The 7 Worst Gifts People Seem to Give Every Christmas


'Tis the season to punch someone at Walmart for the last PS4. Nothing brings out the best in people, or at least our complete lack of ability to express our feelings for friends and family, quite like Christmas. What does Dad need this year, a mug shaped like a boob? How about Mom, a gift card for Blockbuster? Man, that's going to surprise her.

As we struggle to find that perfect gift, ever so many of us will fail. We will fail like a tongueless nun in the BJ World Championships. We will be overwhelmed by the plethora of piteous provisions on display at Big Lots and Target and Benny's Dildoteria. We will buy one person one really good gift and then a fuck-ton of Terry's Chocolate Oranges because we just don't know what we're doing. And we'll do it again next year, just like we did it last year.

But we don't have to! As a service to everyone you even pretend to care about, I'm offering you this list of what not to buy. Consider it an anti-gift guide. I have no idea what your family likes, but I know what they hate, because no one likes this shit.

Anything Called a "Novelty"

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Do yourself a favor and Google "novelty gift" right now and see what comes up. Here's an image search for you:

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What do you notice about everything on the page there? I'll give you a hint: They're all worthless pieces of useless shit. Now, to be fair, we can forgive the "useless" part of that description. Novelties are by definition often pretty useless. However, that doesn't mean they need to be worthless pieces of shit.

Remember Big Mouth Billy Bass? The people who make it are convinced that more of those were sold than Tickle Me Elmos, which sold in the millions. That means potentially tens of millions of Big Mouth Billy Basses are littered across the globe, their gaping maws collecting dust after the one and only time someone allowed it to sing "Don't Worry, Be Happy" before it was thrown in a rage in a corner to be forgotten forever by everyone.

Clearly Big Mouth Billy Bass was one of the most popular novelty gifts of all time. It's a singing fish. If Big Mouth Billy Bass were a person, it would be a mime who can only do the "stuck in a box" routine and occasionally moans or grunts during the act. Why would you dream of inflicting that on anyone?

A novelty gift is basically the last defense against giving someone a $5 bill for Christmas. It's your subconscious' way of saying "Fuccccccccccccck" and just rolling over to have a dissatisfied, fitful nap.

Chia Pets


I am utterly, desperately unable to even fathom how these still exist. They were the butt of jokes in the 1980s, and yet they keep being mass produced and sold. I know they're new because they have Obama Chia Pets now. For the love of God, who keeps buying them? Grass grows literally everywhere that isn't a swamp, a desert, or some other assorted hellscape. It's the least impressive plant on the planet. Giving Chia Pets to people is like giving them discarded Starbucks coffee cups, or free clinic condoms.

There is no joy in a Chia Pet. It's a piece of pottery on which you slather a seed paste. Later the seeds grow and the world frowns because why? Why is this happening? I presume there is literally no one on Earth who has actively had a desire for a Chia Pet. At best are people who don't seethe when they receive them, which is probably not a great demographic to work with.

Trust that no one in your family or really anyone with whom you have a relationship that you deem worthy of gift giving wants to take five minutes out of their day to slather weed blossoms on a mass-produced pottery trinket and then let it live out its life in neglect by a window. Because no one would ever want that.

Board Games

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I can taste the ire in the air for this one. Felix, you say, drawing me a bath, I love board games! I want a new board game! Well, yes, I enjoy board games, too. Scrabble? Risk? Forget about it, I'll play that shit all day long, I don't give a shit what Luke "I only play board games designed in Latvia" McKinney says. But here's the thing: I already own Risk and Scrabble. I bet you do, too. And maybe four versions of Monopoly, and some kind of adult party game you never play, and Trivial Pursuit, because it's awesome. You have all the board games Jesus wants you to have.

There are currently a dillion board games on the market, and each one in turn is exponentially less fun to play than the one before it. If you played all the board games available at your local Walmart, by the time you got to the 10th one, your only salvation would be if you rolled the dice and landed on a space that just shot you in the face. For every good board game, someone invents 30 more meant to teach you the true meaning of Arbor Day, or that require you to roll the same number thrice on a 20-sided die to proceed through the pretend volcano and earn the Golden Nugget, or just suck a loaf of dick.

There are only a handful of board games that are fun to play, and that's been the case since the 1970s. If you have the urge to buy someone a board game, buy one of the five that people play and then splash holy water on all the others and curse them in Latin so that they don't dare try to haunt you in your dreams. Because they will. You'll be convinced for days that maybe you really do need to buy True Blood: Night Eternal and that no, it's not worse than hepatitis. But of course that's wrong. So, so wrong.

A Calendar

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It's 2013. The next calendar you buy would be for 2014. Do you know what's significant about the year 2014? It's the International Year of Who the Fuck Uses Calendars Still. I currently have a calendar on my phone, my watch, two computers, a tablet, and an iPod. Plus I get about two free calendars in the mail every year between December and January. The only one I use is the calendar my city sends me to let me know when garbage day is. It's the most useful of all of them, and I don't pay for it because why would I?

Giving a calendar for Christmas is like giving someone a pack of unfiltered cigarettes and opium suppositories to help fix their tragic case of consumption. A hundred years ago this would have been met with cries of "bully" and a round of hot toddies. Today you're just someone with a hard-on for the decimation of forests or someone who lives in a shack for whom the passage of time means little anyway.

Ostensibly the only real draw for a calendar in the modern era is the series of pictures included with it. To that I would suggest there is no series of images of kittens, horses, boobie ladies, or proctological X-rays you can assemble across 12 months that isn't readily available on the Internet right now. Maybe just look at those instead. Maybe just admit to your cousins that you don't like them rather than passive-aggressively giving them calendars that say the same thing for 365 straight days.

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A Basket

The 7 Worst Gifts People Seem to Give Every Christmas
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Last year my aunt got me a giant wicker basket that did not contain the burned and bee-stung corpse of Nic Cage. Instead it contained shortbread cookies that proclaimed to be Scottish in origin and made my mouth as dry as the Sahara after a single bite. There were also approximately 1,000 tiny strawberry candies that seemed to have been included in lieu of Styrofoam peanuts, three jars of exotic jellies, a massive, phallic elk sausage, a jar of birch syrup, a bevy of processed cheese flavored with such unique spices as "dirt" and "feet," crackers made from some kind of grain that hasn't been widely harvested since man first attempted to tame the wolf, and a DVD copy of Shallow Hal. The card explained the presence of the Jack Black film because he's funny, you see, and I make funny. We're co-workers.

I like greasy, room-temperature cheese and cracker-shaped plaster chips as much as anyone, but I feel those are really personal purchases. Those are the things a man needs to buy alone along with his condoms and alligator clips. Everything you can get in a basket comes in a basket because each part on its own is a lazy insult. It's like telling someone their momma's so fat, she ... probably ... likes pie. Then you just shrug and walk away because you're not emotionally invested enough to give a shit. That's each piece of a basket. When you put them together, the power of each kind of crappy gift creates a shitty gift Voltron that has the power to stand on two feet for as long as it takes to peel off that objectionable layer of too-thick plastic they're always wrapped in and peruse every item until it fully sinks in just how much you don't actually want to make use of anything in the basket. Because there's never been a time when you sincerely wanted a 3-ounce jar of gooseberry marmalade unless you have a serious gooseberry fetish and a penchant to jam that little fella in your ass. But even then, buy that by itself, save yourself some trouble.

Something Personalized

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This one has a fine line to it, insofar as you could technically get someone a nice watch with an inscription on the back that you could consider personalized, but of course that's not what I mean. You know the kind of shit I mean: those things they sell at a kiosk in the mall that, by themselves, no one ever wants, but the edge the kiosk offers is that a dude with a Dremel tool can personalize it for you right here right now. Weee, life is complete!

There is nothing in the world that you actually require to be personalized, because once you own it, it's clearly yours. Has anyone ever legitimately mixed up one of your towels with one of theirs? Or your coffee mug? Your bathrobe? None of these things need your initials. If anything, they draw attention to you unnecessarily. Hey, whose dumb shit doormat is this? Oh wait, it clearly says right there "Timmy Douchewelder" under the little picture of the reindeer. This is your doormat. You suck.

Holiday-Themed Items

The 7 Worst Gifts People Seem to Give Every Christmas
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Every year when I was a kid my mom would give me a mug for Christmas. That mug was inevitably Christmas-themed, ensuring that its use during the other 11 months of the year made me look either lazy or like an idiot. Look at Felix the dipshit, drinking his Santa mug of juice in July. That kid must eat lead paint and jam marbles in his ass for fun.

So what if I did eat lead paint and play Poop Chute Cat's Eyes? I could do that 12 months a year, unlike using that damn mug with Santa's fat face smiling at me that goes on the shelf next to the Frosty mug from last year and the Rudolph mug from the year before.

Nobody wants your Christmas-themed towels, sweaters, trousers, condoms, or anything. We already know it's Christmas, that's why we're getting the gifts. And as a gift giver, it shows your immense lack of caring about the receiver. What do I think Gordy would like for Christmas this year? What really speaks to the heart of our friendship? Oh, an Elf on a Shelf. Because I fucking hate Gordy and I want him to die over the holidays. I hope he chokes on eggnog and aspirates on his festive vomit. Here is the first piece of shit on the first display in the front of the store that was placed here because it's Christmas -- I will rub my balls on it, wrap it up, and give it to him.

Long story short, when you give a holiday-themed gift, you're basically rubbing your balls on the idea of giving.

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