The holiday season is here once again and with its arrival our anticipation begins… “What am I going to get?” Yes, it is the season of good cheer and brotherly love and all of that – but we know – we really know (wink, wink) what the excitement is all about. And nothing can spoil your holiday joy quicker than a terrible gift. Here are the ten worst gifts that you will want to avoid this and any other holiday season.
Everyone has vivid memories of the dreaded, yet seemingly always present, fruitcake. What are they? What are you supposed to do with them? No one really knows. In fact, there is no reliable information that they are even supposed to be eaten. Maybe the intent of this purported food stuff is decorative in nature. Unfortunately, most fruitcakes have a stomach unsettling appearance. Though one could argue the packages they come in are nice (remember when they use to come in those colorful, brown containers?). In reality, fruitcakes are one of those gifts that produce a smile when received but soon find its way into the trashcan when your guests have gone home.
9. Knitted Apparel
We all love grandma! Really, we love her and any other well-intentioned holiday gift giver. But those knitted sweaters, hats, gloves and the like just ain’t working. Let’s be real about it people – most of us wouldn’t be caught dead (literally, because we want to be fly even in the grave) wearing grandma’s homemade fashion line. A sad fact of life is that we are a very fashion conscious society. Unfortunately, the knitted sweater with the big sunflower will garner more snickers of amusement than of appreciation. You may feel obligated to try it on when grandma first gives you her knitted creation; other than that, it’s destined for the purgatory that is the box in the back of the closet.
8. Empty Christmas Cards
The axiom “it’s the thought that counts” was obviously coined by a monk who had made a vow against worldly possessions. Great for him, but the rest of us have other ideas. Certainly, a Christmas card is definitely a great way to show someone they haven’t been forgotten. However, a Christmas card with some money in it is an even better way of showing someone they haven’t been forgotten. Hey, we expect to see some “dead presidents” drop out of any kind of holiday card. Don’t believe me? What is the first thing we do when we get a Christmas card? Turn it upside down to watch the money/check fall out. If that doesn’t happen then we check the envelope. If that doesn’t pan out, we check the card again (as if the card may contain a secret compartment or something). What does all of this tell you? That empty Christmas cards are a dud.
7. Automotive Parts
We understand that there are products in the world that become necessary at times. When your car breaks down, for example, you have to get the parts to repair it. Cool, there’s nothing wrong with that. There is something wrong – dreadfully wrong – when you receive a gift-wrapped package of spark plugs and radiator fluid when the car is working just fine. Really people? A set of new tires just don’t have that Christmas feel to them. With the exception of picking up some cool John Deere toys, you are well advised not to make your local automotive shop a destination for Christmas shopping.
6. A Whatchamacallit
A what? Exactly – every year at least one person (usually the unstable cousin with the lazy eye) will give you a present and you won’t have a clue what it is. It will defy description and have no discernable utility or benefit. From the apparent confused look on your face, the aforementioned unstable cousin with the lazy eye will happily explain what this marvelous gift is. It won’t help. These types of gifts cannot even be given away at a garage sale. While they make great paperweights and Goodwill donations, they are not so good as Christmas gifts.
5. Used Clothes
It’s one thing to need and wear used clothes. It’s something completely different to actually give away used clothes as a Christmas gift. This is a violation of the gift giving code, “thou shall not give used/worn clothing as a gift.” Hand me downs 2-3 sizes too small or too large are simply not welcome. Clearly, used clothing is not going to be warmly received. The giftee will likely feel a bit insulted on the one hand and think you are cheap on the other. Do yourself a favor when considering this one and instead donate used clothing to the Salvation Army.
4. Pet Rocks
Ok, this was a terrible gift when it came out 30+ years ago and is still a terrible gift now. Come on – really!? You might as well give someone a hunk of coal. Sadly, the creator of the pet rock undoubtedly has made a fortune from our hard earned money by selling an item that he probably gets out of his back yard. It does nothing. It has no worthwhile utility. It is not even decorative. Why? Because it’s a ROCK! With a serious risk of getting hit in the head with a pet rock this gift is best left on the shelf.
I will admit – everyone wears socks. They are a common staple of Americana. They can make a fashion statement and keep your feet warm at the same time. But if we get them for a Christmas present, it’s just like we received a dead rabbit. Thoughts of “OMG, really?” flash through our minds; followed by a silent promise to cross the person that gave them to you off of your gift list for next year. Socks are like underwear in that we prefer to purchase these items personally. Anything else is just not civilized.
2. The Inconsiderate Gift
This is a gift that would actually be pretty cool if given under the right set of circumstances. The whole idea (or at least one of them) behind gift giving is to make people feel good. However, if you decide to give your overweight (i.e. fat) boyfriend or girlfriend a year’s membership to the local gym… Well, it may not be received in the loving spirit in which it was intended. Keep in mind the truism, “let the buyer beware” especially if you are gifting for your special someone. Otherwise, a day of cheer could end with you sleeping on the couch. (Image featured at VintageGoodness blog.)
1. The Non-Exchangeable Gift
This is the cardinal sin of gift giving. Never, never, never give the gift that can’t be returned. We live in the age of self-indulgence – it’s sad, but nevertheless, true. We like what we like and, more importantly, we want what we want. Our personal entitlement of gift exchange (a right of humanity if there ever was one) allows for us in the end to receive the most suitable gift. The exchangeable gift therefore, is the gift that keeps on giving… until we get what we want. The non-exchangeable gift is the anathema to all that is good. Just say no to the non-exchangeable.
by Lee Standberry