They say that it’s better to give than to receive. They also say that you can’t always get what you want. Both of these sayings can be true at Christmas time.
According to research from ING, last year Australians spent over $400 million on 10 million unwanted gifts.
If you’ve been on the receiving end of a last-minute thoughtless gift from a well-meaning but disorganised loved one, or were matched badly in your work’s Secret Santa, here are a few ideas of what you could do with your unwanted Christmas gifts:
Spare a thought for the less fortunate, who may be doing it tough over the holidays. While money and practical items are always needed, presents that spread joy can also be welcome, especially at this time of year.
Contact your favourite charity today to learn more about what they do and don’t accept.
If you receive a gift that’s not right for you, it may be perfect for someone else. Think about passing your gift on to where it can do the most good.
If nobody immediately springs to mind as an ideal regifting recipient, you may be able to save the gift to pass on next year. Just be careful not to send it back to the original giver!
Sometimes a gift is no good to you in its current state, but may be just what you need to create something else.
While there’s not much you can do with gifts of vouchers or experiences, a little creativity could turn an unwanted physical gift into the raw materials to create something special.
Get a refund or exchange
It may be possible to swap your unwanted gift for something you’d prefer instead. This may be harder if you have a physical gift, as most Christmas presents can’t be exchanged without receipts, price tags or other proofs of purchase.
But if, for example, you were given a voucher for a specific product or service, you may be able to contact the provider to exchange it for one of their other offerings.
Sell or swap
With one person’s trash being another’s treasure, a lot of unwanted Christmas presents end up on online marketplace in late December and early January.
It’s usually fairly simple to create an online listing for your unwanted gift and swap it for someone else’s, or flog it for cash. But be aware of the risk that the original gift giver could find your listing…
Confess the truth
Telling the gift giver that their present isn’t what you wanted, or that you have no real use for it, could be an awkward conversation, depending on your relationship. But it can also be one of the simplest and most direct ways to clear the air and get everyone on the same page.
With luck, the giver can take back the gift to return it (if they still have the receipt) or pass it on to someone else. You could even ask for the receipt yourself, to take back to the store and swap for something you’d prefer.