gifts no one wants
Cheapism

Gifts No One Wants to Get This Holiday Season

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gifts no one wants
Cheapism
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. As gifts, they are 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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A Cute Mug

If you think they're the kind of person who would like a mug, they probably already have their fair share. Most people have enough mugs and then some. If you insist on gifting glassware, go for something that speaks to their interest in beverages, which could be for something other than coffee.

Try This Instead: 50 Unique Holiday Gift Ideas for Him Under $50

Socks
David Becker/Getty Images

Socks

This is not really a gift; this is a utility item. Hand-knitted booties can be a cute thing to make for someone, but store-bought socks are hard to get excited about.

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Any Cosmetics
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Any Cosmetics

Anything that has to do with personal care or hygiene is also not a gift. These are useful items that are necessary, and gifting a necessity basically sends a message that all the recipient deserve is a nicer version of a necessity, rather than luxury or fun.

Try This Instead: 50 Unique Holiday Gifts for Her Under $50

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, so to speak, 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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Anything for a Pet

Even if the recipient is obsessed with their "fur babies," a gift for a pet is not a gift for them. If you want to get a gift for their pet, that is generous — just don't confuse that as the gift for their owners, who deserve their own treat.

Try This Instead: 20 Gifts for Dog-Obsessed Humans

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.

Related: 75 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: 35 Christmas Gifts Under $25 for Grandma and Grandpa

Pets
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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 an plant. A puppy, kitten, bird, or other pet are a cute idea that can cause a lot of tension, stress, and expense.

Try This Instead: 50 Great Gifts to Buy Your Grandkids

Exercise Equipment
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Exercise Equipment

Even if the recipient is a fitness buff, exercise gear and equipment can be touchy. It is easy to misinterpret the gift as a message that improvement is needed. If that's the message you're trying to send, don't do it under the guise of a holiday gift. Also, don't be so judgmental.

Try This Instead: 70 Hottest Gifts From Amazon

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.

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Knick-Knacks
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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 and choices.

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 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: Cool Secret Santa Gifts You'd Buy for Yourself

Cash
solidcolours/istockphoto
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: 20 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 being 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 of not only being cheap in price, but cheap in 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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Soap

It doesn't matter what shape it is, how it smells, or if it's made from special foreign ingredients. Soap is something we use to wash our hands — a necessity, not a luxury. Soap is something you get for free at motels, not something to get excited about unwrapping.

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Holiday or Seasonally Themed Items
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Holiday or Seasonally Themed Items

It's easy to get swept up in the holiday spirit and gravitate toward that 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: 12 Ideas for Filling a Christmas Gift Basket on a Budget

A Tie or Scarf
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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. Especially bad is giving novelty ties or scarves and expecting them to be worn with pride.

Try This Instead: Holiday Gifts You Can Get at the Dollar Store

A Pen
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A Pen

A pen is used for work, paying bills, and addressing letters. Even if the recipient did think of you every time they used it, would you really want to be associated with such humdrum tasks?

Try This Instead: 20 Clever and Creative Gifts for Book Lovers