Household Tips

How to Get Rid of Unwanted Presents

“Oh… thank you so much… you shouldn’t have.” No really you shouldn’t have. We’ve all been there. On the receiving end of a gift you didn’t want. I hope you accepted it gracefully and thanked the person who gave you the gift, just like your parents taught you, even if behind that smile you are thinking “what the heck am I going to do with this!?” Look no further! Here are some great ways to get rid of presents you don’t want, or like.

1. Re-gift it.

I know some see this a taboo, but if it’s something you don’t want or need and you know of someone else it would be much better suited for, what’s the harm in sending it their way? Instead of thinking of it as re-gifting think of it as giving the gift to its rightful owner.

Don’t’ be tacky about it – make sure if your mother-in-law gave it to you, you don’t turn around and give it to your sister in law. And no leaving it in the same wrapping with the same card that says your name in it. Wrap it up pretty and gift it with a smile! Better yet host a party in honour of the re-gift. This way you’re not even being sneaky about it – everyone knows it’s a re-gift.

Simply stow away your gift in a place that you will not forget. If need be you might want to prove to the initial person who gave you the gift that you still have it (and love it). If you need a last minute gift for somebody who is not high on your priority list for gifts, you can quickly turn to your own personal store of gifts to find something fast.

This is a great way to do a Christmas secret Santa. Everyone is to bring a new item that they received as a present that they don’t want or need and you swap it for someone else’s gift and voilà! Hopefully this time you end up with something you like.

2. Donate it.

Just because it’s something that you don’t want doesn’t mean that it isn’t something that someone else doesn’t need.

Do you have clothes clothes that aren’t your style or don’t fit you? Consider giving them to a clothing drive for a good cause. Toiletries that aren’t the ones you use? Why not donate them to a women’s shelter? Did you get coffee from someone when you don’t even drink coffee? Food banks are happy to spread unexpired non-perishable food to those in need. Think of this as good karma – paying it forward if you will.

3. Return it.

Did it come with a gift receipt? Great! Just take it back and return it and get something you want. Or if you don’t want anything at the store – use it to buy a gift for someone else! No gift receipt? Sometimes stores will take back merchandise without a receipt.

Know when to return – there is a window of opportunity usually 30, 45, or 60 days in which you can return items. Most large retailers won’t accept returns on Boxing Day, so save Christmas returns for after December 26th. Besides, you might be shopping for deals then anyhow, not dealing with things you already have!

4. Sell it.

Don’t want that present you received? Sell it! Make an ad on a buying and selling website and maybe someone wants to buy that item from you. That way you end up with cash so you can go get the item you really wanted.

Ads with pictures are more likely to sell, and using the terms BNIB (brand new in box) or BNWT (brand new with tags) can help attract buyers. You can sometimes do a swap on these sites so if you’d rather trade the book you got a double of for another one in the same series – go for it!

5. Make a list.

When people ask you what you want for Christmas instead of saying “oh you know me I’m not picky” give them a list and be specific. Making an “I would like please” list is a lot like making a gift registry for a wedding, for instance. Be sure to have items in different price ranges that all people you are giving this list to will be comfortable getting you. Certain sites are even set up so that you can just have an ongoing wish list such as Amazon.

If you don’t want any gifts at all, then say it. If you have an invitation there are many cute ways to word no gifts such as “your presence but no presents please” or give people an alternative, like “if you really feel that you must bring something consider a donation to the local animal shelter” or whatever charity is near and dear to you. If you are going to have a no gifts policy, make sure you talk it over with the other people involved first – you don’t want to show up at a birthday party and be the only one without a present saying “I thought we weren’t doing gifts?”

So your grandma enrolled you in the Jam of the month club? Stop your whining. Either make some biscuits and enjoy the stuff or make a monthly trip to your local food bank. Remember that it’s not what we receive as a gift that’s important but the thought, time, and energy that someone put into getting you a gift at all. Someone remembered to buy you a gift, and that’s pretty special even if it’s not what you wanted. Say thank you, mean it, and move on. Follow these steps and you just might make someone’s day with a gift that you never wanted! If you sell your unwanted present, use the money to buy whatever you really wanted, or bank the money for a rainy day!

About the author

Nicole Harding

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