Worst Christmas presents ever

Cabbage tops list of worst Christmas gifts

JANINE STARKS
Last updated 16:15 19/12/2013
cabbage
NOT FIT FOR A QUEEN: Understandably the humble cabbage tops the list of worst Christmas presents for women.
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Merry Christmas, darling, I've got you a cabbage, a bag of compost and some rubber gloves. Seriously? Would you believe it if your other half felt those were appropriate gifts? It's fondly known as the "silly season" but maybe that's a step too far.

The latest survey carried out by the British website askherfriends.com lists the 10 worst Christmas presents received by women (see table below).

They range from the ridiculous sack of potatoes to the socially inept beard trimmer and the ever-so-practical windscreen wipers. We can only hope our Kiwi gents don't fall into the same trap. As for the British bloke who gifted a brassica, one would assume he muddled a request for a brassiere.

No doubt his Christmas day ended with his head being shoved in the sprouts.

But don't laugh too soon. Female shoppers are wasting their hard-earned money buying unwanted gifts too. Men are more complex and picky than first thought, with their answers dependent on their level of wealth.

A website that surveyed over 4000 millionaires found the worst present is a gift card. They're not ungrateful, but it's a bit dull to get money when your bank account is stuffed full of it.

On the other hand, 80 per cent of ordinary blokes rank a gift card as a top present, according to creditdonkey.com.

The lesson for women is that wealthy men don't want you to give them money, select their aftershave or pick their clothes. The ordinary bloke doesn't want bling and we should keep our hands off their music, movies and sports gear. They'd rather be in charge of those choices themselves. As for homemade goods, we should stick to giving our jams and baking to our girlfriends by the looks of it.

Despite the hilarity of present faux pas, there's a serious financial message for all of us in the survey results. Money is hard to earn and easily wasted on unwanted gifts. The level of financial carnage is staggering.

Last Christmas, it was reported that Brits returned presents to the value of £2.1 billion (NZ$4.2 billion). It's estimated each adult received two unwanted presents. The statistics scream that we are not good at picking for other people.

More worrying is that only 6 per cent of people ask for a receipt. Admittedly you need to know someone well to do that. Social awkwardness means that 20 per cent of presents are hidden in a cupboard, 22 per cent are re-gifted (a practice fraught with traps) and 2 per cent are thrown away.

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A massive 50 per cent of adults consider putting unwanted gifts online. Last year there were 20,000 new listings on Trade Me by lunchtime Boxing Day.

Henceforth be warned. Put a "watch" on your relatives' Trade Me accounts at your own peril. You could be in for a nasty surprise.

Christmas comes with an element of financial stress for most families. When you tot up the amounts which MasterCard New Zealand says we are spending on each other, it's easy to see that the average adult will part with at least $500 on gifts if they are buying for children, spouse, siblings and parents.

People are relying on roughly a third of the money coming from their credit card, a third from savings and a third from their last pay packet.

A few tips to end the year and avoid the agony of unwanted gifts:

- Have open conversations with extended family to exchange ideas, avoid double-ups and to collude. If you really respect the value of other people's money, don't let them waste it.

- Within your own family, force every member to write down a few useful inexpensive things in a list. It de-stresses everyone. Middle-aged men are not exempt from this exercise. You are the most trouble of all.

- If you are giving homemade, make it able to be eaten or planted - it's more likely to be used.

- If you get unwanted presents and want to sell them online, stay anonymous by starting an account under a member name, which friends and relations don't know about.

- Don't ever re-gift, unless you know exactly who gave it to you and are certain they will never be in the same room as the new recipient.

- Even kids get unwanted presents. Parents should share their wish list and some practical items with the wider family.

- If you give to charity instead of exchanging presents, don't assume that your cause is everyone's cause.

- If you're a cousin or an uncle, be on high alert - apparently you give the worst presents. Think a little harder and ask questions.

WORST CHRISTMAS GIFTS GIVEN TO WOMEN

1. Cabbage

2. Poo-shaped key ring

3. Beard trimmer

4. Cement mixer

5. Sack of potatoes

6. Bag of compost

7. Packet of salt

8. Windscreen wipers

9. A thong

10. Rubber gloves

Survey: askherfriends.com

WORST CHRISTMAS GIFTS

(voted by wealthy men)

1. Gift cards

2. Cologne

3. Clothing

4. Books

5. Picture frames and photos

Survey: seekingmillionaire.com

WORST CHRISTMAS GIFTS

(voted by ordinary men)

1. Jewellery

2. Music

3. Sporting goods

4. Movies

5. Homemade gifts

Survey: creditdonkey.com

Janine Starks is Co-Managing Director of Liontamer Investments. Opinions in this column represent her personal views and are not made on behalf of Liontamer. These opinions are general in nature and are not a recommendation, opinion or guidance to any individuals in relation to acquiring or disposing of a financial product. Readers should not rely on these opinions and should always seek specific independent financial advice appropriate to their own individual circumstances.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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