Skip navigation

What are the worst gifts ever? Results from our holiday shopping survey.

Worst gifts ever

The worst gifts ever: holiday edition!

Ah, the holidays. It brings out the best in the worst gift-givers among us. From regifted socks to fruitcake, you truly can’t make this stuff up.

In October, Ting released a holiday shopping survey, where one of the last questions was: Have you ever received a truly terrible holiday gift? For those that answered Yes, we gave them the opportunity to vent a little and tell us about the gift in question.

Who gives the worst gifts?

Before we dive into our list, let’s first point the finger at some of the worst gift-givers, as reported by our survey respondents.

Grandparents were common, and parents of course. Not to mention in-laws. Husbands also seemed to come up time and time again as givers of less-than-thoughtful presents. One husband gifted a vacuum cleaner and another a microwave. We’d suggest skipping the kitchen and cleaning appliances as a rule, but take it or leave it.

On that note, here it is. The top 10 worst Christmas gifts in no particular order.

Worst gifts

    1. Your favorite junk food or snack when you’re on a diet.
    1. A laser pointer that doesn’t work.
    1. A doormat.
    1. A dog bed for your children (you don’t have any dogs).
    1. Floormats for your car and windshield washer fluid.
    1. Ear wax cleaner.
    1. A box of cereal.
    1. A set of makeup brushes that were “free with purchase.”
    1. A pencil with the name Joseph on it. Your name is not Joseph.
  1. A Coby CD player instead of the Sony CD player you wanted. When you open it up, the CD door falls off.

How to give a great gift

worst gifts ever

According to our survey, 77% of people consider themselves to be good gift givers. That leaves 23% of people who could use a little help in the gift-giving department.

How to give a good gift? We’ll outline some good gifts to give below. If you think your gift-giving game could use a little sprucing up, consider the following list as a little guide to get you started.

1. Listen

And maybe even ask, a little earlier in the year (so as not to arouse suspicion) about what people on your list want or need. If you share an Amazon account, taking a peek at that Wishlist can’t hurt either.

2. You don’t have to spend big

Secondhand doesn’t have to mean regifting. There are a ton of items, gently used and like new, on sites like Facebook Marketplace. If you’re crafty or artistic why not make a gift? And if you’re not, check out Etsy for beautiful, handcrafted items that don’t break the bank.

3. Go for something sentimental

Only 19% of people said that sentimentality is their first consideration when shopping for gifts. 54% of people said practical necessity was their primary influence, but that might not be the best course of action. We’re certain the family member who gifted windshield washer fluid believed they were gifting something very practical, for instance.

4. Make a plan

57% of people say they don’t plan their holiday shopping at all, they just wing it! This can lead to impulse purchases and last minute shopping where gifts can end up being a little less than thoughtful. Start thinking about your list early.

Looking for more holiday shopping tips?

Check out our post on the best shopping apps and websites to help you save and our top five holiday shopping tips.

Score a deal in the Ting Shop

Score a deal in the Ting Shop

What’s In Store