Last Christmas 6 million Australians received one or more presents they never used or later gave away, a new survey by the Australia Institute reveals. The institute's executive director, Richard Denniss, said unwanted presents represented a staggering $798 million waste of money, time and resources.

''The growing culture of obligatory giving only brings joy to the big retailers and the big banks whose credit cards are largely funding the annual splurge,'' he said.

The survey also found about one quarter of Australians expect to give presents to people they would prefer not to. And about a quarter of these reluctant givers were unable to pay their credit card in full each month.

''Millions of unused foot spas require enormous amounts of resources to manufacture and transport,'' Dr Denniss said.

COMMENT: So, what are the gifts you dread receiving and what is the worst present you have ever received? You may comment under the cloak of anonymity if you wish on this one.



  1. When I was in 5th grade the class drew names for gift exchange. The unhappiest boy in the class got my name. He gave me a single plastic bangle bracelet wrapped in newspaper. He thought it was very funny. Of course I didn’t. I did not realize at the time that he was the unhappiest person in the class. I know that now. I hadn’t thought about that for years.

  2. It’s a toss up between the oven liner and the microwave quesadilla maker. And last year my husband received a large shiny silver owl from his mom.

  3. No one has ever given me a foot spa. In fact I wouldn’t mind one.
    The worst present I ever received was a CD from an old aunt titled, “Bach Meets the Beatles”.

    I placed it in my collection (next to Beatles rather than Bach) and after about 10 years I actually played it. The pianist? (or do call them keyboardists) is some world famous Bach expert and they have effectively been able to disguise the Beatles melodies such that you listen for ages thinking which f***in’ Beatles-song-in-hell is this???


  4. I have always received quite reasonable presents myself but I did have a boyfriend who gave his younger sister a one-litre container of motor oil (unwrapped) he bought from a petrol station on Christmas Day on the way to the family home. He was pretty popular with her after that.

  5. Yes, Cathy. Those are the really crushing presents. I had a friend [I see this thread being taken over by that phrase 😉 ] whose husband(!!) gave her one (!!!) tire for her car!!!! I think that was when she decided that they would be divorced by the next Christmas. After all, he should have at least given her two tires!

  6. I was a recipient of a “re-gift” once. One of the account executives on my job received a tacky ceramic Santa cookie jar. It got passed on to me.

    He’s dead now.

    I’ll let you chew on that a while.

    ‘Nuff said.