The 10 worst neighborhood gifts to receive 

Receiving neighborhood gifts at Christmastime is fun, but there are just some gifts that are better left with Christmas past. Like these notorious orange-covered jelly sticks, for example.

Receiving neighborhood gifts at Christmastime is fun, but there are just some gifts that are better left with Christmas past. Like these notorious orange-covered jelly sticks, for example.

Opening the door to a plate full of holiday treats in the weeks leading up to Christmas is a highlight of the holiday for our family. Delivering our own homemade treats is a family tradition that we look forward to and that brings us closer to our neighbors. But every year, there are those neighborhood gifts that have us saying, “You really shouldn’t have.” If you decide to deliver goodies to your neighbors this year, here are some gifts that are better left with the ghost of Christmas past.

1. A stale popcorn ball.

If it wasn’t already stale to begin with, it definitely will be after sitting on a cold porch for awhile. Skip the popcorn ball and save your neighbors a trip to the dentist.

2. A kid-made craft.

It’s not that your 3-year old’s homemade ornament isn’t cute, it’s just . . . maybe save it for the grandparents?

3. Fruitcake.

It gets a bad rap for a reason.

4. Healthy versions of holiday classics. 

Santa sugar cookies are just meant to have sugar. The end. Let’s not seep all the joy out of Christmas.


5. No treat at all.

We Utahans are known for loving our sweets and snacks. So if we’re being realistic, getting a card delivered to the door with nothing to nosh on is going to be a bit of a disappointment.

6. Awkward Christmas caroling.

Am I the only one who feels awkward when I, alone and probably in my PJs, open the door to a huge group of people singing at me? I mean, what do I do with my hands?

7. Chocolate orange sticks.

You know the ones. Is there anyone out there who actually loves those? If so, I’m sorry for discouraging their distribution. And I’d like to meet you and hear all of the other unique things about you.

8. Any baked good with raisins.

I realize there must be a select raisin-loving few out there, but I think the anti-raisin movement wins out on this one.

9. Plain Jane candy canes.

The red and white staff is certainly a symbol of Christmas, but it seems like the idea of them is always better than the taste of them.

10. Old-fashioned hard candies.

You know, the green and red squiggly ones? Pretty, but also pretty boring in the taste department. Sorry, 50s.

Now that I’ve scared my neighbors out of getting me anything at all this Christmas, I’ll take off my Scrooge hat and wish you all a Merry Christmas. And even after all this, it’s the thought that counts, right?


Kim calls Utah Valley home, but she spent her high school years in Australia, where she learned to drive on the other side of the road and tolerate Vegemite. Since earning an English degree at BYU, Kimberly has worked for Covenant Communications, Utah Valley Magazine, Daily Herald and Eat My Words. When she isn't writing, Kim loves traveling, teaching Pilates, and spending time with her husband and three children. Read more from Kim at


  1. AvatarLiz Reply

    Our family loves the orange sticks, especially my kids! The funny thing is we tried them for the first time after receiving them as a neighbor gift a year or two ago.

  2. AvatarRia Reply

    And we love having carolers come to our door. I may be victimizing our neighbors but we go out caroling with multiple families every year.
    However I am not a fan of fruit in my chocolate so orange sticks don’t appeal to me. The rest of my family likes them though.

  3. AvatarMarilyn Reply

    We moved far away and it’s hard and rare to get the orange sticks. I’d cry if someone gave us some…they remind me of our old home in Utah. Sweet Candy Co. is the best!

  4. AvatarCarol Reply

    Kid made crafts are sweet to me, I love the Christmas Caroling and the orange sticks and baked goods with raisins are delicious. I am not fond of mint but I like the red and white canes-I put them on the Christmas tree, they make it look colorful and visiting kids beg for them. I’d agree on the old fashioned Christmas squiggly ones but the raspberry with a jelly filling is yummy. I think you need to work harder on a list of the 10 worse neighbor gifts, sorry.

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