The best worst gifts | A selection of Christmas presents for people you don’t like

It’s the final week before Christmas, which means a last-ditch scramble for overpriced, underwhelming presents. But instead of rushing around to find lovely gifts for people who don’t deserve them, we’ve devised a passive aggressive list of items for people you don’t like.

christmas presents for people you hate

Pottery made by your children 

This is ideal if your chosen target does not like your children. The less sentimental value the better. Mugs, bowls, plates with messy signatures and images are all fantastically undesirable, guaranteed to sit in the back of the cupboard for the best part of the next decade. Pottery made by other children might be a bit weird, but feel free.

Anything else made by your children

Same thing goes. Unless it’s a grandparent or particularly close immediate family, this is a great way to pawn off your children’s useless creativity. 

Pupils at London's George Eliot Primary School model clay during pottery classes. (Photo by Juliette Lasserre/BIPs/Getty Images)

1955: Pupils at London’s George Eliot Primary School model clay during pottery classes. (Photo by Juliette Lasserre/BIPs/Getty Images)

Memoirs/self-help books by American businessmen 

I’m currently sitting opposite Tommy Hilfiger’s American Dreaming and it just looks horrendous. It’s possible I’m being very harsh, but I think not. Make sure to scribble a ‘Dear X, Merry Christmas’ note on the inside to ensure it cannot be re-gifted. 

Impractical furniture

Preferably of the cheap, large and ugly variety. Singular kitchen chairs are good options, especially ones that still need to be built and can be shipped straight to the door. Cheap, ugly lamps – like these ‘authentic himalayan salt’ lamps on Amazon for just £15 – are another good option; so, too, are any particularly revolting sets of glasses, plates and cutlery. For all the above, you’ll just need to accept pretending to have horrible taste – a price worth paying.

Unframed artwork

Staying with the large and ugly theme. Framing is expensive. On the surface this could appear quite nice and amiable, but give them some bland, generic oversized artwork and you’ve put them in a right pickle. Think neon-coloured Warhol soup cans and Marilyns. Either that or any knock-off stuff from Kaws or Tukashi Murakami.

andy warhol marilyn monroe bad

Instruments (for the children of your targets) 

There’s a wide range here, from which you can basically decide how annoying you want to be. Starting with the lowly recorder, guaranteed to make an awful squark but easily enough discarded, to the full-fledged drum kit, opportunities are endless. The drum kit might be quite heavy handed, as well as expensive, but if you’ve got money to spare and don’t mind your intentions being obvious, it’s a classic for good reason. A keyboard with lots of electronic modes would be irksome. Any brass instrument would also get annoying.

A package of gym classes 

I’m thinking six spin sessions or something along those lines. Maybe a 2-month trial subscription which would guilt your nemesis into having to use it, at least once or twice. This is of course rude and catered towards enemies who hate exercise. I’m imagining one to be given between siblings, likely sisters, as the rudeness becomes more heavy handed between more tenuously connected people. Either sisters or soon to be separated spouses that is.

spin class bad christmas presents

A ‘heavy metal spin class’ in London

Subscription to Twitter Blue 

It seems destined to be a lose-lose option this one, even if you are perhaps buying someone a brief slice of doomed internet history. 

iTunes voucher 

Most gift vouchers are a bit annoying, but the once serially given iTunes voucher is now utterly useless. You’d need to be over a certain age, I reckon about 50 mark, to be able to give this and reasonably feign not-knowing its uselessness, but if you’ve got any annoying, spoilt nieces and nephews or the like, a £20 iTunes voucher would be a laugh. 

itunes voucher bad christmas presents

Amazon Echo

They’re only £16.99 and if anyone wanted one by now, they’d have got one. They’re a pain to set up and never really work. They seem more generous than the £16.99 price tag as well.  

DVDs and CDs (unless they are niche film or music folk)

The era of the disc is over. Especially box sets or comedy specials, and all those ‘Now That’s What I Call Music…’ CDs. The only way this goes on to be a good present is if they become expensive, retro collectable a few years down the line. 

Pets (for the children of your target) 

Like instruments, there’s scope here for how annoying you want to be. From a single fish – inconvenient but easy to discard – to a dog, admittedly a bit much. I reckon a fish tank is the perfect middle ground. Bequeathing a fish tank is basically just giving people an awkward sized container of dirty water to clean. If you want to be even more annoying, a parrot or a guinea pig or a hamster might be the right realm, but it does seem a bit cruel.

cats and dogs bad christmas presents


It depends on the person, and it can’t be flowers or plastic plants. We want real plants that need watered and looked after, and will – fingers crossed – cover surfaces with a muddy soil substance. Maybe a little tomato vine, I’ve heard they’re difficult to grow.

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