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5 Things To Do With Those (Inevitable) Unwanted Holiday Gifts

The Holiday Season has recently ended. And, as we all know, with the holidays comes the receipt of well-meaning gifts that we do not need, do not want and will not use. A recent survey indicated that 42 percent of women had received an unwanted gift during the past holiday season alone (and from their husbands no less).

What To Do With Those Unwanted Holiday Gifts

In the past, unwanted holiday gifts tended to end up cluttering closets, attics and garages, or inevitably ended up in the trash. However, these days people are becoming increasingly thrifty and inventive during the holidays when it comes to gifts that have to go. Here are five great tips to help you make the most of gifts you just do not want.

This post has been written by Will Lipovsky, our talented staff writer.

1) Return Them

Don’t leave that unwanted holiday gift to gather dust as it clutters your home. Return it to the store for cash, credit on another purchase, or exchange it for another item. It is always best to have a receipt or proof of purchase, and you won’t be alone when it comes to returning your item; an average of $60 billion in gift returns occur over a typical holiday season. But don’t fret the lines, especially if you are lacking a receipt for the item in question. Stores often relax their policies when it comes to returns after the holidays are just over, so this may be your best, or only time to actually exchange it.

5 Things to Do With Those Unwanted Holiday Gifts2) Re-Gift Them

If a return is out of the question, another great option is to re-gift the unwanted item. It is an increasingly popular option as well, as a recent survey had indicated that 58 percent of people had re-gifted an item at one point or another. The key with re-gifting is to prevent any potential social awkwardness in the act, and avoid discovery at all costs. Keep a record of who you received a gift from and who you are giving it to, to ensure that no one’s feelings get hurt in the process. Avoid the tackiness of re-gifting used or open items, too.

3) The White Elephant

An extremely fun way to deal with unwanted holiday gifts is to host a white elephant party, or Yankee gift swap. This normally consists of everyone re-wrapping their unwanted gifts. Then, in a party atmosphere, people take turns choosing a random gift and unwrapping it to see what they have.

There are many variations of this theme, with a variety of elaborate rules governing them. You may or may not leave the party with a new gift you necessarily want, but at least you can help turn everyone’s unwanted gift into an occasion for a really fun get-together.

4) Sell Them

Selling your unwanted holiday gift is easier than ever these days, and everyone is doing it. The Internet has given people new choices for selling those unwanted gifts as painlessly as ever. eBay is a great option; last holiday season, in an effort to attract new users, the online auction giant had terrific promotions which dramatically lowered sellers’ fees for unwanted gift selling.

Check in ASAP to see if similar deals go into effect. Craigslist is another great (and totally free!) option for marketing a gift you want to sell fast. If all else fails, you can go old school and sell your unwanted gift during your next yard sale.

5) Donate Them

When all else fails, donating unwanted items – to the needy, or charities that support them – is the right thing to do. This year has come and gone, but remember that donating gifts can also help ease your tax bill. All you have to do is make a donation to a non-profit institution like Goodwill or the Salvation Army, grab a receipt, and estimate the value of those goods for your end-of-year deduction. 

Enjoy the feeling of NOT having things in your life that you don’t 100% enjoy.

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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Make sure that if you are re-gifting your gift to give it to someone who actually wants it. If you didn’t want it and you don’t think your friend/family member would like it then the re-gifting cycle just never ends! At that point selling or donating the gift would probably be your best option.

    • Ha, good point Centsai. Don’t regift just to get rid of your stuff. Make sure the person can actually use it as well!

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