12/10/2013 02:50 pm ET Updated Feb 09, 2014

The 9 Worst Hostess Gifts You Could Bring To A Party (PHOTOS)

If you're planning on visiting friends or family this holiday season you better make sure you pick up a gift for the host or hostess. Showing up empty-handed is one of the biggest etiquette faux pas of the holiday season but it's not the only one. It is equally as bad if you show up with an atrocious, lame or thoughtless present. While every hostess is a unique snowflake, in general, there are some things you should absolutely avoid.

  • A Holiday Candle
    Nothing says holiday cheer quite like the smell of fresh Christmas trees or gingerbread baking in the oven. However, the pungent scent of synthetic pine or something called ‘holiday cookie’ emanating from a cheap ball of wax makes Mrs. Claus weep. Generic holiday scented or shaped candles are a guarantee that the hostess who is forced to light it will want to spit in your figgy pudding.
  • Whitman's Samplers
    Ah, the Whitman's Sampler: the "dream" hostess gift from 1842. Consequently, 1842 is the year Whitmans started churning out confections. Thousands upon thousands of these boring little treats have been handed out as gifts in the 150+ years that they’ve been around. It’s a fair guess to say that no one after the year 1843 actually wanted them … or ate them.
  • Decorative Soap
    Ah, decorative soap, the dust collector of all hostess gifts. No one ever uses them but most people feel bad throwing them in the garbage. So, they sit. And sit. Most likely on a shelf in the linen closet or on the ledge above the sink that is supposed to hold toothbrushes but doesn’t because modern brushes don’t fit in to the holes. You know what I’m talking about, you probably have some in your bathroom right now –- and you hate them.
  • Plants
    Unless your hostess is known for having a green thumb, ditch the plant idea. As a general rule, avoid hostess presents that require work. By the time February rolls around their plant, just like their New Years resolutions, will likely be dead.
  • Starbucks Gift Sets
    Who forgot to pick up a hostess gift?! You did! And it’s glaringly obvious when you show up with a Starbucks gift set. Even if you bought it weeks ago it will appear as though you got it from a rest stop on your drive in. You want your host to feel like they truly matter to you, not like they were second on your priority list after a pee break on a long drive.
  • Religious Gifts
    You know that cocktail party rule: you don’t talk about politics or religion? Same thing stands for hostess gifts. Unless you’re 100% positive that the hostess is all about keeping the Christ in Christmas, you should skip preachy presents.
  • Chocolate Liqueurs
    Move over fruitcake! These liqueur-filled little babies have you beat for being one of the grossest holiday handouts. The same box of chocolate liqueurs has been making the rounds for years. No one dares to open and try one because the idea of chocolate-covered whiskey is unappealing to just about everyone.
  • "Funny" Holiday Gag Gifts
    Attending a holiday party or staying at a family members house on the weekend is hardly the time to be kitschy with gifts. What do you expect your hostess to do with reindeer poop or an ornament of a drunk Santa? You might as well just give them trash instead because that is right where this lame joke is going.
  • A Photo Of You -- Or Your Family
    Who’s better than you? No one! And you are going to make for damn sure your hostess knows it by forcing her to display a photo of you and your kids. Unless the hostess is your mother, count on the fact that they will immediately replace the picture with people they actually like (like their own family).

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