Holiday Horror: The 28 Worst Gifts Ever

Some holiday gifts fill us with the kind of uninhibited delight and love for the season normally only found in Folgers commercials. And, then, there are the 28 gifts ahead. Stomach-churning foods, utterly terrifying toys, judgy-pants fitness gifts — receiving these presents fills us less with the seasonal warm fuzzies and more with the sneaking suspicion that the giver may, in fact, actually hate us (or, worse, that there was a half-off sale at CVS).
We rounded up the most insane, inappropriate, ugly, and WTF-iest gifts to help you decide what NOT to buy this season. Read on to see the presents we wouldn't give to our worst enemies — including the world's most heinous handbag, which literally gave R29 editors nightmares (apologies in advance for that one).
Ready, Scrooges? Twenty-eight guaranteed holiday killers, straight ahead!
1 of 28
The "Merry Christmas From Heaven" Ornament

If someone you know has recently been rocked by the death of a dearly loved one, probably the best thing you can do is gift them with a reminder of their tragic loss. One that dangles darkly from their Christmas tree, inscribed with a poem that's a heart-jabbing combination of sadness and schmaltz. What better way to cast a bitterly painful pall over the holiday season?

Harriet Carter Heaven Ornament, $19.98, available at Harriet Carter.
2 of 28
The DNA-Testing Kit

Despite all the chair-throwing and sexy moms, we've always felt our family holidays didn't resemble an Maury episode enough. Enter, 23andMe's DNA home-testing kit. Enjoy that holiday family-togetherness vibe while you still can, because with this gift, you might be just one saliva sample away from "You are NOT the father."

23andMe DNA Spit Kit, $99, available at 23andMe.
3 of 28
An Extension Cord

Yep, an R29 staffer actually received this one memorable Christmas — with a half-priced Duane Reade sticker still attached — from his brother that lived above a Duane Reade. Listen, we're not knocking the practical gift, but if you're going to give something utilitarian, give the most special version of that item that you can afford. This is the difference between receiving cashmere Wolford socks and a three-pack of Hanes cushy crews. We say, until there's such a thing as a couture cord, this is an item best purchased for oneself (although, if you have any sweet Duane Reade coupons you wanna share...).

Basic Connections 100-foot 16-Gauge Orange Outdoor Extension Cord, $16.97, available at Lowe's.
4 of 28

This holiday season, give the gift of parental migraines!

Clackers Toy, $0.60, available at Party Packs.
5 of 28
Fish-Of-The-Month Club

Each month, a different dead fish is delivered straight to your front door to fill you with heart-healthy omega-3s — or make you feel like you owe money to a mafia don.

I Love Blue Sea Fish-Of-The-Month Club, $100 per month, available at I Love Blue Sea.
6 of 28
Beginner's Whittling Kit

For the recent retiree or gentleman/woman/homesteader of leisure in your life, a gift that truly says, “This should keep you busy while you run out the ol' life-clock.” Your giftee will know you value traditional, rural handicraft and savings when you show them that it comes with a free issue of Carving Magazine!

Brookstone Beginners Whittling Kit, $39.99, available at Brookstone.
7 of 28
"Brooklyn Mix" Popcorn

Ahh, King’s County, land of contrasts. Richly diverse ethnic communities, a flourishing food scene, killer waterfront views. On the other hand: rapid-fire gentrification, matted beard hair, and the city’s largest sewage-treatment facility. This tasty mix of chocolate- and cheese-flavored popcorn looks like it could've come straight out of the latter.

Brooklyn Popcorn Brooklyn Mix Popcorn, $28.95, available at Brooklyn Popcorn.
8 of 28
Pet Portrait

Who wouldn't want a hand-painted portrait of Snookums or Fluffington giving you a cold-blooded stare that says, "When you die, I will eat your face"? Or, for the serious cat-fancier, there are custom-painted pet-portrait wine glasses.

Art Paw Pet Paintings, prices vary, available at Art Paw.
9 of 28
Feminine Wipes

We know, this one seems really far-fetched. But, certain people among us may have actually received this as a stocking stuffer from Grandma one year. Tenderly nestled among the chocolate Santas and scratch-off tickets. That everyone saw us open, including the new boyfriend we'd brought home for the holidays that year. Don't ask how we know. Just hold us.

Always Feminine Wipes Tub, $4.99, available at CVS.
10 of 28
The "Real Boy" Doll

This anatomically correct grandpa-baby is the stuff toddler nightmares are made of. Ed Asner, is that you?

JC Toys La Newborn Anatomically Correct Real Boy Vinyl Doll, $34.19, available at Wayfair.
11 of 28
Star Wars Cuff Links

Know how I know you're a sci-fi nerd? Because you are wearing R2-D2 USB cuff links. I bet you insist on calling him an "astromech droid" instead of a robot and own a "Han Shot First" T-shirt, too. (Full disclosure: We secretly think these are pretty fly.)

Cufflinks, Inc. Star Wars R2D2 4GB Flash Drive Cuff Links, $200, available at Nordstrom.
12 of 28
A Paddle Ball

This one's a popular stocking stuffer from adults who fancy themselves above shopping in the Disney Princess section of the toy store. The only problem? These chintzy balsa-wood boards are sadistic splinter factories, and the bouncy ball and industrial-grade staple always go flying toward some poor kid's face somewhere around the ninth bounce. Like the Edsel and McCarthyism, this one should stay in the '50s.

Wooden Paddle Ball, $2.69, available at Office Playground.
13 of 28
Tria Hair-Removal System

We love the Tria, but remember what we said about products that are best purchased for oneself? Giving this for the holidays is a heartwarming way to let your loved one know you've noticed their unsightly upper-lip problem — and it looks like it can only be solved by lasers.

Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X Deluxe Kit, $475, available at Tria.
14 of 28
The Str8-n-Up Shoulder Support Accessory

So, Mom just watched the Power Pose video, and now she's more judgy about your slouchy posture and ever-tense "tech neck" than ever. But, don't worry — there's a perma-sling for that! Guaranteed to take the slump out of those shoulders and probably land you a one-way ticket to the executive suite.

Str8-n-Up Shoulder Support Accessory, $38, Str8-n-Up.
15 of 28
BluePrint Excavation Cleanse

When you truly, deeply care about your loved one's toxic colon, give them BluePrint’s signature Excavation Cleanse. Excavation's refreshing green juices and agave-sweetened lemonades promise an internal deep-cleaning that “takes you much deeper, so you can finally unearth those crayons you ate when you were three.” Wait a minute — juice and crayons? It’s DOUBLE PRESENTS, people!

BluePrint Excavation Cleanse, prices vary, available at BluePrint.
16 of 28
Body-Fat Calipers

Seriously? Fancy perfumes, designer handbags, luxurious chocolates — there are so many delightful presents in the holiday-gifting palette. So, why would anyone choose the one that says, “Watch that holiday weight gain, cakey”?

AccuFitness Fitness 3000 Body Fat Caliper, $5.99, available at Heart Rate Monitors.
17 of 28
"I Love You More" Throw

Finally, a festive throw full of stalker-y sentiments to curl up under while your bunny boils gently on the stove top.

I Love You More Throw, $69.95, available at Sky Mall.
18 of 28
The Bracelet Assistant

Finally, a gift that reminds me of my arthritic wrists.

Rada Pro Bracelet Assistant, $29.95, available at Amazon.
19 of 28
Touch-Screen Gloves

Perfect for the on-the-go techie who hates unsightly screen smudges and maybe does a bit of murder on the side.

Hammacher Schlemmer The Touchscreen Leather Gloves, $99.95, available at Hammacher Schlemmer.
20 of 28
Potato Express

Not that there's anything wrong with a cheery, pepper-red spud sack that promises to create a "unique steam packet" and delivers "perfect potatoes in four minutes." And holds up to four potatoes. And softens day-old bread, too. It's just the type of gift that says to your recipient, "You look like you'd like to gorge on four potatoes and stale bread — AND QUICK." Proceed with caution.

Potato Express Potato-Baking Bag, $10, available at Potato Express.
21 of 28
Jillian Michaels Workout DVD

Didn't know you apparently needed the "ultimate body makeover"? Thought "trouble zone" was the name of the Kenny Loggins song from Top Gun? Here, take this DVD, and watch as Jillian Michaels and her abs literally point and grimace at your bod. Get ready to tone, shred, and power-smirk those holiday pounds away!

Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zones, $8.57, available at Amazon.
22 of 28
The Personal Pie Maker

Finally, a girl can make four pies simultaneously, in a weird iron-maiden-type device, in the comfort and safety of her own home. Psych, everyone — this is actually the best gift.

Breville Personal Pie Maker, $99.99, available at Bed Bath & Beyond.
23 of 28
Onion-Chopping Goggles

In holiday gifts, versatility is key. These handy kitchen goggles in lady-friendly pink are just the thing for when you get thrown in a gulag on onion-chopping detail again — or when outfitting your rap crew for a Mariah Carey remix video.

RSVP Onion Goggles, $19.95, available at Chef's Corner Store.
24 of 28
Ultrasonic Hand Moisturizer

Hey, giftee! Your cuticles look drier than the Sahara. Here, feed your hands to this monster with dyspepsia.

Sharper Image Ultrasonic Hand Moisturizer, $129, Sharper Image.
25 of 28
Working After Retirement For Dummies

Nothing like the one-two punch of a gift that simultaneously says, “You’re probably a financial dunce,” and “Don’t count on that 401k, kiddo.” We'd be really, really worried if we got this from our boss.

Working After Retirement For Dummies, $15.30, available at Barnes and Noble.
26 of 28
The Wrap Purse

It’s a scarf! No, it’s a purse! It’s a scurseparf! Forget those bras with pockets: Here's the today way to sassily sport the valuables you need most, like your bling-y barrettes and Sophie Kinsella novels.

Sholdit Hot Pink Clutch Wrap Purse, $50, available at Sholdit.
27 of 28
Wine-Cork Trivet

This is a super-classy, MoMA-approved way to commemorate the 36 most special times you ever got lit (precious memories). Don't buy it for us, though. Our boxes of Chardonnay don't come with corks.

Tati Gulmarães Bakus Trivet, $43, available at MoMA Store.
28 of 28
Grayson Perry's "Sac"

We're really, really sorry about this one, people. NOPE, it's not a Fendi, Hermès, or Mulberry. This is a Grayson Perry original, made by the British artist as a one-off gift for a friend (presumably not a frenemy). Thus, we'd like to nominate this jingle-bell-festooned "sac" as history's worst gift. Worse than the Trojan Horse and small-pox blankets combined. Thankfully, Perry has no intentions of ever producing another, despite a flood of requests. And, that, dear readers, is our gift to you.

Grayson Perry Scrotal Sack Handbag, will never be purchased by anyone, ever.

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