25 Bad Christmas Presents You Should Avoid

Updated July 29, 2021
Young woman shows disappointment in Christmas gift

Once in a while, everyone receives a gift that doesn't exactly suit their personal taste. However, giving a truly bad Christmas gift takes some effort. Whether you're looking for a funny and terrible gift to give for the holidays, or you're 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. Even Santa misses the mark sometimes. From gifts about diet and exercise to those that mean death, make sure that you don't make one of these bad gift faux pas. Whether you're preparing for an anonymous holiday gift exchange or shopping for someone specific, 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:

  • Gluten-containing cookies for someone with Celiac disease
  • Delicious sugary 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 80, 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 or urn. Personalized gifts are great, but it's better to stick to those that benefit the living. Try a tote bag or t-shirt instead.

Cemetery Headstone That Says Mother

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 are 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 Amazon.com say that this air freshener smells disgusting, but it's also not the most attractive object to see hanging from 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 to always 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.

Woman wearing pajamas in rabbit costume

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.

Hairy 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 and looks like a man's hairy belly. If you are thinking about buying this as a gift, 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 on it to a family member (although your child may think otherwise). 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 $30.

Fried larvas in a night market

Insect Sampler Pack

Sampler packs can be fun, especially when they contain something truly tasty. They're less fun when they offer different flavors of bugs for snacking. From crickets to grasshoppers, who knew bugs came in so many flavors? A particularly gross option to pull out of a Christmas stocking or gift bag, a sampler pack of Larvets retails for about seven dollars and contains real larva in BBQ, Mexican spice, and cheddar flavors.

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 $11, 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 the hard-to-shop-for people on your list, but choosing a novelty pillow like the boyfriend pillow, for around $35, can go south really fast. This pillow is shaped like half of a man's torso with one arm and a hand. While the cuddle value with the arm and cozy 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 eight dollars) 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 fashion implications for 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 help her de-stress, but save her boss and not invoke the voodoo spirits, think more along the lines of a tablet or journal, or better yet, a gift certificate to a spa.

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 Citronella beer candle follows along those same lines. While this $9 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 $20, a spider bobblehead might have the opener squealing, but it probably won't be in excitement.

Pooping Pooches Calendar

Calendars make awesome Christmas gifts. After all, the new year is right around the corner, and everyone loves a beautiful selection of scenes to celebrate each month - unless those scenes include a pooping dog. The Pooping Pooch Calendar (about $17) offers pictures of dogs listening to the call of nature in some lovely natural places, including Monument Valley, beautiful mountain streams, and more.

Women's Facial Hair Trimmer

Unless it's specifically on her list, you should never buy someone who identifies as female a facial hair trimmer. Ultimately, this is a gift that says, "I see you have a furry face, and I think you should do something about it." That's just not the same as saying a simple, "Merry Christmas." Skip any product that is designed to remove facial hair, including razors, trimmers, eyebrow threading kits, depilatory creams, and more.

A dog as a Christmas present

A New Pet

Sure, almost everyone loves seeing a kitten or puppy, but that doesn't mean everyone is ready to adopt a pet at Christmas. There's a big difference between wanting to pet a puppy or kitten and being ready to have your home destroyed by a teething canine or litter box-confused feline. Skip any gift where you have to put holes in the box to keep it alive.

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. The key to giving a great Christmas gift is consideration and thoughtfulness.

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25 Bad Christmas Presents You Should Avoid