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22 Bad Christmas Presents You Should Avoid

Young woman shows disappointment in Christmas gift

Once in a while, everyone receives a gift that isn't exactly to his or her personal taste. However, a truly bad Christmas gift takes some effort. Whether you're looking for a funny and terrible gift to give for the holidays or are simply curious about what makes a gift really awful, these ideas can help.

Truly Terrible Christmas Gifts

Terrible Christmas presents are all over the market. From gifts about diet and exercise to those that mean death, make sure that you don't make the bad gift faux pas. You don't want your gift to be the talk of the family for the wrong reasons.

Foods That Flaunt Dietary Restrictions

In many cases, food makes a great Christmas gift. You can bake cookies for the neighbors, buy your mom a wine-of-the-month club membership, or give your grandma a box of truffles. However, these gifts become far less charming when they go against the dietary restrictions of the recipient. These are a few quick and easy ways to get on the worst Christmas gift ever list:

  • Sugar cookies for someone with Celiac disease
  • Delicious candy for a diabetic
  • A nice bottle of wine for a recovering alcoholic
  • Strawberry jam for someone who is allergic to strawberries
  • Meringue cookies for those allergic to eggs
  • Peanut brittle for a person with a peanut allergy

Cemetery Plot or Headstone

It's hard to imagine a gift that's in poorer taste than a Christmas present that consists of a cemetery plot. Whether the recipient is eight or eighty, this present just isn't in the holiday spirit. Although cemetery plots can be pricey, the morbid nature of this gift will always outweigh your generosity.

Similarly, it's best to stay away from giving someone a custom-engraved headstone, such as those from Personalized gifts are great, but it's better to stick to those that benefit the living. Try a tote bag or t-shirt instead.

Pet Hair Crafting Books

It's fun to buy a gift for a pet lover. After all, it's hard to go wrong if you purchase something that involves their precious furry friend. Unfortunately, there are a couple of options out there that it's best to avoid:

Cleaning Supplies

In addition to being boring, a gift of cleaning supplies is easy to interpret as a thinly veiled insult. This includes appliances like vacuum cleaners and carpet cleaners, as well as standard supplies like mops, buckets, brooms, and toilet brushes. The same goes for a gift certificate to a cleaning agency.

Bacon Car Air Freshener

The Mr. Bacon Air Freshener is another bad choice for a Christmas present. There's nothing quite as enticing as the smell of bacon frying for your morning breakfast or some tasty BLTs. However, like many real-world odors, this smell doesn't translate well to the world of artificially scented air fresheners. Not only do reviewers on say that this air freshener smells disgusting, but it's also not the most attractive object to see hanging for your car's rearview mirror.


Shapewear is something you should never buy as a gift. In addition to sizing and comfort issues, this kind of present can be extremely insulting. For instance, if you buy a woman a pair of thigh-slimming shorts, she's going to think you're criticizing her legs. Similarly, a waist cincher can send the wrong message, especially around the holidays. Whether it's Spanx for women or Insta Slim for men, it's best to skip these slimming gifts.

Padded Underwear

On the flip side, you also want to avoid giving shapewear that adds curves to a person's body. Stay away from push-up bras or padded underwear, like the backside enhancer Booty Pop, for the ladies in your life.

Travel Wine Glass

A travel mug always makes a practical present, especially for a coffee enthusiast. However, the gift isn't quite as appropriate when it applies to alcohol. The version from Vino2Go, which retails for less than $20 for two, is inappropriate for several reasons. First and foremost, drinking and driving is incredibly dangerous and illegal in every state; secondly, adults with small children may not appreciate the confusion this particular sippy cup could bring; and finally, needing a lid for one's alcohol less-than-subtly implies a person may have trouble holding his or her liquor, both literally and figuratively.

Re-Gift With Original Label

Sometimes you get a gift that isn't right for you but might be right for someone you know. While regifting falls into a gray area in the world of etiquette, it's a common practice. However, certain guidelines should apply. Step one is always to remove the original gift label with your name on it.

Obnoxious Pop Singer Toothbrush

On its own, a toothbrush does not make a good Christmas gift, since it sends a message that the recipient has poor oral hygiene. This terrible present is made even worse by adding the vocal stylings of a pop singer to the mix. The Justin Bieber Singing Toothbrush, which retails for around $15, is an especially terrible choice. Even if you give this present to a teenage girl, you're inflicting pain on her parents.

Disturbing Animal Pajamas

In general, pajamas make a nice Christmas gift, particularly if you're sure of the recipient's size. However, the type of pajamas you buy are important. Anything too racy or too personal can be a bit awkward, but nothing is quite as disturbing as bunny pajamas when given to an adult. These adult-sized pajamas feature a zip-up front, fuzzy hook with pink and white ears, and even a pink puff tail on the rear. Find them, along with other animals like unicorns, dinosaurs, cows, chickens, and more, for around $25 in multiple sizes at various retailers.

Diet Cookbook

A cookbook is a fun gift for Christmas but choosing a diet version takes the fun out of it. It's another veiled way of telling someone they should lose weight, particularly when the title is as clear as The Drop 10 Diet Cookbook: More Than 100 Tasty, Easy Superfood Recipes That Effortlessly Peel Off Pounds by Lucy Danziger. Unless you know the recipient is working to diet, it's best to avoid this type of gift.

Belly Fanny Pack

If your friends or relatives are into the fanny pack look, this can be a nice gift to give. However, you want to make sure that you choose the right kind of fanny pack. Not too many people on your friends list can truly appreciate the belly fanny pack, which retails for about $13. If you are thinking about buying this, just don't.

Custom Face T-Shirt

There is a time and a place that a face t-shirt might be a perfect gift for under $30, like if you are giving a gift with your child's face. However, giving a gift to your significant other with their own or your face plastered across it isn't the best idea. Unless your friend or family member has a fun sense of humor, this gift is a big no no.

Fried Chicken Pants

Just like pajamas, pants or leggings in their own right can be a great gift. Not only do they come in all kinds of styles, they can work for just about everyone on your list. When you are choosing the right type of pants, you'll want to steer clear of novelty or costume pants like these fried chicken leggings. These laughter-inducing fashion faux pas can be easily purchased in multiple styles for about $13.

Collapsible Straw

Novelty gifts can be great especially for those that enjoy them. But, unless you have a true straw connoisseur or someone who is earth conscious, a collapsible straw keychain might not get the ohhs and ahhs that you were hoping for. Do yourself a favor and save that $25 for a gift they will truly enjoy.

Underpants Gloves

You might be trying to go for an original gift rather than the same old hat and gloves. Rather than go to the extreme with the underpants gloves with stitching and waistband for $10, think of something more tasteful like knit gloves. While these gloves will definitely garner a laugh or two, the gift receiver might not appreciate these fingerless beauties as much as you think.

Boyfriend Rest Pillow

Pillows can be wonderful gifts for those hard to buy individuals. Choosing a novelty pillow like the boyfriend pillow, for around $16, can go south really fast. While the cuddle value with the arm and flannel shirt is great, the receiver might think that you are commenting on their lack of a significant other. Rather than offend, stick to the neck or memory foam pillows.

Dog Mustache

I mustache you a question? Do you want a dog mustache? While this dog mustache toy (around $16) might seem like a great gift for those pet lovers on your Christmas list, this might not be something they enjoy as much as you think. Plus, you need to think about the dog too.

Voodoo Doll

Your sister might complain a lot about her boss. Therefore, it would seem that a boss voodoo doll with pins and pre-printed phrases would be the perfect gift for that $20 dollar limit. To save their boss and not invoke the voodoo spirits, think more along the lines of a tablet or journal.

Beer Candle

Unless your family falls under the "You might be a redneck if," beer might not be the Christmas gift of choice. Making it swanky by turning it into a Citronelle beer candle follows along those same lines. While this $8 gift might keep the "skeeters" away, not everyone can truly appreciate the originality of it. Go a little less original and think more Yankee candle and less Bud Light.

Spider Bobblehead

Unless you have a huge sports fan or souvenir collector, bobbleheads of all kinds are a bad choice. Make it truly a detestable gift by giving it eight legs and eyes. Retailing for $10, this spider bobblehead might have the opener squealing, but it probably won't be in excitement.

What Bad Gifts Have in Common

Buying bad Christmas presents ultimately comes down to a lack of thought about the recipient's feelings. As long as you consider the tastes and needs of the person receiving the gift, your presents will never fall into this category.

22 Bad Christmas Presents You Should Avoid