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10 All-Time Worst Christmas Gifts

Updated on November 11, 2010

Gift giving is a skill that some people just can’t get their noggin around. No matter how many deadpan looks or flat-out bad reactions they get when their present is unwrapped, the underlying message is somehow missed.

Although no gift is a sure thing (unless you were told what to buy), there are certain realms sane individuals needs to stay away from. To be safe, go over this material before conjuring up your list and avoid epic failure. Don’t be “that guy” (or lady) known for dropping duds so vile that even the biggest jerk won’t re-gift the stuff.


Every time I ingest a piece of fruitcake the motivation is either vile curiosity or extreme hunger. A part of me wonders if it could possibly be as stale or overabundantly rich as it was last year. The green candied fruit is as artificial tasting as it is outlandishly sweet. Usually unhealthy food tastes good but fruitcake is the exception to the rule. Purchasing this atrocity for gifting is like wishing heart disease upon your closest friends and relatives. Don’t be conned by the seasonal availability. Apparently that is the only way even marketing geniuses can sell it.

Socks and Underwear

The most common excuse for giving socks and underwear is that “everyone needs it”. Although this is true it doesn’t make it any less creepy. There is something adherently uncomfortable about a close relative picking out your undergarments. To make matters worse it’s unimaginative and dull. Christmas is about buying extravagant items you don’t need, not loading up on necessities.


Gifting money is a touchy thing. It’s kind of like tossing breath mints at a person with a serious case of halitosis and taking three steps back. The gesture will probably be appreciated by a teen or college kid but if you give it to say a young professional keen on making it in the world, it will be seen as a knock, even if it is direly needed. If the recipient has any degree of pride, he or she will feel like a charity case. Perhaps there is a more subtle way to help out your less fortunate family members.

Garden Sculptures

Kitsch spreads like a disease, especially when it comes to garden decorations. Even someone with normally good taste may succumb to the pressures of a jolly gnome or pink flamingo. It’s kind of funny, right? Wrong! Don’t be duped into tossing these wolves in sheep’s clothing on your lawn, even temporarily and in the spirit of irony. Burning your garden friends is necessary as the eyesore of tackiness it creates may infect the entire neighbourhood.

Christmas Music

Yes, the season is upon us. However don’t get so drunk on eggnog as to believe that everyone enjoys festive song filling the air. A good number passionately loathe Christmas music because it is tough to escape from when December rolls around. Even if your close ones enjoy generic pop, that still doesn’t guarantee that Mariah’s ‘Merry Christmas II You’ CD will be a winner. Stick to albums you know will be appreciated year round.

Gift Certificate from a Generic Superstore

Chances are you shop at Wal-mart from time to time. You might not be proud of it but you do. It is incredibly practical to give someone a Wal-mart gift certificate and that is part of the problem. Gift certificates are cop outs unless it is for a service or restaurant. To top it off a store with mass appeal was chosen emphasising that the purchaser knows nothing about you.

An Ugly Sweater

Your first hideous sweater is actually a good thing. You might get the opportunity to wear it to an ‘ugly sweater party’ with your frat buddies. Any ugly sweater after that first is simply redundant. It’s not like you would step out in public with it on unless you had ‘sweater friends’ to protect you from the onslaught of violence.

Anything Used

Call me a snob but there are only certain things I can tolerate second-hand. For the most part I’ll avoid used clothing or anything that made plenty of contact with the bodies of unknown strangers. If the person giving the item used it first it’s definitely a no-no. There is nothing creepier than wearing a suit jacket your buddy used to pick up scantily clad gutter chicks.

Items Relating to Personal Care

You can’t buy someone a teeth whitening kit or an electric toothbrush without sending a message akin to “do something about your nasty teeth, brah.” The same thing goes for nose hair trimmers, toe nail clippers and the like. You don’t want to think about your uncle wiping his bum and tending to his comb-over either. Personal care is, well… personal.

As Seen On TV

So you got blasted on cheap Scotch one night and found Vince Shlomi to be charming on late night TV. Even if the box is opened that Slap Chop is still an impulse item you wanted for yourself before you came to senses. Despite the best efforts of infomercial hype, it will land up in the closet once the receiver discovers how cheaply made it really is. 


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    • profile image

      cat 6 years ago

      I know I would not want that for christmas so I completely understand, but the cash one isn't so bad since you can buy what you want rather then getting sometghing that you will never use.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 7 years ago from USA

      Now I'll have to revise my whole Christmas list...

    • M Selvey, MSc profile image

      M Selvey, MSc 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Voted up, funny and so true!!! Excellent!