Nina Dobrev’s parents give her coal every Christmas because she’s famous

Nina Dobrev and Julianne Hough did a joint appearance on Ellen recently with guest host Adam Devine. They were promoting their new lower calorie wine brand, which recently went public. These two have been best friends for years, and as I’ve said before they seem similar in both good and bad ways. They’re also friends with Adam, with Nina appearing in an upcoming Netflix comedy with him, also starring Ellen Barkin and Lil Rel Howery.

Julianne mentioned that she’s taken Nina to urgent care so many times. That made me feel sorry for Nina until Julianne explained that Nina is just a risk taker. Julianne also admitted he went on a 13 day “cleansing retreat” over the holidays, which sounds horrible to me. Why would you do that to yourself, but more than that why admit to it? I wanted to talk about the fact that Nina admitted that her parents don’t get her presents for Christmas, but have given her coal every year now.

Julianne on Nina’s injuries
I’ve taken her to the urgent care more times than I can count on both of my hands. She’s the most accident prone but it’s because she’s a risk taker and she’s amazing,

Nina on what her parents give her Christmas
All I got was coal. Every year. They like to keep me grounded. They’re like ‘she’s an actress, she’s in the film industry, her head is getting bigger.’ They just like to ground me and literally give me coal every year.

Julianne on what she did for the holidays
I went on a solo retreat for the first time where I was cleansing for 13 days. I’m very much like that. ‘How do I start the year off before January first feeling mind body soul connected.’ That’s my jam. Also quite depressing.

[From The Ellen Show on YouTube via JustJared]

If you follow my Amazon posts with Hecate, you probably know this about me already, but my love language is gifts. I have taken the quiz multiple times and that always comes out on top. I don’t need anything fancy, just the fact that someone got something for me makes me feel appreciated. So it seems really rude to me that Nina’s parents get her coal! Coal is for when you’re bad, it’s worse than not even getting a gift, it’s like a negative energy gift. It’s the thought with gifts, it’s not the fact that you can’t afford to buy the thing yourself. It always floors me when people are stingy like this.

I vaguely remembered covering something about Nina Dobrev’s parents being rude to her, and I found this interview where she said her mom gives her baby clothes for Christmas, even though she was single at the time and childfree. So I guess her parents moved on from one passive aggressive gift to another that was arguably worse. At least you can regift baby clothes.

Here’s that interview:

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25 Responses to “Nina Dobrev’s parents give her coal every Christmas because she’s famous”

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  1. MangoAngelesque says:

    That’s like the equivalent of leaving a penny tip at a restaurant. It’s worse than giving nothing, because you’re making a POINT of how bad you think the recipient is. It’s 100% a non-verbal “F you.”

    What wretched parents. Give her socks if you don’t want to spoil her; at least they’re cozy.

  2. Moderatelywealthy says:

    They are bulgarian. My friend told me her very old grandmother always asked her when she was having children because she was afraid she would be too frail to look after them. Her mother travels every three months from Bulgaria to Germany to take care of her grandchildren- triplets. and she was also told by her parents she- who immigrated to Germany at 18 and had to learn the Language in six months lest she would be kicked out of university and worked part time on top of it- had to make a better effort in speaking Bulgarian because she was getting an accent and this was not acceptable!

    Then she bought her grandmother a flight ticket to visit her because the woman had never flown before, and when she came she complained about the pilot, said he had been ” too slow” upon landing!

    It is not that her parents are being mean, they are just being their amazing bulgarian selves!

    • teecee says:


    • LaraK says:

      My parents are bulgarian and I think Eastern European and Latin American families have some cultural similarities, in that they are up in each other’s business like Americans just don’t understand. My Colombian friend and I compare notes all the time and laugh.
      The push for kids is real, vey cultural, and to me not at all unexpected. The child free lifestyle is not really culturally accepted, although becoming more so. It can actually be very hurtful for people struggling with infertility. But again, in a cultural context it’s very expected. Not to say that giving baby clothes is ok, just it’s not surprising.
      The coal is not normal per se, but humor wise it makes sense. I see my dad doing that to me if I was famous (which I’m not even a little, so I get awesome gifts).

      • Moderatelywealthy says:

        YES! Brazilian here, I too like to exchange notes with my bulgarian friends and their crazy sense of humour aside, this whole vibe of family getting together and teasing each other and being waaay to intrusive feels very on brand!

        I mean, I can see they giving her coal as an inside joke, not necessarily as a put down, but yeah, we can read into different meanings- i just find injust to label her parents as uncaring or rude. She seems to be very loving and loved.

  3. jferber says:

    The fact that they are Bulgarian doesn’t mean that they aren’t still rude to Nina. I’m sure there are plenty of Bulgarians who give nice gifts to their daughters no matter what their financial status.

    • Moderatelywealthy says:

      My point is that they have a strange sense of humour I think it can be translated as rudeness. but whatever

  4. Watson says:

    Personally i thought this anecdote about the coal was pretty funny. After all she probably has made more than her parents since she was a teen so gifts probably mean very little to her. She shows her family frequently on her insta so spending time with family might just be more important than the gift giving.

  5. girl_ninja says:

    Her parents don’t seem to like her, though they may think they love her. They sound like miserable people who think they are being clever and she has just accepted it. I know that they are Bulgarian but it’s still weird and rude.

    • Emily says:

      Yea, the coal doesn’t sound nice. Sure she can afford a lot, but they could find something that shows they know her and care about her – especially if her siblings receive gifts. Her career or income shouldn’t change how they treat her.

      Maybe she’s exaggerating.

  6. lunchcoma says:

    I could see how the coal gift could be funny in the right family, to the right person.

    The baby clothes? NOPE.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      I’m with you on the baby clothes @ lunchcoma! That’s some serious passive-aggressive sh!t on her parents part! I think that no matter where your children are in their lives, you should always extend your love to them no matter where they are in life. I find the coal gift quite insulting though, no matter IF they are Bulgarian!

  7. Kate says:

    Maybe I’m alone but I thought this was funny, although as with most things completely depends on their family’s dynamic. We used to be a very gift oriented family but have been moving away from that because we have too much stuff as it is. Gifting now stresses me out, both on the gifting end and the receiving end.

  8. FHMom says:

    I don’t think it’s funny. Their gifts say that they disapprove of her life. I wonder what gifts she gives them or what kind of financial support they expect from her. They sound miserable.

  9. Sarah+B says:

    Nina’s risk taking is making her relationship with Shawn White make more sense. She can keep up with his adventures.

  10. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’m sure they fashion themselves as hilarious. We’ve done the same. But then we “pulled back the curtain,” on nirvana. They sound insufferable and selfish and jealous. Baby clothes? I’d probably cut up the clothes into a ton of strips, make a kitchen towel rag and send it back.

  11. Katie says:

    This is awesome to me. I’ve grown to dislike gift exchanging. I hate finding space for them in my small house. I hate listening to my mom fret over what she’s going to get me. My parents have not been as well off following an extended job loss, and the expenditure seems silly when I’m doing fine. Not to mention the environmental impacts.

    • Sandy says:

      I agree about the environmental impacts and finding space in my home. Honestly I prefer gift cards or homemade gifts, nothing in between!

  12. Allyson says:

    Nina is dating Shaun White who is a complete POS. Probably why they stopped getting her baby clothes…!

  13. Lila says:

    Hopefully it’s an inside joke that they all enjoy that doesn’t translate well. It’s hard to explain how hurtful it is to have to accept that your family just isn’t going to treat you well. I hope that isn’t what is going on.

  14. Monette says:

    Here is a suprising take on gift giving:
    I’m east-european and even though we can afford it, our familly doesn’t do gifts for Christmas.
    This year we gave our son a gift, but only because he is 5 and he wrote to Santa.
    Gift giving on Christmas is becoming a thing around us because of social media and capitalism. And I find it wasteful and a first world problem.

  15. Monette says:

    And also I find it hilarious that some commentors are saying Nina’s parents don’t love her because they give her coal. This obsession with Christmas gift giving is strange to me. And sooo american.

  16. Katherine says:

    I love these two and as someone who’s loved them since they were fresh-faced 20-somethings, it breaks my heart to see them not as happy now as they used to be. I don’t know exactly why, as I am not following them very closely, but I just love the energy in their pictures from like a decade ago, I hope they will go back to that in the future. Giving coal for Christmas does feel pretty mean, even as a prank((