You might be one of those people who goes on an exotic vacation and feels obligated to bring back a gift for those you left behind.
And when you do it all the time, it becomes an expectation.
Don’t back yourself into that corner.
But, should you absolutely have to bring something back, here are 7 lame gifts you definitely DO NOT want to bring back.
You may have been asked before, “What do you want me to bring back for you?”
I can tell you I get that question anytime I dog-sit for my parents when they go on vacation. It’s their way of showing they appreciate it. I get it, I do. But my answer is always “nothing”.
Sometimes it’s simply because I just don’t need or want anything from wherever they’re visiting. Great, you’re in Canada? Well, I do love maple syrup a whole lot, but I can get that here in the United States, and it’s still just as good.
There are so many things that seem like great gifts to bring back, but once you start getting something for everyone, it really adds up.
Sure, it’s a great way to tell people you were thinking about them while you drank rum on a beach day in and day out, but maybe you’re also rubbing it in just a little?
Okay, okay, but really, there are some gifts that you should absolutely just avoid, because they’re useless, cheesy, or just a waste of money.
Don’t do it. Just don’t. People go to Mexico or pretty much anywhere in the Caribbean and think, oh these will make a cute gift. Stop. They’re not cute.
Maracas are one of those gifts equivalent to your grandparents buying you clothes—the chances that your Nana or Grampop will buy you anything you’d ever wear (or would fit you) are double-zero.
Also, maracas may be the most annoying instrument on all of planet earth and requires zero talent to “play” them.
Ahhh yes. The old, “This person likes to drink. Maybe I’ll get them a shot glass!” Forget it. They will promptly put it in their kitchen cabinet and never use it.
Actually, the only time it will be used is when they have some sort of get-together and someone suggests taking shots. Then they’ll take it out. But that’s the only time. And if they’re doing shots, chances are they won’t remember using it anyways. You know.
But also, buying a shot glass just means you’re cheap. Honestly, a three-dollar shot glass is what I’m worth to you? Um, that’s cool.
Bulky Handcrafted Souvenirs
This is one of those catch-22 gifts. Sure it might actually be the perfect gift, but can you really fit it into your luggage to take home?
There are many, many shops at exotic locales filled with crazy masks, hand-knitted crafts—heck, they’ll even have your favorite sports team emblazoned on all sorts of souvenirs.
“Oh, John’s a diehard Raiders fan! He would love this mask with their pirate logo on it!” No, that’s just not true. They could find it on eBay or Amazon if they wanted to.
Just because you got it wherever you took your vacation doesn’t make it special.
Alright, so here’s the case with t-shirts. Unless it can signify some sort of inside joke between you and that person – don’t do it.
For example, I recently went to Tulum, Mexico where they sold “Make Tulum Great Again” t-shirts and thought it would be funny to get one for several family members. That works.
But imagine if it’s your typical “Welcome to Cancun” t-shirt. That’s a no. What exactly do you expect them to do with a shirt like that? Wear it proudly as if they just got back from Cancun?
What happens when someone asks them if they’ve ever been to Cancun? “Oh no, I’ve never actually been there. My mom bought me this shirt.”
Have some foresight. Otherwise, congratulations, the only thing you bought them is their new favorite workout apparel.
Nobody wears sarongs unless they’re going to where you just left. They are pointless in Portland, Maine if you catch my drift.
Fake Designer Items
Occasionally, you might have someone ask you to specifically bring back a fake designer item like a handbag or sunglasses. But if they did not ask, and you bought a fake designer item anyways, you’ll be forced to lie and say you thought it was real so you don’t look like the cheapest person on earth.
And what could you even say at that point? “Well, it looked like the real thing!” See if that flies when that “designer” logo starts to unravel or peels off after a few days. Trust me, it is not the same thing.
Keychains are the single biggest hogwash stocking-stuffer gift in the entire history of gifts. Nothing says you were a last minute afterthought than getting a lousy keychain from a place you’ve probably never been to.
It’s likely the most insulting gift to give anybody.
Look, let’s be serious for a moment.
Nobody will ever act ungrateful for anything you give them, at least not to your face. At the end of the day, it still says you were actually thinking about them—even if it is a stupid keychain.
But you could also just say, “Hey, I thought about you, and I was going to bring you back something, but I knew you’d hate it anyway so I didn’t bother.” Now you made them laugh.
See? You gave them the gift of laughter—and that’s priceless.