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5 Tips on What To Do With Unwanted Gifts


By the end of this week Christmas will be over for another year. Presents will have been unwrapped and delighted over, although it may not always be genuine. Two thirds of people will have opened a gift that they would have preferred to stay wrapped or never bought at all. If this is the case for you this Christmas there are many ways to get rid of your unwanted gifts, whether they be clothes, toys or electronics.

1. Get a refund

Perhaps the most obvious option is to return the gift to where it was purchased, either for a refund or for an exchange for something that you actually want. Don’t be afraid to ask for the receipt, I’m sure the gift giver would much rather you be happy then with an unwanted gift that will just sit in the cupboard.  Most shops will not give refunds without receipts so if you are too embarrassed to tell your loved ones the real reason, say it is too small or faulty. If you don’t have the receipt, you will most likely be given a credit note / voucher for the sum of the item. On the plus side, the Christmas period does offer an extended returns period.

2. Recycle the gift

There may be a friend / collegue / loved one who you know would appreciate the gift a lot more than you do. Your auntie may love scarves or that dress you received may be perfect for your best friend on her birthday. Not only will this save you money over the next year, but it will save you time too. Just remember not to give the present to the person who gave it to you in the first place!

Freecycle is an international network where people can post the items that they don’t want to see if anyone can make use out of them. As the saying goes “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. The first UK Freecycle network opened in London in 2003 and is now nationwide. For more information visit http://uk.freecycle.org/

3. Sell the gift

E-bay is now one of the most popular internet sites around. Last year over 350,000 people had put their unwanted gifts up on the site by lunchtime Christmas Day. It’s one way to make back some of the money that you spent yourself at Christmas and you can nearly always guarantee that the gift giver will never find out.

Another way to sell the gift is to hold a car boot sale. Think of it as a spring clean (just before the New Year) and you can get rid of other items that are just sitting around too.

4. Donate the gift

If you want a way that is more in keeping with the Christmas spirit, charity shops will be more than willing to take unwanted gifts.  They see an influx of donations just after Christmas, which is great for the people that they help. Items like clothing are very much sought after especially if they are new and in top condition. Items also still in their original packaging are worth more, so if you know that you won’t like the gift, don’t open it to check!

5. Swap the gift

Hold a swapping party. As long as the person who gave you your unwanted gift is not there, you can swap the gift for something a lot more you. Invite your friends, bring the wine and unwanted clothes / bags / accessories and swap to your heart’s content!

When it comes to unwanted gifts there are many options to pass on, sell, exchange or donate, and when it comes to clothing and textiles clothing banks provide another way to support essential charities and avoid unnecessary landfill.

Hannah Carter from #LoveNotLandfill comments: “We want people to stop throwing clothes away and pass them on instead to slow down the pace of fast fashion. We’re not telling them to stop loving fashion. We want them to enjoy their outfits but then dispose of clothes carefully, because all items have a second hand value.” 

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