Human Resources News & Insights

The 33 dumbest holiday gifts given at work

‘Tis the season … where we recap the stupidest gifts employees had the nerve to give their co-workers. 

This year, we have 13 new entrants to the growing list of the worst holiday gifts ever to be passed around the office.

Of course, the real gift is this list, which is provided every year by CareerBuilder. It surveys the U.S. workforce on an annual basis in search of the dumbest, lamest and must unusual gifts employees have given or received from co-workers.

Here are the 13 gifts that topped this year’s list at CareerBuilder:

  • Two left-handed gloves.
  • Coconut bra.
  • Jar of gravy.
  • A fake lottery ticket.
  • A real stuffed duck.
  • Toilet paper that looked like money.
  • Post-it Notes.
  • Dish detergent.
  • A pen holder that looks like a crime scene victim.
  • A comic book of an obscure movie.
  • A handmade ornament for a sports team the recipient had never heard of.
  • A singing chicken.
  • A whip.

To come up with this list, CareerBuilder surveyed more than 3,300 employees, and 2,379 hiring managers and HR professionals.

Gifts of years past

Are the aforementioned gifts worst than those given in previous years? You’ll have to be the judge of that.

Here are the 10 worst gifts from 2015:

  • A squirrel toilet seat decal.
  • A pair of Christmas socks that look like elf feet.
  • A roll of duct tape.
  • A bell on a string.
  • A mystery bag with a coat in it.
  • A giant heart-shaped box of candy … from Valentine’s Day.
  • A picture of a bear.
  • A bowling ball.
  • Homemade sausages.
  • A ceramic sheep you can dress up seasonally.

Here are the 10 worst from 2014:

  • A box of Hot Pockets.
  • A chess piece.
  • A fire extinguisher.
  • A voucher for a free lawn game the gifter invented.
  • A turquoise leather vest.
  • Zombie action figures.
  • A Ziploc bag with just enough coffee to make one pot.
  • A “gun of the day” calendar.
  • A bag of chips.
  • A Christmas ornament with a photo of the gifter and the gifter’s spouse in it.

So what are the odds you’ll end up on a co-worker’s shopping list? Twenty-two percent of workers said they plan to buy holiday gifts for co-workers this year, and 21% plan to buy a gift for their boss.

How much will be spent on these … ahem … “gifts”?
(More than one response was allowed.)

  • No more than $25 per gift — said 73% of gift givers.
  • No more than $10 per gift — 33%, and
  • No more than $5 — 11%.
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