Holiday Gifts

A good gift should make people feel happy or loved. But here’s a list of some gifts that do the opposite, which is why psychologist Dr. Kit Yarrow describes them as “the worst gifts ever!”

  • The obvious regift. Like the shirt that’s monogrammed with someone else’s initials, or the book inscribed with another name. Dr. Yarrow says unless you’re passing along a family heirloom, most people will feel hurt and belittled by a regift – because they’ll know you put no thought into choosing something especially for them. Plus, regifting makes you look cheap.
  • The statement gift. That’s Dr. Yarrow’s term for gifts that are meant to send a message. Like when you give a friend clothing that’s a size too small, as a way of saying, “You need to lose weight.” Or when a parent gives their adult daughter a pair of baby shoes, as a way to say, “We want grandkids!” Dr. Yarrow says the problem with statement gifts is that they communicate a message of disapproval – or some kind of judgment – and they don’t make people feel loved.
  • The “misfire” gift. That’s when your attempt to show someone that you care backfires, because you don’t take the time to think things through. As an example, we read about a woman who once received an acne solution kit from a friend, after she had complained about having skin problems. Sure, her friend had good intentions. But think about it: who wants to focus on their flaws on Christmas?
  • The “look at me” gift. Dr. Yarrow says these are the gifts we give to people, just so we can take credit for being “generous.” The most common look-at-me gifts include cell phones, cars, or even pets. Why? Because while you take all the credit for giving something expensive or – in the case of a puppy – something cute and cuddly. The recipient gets stuck with something they either can’t afford to maintain, or they didn’t want!

Have you ever been the recipient of a horrible gift? What’s the worst present you’ve ever received?