SURVEY SAYS: Best and Worst Holiday Gifts 2014

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, what is the best holiday gift you received in 2014? And, what is the worst?

I was pleasantly surprised to see that electronics did not dominate the list of best gifts this year. As a matter of fact, less than a handful of responding readers mentioned an electronic item. The theme around this year’s best gifts was family—time with family, family news, trips, handmade gifts or gifts that represent family or family memories. Other items on the “best” list included watches, gift certificates, socks, electric blankets, a coffee thermos and a customized t-shirt, among others.

Some of these “best” gifts were also listed by some responding readers as “worst” gifts, such as socks and gift certificates. Many respondents said none of their gifts were bad, and several listed being sick as their worst gift.

In verbatim comments there was also a theme—that the holidays should be less about gifts and more about spending time with family and friends. Some offered suggestions for choosing the right, thoughtful gift. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “Can we stop between adults? It’s not fun ’cause it’s tons of work and no one wants to do it! I’d rather my friends spend time with me, which they never seem to have available! Let’s go out for a nice dinner & conversation instead!”

Thank you to everyone who participated in our survey!

Best Gifts

My son was so sweet -- he designed a case for my new mobile phone on Shutterfly with a photo of him and his sister on the back.

Uninterrupted time with the love of my life!

A watch - that was on my wish list - already sized for me!

Trip to Texas to visit relatives.

An ultrasound & blood test showing that by all measures, my 3rd child is healthy as can be.

Two handmade holiday thank you cards and handmade tree ornaments from a group of school children who visited our office. The ornaments went on my tree that night!

The best gift was not receiving gifts at all, but being together with family on a week-long vacation in Europe.

Gift card to Ruth's Chris. A steak there for free is a double gift.

The best holiday gift I received were the smiles on the faces of friends and family. The one benefit of being older is finally learning the important stuff. Like that it really is better to give than to receive.

a Clay Pumpkin my 10-year old daughter made me in art class. she filled it with Hershey Kisses

This may end of being the worst, but my new sister-in-law gave me a 4 pack of work-outs at the new Orange Fitness Theory. Tonight is the first one...we shall see! She is going with me at least.


I received a number of gift certificates to stores that I frequent. My mom gave me a gift certificate for a one-way flight on Southwest Airlines.

Twin-size electric blanket. With only half the bed extra warm, we have a happy wife and a happy husband. All is good!

Having my whole family together for the holidays was my best gift

Electric more razor burn!

Neat Receipt Scanner

A necklace from my step daughters with each of the blended families' birthstone and charms that read "many hearts" "one family". Our families are very blessed!

handmade ornaments from kids

bose cd player

Angel's Envy bourbon

My brother in law sent me a bracelet that belonged to my sister.

Pressure Cooker and sweatshirts

The British television series "Fawlty Towers" on DVD

My three kids being home for the holidays!

Fuzzy slippers

The golf pro at a course we played over Christmas while traveling in Florida picked up our lunch tab in their restaurant because according to our waitress, "he hadn't yet used up his 2014 budget for the holiday." It was a great, unexpected surprise.

Having the entire family together

Having my daughter and her fiancée spend Christmas with us.

A personalized photo coffee mug summarizing my family in 2014

My husband surprised me with an 11-day guided tour of the country of Portugal! We leave in September!!

Time with my daughters.

News of my daughter's new baby!

A package of brand new socks without holes and that stay up!

The best gift I received is the time spent with my loved ones.

A visit from my two 20-something daughters

Photo album of my son and daughter-in-laws wedding pictures. They hand-picked the pictures so most of them were my side of the family.

Coffee thermos that actually keeps coffee hot all day.

Donation in my name to an organization that works to stop killing of elephants in Africa for their ivory. Second best wind up Kermit the Frog that hops backwards.

A t-shirt custom made for me that said, "Dainty Hippie Biker Chick." Can't wear it to work because it will blow my professional image. LOL

A custom calendar with pictures of my husband and me each month at various locations throughout 2014.

New Watch

Worst Gifts

Nothing was bad -- I liked everything although I did need to return some gloves because they were too small.

I can't really categorize anything I received as "worst"...unless I can count not having all my family with me as worst. a wonderful thing!

Coasters - in a box that looked like they had been 're-gifted' at least a couple of times...

all my gifts were good

A monogrammed door mat.

There are no bad gifts when they come from the heart.

A child's book on football - we have no children. I guess it was a gag gift but it didn't even work from that point of view. We still tried to be gracious.

I generally do not get bad gifts. But when I was 23 my boyfriend at the time (mama's boy) gave me a shovel since I had just moved into my first apartment and I needed one. Needless to say I did break up with him and he still lives with his parents at 41 years old.

Our house was "skunked" on late Christmas Eve,early Christmas morning when we noticed an acrid burning smell that was worse in the basement! Apparently a skunk had burrowed under the slab of an old porch on the side of the house and "let go".

I received a short decorative stool (the one you sit on, not the one that comes out of your body). The seat of the stool was in the shape of a curled up cat.

The weather. We traveled in rain going and coming.

I can't say I got anything I don't like...

Box of dried fruit

A cold...

Subway gift card

holiday serving plate

they were all good

I received a battery operated hand radio, Not even sure where they purchased it. ( The kind we had in the 60's and 70's.)

None - it's the thought that counts - all good thoughts were/are appreciated!!

Socks I'll probably never wear

Scented candle that smells like pinesol

Kiddie Crud

There are no bad gifts. Receiving a gift means that someone was thinking of you.

Gift card

Nothing yucky this year!

Cough and cold that have lasted two weeks!

My husband gave me a stun gun - this was after giving me a .22 pistol for target shooting (which I don't do) for Christmas last year! Couldn't I have a toaster, please?

The gift of ageing

A pair of ugly Christmas ornaments with our first initial on them.

I did not receive a bad gift. They were all given with love.

A seat cushion for my office chair, which I can't use because it makes me sit up too high and adjusting the seat height and arm rest height doesn't work.

Hand cream. Since I travel, I have more hand creams than I can be used in this lifetime.

Slipper socks made for 8 year old child.

A white elephant gift of old dish cloths and used nail polish.

Hmm...don't think I got anything I'd consider bad.


Management decided to lay off about 10% of our local workforce two days before New Year's Day.



I don't know why we make it so hard on ourselves. If you give from your heart, be it tangible or is a gift. If you can't give from your heart, it becomes a chore, and chores basically suck.

I love to give gifts - but I hate to shop.

Gifts given with love, no matter the type, are priceless.

The older you get the less getting gifts matters; the joy comes from giving or having family time and most of all from celebrating the birth of Jesus.

We put way too much pressure on gifts for the holidays. If you love someone, buy them a present whenever you want - not because Constantine invented Christmas because he didn't want to give up his pagan winter celebration when he became a Christian. I hate seeing how stressed my friends and extended family are about having to send gifts, or offending people if they don't send gifts. Way too many people go into debt for a societal obligation that is quite ridiculous. (Call me a scrooge, but I'm not in debt).

Our American culture focuses too much on the material and not enough on the lasting.

I spoiled my kids a little this year, but they deserve it and I don't spoil them throughout the year. They were super happy with their gifts!

Realized more than ever, the gift of family!

I knitted the gifts for all the girls on my list. It took me 6 months and was satisfying.

I wish my wife would buy less stuff for the kids!

When giving a gift, people should know the person well enough to give them something they would like to have rather than waste money on junk that will be promptly delivered to Goodwill. When in doubt, take the time to learn what restaurants or stores the person prefers and send gift cards that they will enjoy. For work gift exchanges, it is easy as we spend all year together so it is easy to see who would like a gift certificate to Starbucks, the local gas station or an Amazon gift card etc....

we all say that we can pretty much get whatever we need, so it's tough to select just the right thing. Always a challenge.

More people should be comfortable giving cash and gift cards rather than stress themselves out trying to find the perfect gifts for people.

I've become severely turned off by the whole emphasis on Christmas gift-giving. I'd like the season to be more about family time, relaxation, and spiritual celebration.

Even if holiday gifts sometimes seemed forced and without true sincerity, letting someone know you care about them through gift-giving is the best gift of all.

It isn't the cost of a gift but the meaning in the gift. Gifts should be something the giver wants to get someone and not off the receiver's list.

My family and I decided years ago that our presence together is the best present we can give each other.

At least for our family, the gifts were thoughtful and not about buying the best thing but more down to earth. I hope to see that tradition continue into next year.

I give each of my children three gifts: the first is some random gift; the second cash; the third is is a DUnkin' Donuts gift card. Life is good. .

We reduced our gift exchanging with extended family many years ago. It got to a point that we felt like we were exchanging $20 bills because no one knew what to get and it was easier. Now my gift giving is in the form of baked goods (cookies and breads). I've not had any complaints!

I prefer to give baskets with small gifts that I know the person would like (because I pay attention to what they tell me throughout the year). If you don't have any idea what to give me then just ask me for a list of what I want. I'd rather get what I want than have to pretend I like what I got.

Wish more people would say what they want to receive and talk spending limits.

The best and worst were one in the same. I didn't get anything. Maybe, hopefully, that was a good thing...

Stressful trying to purchase the "perfect gift" but fun to watch the receiver open their presents and fun to open the gifts I have received.

Can we stop between adults? It's not fun 'cause it's tons of work and no one wants to do it! I'd rather my friends spend time with me, which they never seem to have available! Let's go out for a nice dinner & conversation instead!

I think it's too commercialized and people have lost what the purpose of gift giving is all about. It's not the money spent it should be the caring that went into the present.


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.