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What to do with unwanted Christmas gifts


Vanessa Lahey

Vanessa Lahey

( 3 min read )

Receiving a gift (or two) at Christmas that you don’t like or will never use is almost inevitable. Even a simple gesture like a festive box of chocolates from a well-wisher might be an unwanted temptation.

According to Gumtree’s 2016 ‘Unwanted Gifts Survey’, Australian adults reported receiving 20.8 million unwanted gifts last Christmas.

This is a figure that may be broken if predicted sales for 2017 are any indication.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Roy Morgan Research have suggested that we Aussies are likely to spend more than $50 billion over this year’s Christmas trading period.

Chances are, you or a member of your family will be gifted an item from this spending spree.

Four ways to dispose of unwanted Christmas gifts

Rather than throwing out or stashing unwanted presents in a cupboard, why not upcycle them? Giving your unwanted gift a second life is a feel-good exercise that could earn you extra cash.

There are a number of ways you can offload unappealing gifts such as:

  • Selling the gift on Gumtree or eBay
  • Donating the gift to a charity of your choice
  • Re-gifting the unwanted item to someone else
  • Re-purposing the gift into something more useful

If the gift is a non-perishable food item, you could donate it to an organisation like Foodbank.

Foodbank is Australia’s largest food relief organisation, providing 60 million meals a year to over 2,400 charities and 1,000 schools around the country.

Sell unwanted Christmas gifts online

If you’re the enterprising type, you could cash-in on Boxing Day sales fever by selling your unwanted items online.

From the convenience of a smartphone, you could take advantage of the many free selling apps available.

Two of the biggest online market places in Australia are Gumtree and eBay. Each site lets you setup an account for free, and makes it easy for buyers to find your goods for sale. 

Both platforms are supported by online payment provider Paypal – where you can quickly set-up an account and start receiving secure payments immediately.

Embrace charity and sustainability

You could also pass on unwanted Christmas gifts to charity – either by dropping them at the local op-shop, or selling them online and then donating the proceeds.

Or if you have children looking for things to do over the school holidays, you could set them a project of finding clever ways of re-purposing the unwanted items into useful objects.

Recycling organisation Planet Ark suggests that the best gift you could give at Christmas is the gift of reduced waste.

To help you achieve this goal, it has published a guide to help households eliminate unnecessary waste. 

One of Planet Ark’s 12 tips is to find out what people really want at Christmas so as to avoid the unwanted gift phenomena.

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