Each year, thousands of people open gifts they neither asked for nor know what to do with. Car care kits for non-drivers, smellies for people who are allergic to perfume, books for non-readers, coffee subscriptions for tea drinkers and items you already own. Each year, we dispose of hundreds of millions of pounds worth of unwanted gifts. The usual procedure is to smile and thank the person but the first thing that will go through their mind after Christmas is what to do with unwanted presents without offending the person who gifted it.
Return to the Place of Purchase
It’s important to remember that shops are not obliged to give refunds on unwanted goods but usually do as it is good for customer relations. Acts of goodwill are good for brand loyalty. But they do place limits, typically giving you a 30-day return period with no fuss even if you don’t have the receipt. Most extend this until the end of January, realising the problem with unwanted gifts. Retailers will provide you with a credit note to the present value of the item. This will allow you to buy something you do want although from the shop where you returned it in the first place.
Sell Gifts On
Your second potential option is to list it on eBay, Amazon Marketplace and other websites allow you to sell and re-sell unwanted goods. You won’t get the full value though. Even if unopened and unused, you’ll be competing with other people selling the same product. Plus, those websites take a cut of the sales fee. When paying with PayPal, they too take a small fee. Alternatively, add it to a pile of potential car boot sale goods for when the spring comes around. You’ll nearly always find somebody who wants most of it but be prepared to take several visits to a car boot to shift it.
Donate Gifts to Charity
Although this is a busy time of year for charities accepting unwanted gifts and people having a clear out, you could go down the altruistic route and let somebody in need benefit. Even though it is no good to you, it doesn’t mean the charity couldn’t make use of it, either to sell in one of its shops or to give directly to those who use their services. Children’s charities are always looking for gifts for children who received nothing for Christmas, for example. Clothing items are great for the homeless and for people in the developing world who have nothing.
Another modern way of getting rid of presents is to swap them for something wanted. Barter and exchange are two of the oldest forms of trade and now it’s on the internet. For those given a book they already have, consider joining BookMooch. Add unwanted books of your own and when requested to send one out, users acquire points that they may then use towards requesting books from other people. Or you could swap unwanted gifts with friends. Perhaps they too have an unwanted gift they don’t know how to move on.
Another common method of disposing of unwanted gifts is to give it to somebody else for a birthday or for next Christmas. Ideally, pass it to somebody who doesn’t know the person who initially gave you the present. Perhaps you have a friend or family member to whom it is more ideally suited. Perhaps they have always wanted one. Some people shy away from the idea of regifting because they feel it’s cheap. However, if you have an unwanted gift that somebody else will want, you’re doing them and you a favour.