Jackbox offering $50 and free game to replace your disappointing present

Santa's not always right.

You can stop being polite about those socks you didn’t want: Jackbox Games, makers of the popular Jackbox Party Pack game series, recently announced their Upgift Giftaway program, a giveaway tailored to disappointing gift-getters. With Hanukkah just passed and the Christmas season upon us, there are a lot of gifts to be given, and they’re not all going to be winners. Jackbox’s promotional event (also known as the Uplifting Upgifting) asks participants to share the most disappointing gifts they’ve received, for the chance to win a $50 gift card and a copy of this year’s Jackbox Party Pack 8.

What makes a bad gift — “All gifts are subjective,” Jackbox content marketing specialist Michelle Leatherby told Input. “What is considered ‘bad’ for us could be great for someone else! We’re looking to turn stories of disappointment into stories of joy.” Entrants are required to submit a photo of the gift and an explanation of what made it bad. So, for all the people who didn’t read your wishlist, didn’t ask you what size you wear, or didn’t ask which color you prefer, you might be able to finally get something good out of the deal.

Making his list — While the giveaway does ask entrants to describe the bad gift’s badness, that won’t be a deciding factor for success. 10 winners will be chosen randomly from the entrants, all earning the same prize. Per Leatherby, this is “because gifting is so personal,” so there’s no true way to judge the best of the worst. If you really want to publicly flame the bad gift-givers in your family, group chat, or office, don’t worry. “Although winners will be chosen at random,” says Leatherby, “we are keen to learn and share (if given permission) some of the unbelievably funny, unfit gifts that people have received this year.”

The giveaway’s not all about calling people out (though that option is available) — entrants are offered the chance to opt out of having their stories publicized on social media, and doing so will not affect their chances of winning. When asked if poor gift-givers might be offended at being called out in a giveaway, Leatherby responded, “Because social sharing is optional, we’re not anticipating hurt feelings. We completely understand that hesitation, so when we share the submissions they will be from those who gave approval for social sharing in the submission form and will also have the option to be anonymous.”

It glows — Ultimately, the giveaway is a promotional tool — the PR team positioned Jackbox Games as “the ultimate party-game experts… committed to delivering laughter & joy to friends and family” — but Input readers are invited to make the most of it. There’s no cost of entry and winning free things is always nice. The only significant problem could be the very premise of the giveaway itself: sharing the gifts you didn’t like.

There’s something very morally gray about asking for submissions of bad gifts: on the one hand, it can be entitled or snobbish to accept something freely given out of kindness (or obligation or exchange or otherwise) and then publicly shame that gift (and, by extension, the giver). On the other hand, maybe it’s the gift-giver’s fault for not knowing you well enough to find the right gift or doing the work to find out what you would enjoy. Gifts are personal and fraught with all sorts of odd social contract obligations, and emotions are attached on the side of the gift-giver and receiver alike.

IRL — And in case you’re unfamiliar, there is proper etiquette to receiving bad gifts. The Spruce, a popular lifestyle website, recommends tactics like “State what the gift is and show gratitude. For example, you can say, ‘A nose hair trimmer. Thanks!’” or “Don’t mention anything about how disappointed you are, like, ‘I was hoping this would be that jacket I’ve always wanted.’” WikiHow offers a guide on how to say the right things, react emotionally, deal with the gift, and avoid the giver repeating bad gifts in the future.

The stated intention for Jackbox’s giveaway is to spread positivity more than pain. “There’s a lot of stress around gift-giving, and we hope to bring some peace to people whose holidays didn’t turn out exactly as planned,” says Leatherby, an avowed giver and receiver of bad gifts. The idea is to take a light-hearted look at gift-giving and admit that gifts are sometimes hard to get right, and that’s okay. For those interested in entering the Upgift Giftaway giveaway, they can enter at this link until December 29, 2021.