily make the gift instead. Lincoln does not like the idea of receiving something that was made from scratch by a two-year-old, so he schemes to get what he actually wants. He gets the backpack he wants, but is forced to sacrifice it to get a gift for Lola. Lily, seeing his sacrifice, gives him a painting of herself giving him the backpack. It's actually well-drawn for a two-year-old who's implied to have done so with her fingers.
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Speaking Terms", Rocko and Heffer are feuding after Heffer apparently forgot Rocko's birthday and tried to conceal this by making a sculpture out of toothpaste and toilet paper from Rocko's bathroom.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "See Homer Run", Lisa decides to make Homer a homemade book for Father's Day, which depicts the two as unicorns playing together. He's not that fond of it, so he decides to leave it on the fridge. Unfortunately, the magnet doesn't hold, and the book falls into the automatic water dispenser and gets ruined, leaving Lisa heartbroken.
      Homer: Well, it's not my fault. Lousy magnet!
      [Lisa runs off crying]
      Homer: What the...? [looks at magnet] "Happy Birthday, Dad. From Lisa." D'oh!
    • In "Itchy and Scratchy and Marge", Homer builds a spice rack for Marge (despite having no prior experience with building), which ends up incredibly poorly-made. Marge still uses it anyways.
    • The plot of "The Fat and the Furriest" begins with Bart revealing a massively poorly made mug as a Mother’s Day gift for Marge. Homer then reveals that he made her a bigger version of the same, before Maggie walks in with a much more perfect looking mug. Homer then declares that they’ll have to go gift shopping.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In “Dying for Pie," SpongeBob makes Squidward a sweater for Employee Brotherhood Day. The hole for Squidward's head is way too big (SpongeBob says he used a watermelon for scale) and it's itchy because SpongeBob made the sweater out of his eyelash hair. Disgusted, Squidward throws the sweater back at SpongeBob, making the sponge cry...and he uses his tears to make a new sweater for Squidward.
  • Total Drama: In "Up the Creek", Geoff tries to confess his love for Bridgette by giving her a heart-shaped clay bowl he decorated with macaroni. He also tears a group picture and glues it together in the bowl so it appears that the two are hugging each other, and etches on the back, "I hope you think of me whenever you drop loose change into this." Bridgette (when talking about it to Courtney) expresses her cringe by pretending to choke herself, though she warms up to Geoff by the end of the episode.
    Bridgette: (accidentally drops the frame and it breaks) Ugh...have any glue?
    Courtney: (laughs) I wouldn’t waste my time trying to fix that.
    Bridgette: (picks up the pieces of the bowl and smiles at them) Maybe I would.


Going D.I.Y this Christmas

Scratch and Geoff try to create a homemade gift for Molly, with disastrous results.

How well does it match the trope?

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Main / CrappyHomemadeGift

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