How to Avoid Giving Unoriginal Gifts at Christmas

02 Nov 2021

This blog was first published in 2018. All survey data is based on the original 2018 answers.

Christmas shopping should be fun. A bold statement, we know, but it is all about making people happy, after all. Often we just end up getting any old thing, falling back on the same presents. This year we want to give unoriginal gift-giving the boot, so we decided to find out the most boring, commonly given gifts in the UK and bring you some ideas for alternatives.

We polled over 2000 adults around the UK to find the least original gifts you can give anyone. There were several of the usual suspects, along with a couple of slightly more surprising entries. We’re pretty sure you can buy something better than any on the list, and here to help you are the top 10 most unoriginal gifts to avoid, and a few suggestions for how to avoid being a gift bore this Christmas…

The top 10 most unoriginal Christmas gifts in the UK

1. Socks 6. Lynx box set
2. Chocolate selection box 7. Unwanted fragrance
3. Bath accessories 8. Generic 3-for-2 cosmetics selection
4. Pyjamas 9. Toothbrush
5. Underwear 10. Bible


Think outside the box: Instead of socks…

There are two reasons you’re buying socks: 1) you’re on a budget and 2) you have literally no idea what else to buy. It's a pickle, we know. But you're better than that. Not only were socks the most unoriginal gift in our survey, with 60% of respondents having received them for Christmas, they also polled highly among the very worst gifts, with over 10% of respondents saying that socks were the worst gift they'd ever got.

Instead, think outside the box. Rather than getting a present just for the sake of it, you could give an experience that your recipient will really appreciate — and you can do it on a budget. We’ve got loads of experiences that are close to the sock price range. Just have a browse…

Give the experience: Browse our range of gifts for animal lovers and see if they’d prefer to get their hiking boots on with an alpaca walking experience, or treat them to a West End show for as little as a tenner.


Counter the cold winter nights: Instead of pyjamas…

We’re not sure there’s a lot wrong with pyjamas per se. But a fairly hefty 47% of our respondents said they’d received them as a Christmas gift at some time. It makes sense — pyjamas are a seasonally appropriate gift, good for long nights in, staying warm, and relaxing. But if you’d like to show a bit more imagination while riffing on the warm-and-relaxing theme, try this on for size: for less than the price of a nice set of pyjamas, you could get them a full spa day. For under £50, you can take your pick of experiences that include a full spa day, lunch, and a treatment, or for a little less you could book a one-off treatment.

Give the experience: Check out our collection of spa deals for gift experiences around the country, ranging from single treatments to pampering overnight stays.


Basically anything: Instead of underwear…

Know what pretty much no one wants to get as a present? Pants. OK, there are some exceptions, and lingerie can make an exciting gift if you're absolutely certain it's appropriate. But in many cases, underwear is probably a little too… intimate. Consequently, this was another one that also popped up frequently in our worst gifts poll. Our favourite was the respondent who actually specified that she'd got — and we quote — "sexy lingerie from [her] nan".

Give the experience: Check out our curated selections of gift experiences for her and gifts for him to avoid a gifting faux pas.


Make him smile: Instead of the toiletries box set…

Look, we’ve got nothing against Lynx. The men of Britain need their deodorant. And we get the rationale. You need to get something — anything — but you're totally stuck for ideas. So you go for a fall-back that everyone knows. It has a use; everyone needs toiletries. But the thing about giving great gifts is it's not always about getting your recipient something they need. Wouldn't you rather get them something that you know is going to put a smile on their face? Maybe, the next time you find yourself reaching for the shower gel, ask yourself, "What would make him smile — some body wash, or a tour of a craft brewery?" That’s what we thought.

Give the experience: Perhaps now's the time to look after the wine- or gin-lover in your life with a tasting experience. And beer drinkers can enjoy tastings or brewery tours, as well.

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