Curiosity Section, Gifting Etiquette
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What To Do With Unwanted Christmas Gifts

First of all, Merry Christmas to you all! Well done for all your gifting efforts, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my posts in the run up to Christmas.

I will do a couple of follow up posts about my presents in the new year – a lot of the gifts I have given and received are experiential, so the Christmas festivities will continue into January (pretty good, huh?).

Some consider Boxing Day one of the worst days of the year, as a lot of people are dealing with the dilemma of unwanted gifts. I’ve briefly gone through a few basic things here, but I think it’s time to actually offer a solution and hopefully answer some tricky questions you might be asking yourself right now.

So, you’ve been given a gift you don’t want…bummer! If it were to happen a few years ago, you would be totally on your own – quietly hiding the gift somewhere in your storage till you can either dispose of it, or re-gift to someone.

Now, the society is much more open about the fact that you want to receive something you truly like, with extended return times (some go as far as February next year, check your gift receipt) and opportunities to sell your gifts, too.

I would not recommend “saving” any unwanted gifts for re-gifting. The chances are, you didn’t like it for a very good reason, so why extend the misery further? All those shower gel gift sets, mugs and socks that you wish you’ve never received don’t have to end up as someone else’s last-minute birthday gifts! Donate them to a charity instead.

For high value gifts, like electricals, clothes and jewellery, there are online shops that will help you find a new owner for those gifts, as well as earn some cash. EBay is currently running a TV campaign, offering to list your unwanted gifts for free (see here). Journalists have already called it “the most depressing page in existence”, but I think it’s a brilliant idea! For more upmarket stuff, go to Covetique.

If it happens to be you, who has given “the wrong present”, please don’t feel ashamed or upset. Gifting is about sharing, so even if it means exchanging your original gift to something else, it should not be considered a failure. You might want to re-evaluate your gifting strategy, like asking the person in advance or spending more time selecting your next gift, but ultimately, the more you practice, the higher the chances you get it right.

That’s why I tend to give a lot of smaller random gifts throughout the year, rather than focusing on a few “special” occasions. It helps develop the skill of guessing the wishes of my loved ones, as well as removes all the unnecessary pressure (I can’t imagine how nervous I would be, if I only gave two gifts a year – for birthday and Christmas).

So, forget any moral gifting taboos, be open about the gifts you don’t like and exchange them for something you do. Don’t judge the giver or yourself for not wanting something, and always stay positive.

This entry was posted in: Curiosity Section, Gifting Etiquette

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Currently living and working in London, I dedicate a few hours every week to share my gifting knowledge, accumulated over the years of epic gift fails and unexpected triumphs. I'm much better at giving personal recommendations than trying to be generic, so feel free to drop me a line.

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