Worst Christmas presents

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IT'S the day before Christmas and if you still haven’t done your Christmas shopping (tsk tsk!)? Don’t stress out. Understandably, you are fighting against the clock here, but a little effort in the presents you get, will go a long way. Big doesn’t always mean better because we all know good things come in small packages — like diamond earrings. However, to help all late and clueless shoppers, the live it! team did a bit of research to find out what can be considered as unsavoury gifts for Christmas.


Paper weights
We were surprised to find this on the list, but apparently it is quite a popular gift for Christmas. The 2% who received it rolled their eyes (to what seemed like forever) while telling us about getting the gift. One person even said “I don’t even have a desk and this person knows it!” 


Decorative items
The 6% who made up this category said that the givers picked gifts based on their own decorative taste. While decorative lights are somewhat acceptable, rattan baskets, plastic flowers and wall-hangings are not. 


Tea candles/incense (sticks, cones) /home fragrance oil
What is meant here are the cheap and weird- smelling incense items that one can find in the RM2 or RM5 shops. “The wick always burns out while there is so much more wax left. A tea candle is supposed to last for four hours,” one unhappy recipient said. And some of the incense and home fragrance oils are claimed to be aromatherapeutic oils, but are quite the opposite and smell so bad that they can cause nausea. 


Pre-loved gifts/recycled gifts
Seemingly, this is so common in Secret Santa events. Seven per cent said that they received old CDs, plush toys, talcum powders, aluminium water bottles, discontinued brands of body lotion (yikes!) and canned food. We share the shock of the receivers.


Towels/bedding/household cleaning items
About 8% said that maybe because they are married or own a place of their own, people think these gifts are acceptable. They did make an exemption for 100% cotton towels, but people should not over-do it because they gushed about the gift before. Bed sheets are iffy because of the colour combination. “My husband once received a bed sheet with a cartoon character design,” one of them said blankly. 


Photo frames
This gift would be more appropriate for a wedding and even then, it should be a really fancy, with a wedding-ish look. But 10% have claimed to have received photo frames for Christmas and what’s worse; it’s the one that can be found in the hypermarkets within their residential areas! Not cool. 


This takes the pie. As many as 60% of those polled said they received clothes for Christmas and they didn’t like it. The myriad of reasons were because of the colour, style, size and design. A 16-year-old said, “One of my father’s friends bought me a designer dress that lacked material in essential places. I didn’t know if I should be elated with the gift or worry about how he thinks of me.” 


At this juncture, may we offer a simple suggestion? There is always the ageless and timeless joy of receiving an angpow. It’s small and will not take up too much space. Simply put in whatever amount you have already budgeted for this person into the angpow. It is that simple and you will not incur any bad vibes.



The Live It! team wishes all our readers a Merry Christmas and safe holidays. And oh, happy last-minute shopping. 


This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 24, 2014.