One woman asked others to share their experiences in the spirit of helping others prevent the same mistakes. She said her worst gift was a creepy sculpted hand photo frame that looked like someone’s decapitated hand holding a photo for you in its palm.
Another forum user explained that her ex-husband bought her a beautiful personalised artisan leather make-up bag.
“The only problem was it was personalised with the other woman’s name! The one he gave her was personalised with my name. I can laugh about it now but I’ve had better Christmas mornings!” she admitted.
For another user, the most unfortunate present was a pack of multivitamins from her ex-boyfriend, “who is now an ex”.
For the majority, the worst gifts were received during Secret Santa, which is the game when members of a family or friends are randomly assigned a person to whom they have to buy a present, sometimes not knowing much about that person’s taste or preferences.
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A woman explained she once got a pink ice scraper with an attached glove. “I can’t stand pink and couldn’t drive at the time and had no family members with a car either,” she said.
A Mumsnet user said the worst gift for her was a diet book she had to open in front of everyone, courtesy of her mum.
Another one received a box of muesli and a gift tin of vaseline “from my then soon-to-be ex-husband”.
She explained they were still living together at that time for the children but he was “bitter and twisted” which made her realise she was making “the right decision”.
Another said the most bizarre present she got was a drill, and “yes, he’s now an ex,” she revealed.
For others, the “sh***iest thing ever” was the Dyson handheld vacuum, as it worked for 15 minutes and needed three hours to recharge. “Didn’t even want it!” they said.
A woman’s in-laws got her a pen with a name on it, but it was the wrong name after she had been with her husband for about 10 years by then.
They also gave her a housecoat, “the kind usually worn by ladies of a certain age, and it was obviously hers [the mother-in-law’s] because it smelled like a musty wardrobe!”
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The five categories are: something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read, and a special gift.
There are also some ways to pick good gifts, for example, consider giving problem-solvers and don’t give people more problems.
Be practical but not flashy, don’t buy cliches, or the same things over and over, and gift experiences rather than things.
Dana Holmes, the executive editor of giftadvisor.com, commented: “Everyone has a unique gift-giving personality based on their own passions and repertoire. Sit back and think about what kinds of things you could do again and again. What do you love buying or can’t live without? Always start there. Then consider who you’re shopping for and what you can share with them.”