Every year, Melissa and I have a little competition. We strive to find one another the UGLIEST gift possible. The loser of the competition has to display the gift in her home for the next year.
We're not looking for Spencer's-style gag gifts, either. Nor are we looking for homemade items that might not meet somebody's ridiculous idea of perfection - we love our handcrafters! We're really looking for serious items that paid designers designed ON PURPOSE for home decor, that just miss the mark. Or funny decor designed to be ugly. Or novelty items (like dead bugs in acrylic) that we can't imagine anyone over the age of ten actually wanting.
We have a budget of $10, because we have found over the years that it's relatively easy to find expensive "art" pieces that many of us would consider ugly, but it is somewhat more challenging to find a good contender on a budget. The item may be on sale or clearance, as long as you don't pay more than $10. This has always been a source of great fun and hilarity, and we use shopping trips together as opportunities to threaten one another with various items. We've even had coworkers get involved in the hunt before, so the fun isn't just for us.
The gifts are unveiled at our annual get-together (or mailed if we're not in close enough proximity for a get-together, as when we were both serving in the military) and famly members vote. The majority rules - the item voted ugliest is the winner, and the person who has been given that item has to display it.
We'll have to see how we handle the competition this year. The budget is really tight, so we may have to put it off by a year. I hate to do that, because it was always a much-anticipated part of the annual get-together, but we'll see. Maybe we can find an alternative solution!