Gift giving is a proud tradition during the most wonderful time of the year. But you know what’s not a great part of the season of giving? Receiving crap. Avoid the awkwardness of a bad Christmas morning by passing up on these useless XMAS gifts.
You are going to have to break it to Grandma this year: DVDs and Blu-rays are officially obsolete. There’s not a single modern laptop that will take them, and your gaming consoles are better suited for other uses like, you know, games. Even worse, we are all tied to at least one streaming service, if not multiple streaming services, that carry all of our favorite films. The concept of physically owning a movie is dying the same death as going to see a film in a theatre: when you have Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, there is really no need to have DVD players anymore.
Let me be more specific: pets are not useless gifts. They are amazing, fantastically thoughtful, and incredibly rewarding gifts to give someone UNDER THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES. The right circumstances, as in someone who is fully capable and willing to commit to taking care of a live animal for at least the next decade. The problem with giving puppies and guinea pigs as christmas presents is that it takes roughly a week to realize how much work it is to take care of them. Thousands of pets are returned to shelters after the holidays, and there’s nothing more heartbreaking than an animal thinking they have found a home, only to be rejected and sent away. Don’t be one of those people this year: only get a pet if you’re ready for the major commitment that comes with them.
Anything Related to Getting Healthier
Yeah, we all want to look better, and the Christmas season is the major time of the year where staying inside and eating is not only common but strongly encouraged. That doesn’t mean you should guilt anybody about it around the christmas tree. At best, it’s patronizing. “Oh Lauren, I thought you could really use a new set of weights and a yoga mat *wink wink nudge nudge*.” At worst, it’s downright offensive. Unless someone has explicitly shared their desire to start a healthier lifestyle with you, it’s best not to make assumptions. It doesn’t mean you should go in the opposite direction and shower them with candy, but don’t step outside that comfort zone. It’s just not worth the aggravation.
Maybe I’m just getting old, but I’m actually on board with giving socks as Christmas gifts. Especially if they are wacky or specialized in some way, like the socks with your pets’ faces on them, then giving socks is an awesome, practical, and not terribly expensive gift that you can give anyone. The secret is that you can get really ridiculous with them because socks can be hidden beneath shoes and pants. The louder the better, since most people aren’t going to notice. The same can’t be said about the great Christmas tradition of Ugly Sweaters. Picking out an Ugly Sweater should be an autonomous activity because you want to be in control of your own level of looking ridiculous. When someone else decides it for you, there’s a pretty good chance that the “fun-stupid” balance of novelty gifts will be heavily tilted in the “stupid” direction.
Who gives cleaning supplies as a gift? Seriously? I’m not mad, I just want to know. How do you possibly rationalize that as a gift? Are you used to gifts purposefully not bringing joy, happiness, and fulfillment? Did you get cleaning supplies as a kid? Who hurt you?
But yeah, in today’s “no shit Sherlock” moment: Don’t give cleaning supplies as a christmas gift. Don’t give it as a birthday gift. DEFINITELY don’t give it as an anniversary gift. Cleaning supplies are not gifts. Any online gift guide that even lists this as a gift is being ridiculous. I guess that includes this article as well. Oh well, I stand by my assessments.
Any Gag Gift That Lasts Longer Than 10 Seconds
Gag gifts are a fantastic idea for Christmas: silly putty, Emergency Underpants, Potatoes with your friend’s face on them. All genius. And all the best gag gifts have something in common: they can be enjoyed for that initial laugh when they are unwrapped, and then can be promptly disposed of almost immediately. They are novelties for a reason. It’s the same reason no one actively listens to Novelty Songs. It’s because any prolonged exposure gets rote incredibly fast. This notion carries over to gifts. A bacon car freshener is, at first, a great idea. And then you realize that you’ve cursed whoever you’ve gifted that to a life of smelling gross bacon smells every time they open their car door. That’s the fastest way to go from a great friend to the absolute worst friend. Same goes with toilet bowl night lights and baguette loafers and mini winter coat beer cozies. All are funny when you first give them, and then you’ve burdened the receiver with living with this junk or the guilt that comes with throwing away a surprisingly expensive gift. That’s another good rule of thumb: whatever the gag gift is, never spend more than $20 bucks on it, because the tacit understanding is that gag gifts are meant to end up in the trash.
Somewhere between the realms of gag gifts and overly-practical gifts (see “Cleaning Supplies”, dummy) is the world of personalized mugs. It seems like the perfect idea: who doesn’t need a coffee mug, and who wouldn’t want a silly message on it? But the truth is that personalized mugs combine all the worst elements of gag gifts and practical gifts in that its stupid junk that you want to throw away but can’t because someone spent too much money on it. Instead, it gets relegated to the back of the cabinet, never to be seen or heard from again. Word to the wise: whatever gifts you give this holiday season, put at least a minute of thought into it. Gifts should be personal, not overly goofy, but still fun. There are lots of ways to turn the season of giving into the season of grieving, and a bad gift one of the quicker routes.