6 Christmas gifts no one on your list wants to receive

Now that we’re fully ensconced in the big marketing push to buy literally everything before the end of December, let this handy guide steer your purchases away from the worst gift ideas invented.
Don't disappoint people with what's under that wrapping paper. (Shutterstock)

This piece was originally published on Nov. 26, 2018.

'Tis the season for ugly, scratchy sweaters and awkward gift exchanges in which you're never paired with whom you'd hoped.

There's a lot of pressure to buy the perfect gift for everyone on your list before Santa's Big Day. You know underwear, fridge magnets and pets are out — you're not that stupid (read: desperate) — but the frenzy may lead you to succumb to other trash-worthy ideas.

Now that we're fully ensconced in the big marketing push to buy literally everything before the end of December, let this handy guide steer your purchases away from the worst gift ideas invented.

1. Single-purpose kitchen items

While a segmented apple slicer is a godsend for families with small children and folks with limited fine motor skills, nobody on Earth needs an avocado slicer. Or an egg slicer. How many of us actually need spiral cut potatoes on a regular basis? Actually, who needs spiral-cut potatoes at all? Curly fries is where it's at.

This is an avocado slicer. It's only good for slicing avocados.

2. Blankets that can be worn as coveralls

Nobody's saying you shouldn't have one of these. Or seven. Or a blanket-you-can-wear-as-a-housecoat that also has air-sprayed abs on it. But this is an intimate purchase. You don't just go and buy a wearable blanket for your boss. When you're at the point in your life where you've accepted that a blanket with arm holes is the source of snuggles you need on the regular (and that may be the only place you're going to get them), you want to get to know it a little — maybe test it out on the porch first before you bring it in.

3. 11-in-one tools

They never work. Never. If you can even manage to extract the Robertson end from the kajillion options (which you never can because apparently you need a tool to get into the tools), it's not the right size, the metal is softer than the metal of the screw you're trying to tighten/loosen, and inevitably, you end up taking a chunk out of your hand or arm or leg. And then they break.

4. Plastic toys with speakers

Everyone who has had to share space with a small child knows they're loud. Small children can reach the same decibel level as train horns, jet engines and volcanic eruptions. Why in the name of all that's holy (and a lot is at Christmas) do you want to make them more noisy? You don't. Nobody wants that.*

This boy may look cute but he'll turn into a menace with a noise-making toy. (Shutterstock)

*Note: If you have siblings with children or if you're good friends with someone who has small children, and if your loving relationship is built on gently torturing each other, giving a particularly annoying gift to your loved one's small children is perfectly acceptable. I love my cousins to death and had no problem sending home a drum kit for one of their kids.

5. Mugs

If the statement you wish to make with your gift-giving is "I forgot to get you something while I was on vacation so I picked up this mug in the airport gift shop," fill your boots. There's probably an entire black market trade in unused, re-gifted mugs. And it's not like the Big Mugs Industry doesn't know about it. They've gotten creative. They put bears in mugs (stuffed bears, not actual bears, although that would be an exception to the "mugs are boring" rule), flowers in mugs, candy in mugs, hot cocoa packets in mugs. The only gift more uncool than a mug is a mug full of fridge magnets.

6. Anything sex-related for anyone you're not having sex with



Jillian S. Bell

Freelance writer

Jillian Bell is a writer and freelance editor living in the impossibly beautiful Qu'Appelle Valley. She is an avid reader, gamer, textile artist and passable oboeist. Oboer? She plays oboe. Also, the deer eat her garden, so she's also keen on buying produce from local farmers' markets.


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