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Onions, toilet roll and wrinkle cream among most disappointing gifts – survey

27 Dec 2023 2 minute read
Photo by DBduo Photography is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

A bag of onions, toilet roll, anti-wrinkle cream and a fly zapper have been identified in a survey as among the worst gifts that people say they have ever received, with one in four saying they had an unwanted Christmas present last year.

Consumer group Which? commissioned a survey of more than 2,000 people who received Christmas gifts in 2022.

It found that a quarter (24%) had received gifts that were unwanted or unsuitable.

When asked what they did with the unwanted gift, three in 10 (27%) said they had either given it away or were planning to, one in seven (14%) sold or planned to sell it on an online marketplace and 8% had either returned the gift or were planning to.

Thrown away

Less popular ways of getting rid of unsuitable gifts included throwing it away (5%) and giving it back to the person who gifted it (3%), according to the research carried out by Opinium across the UK in January 2023.

People were also honest about the worst present they had ever received. Among them were a toilet roll and a fly zapper, a broken toy, a bag of onions and a woman who received anti-wrinkle cream from her husband.

One person said they had received chocolate from their dad despite being intolerant to milk. Another person, who is vegan, said they received a dead chicken from a friend who is a butcher.


Eight in 10 (78%) people surveyed said that none of the Christmas presents they received included a gift receipt, meaning they would not be able to exchange any unwanted items for something more suitable.

Many retailers extend their returns policy during the festive period. But Which? cautioned that customers should carefully consider whether to accept vouchers, as they could become worthless if the retailer goes bust.

Harry Kind, Which? consumer expert, said: “Whether it’s a fly zapper or a broken toy, our research shows a quarter of us have been left wondering what to do with a disappointing Christmas gift.

“It’s always worth getting a gift receipt so your loved one has the option to return their gift if needed.

“Often only the buyer can request a refund or exchange. But if the item was marked as a gift when ordered, the retailer’s returns policy may enable a recipient to return or exchange it.”

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Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
5 months ago

Jest yn dangos pa mor faterol y trodd gwyl Mab y Dyn.

5 months ago

maybe not the worst present , having grown out of a beloved Raleigh Chopper in flame red, my step father decided to give me for Christmas one year A ‘proper’ bike , so without any discussion leading to Christmas day , Christmas Morning I was presented with a racing bike, first I remonstrated that I had a bike already whjch I had paid for myself via a succession of jobs (paper rounds, potato picking etc) to be told that my stepfather had sold it in the pub. OK stay calm i thought until I saw the ‘new’ bike , my… Read more »

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