Would you give an unwanted present?

Apparently, there is a trend to give ugly jumpers as Christmas gifts – a modern twist on people knitting jumpers for loved ones that were, ah, less than appreciated!

poinsettia and silver foil Christmas set

This is a little garish for my taste – I wouldn’t want this as a jumper design!

Would you think it was hip and funny to open a beautifully wrapped present to find it was an awful jumper you wouldn’t wear – except perhaps that day and at an ‘ugly sweater Christmas party’?

I wouldn’t be pleased with such a gift.

Would you want to go to an ugly Christmas jumper party anyway? That could be funny but I’m not sure it’s worth buying a new jumper for (now a cheap second-hand one from an op shop is a different matter!)

Why give an ugly gift?

I understand the humour aspect – and joke gifts can be a lot of fun. But to me, joke gifts are a cheap item that I give in addition to a real gift or in a casual setting (such as a Kris Kringle with people I don’t know well).

If I’m putting real money into a gift for someone, I want it to be something they will enjoy and make use of. Partly to see value for money, but also to actually give something the person will value and hopefully make their live a little better.

Giving a Christmas themed gift obviously limits it’s use anyway – I mean not many people will use a Christmas tablecloth or tee-shirt throughout much of the year. But deliberately choosing an ugly Christmas thing doesn’t make any sense to me.

Especially when many people around the world are struggling, and schools are stopping Kris Kringles for lack of money in families, giving gifts you know are ugly and unwanted seems wrong and very superficial.

Maybe that’s just me?

What criteria (even if you’ve never thought of it as criteria!) do you put around things you give as Christmas gifts?


Note: The article that inspired this post was about a specific company who is using (or perhaps building) this trend. That company puts part of jumper proceeds into clothing underprivileged kids and I have no problem with them selling their jumpers as a business model. I looked at their jumpers – they look like quality jumpers and are really nice for the most part – until you look closely to see what the picture really is when ‘nice’ is not the word you’d use 🙂

25 Responses to Would you give an unwanted present?

  • ChristiQ says:

    Those aren’t just ugly sweaters. They’re quite offensive. I just don’t understand that. I would never give anything like that as a Christmas present. Even if it were just ugly, I would rather give something I know the recipient will enjoy and be able to use. If those sweaters are “hip” and cool, I’m glad I’m not.

    • Santa's Elf says:

      I think there are two aspects to this – giving ugly gifts and these ones which are branded as ugly (but lean more to potentially-offensive humour than ugliness).

      And I agree, ChristiQ, that I wouldn’t give a gift I thought I was ugly or offensive, or just generally useless.

  • L J says:

    A group of friends (we are mid-20-somethings) had an “ugly sweater” party last year, and it was so much fun! We each tried to out do the others with the ugliest sweater. We bought them at thrift stores and then did a number on already ugly sweaters sewing on big buttons, ornaments, ribbon, etc.

    We decided, amongst the group, that we were going to have a fun but frugal Christmas that year and not buy gifts for each other, so this was a very entertaining alternative. We had a pot luck, heavy on the desserts, in someone’s house and laughed so hard at the hideous sweaters we all had tears rolling down our faces.

    All that said, I love to give gifts, and I would never, ever give someone a gag gift unless it was for a theme such as I describe above and discussed before hand.

    I love to give luxurious practical gifts. That is my criteria, though I have never thought of it that way before. I want the gifts I give to be something the recipient will use often, and enjoy, but at the same time something that they would not ordinarily splurge on for themselves.

    My dad loves music, and this year I am giving him an iPod touch that is preloaded with all of his CDs and with his favorite podcasts already dialed in. He would never buy one for himself, but he will use it every day.

    • Santa's Elf says:

      That sounds like fun, Laura. Having a dress up type party where you deliberately make things ugly could be a lot of fun – and an alternative to expensive Christmas shopping.

      I love to give luxurious practical gifts.

      What a great sentiment – and that iPod for your Dad is a perfect example which I’m sure he’ll love.

  • dorothymoreno says:

    I dont’t think I would want to do something like this,it would be a waste of time and money, just for the gift to be thrown out. Each to their own, but I would not give a ugly gift to anyone, its not what Christmas is about.

  • benjaminsmom says:

    I have to agree with the original post. For me Christmas (or any gift giving occasion really) is about making people happy and giving a gift that they will love, enjoy or is at least functional. I too understand how it could be fun to do an Ugly Sweater Party with some friends, but under normal circumstances I would not be a fan of giving gag gifts. My husbands family does do some small little silly gifts usually in stockings, but that is in addition to a “real” gift which is of the thoughtful variety.
    I do find it interesting a cmpany is doing this to help under privledged kids, that is something I could get behind.
    I enjoyed the post! Thanks!

    • Santa's Elf says:

      Thanks for your comprehensive reply, benjaminsmom 🙂

      Silly gifts with a real present, an acknowledged fun dress up and helping kids – all good things. Giving gag or ugly gifts – I’m not a fan either.

  • emerillus says:

    When I give a gift, I try my best to pick out ones that the receiver will surely like. It usually takes me a month to think about what I would give. In the end, it depends on the receiver if he or she wants my gift but most importantly I did my best to give what I think they will surely like.

    • Santa's Elf says:

      There’s no question that sometimes we get it wrong despite our best intentions and efforts, and give a gift they don’t want/like, but I think that’s realy different to deliberately giving an unwated gift. I am impressed you spend about a month on selecting a gift, emerillus, and I suspect very few of your gifts are unwanted.

  • lrlady66 says:

    I agree that I found the sweaters offensive rather than funny. They are in poor taste and I would not be caught buying one much less giving one to someone. Giving a gift is about making someone feel happy and loved. I could not give someone a gift that lacks integrity. I consider what the person needs or what their hobbies and interests are and I choose a gift that I know they would enjoy and appreciate.

    • Santa's Elf says:

      Giving a gift is about making someone feel happy and loved. I could not give someone a gift that lacks integrity

      Beautiful words and senitment, lrlday – thanks for sharing.

      I agree – ugly and/or offensive and I couldn’t buy it as a gift.

  • sabreshbk says:

    If I did give an ugly gift to someone I would have a really nice present waiting after they opened the ugly present. Personally I have never done this because i’m to nice of a person to ever do something so mean. Have I ever gotten a present that is “ugly”? Yes, but then the next present was something I wanted for awhile.
    I usually look at the lists people made and by looking at that list and what I know about them then decide on the present. Sometimes I give each person a few presents or decide to give the family something they need. For instance a few years ago we had a beat up monitor that was really old. Well I decided to spend about $100 on a new 19 inch LCD monitor and they loved it. They still thank me to this day.

    • Santa's Elf says:

      Hi sabreshbk. That is a great feeling, isn’t it, to have someone enjoy a gift so much they talk about it for ages more.

      I like your compromise of giving a nice present to follow the ugly one, if you must give the ugly one.

  • Lisa Jean Hawkins says:

    I make Christmas gift giving simple. I buy for those that I am close for something that reminds me of them. For example, I buy my sister perfume each year.I know what her favorite perfume is and that is what I buy. I buy gifts that I know will be appreciated and used. I do not spend a lot of money on each gift. I believe each gift should come from the heart. I do like to give “gag” gifts or “ugly” gifts for jokes but I always follow up with a nice gift from the heart.

  • erica says:

    Eh, I just can’t see the point in spending money on something purposefully ugly, or any kind of joke/gag gift for that matter. They’re almost always unusable and the laughs are temporary. I would feel upset if someone gave me something like this, ’cause it’s not something I’d be using — so it seems almost like an afterthought/uncaring kind of “gift.” I have a weird, varied sense of humor, but I draw the line at bad gifts. 😛

    • Santa's Elf says:

      Sounds like a good line to draw, Erica.

      I would hate for someone to think I didn’t care or got them a last second gift so I would steer away from ugly gifts for that reason alone.

  • Clauzetta says:

    I do know of a family that like to give silly or gag small gifts to each other but they are all in on the fun of it. So, it
    makes it enjoyable for them all. This family knows that I think its a waste of money and that I wouldn’t know what to do
    with such a silly gift, so I am glad I am not included. If it makes their Christmas a little more joyful, then I am glad they are having fun. It’s just not my kind of fun. I guess to each their own, when it comes to making Christmas a little more joyful. And that is what I like about our modern approach to Christmas, we can celebrate it in different ways.

    But at the same time, we do need to be considerate of others, especially when it comes to giving a gift. I think it does need to be a thoughtful gift.

    • Santa's Elf says:

      Hi Clauzetta, and thanks for adding your thoughts.

      that is what I like about our modern approach to Christmas, we can celebrate it in different ways.

      What a great sentiment, Clauzetta. We all have different values and traditions, which is great, so ugly or joke gifts will suit some more than others.

      A small joke with another gift I get, but I still have trouble spending a decent amount of money on a gift I know they won’t use or like. But maybe that’s just me, and I wouldn’t stop anyone else gifting whatever they feel is appropriate.

  • darkmeiji says:

    When I give gifts, I want the receiver to enjoy them. I mean, I would not want to receive an unwanted gift myself so why would I give one. So I usually think of whether the receiver will actually use my gift. Sometimes, I even have a hard time because I chose my gift so carefully, I end up not wanting to give the gift away.

  • Trissandra says:

    Sadly, last year I received two ugly and completely unnecessary jumpers for Christmas. It’s quite confusing because my family knows that I don’t enjoy receiving clothes as gifts and yet they bought me those horrible things. I still have no idea what to do with them. I can’t just throw them away because it would be rude. I believe that only the presents that make other person happy are real gifts.

    • Santa's Elf says:

      Sorry to hear you got two unwanted jumpers last year, Trissandra.

      I believe that only the presents that make other person happy are real gifts.

      I completely agree with you on that.

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