Maybe you’re the type of person who had all your Christmas gifts bought ages ago, or maybe you’re waiting for Christmas Eve to make a mad dash to the gas station down the block. Most of us fall somewhere in between. There are often people on our list who can be tough to shop for. Perhaps you don’t know them that well, or they are devoid of personality. But there are a few categories of gifts you should NEVER buy for ANYONE. I’m here to help you with a list of ten of the worst Christmas gifts. Avoid gifting these and you’ll be well on your way to “best gifter” status.
Before we start, there are some blanket exceptions that may apply to several of these. First, if you are an artist who makes any of these things, or you know someone who is, then by all means, proceed! The other is if the recipient specifically asked for any of these things. And I don’t mean they casually said “Oh, hey, that’s kinda cool”. I mean they said to you “I WILL LITERALLY THROW THE CHRISTMAS TREE IN THE TRASH IF SOMEONE DOESN’T BUY THIS FOR ME.” Also, one final note – yes, I am well aware that we should all be grateful for ANY gift we get. Stop being a stick in the mud and let’s have some fun. Here we go:
- A Scented Candle – Come on, folks. Even SNL did a sketch about this. Admit it. You got this as a gift from your estranged aunt, and you HATE the scent. What makes you think someone else is going to like this? If you have to gift this, at least pair it with a lighter, so the recipient can light their escape path away from you for giving such a boring gift.
- Feminine Hygiene Products – You’re laughing, but I actually know someone who got these as a Christmas gift! Now, I believe that the stigma around menstruation needs to end, but that doesn’t mean you should give tampons as a gift. It’s like gifting toilet paper. Sure, they’re going to use it, but they don’t want to think about you when they do.
- Cleaning Tools – I know a man who once bought his girlfriend a vacuum. Needless to say, they are no longer together. If it’s one of those cool Dyson’s, I might give it a pass, but otherwise, NO.
- Exercise Gear, Dieting Aids, Anti-Aging Products – You might get away with something expensive, like an elliptical or really fancy face cream, if your loved one has been hinting that they want it. Heck, I asked my Mom for ankle weights one year and was delighted to receive them! Otherwise, stay away from this category. It basically screams, “I WISH YOU WERE DIFFERENT.”
- A Mug – What better way to say “I put literally zero thought into this gift.” Everyone has enough mugs. If you want to do this, pair it with other things like tea/coffee/hot chocolate, or beauty products, and look for one that has a message or picture that you know the recipient will enjoy. That will take the mug from dull to cute and thoughtful.
- Something Used – I know that for some families, it is reality that they have to buy used items for their Christmas presents. If you’re reading this, you’re probably not one of them, so cough up the cash, baby! Especially don’t do this if it’s something YOU have already half-used. Giving away something like that is fine, but don’t do it as a holiday gift. One exception to this category – if you want to buy a loved one designer clothing/accessories from a consignment store and the item is in REALLY good condition. A friend bought me a GORGEOUS designer purse that way once, and I couldn’t be happier.
- Knickknacks – Unless you KNOW for a FACT the recipient will be glad to get this (for example, they collect glass frogs playing guitars), don’t buy these. Nothing infuriates me more than getting something that will sit and collect dust, with no discernible function.
- A Tie or Scarf – I’ve been guilty of this one. My sister and I had a running joke for a few years where I ALWAYS bought her a scarf. After the first two times I did it, when she pointed out my error, I started doing it on purpose, but I always paired it with something else. But really, everyone has enough ties and scarves. And they may strangle you with them when they open the box.
- MLM “Makeovers/Gift Certificates/Parties” – If you’ve followed my writing, you already know how I feel about Multilevel Marketing scams (yes, they are scams). Don’t do this. Don’t “gift” someone something from your MLM, when it’s actually your attempt to shill more product. Giving someone a “freebie” when it really is a sales ploy is rude. You are RUDE, do not pass go, do not collect $200 dollars, go straight to Rude Jail.
- Pets – For the love of a partridge in a pear tree, DO NOT DO THIS. Getting a pet is a VERY personal decision. There are too many unwanted pets in shelters, especially after the holidays. Exceptions to this rule – if you are a parent gifting it to your children and you’re prepared for the fact that a lot of the care may fall to you when the newness of the puppy wears off. Or, if you OFFER to get a pet for the person and he or she gets to make the ultimate decision. For Valentine’s Day a few years ago, my husband printed a picture of a cat and gifted it to me. That is how we ended up with our two fluffy, calico lovebugs. Also, if you do this, I strongly encourage you to use a rescue or shelter to find your new furry friend.
There you have it, friends! Now that you know the worst Christmas gifts, go forth and gift away! If you’re still not sure, I’ll be back next week with suggestions on the BEST gifts. In the meantime, let me know – what was the worst gift you ever got?