10 Terrible Holiday Gifts

The holidays are the perfect time for gift-giving, but unfortunately we don't always get what we want (or even what we need).

Credit: blindtoy99

Avoid Giving A Terrible Gift This Holiday


The holiday season can be a wonderful time—visiting with loved ones, eating great food, making merry and exchanging gifts. Often we are able to give (and hopefully receive) the perfect present. 


Sadly, every holiday season you’re bound to receive horrible gifts that inevitably wind up stashed in the attic, sold at a yard sale, tossed in a landfill or worst of all, re-gifted down the road. Here is a list of gifts that should never find their way under the tree.


10.  Airport Gift Shop Items

A lot of people travel during the holidays, which means time spent in airports. This can be dangerous for the last-minute shopper who sees the airport gift shop as their salvation. It is in fact a mirage.


These shops are full of the tackiest, useless and most expensive presents (if you can even call them that) you can buy. Does anyone really want a snow globe? The answer is no.


9.  Socks and Underwear

Is this really the gift you want to give this year? (Image: Tango McEffrie)


When we get dressed in the morning, there are two staple items we usually put on: socks and underwear.  However necessary socks and underwear are, nobody unwraps them on Christmas morning with great delight and appreciation (*).


If you give these gifts, make sure the recipients are young children who cannot afford to buy you anything useful or distant relatives who you see once every decade or so.


(*) Unmentionables as a stocking stuffer get a pass.


8. The Fruitcake

When it comes to the holidays, boy do we love to eat. This is the time to show off your culinary skills with foods whose main ingredients are sugar and butter. However, some people decide to wrap up non-perishable food items, a favorite being the dreaded fruitcake. 


If you have ever received one of these detestable concoctions over the holidays, get on the phone right now and start apologizing. You’ve wronged someone and the fruitcake is payback. You don’t need to know what you did, just make things right.



7. Self-Help Books

Throughout the year I’m sure your friends have gone through many tragic and difficult moments. Be it a divorce, death in the family, depression or a bad date, everyone struggles. Whatever you do, don’t use this as an opportunity to browse the self-help book section at Chapters.


Although your heart may be in the right place, gifts like this only cause resentment. Picture this—everyone is gathered around the tree on Christmas morning, when someone opens Choosing to Live: How to Defeat Suicide Through Cognitive Therapy. It might put a damper on the festivities.


6. Pictures of Your Children

Don’t be fooled by those innocent eyes. (Image: Sabina Hannila)


We all have friends who love to talk about their kids. It’s a natural thing for proud parents to do. But there’s always one that just won’t shut up. Every story is about some ‘adorable’ moment, or how smart, talented and funny s/he is.


So it makes some twisted sense that they’d think a picture of their kids would make the perfect gift. Please explain why anyone would want this atrocity? Now you’re stuck with a 16 x 20 framed picture of little Billy. You’d rather have the fruitcake.


5. Re-Gift

Everyone has received a gift they absolutely hate. Just because you hate the present doesn’t mean you should force it on someone else. Terrible gifts will always be terrible—like Nickelback records, they don’t get better the second time around. That being said, don’t be surprised when you open up a slightly used bread maker this season.


4. A Donation

We all know the holidays are a time for giving, and what better gift can you give than donating to a charity? How thoughtful. Except that this is a completely self-serving gift.


Here’s how it goes down—the gifter chooses the institution as well as the amount of the donation. You have no control! Plus, they get all of the praise for being generous and thoughtful while you’re stuck holding a piece of paper for an institution you might not even support. A sneakily selfish gift.


3. Cash

Cash can be amazing for those who view Christmas as a completely commercial enterprise. Who wouldn’t want an envelope stuffed with bills, especially during these tough economic times?


Unfortunately, there’s no better way to tell someone how little you care than giving away cash. You’re basically saying you can’t be bothered to give even the slightest bit of thought about what they might want.


2. Exercise Equipment

Your girlfriend won’t think the shakeweight is as awesome as you do, we promise. (Image: Marlene Sanchez)


Buying for a significant other during the holidays can be fun. It’s an opportunity to earn huge brownie points that you can cash in at a later date. But don’t make the mistake of buying gifts that can put you at the top of their naughty list. 


To avoid this nightmare, never buy your SO exercise equipment unless you’ve been asked for it. You’re opening a can of “you think I’m fat” worms that may never close.


1. Household Appliances

Another gift you want to avoid buying for your SO is a household appliance. The last thing your boy/girlfriend wants to unwrap on Christmas morning is a vacuum. A gift like that will probably earn you silent treatment, some time on the couch and annual gifts of socks, and if you’re lucky, maybe a fruitcake.