Christmas gift confessions 2019

Americans expected to drop almost $15.2 billion on unwanted presents.

The holidays are a time of joy and happiness. But according to latest data, more than half of us will face another feeling: disappointment. Specifically, the disappointment of receiving an unwanted gift.

Some 61% of Americans surveyed admit to getting at least one unwanted gift over the holidays, totaling roughly 154 million American adults. They say it’s the thought that counts. But if you wind up giving someone a present they don’t want, how much thought did you actually put into it?

What not to buy for someone in 2019

You know when it’s an unwanted present: Your loved one opens it, smiles, stares at you wide-eyed and gleefully says, “You shouldn’t have … ”

To avoid the awkwardness in 2019, consider steering clear of clothing and accessories. Of those surveyed, 43% said that clothing and accessories were gifts they least like to receive, followed by household items (20%) and cosmetics and fragrances (12%).

Gift typeDislike %
Clothing and accessories43%
Household items20%
Cosmetic and Fragrances12%
Food and/or drink4%

Because our survey allowed participants to select more than one option, percentages do not equal 100. They are based on responses, not on unique participants.

Who gives the worst gifts?

Friends remain the biggest culprits of unwanted gifts. Approximately 23% of American adults state that their friends give them the worst presents. Coming in second place are mother and fathers-in-law, with 14% of adults stating their in-laws give the worst gifts.

Surprisingly our mothers and fathers aren’t the best at gifting, considering 10% of adults reported their parents give the worst gifts. Following parents are partners (7%) and sons and daughters (6%).

Women have taken the lead this year for most picky

When it comes to who’s getting those unwanted gifts, the sexes aren’t exactly split evenly this year: 54% of women say they receive at least one unwanted gift during the holidays while 46% of men do.

Gen X really doesn’t like your gifts

Gen X receives far and away more unwanted gifts than any other generation, with 44% saying they’ve received a gift they didn’t want. They’re followed by baby boomers (31%) and millennials (26%).

Gen X also has the most spent on them for unwanted gifts, averaging a whopping $121.90 each. That’s almost 2 times more than what’s spent on baby boomers ($66.98) but only $23.05 more than what’s spent on millennials($98.85).

What happens to all the unwanted gifts?

What are people doing with their unwanted gifts? Open the nearest closet or check under the bed, and you’re bound to find out.

According to our most recent survey, 31% of people just hold on to the unwanted item, followed by another 31% who plan to regift their sour-patch-present and another 20% who plan to exchange the unwanted item.

What people are doing with unwanted giftsDislike %
Keep them31%
Give them to someone else31%
Exchange them20%
Sell them7%
Give them back4%
Throw them away4%

Because our survey allowed participants to select more than one option, percentages do not equal 100. They are based on responses, not on unique participants.

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