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The Illinois Lottery recently surveyed more than 1,000

Illinois residents to learn about their holiday gift giving habits and asked them what was the worst holiday gift they had ever received. Surprisingly, the most reviled holiday gift was not a physical gift of any kind, it was the act of not giving a gift at all.
In the online survey, the Lottery asked respondents to enter the best and worst holiday gifts they had ever received and answer a number of multiple choice questions about bad gift givers and re-gifting. Many of the responses were quite shocking, but according to survey participants, the people of Illinois hated not receiving any gifts at all the most.

Worst of the Worst Holiday Gifts

1. Not receiving a gift
2. Fruitcake with worms in it
3. Divorce papers
4. Pack of used cigarettes
5. Raw cow's heart
6. Used address book
7. Sack of potatoes
8. Box of cereal
9. Lava lamp radio
10. Garage sale clothes
11. Toilet plunger
12. Gallon of anti-freeze

The Lottery's survey was inspired by the character "Larry" who is prominently featured in its holiday ad campaign. Larry is a notoriously bad holiday gift giver, but in the commercials, he is able to reform his ways after discovering the gift he hopes everyone will return for millions, Illinois Lottery instant tickets.

"People have really been connecting with this character, so we thought it would be fun to find out how many people across the state had received a bad gift from someone like him and what that bad gift was," said Lottery Superintendent Carolyn Adams. "It as amazing to see how bad some of the bad gift responses were, but I guess when you think about it, I can see how people would be more upset about not receiving a gift than if they received a bad one. No one likes to feel left out or forgotten; especially around the holidays."

The survey respondents were also very emphatic in their listing of the best holiday gifts they had ever received. Jewelry was the overwhelming winner in this category, placing first in the rankings. Money, cash and gift certificates ranked second; followed closely by electronic items at third. Getting to see, or spending time with family, friends and loved ones ranked fourth. Also included in this category was the excitement of getting married or engaged over the holidays.

Top 10 Best Holiday Gifts

1. Jewelry
2. Money, Cash, Gift Certificates
3. Electronic Items
4. Family/Friends, love of those close to you
5. Clothes and accessories
6. Car
7. Lottery Tickets
8. Trip/Vacation
9. Gifts from children and grandchildren
10. Tickets: sporting events, theater and arts

Here are some other interesting findings from the survey:

Who typically gives the worst holiday gifts?

-- 29.0% Co-workers -- 16.2% Other
-- 20.5% In-Laws -- 9.8% Significant Other
-- 17.6% Friends -- 7.0% Parents

Of the 16.2 percent who responded other, kids ranked the highest. And for women who pride themselves on being better gift givers than their husbands or brothers, watch out, sisters and aunts received a greater portion of criticism than their male counterparts with 2.4 percent of the total vote.

What was your reaction when you received a bad holiday gift?

-- 38.0% Confused -- 16.1% Embarrassed
-- 34.2% Other -- 14.3% Angry

Nearly one-third of the respondents who wrote in their reaction under the other entry preferred to act pleased no matter how much they hated the gift. One respondent said they "could have won an Oscar" upon receiving a horrible gift. However, not all respondents were so gracious; one vowed retribution. And surprisingly, only one person claims to have been honest about receiving a bad gift and told the person immediately.

How often do you return holiday gifts?

-- 49.6% Sometimes -- 6.2% All the Time
-- 44.2% Never

Have you ever given a bad holiday gift?

-- 63.1% No -- 36.9% Yes

Have you ever re-gifted a bad holiday gift?

-- 66.8% No -- 33.2% Yes

Have you ever been caught returning a holiday gift you didn't like?

-- 93.0% No -- 7.0% Yes
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Thursday, February 15, 2024
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