Unwanted Gifts: Tips On What To Do With Them

It happens to all of us. We open Christmas gifts only to find that one or some of them are just not what we want or need. Maybe it’s not something dreadfully tasteless (or maybe it is); maybe it’s just something you can’t use, such as nice earrings but your ears aren’t pierced, or lovely high heels that you can’t wear because of your back. Maybe it’s a wool sweater that’s quite nice, but wool makes you itch. Of course, some gifts are just hideous and you can’t imagine anyone wanting them.

Other times, you end up with gag gifts – those funny gifts that are amusing for a few moments after unwrapping, but that serve no purpose at any other time (such as a singing Christmas tree).

What do you do with all these things? Returning it to the store is a rather obvious option, but it doesn’t always work. It might be an online purchase, or have no discernible origin. What you do with your unwanted gifts kind of depends on the nature of the gift, and how much time and effort you want to put into recycling or getting rid of it. Here are some ideas.

Swap Party

You can always throw a swap party, where friends can get together and trade gifts. This idea works best if the friends involved have not given each other gifts – you don’t want guest #1 to see the trivet she gave to guest #4. At the swap party, everyone brings a gift and takes a gift home, and hopefully not the gift they came with.

Sell It on EBay

There is a slight risk that the giver of the gift you’re selling will see your eBay ad, but the chances are pretty slim. You can simply list it under its appropriate category and sell it.


If you have a decent-quality gift and really think someone could use it, consider donating it. Charities always need things they can give to needy people, regardless of the time of year.

Innovative Reuse

If you are into crafts, art, or simply making things, you can turn an unwanted gift into something nice. A sweater can be made into throw pillows, for instance, and a CD rack could serve a whole other purpose in your kitchen or bedroom. Novelty earrings can make Christmas ornaments, and gloves could be made into finger puppets. A little creative thought can create a whole new item out of something useless.

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