Six guilt-free ways to get rid of unwanted Christmas presents

Thursday Dec 29th, 2022


Open any presents this Christmas you weren't so sure on? Didn't want to seem ungrateful so gave the obligatory 'Wow, thanks!' reaction?

You're not alone, as more than 62% of Canadians receive at least one unwanted gift every Christmas, costing roughly $1.2 billion in total – not very economical in the current climate.

But while the largest group of people politely keep presents they dislike (23.20%), according to a recent survey, regifting follows as a close second choice (22.50%) and those kindly donating it to charity complete the top three (21.87%).

So, whether it's a jumper that isn't very you, a bottle of alcohol you've just vowed to cut down on, or hand lotion that smells a bit like bubblegum cluttering up your home, Nick Drewe, retail expert at WeThrift, shares his top tips on how to get rid of unwanted gifts this Christmas guilt-free.

And that doesn't include the 6.13% of us who throw them away, or the 4.68% who very bluntly just give them back...

1. Donate them

Sometimes the simplest solution is the most effective.

"It goes without saying that the best thing you can do with your unwanted gifts is donate them to a good cause," says Drewe.

"When it comes to charity shop donations, make sure you apply for Gift Aid on your items. This is a form of tax relief that allows charities to claim an extra 25p on every £1 donation at no extra cost. In other words, your donation will be boosted.

"Other than charity shops, you can also donate your unwanted toys to a children’s hospital, as well as any books to a school or library."

So just think about where exactly your unwanted gift will be most useful.

2. Sell them

If you feel like selling a gift is rude, it's certainly better than just giving it back, or throwing it in the bin.

"These days, you have more options than just eBay when it comes to selling your unwanted presents online," explains Drewe.

"For example, there are websites and apps such as Depop, Vinted, Shpock and Facebook Marketplace which let you sell a wide range of items.

"If you do decide to sell your unwanted Christmas presents on these platforms, it’s important that your item description is as detailed as possible. Be clear about the condition of the items, and if you’re dealing with clothes, list the exact measurements."

The more information and photos you include about your product, the more likely it will sell quickly, according to Drewe.

3. Recycle them

There's more than one way to recycle a gift you aren't keen on.

"You can also opt to do your bit and help save the planet with your unwanted presents," Drewe says. "Retailers including John Lewis, M&S, Nike and H&M have schemes where they will buy back your unwanted clothes or shoes.

"If you’re wanting to recycle unwanted electronics, games and CDs, you can use websites such as MusicMagpie, which allow you to post your items for an agreed amount of cash."

4. Regift them

Just because you're not a fan of your present, doesn't mean someone else won't be.

"If you think the present would be better suited for someone else, then you should have no shame in regifting an item to a friend, relative or acquaintance who will give it a better home," says Drewe.

"Doing this will guarantee that the gift won’t go to waste, and you’ll also be saving money on buying something new for your friend's birthday. Just re-wrap the present in fresh paper, or put it in a cute gift bag."

If it's edible, however, always check the use by date!

5. Return them

"To return or exchange your items, all that is required to take it back to the store is a proof of purchase," says Nick Drewe. "If a gift receipt was left in your present, you can use this to exchange the item for something else."

But you might have just one more hurdle to jump through.

"If there is no gift receipt, you’ll unfortunately have to ask the person who got the gift for a receipt. Likewise, if the present was bought online, it is the buyer’s responsibility to return or exchange it for something else.

"Obviously, this all boils down to how comfortable you are telling the person you don’t like their gift!" Of course you can always say clothes don't fit and you're exchanging for a different size...

6. Repurpose them

How crafty are you? "Alternatively, you can choose to keep hold of the present and turn it into something useful for yourself," suggests Drewe.

"For instance, you can use part of that unwanted top as a hair band, or craft a fluffy scarf out of an awful jumper. Or, if you love the style of a particular piece of clothing but hate its colour, perhaps give it a makeover by dyeing it.

"The DIY possibilities are endless!"



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