This article is a response to,Nine of the Worst Holiday Gift Ideas , established on October 25, 2006.
After reading the above cited article regarding the nine worst gift ideas for the holidays, I realized that there were even more really bad gift ideas to share. In order to write this list, I had to go back a few decades and relive memories of the shock and horror of receiving gifts that seemed to have questionable messages attached to the meaning. The gifts on this list should be avoided at all costs, unless you really are trying to make your point in a, subtle or not-so-subtle way. In fact, this list may be the only one you need this year when shopping for a miserable co-worker, rotten boss, or cheap relative.
Who would actually give a gift of bad nuts, you ask? Let me count the canisters. Nuts sell at record highs over the holiday season. Like squirrels foraging for the long cold winter, there are people out there that believe that you too may need a twenty pound vat of peanuts this cold season. Blame it on some twisted survival instinct or the desire to send you into peanut shock, but the fact remains that some gift-givers choose nuts in every form to hand out each year. Peanuts are the least expensive, so you know that you were not worthy of California Almonds to this person, and not even a honey roast.
The real problem with nuts as a gift is that people sometimes give bad nuts. Really bad nuts will send you to the porcelain throne for the night. If the canister doesn’t read Planters, don’t take the risk. Bad nuts can be found at dollar stores under generic name brands, in the back of cupboards from last year, and at the bottom of the bulk nut bins. Assume that some people may not even like nuts, let alone nuts that will make them hurl.
**This bad gift idea is based on a true story about a bag of bad pistachios that my father received one year as a gift
Inappropriate Personal Items
The list of really bad gifts here is quite long. There are so many ways to embarrass someone with a personal gift. Have you ever given a man-thong or a water bra? These are both really bad ideas for people who will be opening them in front of others Blow-up dolls for people who have suffered a recent break up, shampoo for balding men, and a cookie basket for someone trying to lose weight are all very bad gift ideas.
The other kind of inappropriate personal gift is the kind that says too much. This type of gift is overly sentimental, too expensive, or just creepy. These gifts make the recipient feel like a fool because they slipped you a $5 pack of Tim Hortons gift certificates and you had a heart shaped gold jewelry box engraved at Things Remembered for them.
*Sadly, I have been the recipient of at least one of these inappropriate personal gifts
Bad Music and Cheap Books
Bad music has good intentions usually. The giver knows that you like Classic Rock or Country music and finds a 5 for $10 sale on bargain bin CD’s. You then receive a collection of the music that some band made in 1973 in their garage. Never buy the gift of music just based on a type of music. Because you can never know what CDs a person may already have, avoid this type of gift unless the person has requested it specifically.
Nothing pains a real book lover more than receiving a boxed set of retired Harlequin Romances. Just because the person likes to read, does not mean that they like to read anything. Again, go with specific here if you really want to give the gift of reading to someone. Check the top seller lists, ask around, buy a Barnes and Noble gift certificate and save yourself the shame. Avoid giving books to teenage boys instead of the Playstation 2 game they had their heart set on.
*It’s always interesting for a music lover to open a gift of Top Hits sung by amateurs.
Anything Seen on TV
These are the actual “As Seen On TV” gifts that rule the networks every night after three in the morning. It’s okay to admit that you’ve always wondered if these miracle gadgets really can slice ten onions in three seconds or take twenty years off of your face with an at-home face lift kit. Your own curiosity is enough. Do not buy these miracle worker gifts for friends, family, or co-workers unless the gift is meant for a joke. I do not want electric plug-in booty socks to keep my feet warm this winter or one of those smoothie makers that comes with seven bonus parts. Stay away from Magic Rocks too. I was re-gifted with them last year and they work for about two hours before they begin to disintegrate.
*Jessica Simpson does not necessarily use the Proactive that she promotes on the television advertisements and you could really offend some innocent friend with this gift
Clearance Rack, Out-of-Season, and Funky
Unless you are in a ten-year contest with your sister to see who can find the worst clearance rack gift for the least money each holiday season, avoid buying anything for someone that you care about if it has been marked down 75 percent. If you have a friend who lives in the tropics, then summer clothes might just be perfectly fine in December, but nothing says cheap more than the hidden clearance tag that you forgot to take off the gift. Funky is the fly pin that someone I know received one year. It was actually a dreaded housefly pin (as opposed to the slang term “fly” ) given to a fifteen year old girl as a gift. Do not get funky with gift choices just because you might wear it or use it.
Final Bad Gift Idea Thoughts
The majority of the gifts that I have listed are true stories. There isn’t enough Botox in the world to freeze a fake smile when you open one of these surprises. If you are gifting someone that you actually like with gift choices that are really bad, you may want to consider giving a card with money this year.
There are a few places where bad gifts are appropriate though. Office gift exchanges are always victim to the one bad gift that some cheapskate or eccentric brought in with fancy wrap to cover the fake marble vase with green felt glued on the bottom. This may be the place to give back your bad gift from last year.
Whatever you buy this holiday season, keep this list in mind and check your closet for those bad gifts that you received last year. I’m sure that the givers will be thrilled this holiday season when you wrap them back up with their name on the tag this time.