15 of the Most Hilarious Holiday Design Fails

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While trendsetters are busy taking a chic Scandinavian approach to their own minimal Christmas time – far from the touch of tacky – the rest of us are not so gifted, even designers. We can’t help but have bad design at the holidays. Whether it’s an eerie Santa, misspelled merchandise or creepy trees, there are tons of design fails worth revisiting as a bible of what not to do. From our headquarters to yours, here are the top hilarious holiday design fails that people have mostly not noticed until now. Most are from Reddit and Igmur, so props to their users for their keen eyes on the design fails.

1 The spooky ‘believe’ mug’

2 Santa’s hands on your tight pants

design fail 2

Another fashion designer with a questionable sense of humor or absentminded sewing job? We have a sinking feeling it is the former. Poor taste!

3 The ugly Christmas sweater with a hidden joke

design fail 3

This mom didn’t realize the design blip on this sweater she bought for her son. She writes: “Accidentally sent my son to school with his newly bought ugly Christmas sweater. Didn’t realize what Santa was doing until his kindergarten teacher pointed it out when I picked him up after school.”

4 Poop emoji Christmas tree


To know that this lit-up poopy tree was in a shopping mall somewhere in the middle of Bucharest boggles my mind.

5 The sign can be read two ways

design fail 5

Another extremely poor taste moment. “Santa, I’ve been a good girl, please stop” is meant to seem like Santa would stop to drop off gifts, but it can easily be read another way. And also, back off, Frosty.

6 Flickering lights with a bad font

design fail 6

It doesn’t look like it says ‘flickering.’

7 The butt plug Christmas tree

design fail 7

To imagine this in the center of a city square in Paris is just too much. It was taken down shortly after it was erected in 2014.

8 Misplacing the maple syrup

design fail 8

What designer could misplace the maple syrup directly underneath Santa’s crotch? I can’t. I just can’t.

9 Underpants Christmas lights

design fail 9

These lights hang like white underwear on a clothesline, except they’re in the middle of a street.

10 Talk about needing a fact checker

design fail 10

When a box design says four ornaments but they’re really only three. Sigh. Make sure you get the numbers right.

11 That’s not a tree

design fail 11

This Reese’s peanut butter Christmas tree looks more like a Moomin or a blob.

12 Just wrong

design fail 12

This children’s outfit bearing the phrase “Don’t open until Christmas” over the buttocks was designed by Hatley. But isn’t it an inappropriate slogan in an unlikely place? And to think Heather Reisman, the CEO of Indigo Books recommended it? That’s another thing entirely. Great team effort if the goal was creepy.

13 Santa’s laugh backwards: OH OH OH

design fail 13

Who played a mirror trick with this graphic designer’s screen? For the record everyone it’s HO HO HO. Don’t forget to pass it by the art director before going to print, please.

14 That does not look like a shoe

design fail 14

Where is the back end of this
giant high heel viewed from behind? Which is pegged between two Christmas ornaments? We have no idea what this shoe store had in mind when allowing the illustrator who designed this to put it up.

15 ‘Tis the Treason

design fail 15

Ah yes, Fox News. How did you not see this one coming? It was part of a poll segment where they asked viewers how important it was to put Jesus back into the Christmas holiday, but most people probably didn’t expect it to be like this.

For holiday design done right, check out the offerings from our past Regional Design Award winners. It will make you realize that in the right hands, anything can be great design. Even tight Santa pants?! Maybe?