A Christmas gift symbolizes thoughtfulness—that the recipient is special enough to be part of your holiday shopping list. Since you’re spending a portion of your well-earned paycheck on these people, don’t just buy a generic last-minute present. Veer away from these dreaded gifts that can turn even the jolliest fellow into a scrooge.

If it’s the thought that counts, we really, really don’t want to know what you were thinking when you decided to give…
8. Recycled gifts

There are surefire ways to spot a recycled gift no matter how nicely you repackage it: a) it suits the giver’s personality more than the recipient’s, b) someone forgot to remove the original tag with the name of the first recipient, c) the dated box has yellowed and crumbled after being kept in the giver’s bodega for months or years. It’s like a one-two punch of thoughtlessness: you clearly don’t appreciate the present when it was given to you, and now, you pay that disdain forward.

Better idea: Organize a swap party with friends or officemates where you bring old, unused gifts that you really don’t want and exchange it with an item to your liking. You know, just make sure the person who gave you the unwanted gift isn’t attending the party.

7. Fruitcake

I cannot forget one joke my late college professor, Doreen Fernandez, told our journalism class.  She said, “Did you know that there is only one fruitcake in the entire universe? Everyone just recycles it and passes it around every Christmas.” The fruitcake may be a household name when it comes to the holidays, but so is garbage, and that stinks, too, when it gets old.

Better idea: Find out what type of pastry the recipient really wants, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a box of brownies. It has a better chance of actually being eaten and not re-gifted a few days later.

6. Corporate giveaways

We’re talking about mugs, pens, keychains, and other generic items that you can get for free at your company Christmas party or from a shopping mall promo. Thanks! Because I always needed that 18th mug to complete my collection of 18 friends I shouldn’t be friends with.

Better idea: If you’re on a tight budget, go DIY. Bake, craft, or create anything useful for your friends and family. Pinterest is brimming with ideas. Buy from Etsy, if you don’t have the creativity to pull it off.

5. Generic bath sets

Whether it’s an expensive Body Shop set or a cheaper department store alternative, it will most likely gather dust in a pile of other gift sets that the person will receive this Christmas. Ever noticed how most stores display those towel and toiletry sets at the entrance? It’s the easiest last-minute gift to purchase.

Better idea: Buy your friend a gift check to his or her favorite coffee shop or bookstore. It’s more useful and practical.

4. Ladies’ accessories

Sure, girls love bauble, but accessories come a dime a dozen at Divisoria, Greenhills, bazaars and department stores. She probably already owns lots of bag holders, bangles and necklaces. Don’t add to the clutter.

Better idea: Organize a wish list for your entire family or barkada. Ask each person to list down what they really want to receive this Christmas under a specific budget that everyone can agree to. Post the list on your fridge, a private Facebook note, or email it to everyone.

3. Figurine

Buying someone a figurine is like buying yourself dozens of unnecessary souvenirs while traveling. It will just end up as room clutter in the very near future, and will be the first thing hurled in your direction when they realize how terrible a gift-giver you are.

Better idea: Combine forces. For example, instead of giving your mom a dolphin figurine that fits within your limited budget, ask your other siblings to split the bill for that new iPad case she really needs.

2. Wallets

Back in the day, people didn’t mind getting a new wallet for Christmas because of the superstitious belief that the giver must place money inside the wallet for good luck. Now that superstition is less common and wallets are everywhere, this gift idea has become passé.

Better idea: Gadget accessory. These days a phone or camera case is within the same price range of a wallet. Find out what new gadget accessory your friend wouldn’t mind getting.

1. Planner

Picking a planner is like finding the perfect journal. Ask any planner geek. It’s a personal and emotional experience of finding the right content and cover design that suits the person’s lifestyle. Don’t ruin the experience for him/her by giving him a random planner and expecting him to use it. Especially not one that says “XXXX Insurance” on it.

Better idea: Check out the novelty gifts section of bookstores and department stores and pick something that will make your friend laugh.

What gift don’t you want to receive this Christmas? Let your loved ones see it in writing. Use the Comments Section below.


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