Worst holiday gifts
These real-life examples go way beyond fruitcake and socks.
One oven mitt -- half of a cheap set. A loaf of store-bought white bread. A used breast pump. These are some of the “worst” gifts we found on the Web.
For a thorough examination of how to avoid the most common pitfalls and also extreme gift-giving mistakes, read MP Dunleavey’s “15 worst holiday gift ideas” at MSN Money. But we thought it would be fun to find real-life examples.
Sure, what constitutes a good or bad gift is subjective. For instance, Bukisa.com says men should never give women a set of pans, but we know of some pans we’d be happy to receive. But we do agree with Bukisa’s point that major appliances are a home improvement, not a present. (On the other hand, Michelle at Find Your Balance wrote at MomGrind: “My husband and I have agreed to forgo gifts and instead get a house-cleaning service for 2010. I can’t wait!”)
Here are some real-life “worst” gifts we rounded up:
From Lansing MomsLikeMe:
- "SpartanMama" said a boyfriend once gave her a value pack of queen-size pantyhose -- 20 pairs -- and she weighed 115 pounds. Time to read “20 money-saving ways to reuse old pantyhose” at Wise Bread.
- A Zippo lighter with a photo of a man bowling was presented to “Suey59” by her husband.
- Barbies for a seventh-grader. Age-appropriate -- maybe 40 or 50 years ago.
- That loaf of white bread.
- Instead of the engagement ring she expected, “StephanieM-K” received a label maker so she could make labels for the boyfriend’s professional stuff.
Stylelist is running a worst-gift competition. The winner gets a J.C. Penney gift card, and any woman unhappy with her gift can nominate the offender for Penney’s virtual doghouse. Some of the entries:
- A used breast pump.
- A scale -- presumably the bathroom variety. (As they say, is that a hint or a mint?)
- A green polyester track suit decorated with cowboy hats and boots.
- Toilet paper. (More than one person mentioned this.)
- A necklace purchased for another woman. She had dumped the gifter before he could give it to her.
- A bat-shaped candy dish.
- An Andy Gibb doll.
- The single oven mitt -- half of a set -- from a dollar store. That’s beyond frugal.
- A back shaver.
- A scented toilet seat.
- A pillow with a beating heart.
Real examples left by readers at MomGrind’s post “Worst Christmas gifts” include:
- A Starbucks gift card for a person who hates coffee.
- A device that allows women to urinate while standing up. Handy, but a tad too personal, perhaps.
- A stocking full of outdated packages of nuts from a mother-in-law who cashiered at a gas station.
From miscellaneous sites:
- Control-top panties from an MIL.
- A grave plot. Lovely.
Can you top these? What is your solution to unwanted gifts? Cash? We like the charitable gift card idea.
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Even those who don't like to shop are probably hitting the stores this month. Here's what to be on the lookout for and here's what to avoid.