gifts no one wants
Cheapism

Gifts No One Wants to Get This Holiday Season

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gifts no one wants
Cheapism

Unpresentable

Some gifts may as well come with a card saying "I didn't put much thought into this." When that's the case, it's often a better idea to spend time with someone rather than waste money on a gift card, cheap cat toy, or another thoughtless present. If you want to make sure you're not on the naughty list this holiday season, avoid the following items off our list of the worst Christmas gifts.


Try This Instead: 100 Thoughtful and Useful Holiday Gifts Under $100

Scented Candles
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Scented Candles

Just don't. We all know scented candles come from the bargain aisle at discount stores, and most don't even smell good. Scented candles are subjective enough that people should be picking out their own anyway if they really want them. Bottom line? They're bad Christmas gifts destined for the back of a junk drawer, the charity box — or the regifting pile.


Try This Instead: 100 Christmas Gifts for $25 or Less

A Cute Mug
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gift cards
AnthonyRosenberg

Gift Cards

When you give someone a gift card, you're telling them that you haven't put any thought into their present. After all, is there anything more forgettable than a small, disposable piece of plastic? Suffice to say that there's almost always a better alternative than an impersonal gift card.


Try This Instead: Fun Gifts for the Entire Family

Socks
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Socks

It might not be the worst Christmas present, but this utilitarian gift is just a tad too practical and boring. Hand-knitted booties can be a cute thing to make for someone, but store-bought socks are hard to get excited about.


Try This Instead: Unusual Gifts They'll Never See Coming

Any Cosmetics
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Keychain
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Picture Frame
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Picture Frame

This passes when it's a gift from a young child, but adults shouldn't give picture frames to each other. While it's not exactly a necessity, it isn't a luxury either. The giver can't guarantee it matches the recipient's other frames and style, or if there's even a picture to put in it. (If you’re interested in photo opportunities for your own home, check out these 11 Cheap Ways to Print and Display Your Photos.)


Try This Instead: Best Gift Ideas for Photographers from Newbies to Pros

Holiday Sweater
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Holiday Sweater

Holiday sweaters are not useful all year-round, are bulky, and also usually ugly. Even the hand-knitted sweater from grandma ends up in the back of the drawer or a charity pile sooner or later. Also, how many sweaters can one person have?


Try This Instead: 30 Holiday Gifts to Buy Early

Anything for a Pet
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A T-Shirt
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A T-Shirt

Most people have more than enough T-shirts to last a few lifetimes, and adding to someone's clutter isn't really thoughtful. Clothing in general can be tricky, but something as basic as a T-shirt is one of the worst offenders since it is so commonplace.


Try This Instead: Cool Gifts That Are Made in America

'Best Dad Ever' Mug
Amazon

'World's Greatest' Anything

Anything with this concept — a mug, sweatshirt, bumper sticker — is off the table. It's cute for about two seconds but is more meaningful written in a card, with thoughts about how the recipient has been the world's greatest whatever.


Try This Instead: Christmas Gifts Under $25 for Grandma and Grandpa

Pets
JillLang/istockphoto

Pets

Pets are amazing, but not as gifts. Giving someone anything that needs to be taken care of is more of a burden than a gift, even when it's a plant. A puppy, kitten, bird, or other pet can be stressful and expensive for the giftee.


Try This Instead: Pet Portraits and Other Personalized Gifts for Animal Lovers

Exercise Equipment
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Calendar
Amazon

Calendar

Calendars are office supplies, not fun presents. They can also be highly personal, including what size, theme, or layout works best. More often than not, novelty calendar gifts are laughed at for their images once or twice and set aside until it's too late to be used.


Still want to get them a calendar? Keep things interesting with an Advent Calendar for Wine Lovers or A Chocolate-Themed Advent Calendar for Sweet Tooths.

Knick-Knacks
AndreyAKazakov/istockphoto
Self-Help Books
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Self-Help Books

These "gifts" are generally well intentioned, but giving someone a self-help book is a not-so-subtle way of telling someone you don't think they are in a good place. A gift should be exciting and uplifting, not a commentary on how you view their lifestyle.


Try This Instead: Gifts for Couples That'll Make Them Both Happy

DVDs or CDs
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DVDs or CDs

There was a time when a good DVD or CD was an excellent gift, but technology moves fast and these gifts are now stuck in the past. The recipient may be known to resist technological advancement and still use them, but do you really want to encourage that? Maybe a streaming service would be a better option.


Try This Instead: Best Gifts for Movie Buffs

Cash
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Anything That Has to Do With Dieting
Amazon

Anything That Has to Do With Dieting

Certain cookbooks, food products, and supplements — literally anything that has to do with dieting is a big mistake as a gift. For those concerned about their diets, the holidays bring enough stress, and they don't need someone else's judgment masquerading as a gift. Even if it could be of use, this often comes off as hurtful.


Try This Instead: Thoughtful Gifts for Sisters

Cleaning Supplies
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Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning is not fun, and cleaning supplies are not a gift. Similarly, booking a professional cleaner to give someone the day off is a nice gesture but not a real gift.


Try This Instead: Best Gifts for Plant Lovers and Green Thumbs

As Seen on TV Big Vision Glasses
Amazon

Anything From an Infomercial

There's a reason these products are sold to sleep-deprived people at odd hours of the morning. (And, FYI, it's not a great look for holiday shopping to be done at 4 a.m.) These items also have a reputation for being both cheap in price and quality.


Try This Instead: Show Some Brotherly Love With These Great Gifts for Brothers

Bulk Candy
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Soap
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Holiday or Seasonally Themed Items
JackF/istockphoto

Holiday or Seasonally Themed Items

It's easy to get swept up in the holiday spirit and gravitate toward the theme, but anything that stays in a box 10 months out of the year is not a great gift option. Opt instead for something that can remind the recipient of your relationship the entire year.


Try This Instead: The Best Personalized Ornaments for the Holidays

A Tie or Scarf
Juanmonino/istockphoto

A Tie or Scarf

It's tempting to give men a tie and women a scarf, but there's such a thing as too many scarves and ties. If the recipient wears these items, they have plenty; if they don't, they probably don't need them. It's especially bad to gift novelty ties or scarves while expecting them to be worn with pride.


Try This Instead: Gifts for Men Who Have Everything

A Pen
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