"Worst" Christmas Gifts

Real Estate Agent with Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage RECO Reg# 4325734

My wife and I have Breakfast Television (a local morning show that has a great mix of news (local, national and international), the requisite weather, sports and entertainment and a blend of features that we find entertaining on in the background in the morning.

One segment that caught my attention this morning was about "worst Christmas gifts".  They were using data from a British survey of 3,000 people and among the list they mentioned were:

  • Bubble Bath
  • Bath Salts
  • Socks
  • Candles
  • Belgian Chocolates
  • Scarves
  • Books
  • Moisturizers

This intrigued me on several levels...
The idea of "Worst Gifts" seemed so empirical... surely there is variation based on a number of factors.  I thought of Country, Sex, age, cultural background almost immediately.

Now, the internet can be a "wonderful thing" ;-)
There is so much information out there, if you can find it and sort through it.

Worst gifts down under
Best and worst gifts for grandparents
Multiple "Top Ten" Worst gift lists
Executive Worst Gift list
Fifteen worst Holiday Gift Ideas

The funny thing was that I found myself over and over thinking that I liked some of these supposed "worst gifts"...

As I read through these various pages (much more than the few I have added links to), one point became abundantly clear to me,

like Beauty, a "worst gift" is completely in the eye of the Beholder,

and then I thought of a gift that I gave my mother years ago... I was seven years old and went to the corner variety store (we were living in a new subdivision in the Finch/Islington area of North York) by myself with money I had saved by collecting returnable bottles.  After searching for a long time (for a seven year old), I found a jewellery box.  It was small plastic and topped with an embroidered cloth lid, I seem to remember that is cost me perhaps 59 cents - it was definitely less than one dollar.  I don't really remember giving it to my mother that mother's day so long ago, but was shocked many many years later (I was in my thirties) to find that my mother still had it among her most prized possessions.  I felt ashamed of the gift when I saw it, and my mother told me that this was the gift that I had given her that she treasured the most.  I could not understand this at all.  She told me that this was the first gift that I had given her that I chose myself and paid for with my own money.  It's funny the lessons mothers teach you, even much later in your life...

for me personally, it is the "thought", much more than the "gift", that counts...



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Menlo Park Real Estate and Homes for Sale
Wende Schoof - Menlo Park, CA
WendeByTheBay.com - 650.504.0219 - SF Peninsula

Chris, when a gift is from the heart, that is the true gift.  I'm not surprised your mother treasured that jewelry box. 

Nov 30, 2010 01:20 AM #1
Tanya Nouwens
RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager

I think that's a beautiful story, Chris.  And I think your mom taught you well :)  The beauty of gifts IS in the eye of the beholder, but one thing I learned from my sister, a teacher, was that when you're buying gifts for someone you don't know well -- like a teacher -- "consummables", as she put it, are always a good idea.  By that she meant anything that you can actually use/consume, like chocolate, gift cards, or some nice tea selections.  As she said, "How many candles can one person possibly use?"  And in case anyone is wondering, I LOVE chocolates!  :)

Nov 30, 2010 01:24 AM #2
Sharalyn Kluke
Keller Williams Seneca - Seneca, SC
Sharalyn Kluke, Realtor, Keller Williams Realty

Nice post.  I have given books, hand cream and candles - all supposedly "worst gifts".  I can see that it might be a waste of money to get a book I won't read and hand cream or candles that I can't stand the smell of.  I try to listen all year to people I buy gifts for and remember these things when it comes to gift buying.  "I love the smell of coconut!"  Or, "I'd love to read another Nicholas Sparks book." are things I pick up on and write them down for future reference.  Nerdy?  Maybe but at least I "think" I'm buying someone something they like.  :-)

When I was a kid, we started a family Christmas list long before the season started.  We would state exactly the things we liked most in hopes that we would get these items for Christmas, either under the tree or in our stockings.   For example, my list might say, "Sweettarts - in the package - not the rolled kind - pink or purple ONLY!!!"  Some people might say that takes the surprise out of it, but at least we usually got the things we wanted for Christmas and actually used them (or ate them).

I agree that it's the thought that counts but I am not ashamed to say that I will "regift" or sell an item on ebay and use the money to buy something I like! 

Nov 30, 2010 01:26 AM #3
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

You have a mother's perspective Wende

Tanya, I couldn't believe Belgian Chocolates made the worst gift list in Britain...

Sharalyn, I have given and received many gifts on these lists... and not felt they were in any way "worst".  imho re-gifting is better than burying...

Nov 30, 2010 01:43 AM #4
Malcolm Johnston
Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario - Trenton, ON
Trenton Real Estate

Chris, the jewellry box story is a wonderful story. I really enjoyed that. I bet that your mother got a lot of pleasure every time she looked at that box.

Nov 30, 2010 02:21 AM #5
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Thank You Malcolm... I don't know if I can describe just how that moment helped enrich my life.  As a parent I can now see and feel some of what my mother was sharing with me from a parent's perspective...

Nov 30, 2010 04:12 AM #6
Debra Harbaruk
Re/Max City Realty, Commercial Dr Condos - Vancouver, BC
Vancouver BC Realtor

Chris That is such a great story. I always find it interesting how people get emotionally attached to different things or even comments. Sometimes we connect with people through the most unexpected ways!

Nov 30, 2010 05:09 AM #7
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Chris,  Terrific story.  I guess we all have one like it but still never gets old hearing about something like this.  Well done.

Nov 30, 2010 06:13 AM #8
Janice Ankrett
Janice Ankrett Home Staging - Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

Chris, great Christmas story. I treasure the Christmas decorations made by my sons. My son's think they are awful but to me they bring back memories of their childhoods. Nothing is better than that no matter how sparkly.

Nov 30, 2010 11:44 AM #9
Not In Real Estate Any Longer
Autaugaville, AL

When my girls ask me what I want for my birthday, mother's day, christmas, I often reply, "Just you."

They know this means I want some of their undivided attention and/or a gift that they put thought into and not just went to the store to buy.

One mother's day, my youngest sang me a song; my oldest put together a photo album - that was the best mother's day ever :)

Dec 01, 2010 03:38 AM #10
Lottie Kendall
Today | Sotheby's International Realty - San Carlos, CA
Serving San Mateo County and San Francisco

Chris, I understand completely why your mother treasured your jewelry box--but then, I'm a mom, right? You reminded me of buying dangling, pink rhinestone earrings for my mother one year when I was little--I thought they were gorgeous, and my mother wore them on special days, making me feel wonderful. Looking back, they were really trashy and I hope mom took them off before she got to her destination! She surely knew how to make me feel good.

Dec 02, 2010 05:18 AM #11
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Chris Smith

South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta
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