As Christmas draws closer, our determination to buy the best Christmas gifts of all time starts to give way to a desire to spend as little time on the hellish high street as possible. And before we know where we are, we're joining the Christmas Eve scrum, grabbing at anything that seems vaguely acceptable in desperation.
However, even if you're stuck in the scrum, there's still no excuse for buying any of the worst Christmas presents of all time.
A survey by website AskHerFriends identified the 10 worst presents of all time. It came up with:
1. A cabbage
2. A beard trimmer
3. A poo-shaped key ring
4. A cement mixer
5. A bag of compost
6. Windscreen wipers
7. A sack of potatoes
8. A packet of salt
9. A thong - picked by her partner's mother
10. Rubber gloves.
It takes a certain kind of person to think that any of these would be a good idea, so the vast majority of us wouldn't seriously be considering a sack of potatoes as a potential gift - even if the supermarket is the only shop open at the time, and we have a maximum of four seconds in which to browse.
The five traps to avoidThe gifts we ought to fear - the ones we will be ribbed about for years to come - are the ones which seem reasonable when you're in the shop - and only reveal themselves to be an utter disaster when the recipient peels back the paper. Here are the top five to dread:
1. Anything designed to smooth wrinkles.Check the packaging really closely. It may look like a harmless tube plucked from the chemist shelves in a hurry, but if it is designed to roll back the years for someone of advancing age, then it's an unbridled insult. You may as well walk up to the person you give it too, examine their face very closely, sigh and shake your head.
2. Anything in the wrong sizeIf you're not absolutely definite about sizing, then leave the clothes shop immediately. If you buy something too small you're saying 'here you go fatty, slim into this'. If it's too big you're saying 'here you go fatty. I reckon you're this enormous." Just walk away now.
3. Anything practical for the house that they haven't asked forThis is just a present for you. If they wanted a cordless drill so they could finally get round to putting those shelves up they'd have asked for one. Likewise if they really fancied a bin for the downstairs toilet so they could stop amassing a huge collection of cardboard tubes on the cistern then they would have mentioned it.
4. Festive homewareThese are useful once a year, then they are destined to spend the next 364 days cluttering up the cupboards and making it impossible to get a single drawer or cupboard door to close properly without rearranging everything at least four times a day. They already have enough cups, bowls, serving dishes and glasses - without getting another set of everything with a reindeer on them.
5. Anything home-madeThere are two exceptions to this. If you are a small child then you can delight your parents simply by gluing cotton wool to a yogurt pot and writing your name on it. If you are seriously talented, then you can amaze your friends with beautiful and unique creations. If you don't fall into either of these categories there's probably more value in the paper you wrap your home-made presents in (unless of course you made the paper too).
But what do you think? What's the worst present you've ever received?