Think about your most memorable Christmas gift. Does it put a smile or a frown on your face? We hope that your most memorable gift brought you joy and excitement, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. Sometimes really bad gifts are the ones that are the most memorable.

As the holidays near and we get ready to purchase (and receive) gifts, we wanted to find out what makes a good or bad gift, and how much thought people actually put into gift giving. To find out, we surveyed 2000 people ages 18-65 and asked them the worst types of gifts they’ve ever received, what makes them dislike a gift and what makes them like a gift. With this information, we’ve put together a few tips to ensure that you give a gift the recipient will love!

Get a gift perfectly suited for your loved one and not yourself.

We were pretty surprised at the amount of selfish gifts! Almost half of the people surveyed believed the gift giver bought a gift that they wanted for themselves. The next time you pick up that red cashmere, make sure it really is for your mom and not because you will borrow it!

Useful gifts are also appreciated.

Gag gifts may be fun, but useful gifts are appreciated more. The next time you shop for someone, purchase something they really need. Whether it is something as simple as a phone charger, a cookbook or even train ticket.

You can’t go wrong with jewelry for women or electronics for men.

The saying “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” isn’t too far off. While gifting diamonds is not always realistic, we found that women enjoy receiving jewelry the most, while men get excited about electronics.

Meaningful gifts really do matter.

It should be pretty obvious that one would rather receive a gift that is well thought out than a gift chosen last minute. However, it’s important to note that almost half of the women surveyed said they enjoyed a gift because it was meaningful. The next time you go shopping, think about a special date, place or moment, and personalize their gift to try to bring back that cozy feeling.

Ask yourself if the person you are buying for already has something similar.

Those with higher incomes may have no use for the latest gadget, cologne or fancy sweater, likely because they probably already purchased it themselves. Consider something unique such as a food tour. It allows them to enjoy great food, take memorable pictures and enjoy the day with a loved one.

Take into consideration a person’s current situation and needs.

Brighten someone’s day with a fun playlist, an encouraging note, or even a morning coffee! While extravagant gifts are great for some, others prefer sweet gestures instead.  

America’s Worst Gifts

If you are still wondering what makes a gift bad, here are some examples from AskReddit. Have you ever gifted any of the items below?


As you can see, there are many reasons why a person may have either loved or disliked the gift that you gave them. Just remember, the best gifts come from the heart. We’ve compiled over 130 gift ideas (will link to best Christmas gifts) for every personality out there to make it easy to shop for your whole list of friends and family members!