The 20 Most Popular Gifts You Shouldn't Buy in 2019
These gifts may be trendy, but you're better off leaving them on the shelf.
Since time immemorial, people have been trying to get their loved ones the latest and greatest gifts for the holidays. Parents in the '80s fought each other in the aisles of toy stores around the country to secure Cabbage Patch dolls for their kids, while '90s moms and dads were doing the same over Tickle Me Elmos. In more recent years, people have slept in the street to get their hands on a pair of Yeezys, and social media continues to taunt us with ads for "must-haves" around the holidays each year. However, for every trendy gift worthy of its acclaim, there's one you'd be better off leaving on the shelf. Before you spend your hard-earned money on the next big thing this year, read on to discover which of 2019's trendy holiday gifts you shouldn't buy.
Best Life's editors have scoured the internet to bring you the best products out there, and we're hoping you'll love them as much as we do. Full disclosure: we may earn a commission for anything you purchase through links on this page, but that doesn't mean you'll pay more for them (we'd never do that to you!). Pricing and availability are accurate as of the piece's initial publication date, but it's the internet and we can't guarantee that these sweet, sweet deals will last forever, so scoop them up before someone else does!
The Courant wireless charger
Courant may have made Oprah's "Favorite Things" list this year, but keep in mind that Oprah also happens to be a billionaire. There's nothing wrong with this dual-device charger, which comes in a pebbled leather finish. But for the $175 price tag, you could buy two of Mophie's two-device charging pads—and they're vegan-friendly, to boot!
The new Motorola Razr phone
It's been quite some time since the world was inundated with Motorola Razrs. But whether due to nostalgia or the tech company seeing a true gap in the seemingly crowded smartphone market, Motorola has brought the Razr back—this time, as a folding smartphone phone that mimics the fun flip of the original. However, with a $1,500 price tag, concerns about the phone's hinge durability, and a less-than-impressive interior five-megapixel camera, it's probably a bit more than the average person wants to shell out for the privilege of a satisfying hang-up.
The Ember mug
Everybody's been there: You run to a meeting and when you get back to your desk, your coffee's gone cold. The Ember self-heating mug bills itself as a solution to that very problem, but why spend $130 when you could get one from Target for $11?
Bose frames—sunglasses with built-in headphones, for the uninitiated—seem like a great way to streamline your bag by eliminating either your traditional sunnies or headphones. But there are also some major drawbacks to this concept.
The music played on this two-in-one gadget is supposed to be perceptible only to the wearer, and while CNET reports that "people won't hear it unless they're standing right next to you," for anyone who's ever traveled on public transportation, that probably means quite a few people are going to have to listen to your playlist, whether they want to or not. More importantly, however, it means that whenever you want to listen to music, you've also got to have a pair of sunglasses on your face, even inside, and nobody likes that guy.
The Peanut Butter Pump
We're not sure who needs to hear this, but knives are wildly effective at spreading peanut butter. In fact, some people might even say they're made for it. So, while the Peanut Butter Pump may have gotten some airtime on Shark Tank and it may have nearly 4,000 Indiegogo supporters backing it to the tune of $137,000, it's also a $27 peanut butter hose, and the person you're thinking of getting this for probably owns some flatware, anyway.
Elsa's Enchanted Ice Vanity Play Set
In theory, Frozen lovers—and those eager to catch the hit film's sequel—should love this play vanity mirror. The only problems? At nearly three-and-a-half feet tall and 18 inches wide, this isn't exactly an inconspicuous addition to a smaller home. Plus, perhaps putting the idea in toddlers' heads that mirrors regularly come to life and invite entities into their bedroom isn't the best choice.
The Basepaws Cat DNA test
Family trees are fascinating and at-home DNA tests are pretty fun. But the $100 you'll shell out for the Basepaws Cat DNA test seems like it could be better spent on something a little more useful. Oh, and did we mention that it requires you to hold down your cat and swab the inside of their cheek to get results? Yeah, good luck with that.
Poopsie the Unicorn
Trying to keep your kid from getting enthralled by toilet humor is almost impossible if they find Poopsie Slime Surprise Unicorn under the tree this year. This unicorn toy, which comes in a perplexing crop top and diaper combo, is fed slime and then poops it out. Save your $34!
The RIKI Skinny Lighted Mini Vanity Mirror
While a good mirror is essential for anyone who wants to perfect a detailed makeup look, a mirror designed specifically for taking hands-free selfies, like the RIKI Skinny Lighted Mirror, is a pretty niche product to begin with. Oh, and its price tag, which starts at $195? For that amount, you could easily buy a traditional lighted mirror for everyone on your list with change to spare.
The Polaroid OneStep+ Instant Camera
Sure, there's something nostalgic and fun about having a Polaroid photo print out right after you snap a shot. And the idea that this connects directly to the Polaroid Originals app via Bluetooth is a neat addition. But at $140—plus the $16 to $20 you'll pay per eight-pack of film—and the fact that you'll still need to upload these to your phone to put them online anyway, it seems like free and reliable Instagram might be a better choice than the Polaroid OneStep+ Instant Camera.
Amazon Echo Kids Edition
Amazon Echo Kids Edition is colorfully designed and allows children to take some initiative in their own learning, asking Alexa those burning questions like, "What's the average weight of a baby harbor seal?" and "Who invented the toaster?" Unfortunately, it also allows them to play "Baby Shark" 150 times in a row, meaning the cost-benefit analysis on this device is pretty clear, if you ask us. And speaking of…
The Baby Shark coloring book
Honestly, when will we be free of Baby Shark? While the little ones in your life may still be singing the catchy tune for years and Baby Shark costumes may still abound next Halloween, the very least folks can do is not give into the madness by buying Baby Shark coloring books. There are tons of shark coloring books out there that won't get this earworm stuck in your head forever. Choose those!
The Beaba Babycook Food Maker
The idea of making healthy, delicious baby food yourself may be appealing, but in many cases, it's simply impractical. And while the multi-use functionality of the Beaba Babycook—it steams, blends, and reheats—is nice, for anyone with a blender and a pot, it's basically just another unnecessary tool that will only be used for a year or two at most. And when that baby is up all night screaming, trust us, steaming organic sweet potatoes will be the last thing on any new parent's mind.
The foot detox salt lamp
Salt lamp enthusiasts claim that these hunks of sodium chloride can do everything from regulate your circadian rhythm to reduce asthma symptoms. But they're also causing problems for pet owners everywhere. In July, veterinarians started warning pet owners of the dangers that this common household item can pose after a viral Facebook post about a cat nearly dying from licking one of them.
The Gucci Marmont belt bag
For better or for worse, fanny packs are officially back, but we're calling them "belt bags" now. Oh, and did we mention that the Gucci Marmont version is $1,150? If you know someone wild about this trend, get them a $20 one at your local Target and see how they really feel about wearing 1987's most-maligned accessory before sinking a month's rent into one of these.
The Blendtique wine blending kit
Blended wines can be a refreshing break from your standard merlot or chardonnay. However, in spite of the $250,000 investment Blendtique's wine blending kit earned on Shark Tank, it feels like the amateur sommelier in your life could probably just mix their own wines at home without you shelling out for this $90 two-bottles-and-a-beaker set.
The Opal Countertop Ice Maker
If you have a friend or family member who can't get enough of what Opal describes as "soft, crunchy ice," then maybe this trendy kitchen gadget will be a hit. But at $500—when you can buy an entire refrigerator with an ice maker built right in for the same price—this seems like a high price to pay for something that will take up precious counter space. But, of course, not every machine produces sufficiently soft ice, so it's really up to you.
Oxygen bars may have come and gone, and compressed air cans (and episodes of Intervention) make it pretty clear that you shouldn't breathe them in, but that's not going to stop folks from buying Boost Oxygen, apparently. With a $1 million investment on Shark Tank and promises that it promotes energy and mental acuity and can even help folks recover from hangovers, Boost Oxygen certainly sounds appealing. But before you click "Buy" and stuff this in someone's stocking, remember this: You're also paying $10 a can for something you basically get for free all the time.
The only thing that will irritate the parents in your life more than getting their kids a talking toy is getting them one that also burps. Add in the fact that this impolite Owleez toy will also fly around their living room and you might just become persona non grata at their next holiday party.
The Crafthouse by Fortessa Cocktail Smoking Box
Smoked cocktails are undeniably trendy, not to mention tasty. But unless you have a friend who is so adamant about having every drink they make taste like it was forged in a campfire, the $250 price tag on what's essentially just a glass box filled with wood chips seems more than a little exorbitant.