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Christmas Gifts to Avoid

By Edited Mar 9, 2016 5 18

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Everyone has received bad Christmas gifts before. Here are types of gifts you should avoid. There are exceptions to many of these, but these are good guidelines to keep you out of trouble with your friends and family this Christmas.

Passive Aggressive Gifts

Whether you intend to send the message, "you need help to stay clean and neat" or not, avoid gifts that can be taken in a negative way. These include personal hygiene products such as toothbrushes and deodorant. Your teenage son, who probably needs these the most, will not appreciate them. Maybe it would be fine if your son or friend told you the exact electric razor he wanted for Christmas, but otherwise stay away from this category of gifts.

Your office mates will not appreciate the ear and nose hair trimmer that you give. Maybe all of the other people in the office would benefit, but you don't want to be the one giving the blackhead remover to a co-worker. That goes for giving out a year's supply of diet pills or buying a gym membership for someone.

Joke or Gag Gifts

Often these gifts are not that funny. Unless you are at an event like a White Elephant gift exchange where these types of gifts are expected, then you are probably better off not giving them. Gag gifts can be funny for about 30 minutes, but after that they will probably find their way to the trash can or the bottom of the closet.

However, if you are buying gifts for a clown, these might be perfect. Just be careful about calling your mother-in-law a clown and thinking she will enjoy a whoopee cushion.

Tasteless and Unthoughtful Gifts

Your vegetarian friend won't appreciate, and will probably be offended by, your gift of The Real Meat Cookbook. Musical boxer shorts for your boss would fall into the category of tasteless. You should avoid that great deal on the Girls Gone Wild DVD collection for your church staff.

Totally tacky is giving away a single grocery item with a "buy one, get one free" sticker still attached. Toilet brushes also don't rank very high in the Christmas gift giving spirit.

There is the ever popular "socks and underwear" gift. When we were kids we hated getting these. However, when we grew up and had to start buying clothes with our own money, socks and underwear don't seem so terrible. I did read a tip for guys buying lingerie for your lady: unless she tears out the page from the Victoria's Secret catalog and circles the exact item and size, then don't even consider lingerie as a Christmas gift. Sounds like this was wise advice from someone who made the mistake

Used Gifts

Hand me down clothes and your old skis fit into this category. We all agree that there is no reason to throw something away if it still has good life left in it. But these are the types of things you give out of kindness-not as Christmas gifts.

Homemade Gifts

Not all homemade gifts are bad. Sometimes they can be the best gifts you can give. A good example is homemade food related items. But you should probably stick to these items only if you are good at them. My wife is such an excellent cookie baker that we get invited to events just so we will bring cookies, but if you manage to burn water while cooking, you should probably avoid food related gifts.

Giving away homemade sweaters will probably not be as appreciated as you would hope, unless you are grandma and it is expected. Especially if the person does not wear sweaters. That is just as thoughtless as giving The Real Meat Cookbook to a vegetarian. Again, if you are known for the quality of sweaters you make and the recipient has shown interest in them, then they may be a great choice. But just because you know how to make something does not mean that it is the right gift for everyone on your list.

Surging Hamster
Animals as Gifts

Only if you know the person wants a particular animal companion, you should avoid live animals as gifts. Of course, if your children want a puppy, and you are willing to take care of it, then an animal is a perfect gift. But, typically, for your casual friends and office companions, animals should be avoided as gifts. Animals can be a blessing and a burden. Don't be the one who gifted the burden.

The exception to this is maybe your office-mate wanted a hamster for Christmas, yet he probably wants to be able to pick out the hamster at the pet store himself to find the color and personality of his choice. While gift cards are typically seen as thoughtless gifts, this is a great use for one. It shows that you knew what the person wanted, but also realize how personal such a choice can be.

Gift Cards

This is a gift that has gone back and forth in popularity. When these little cards first became popular a few years ago, they were a big hit (though gift certificates have been around for many years). Gift cards were seen as a way to allow the recipient to get whatever they wanted, up to the amount of the card. Or, they could combine a couple of cards and a bit of cash to get a really great gift for themselves. The problem now is that a card to a store says, "You try to figure out what you want at this store because I couldn't take the time to pick out something thoughtful." Today, gift cards are seen as a thoughtless way to ease your conscious when giving gifts.

In defense of gift cards there are times when they are not only appropriate, but appreciated. If you have a friend or relative who is really passionate about a subject you know nothing about, then a gift card can be helpful. For example, you know your sister is a fanatic about cooking and buys quality tools for her kitchen. You want her to have something special, but wouldn't know a good knife from a screwdriver. Find out where she gets most of her cooking utensils and get her a gift card from there. That is thoughtful and appreciated.

Your Worst Gifts

Maybe you have gotten one worse than these. Take a moment to share in the comments below what you think are the worst gifts you have ever gotten or have heard of.

Maybe you have your own list of good and bad gifts for Christmas, or any time of the year. Write an article on Info Barrel to tell us more.



Nov 19, 2010 12:04pm
This is a great article dpeach!! It made me giggle. My worst gift is probably the year my husband got me a Sit & Spin - yes, the children's toy! I had told him a story about how I wanted one through my entire childhood but my parents wouldn't get me one and how I still wished I could have one. It was a very sweet and thoughtful attempt, but the weight limit on one of these is about 60 pounds... I'm just a tad past that now!
Nov 19, 2010 12:15pm
Hehe. That is funny. I have been trying to think of the worst gift I have ever gotten, but nothing comes to mind...thankfully. I either haven't gotten one that is too bad yet, or I have a short memory. Probably the latter.
Nov 19, 2010 1:06pm
very nice article good point about Animals as Gifts
Nov 19, 2010 8:53pm
Thanks BlogMakesMoney. Animal gifts are for your kids. For adults it is best to let them choose on their own.
Nov 19, 2010 4:11pm
Very funny article about which Christmas gifts to avoid. However, there is a possibility that some will use your tips the other way around, :) giving gifts to their worst friends.
Nov 19, 2010 8:54pm
I originally intended this to be a humorous article about the worst gifts I read about online.

Certainly good tips for buying for that certain someone at the office who always leaves his dirty coffee cup for someone else to wash.
Nov 19, 2010 11:50pm
It seems like you're a very good writer, dpeach. I enjoyed reading it.
Nov 20, 2010 7:19am
Thanks for the compliment freedomw. I enjoyed writing this one. Some come easy and others don't. This one was pretty easy.
Nov 20, 2010 9:53am
Thanks for this funny article. Good to know - but it really depends on a variety of factors. I like gift cards (that's why I participate in the monthly contests -:))
Nov 20, 2010 11:15am
(shh, don't tell anyone, but I like gift cards too.) Yes, I think it really depends on the person you are giving the gift to. Whether you break one of these suggestions are not is not what is important. It is important that you give a gift that shows you thought about the recipient and wanted to get them something special.
Nov 20, 2010 11:19pm
Dpeach you are so right it is supposed to be the thought that counts and the thoughtful link to mine helps me too. thanks again for the help. great laugh with this one, and yes we sure need more laughs people are too serious these days.
Nov 21, 2010 6:32am
Some of us are laugh-ers all the time, but maybe Christmas will help the others. Thanks for the comment.
Nov 21, 2010 9:18pm
Thanks for this list. Some of these I also received myself. But in our country, any gift is fine even if it's a toothbrush or deodorant. haha. nice write.
Nov 21, 2010 9:43pm
I don't turn down gifts either.

Thanks for the comment Athena.
Nov 30, 2010 11:52am
I know socks are a dull gift, but I actually love getting cashmere ones for Christmas! Some very good 'what not to buy' advice in this article - good work!
Nov 30, 2010 3:05pm
Thanks for the comment JoSwann. Yes, specialty socks are an exception. I am actually eagerly awaiting some socks that I recently won in a drawing. I would be thrilled to get certain socks as gifts.
Jun 10, 2011 10:22pm
I was searching around IB and just found this article. Very funny! As a teacher, I have gotten some doozy gifts, but my favorites are gift cards or nice jewelry. My friend gets the prize for worst gift ever given to her kids. Her SIL gave them books for Christmas...the free ones that came inside the Cherrios box! They knew because they already owned the same exact one.
Jun 10, 2011 10:29pm
Ah, cereal box books. That sounds funny and sad at the same time.
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