Nobody Wants These Food-Related Gifts

It's the thought that counts, but maybe think about avoiding these overdone presents this year.

It's the season of giving gifts to everyone you know, and though it's not about the price or the size of the gift, there should always be a little thought behind a present. Food is always an appreciated gesture, but some things are simply overdone. There are only so many bottles of hot sauce one person can get through before they lose all sense of taste.

Save your friends and loved ones the trouble of faking a pleasant smile as they mentally prepare to re-gift your offering. Here are the food gifts no one wants to be burdened with this (and every) holiday season.

Cocoa mix

Many of us wouldn't say no to a cozy mug of hot chocolate at the holidays. Yet while taking the time to layer up your own combo of cocoa powder, sugar, and mini marshmallows in a ribbon-wrapped Mason jar is thoughtful, how many grown adults are proactively mixing up cocoa on the stove with any regularity? Unless the recipient has kids, you run the risk of that mixture sitting in someone's pantry until next holiday season.


Coffee mugs

Holiday mugs aren't just an overdone gift, but they can also lead to more work for the gift receiver, who now has to find a spot for it all year long. There's seemingly no end to the reindeer-decorated, snowman-painted, and Santa Claus–adorned novelty mugs that clutter our already full kitchen cabinets, and many of the prettiest ones aren't dishwasher safe. This Reddit user said it best: "Mugs are one of the worst gifts you can give someone or receive... Mugs represent mediocrity in gift giving." Unless the mug is personalized to the recipient in some way, it's a bore.


Popcorn tins

The problem with gifting a popcorn tin is not so much the popcorn as it is the container. The tub is just one more novelty item the recipient has to think of a way to reuse or toss out. Now, if you live in Chicago and want to send a tin of Garrett's famous Chicago Mix popcorn to some out-of-towners, that's another story. You can be forgiven in that case, since Garrett's is a Chicago staple—your loved ones can use the tub to store Christmas tree ornaments if they don't have half a dozen popcorn tins for the job already.


Hot sauce variety pack

For the spice lover in your life, you might be thinking of picking up a cute variety pack of hot sauces. Don't. These multipacks don't deliver even a tenth of the flavor that a real heat seeker would enjoy; they're more about looks than about the contents of each tiny bottle. Save your friends the spit take and invest in a bigger bottle of something they're more likely to enjoy.


Alcohol gift pack with glassware

A bottle of your favorite liquor as a gift? Fantastic. A bottle of your favorite liquor along with two branded glasses and a lot of extra packaging? Only about half as fantastic. Owning two rocks glasses with a liquor brand's logo on them is not only unnecessary, but a real cocktail aficionado will likely end up tucking them away out of sight. If you want to add to someone's home bar cart, it's best to get them the consumable stuff, or if you go with glassware, something that fits their aesthetic better than a promotional box set can.


“As Seen on TV” kitchenware

There's absolutely nothing wrong with being fascinated by a kitchen tool that, say, makes literal pig-shaped pigs in a blanket, and it's totally okay if you're intrigued by the potential convenience of a Slap Chop. However, the quality of most "As Seen on TV" kitchen tools is pretty hit or miss, and that's being generous. The Eggstractor mostly just tears up eggs. The Fat Magnet just swirls fat around your soup. The Sushi Bazooka is okay, but maybe not worth the effort. Instead of giving out these iffy gadgets as gifts, you could try using them yourself and, if successful, gifting the edible results.


Salt and pepper shakers

The issue with gifting an adorable salt and pepper shaker set to just about anyone is that, unless they're moving into their first home, they likely already have a set more suited to their tastes. Plus, the unfortunate truth of these novelty shakers is that the more decorative they are, the less thought is put into the placement of the holes that actually dispense the salt and pepper. A set of smiling elf shakers might be cute in December, but when your guests are sitting at the holiday table trying to figure out which elf is salt and which is pepper, it's safe to assume they'd prefer function over cuteness.


Novelty aprons

No one wants to stain their clothes while cooking, so an apron could certainly be a useful gift. However, novelty aprons with funny text or images on them aren't the most practical in the kitchen. In order to fit the design, many of these aprons even lack pockets, obliterating the functionality that a real cook would want.


And by the way, purchasing matching aprons for couples might seem like a sweet idea, but resist the urge. If the relationship doesn't last, both the "He Cooks" and "She Eats" aprons will end up in the trash.