When January 1 has come and gone and you’re stuck with a pile of ugly Christmas sweaters and a bunch of toys you’d never let your kids play with, what do you do with the unwanted holiday gifts?
Since they were (hopefully) given with good intentions, you’d feel bad throwing them in the garbage, but seriously, that’s where that sweater with the blinking Rudolph nose belongs. Here’s how to tactfully get rid of unwanted holiday gifts.
Donate them. There are lots of places that you can donate to. Churches, women’s shelters, and the Salvation Army are the first to come to mind. Someone there may absolutely love that sweater. Those are also a great place to bring toys, especially unopened ones. You may have a problem with your daughter playing with that Barbie because you don’t like the message she sends, but another mother may think she’s absolutely beautiful. (Note that Goodwill is a business, not a charity. The name “Goodwill” makes you think that they are some sort of charity, but the reality is they have tricked people into giving them things for free to sell. The money goes right into the pocket of the owner, not toward helping anyone.) So if you want to donate to help someone in need, do it at Salvation Army. The money they make in their stores goes toward helping people in bad situations.
Sell them. There are so many options for this I can’t possibly get into them in one blog post, but you can sell them to consignment shops, second hand stores, and in online venues like eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook yard sale groups. Be careful about the online options. Only meet people in public places to sell your things. Don’t ever give your home address or agree to meet them at their home. Grocery store parking lots are great places to make trades. Also, if you go the Craigslist or Online yard sale route, be prepared for no-shows. Don’t drive a half hour to sell a $5 item. If they don’t show, you’re out your gas and time. The best way to do it is to plan to meet at somewhere you’re already going to be. If you’re going grocery shopping on Friday, plan to meet on Friday at that store. You won’t be out of time and gas, and if they don’t show up, you still have another reason to be there.
Re-gift. This probably won’t work for the Rudolph sweater unless you want to hang on to it for a year, but if your son ended up with 3 of the same action figure, it’s perfectly acceptable to re-gift them to his friends throughout the year as birthday gifts. The same goes for other types of gifts too. Feel free to take that As Seen On TV grilled cheese maker and give it to your mother in law for Mother’s Day (unless she’s the one who gave it to you in the first place).
Re-use them. This is actually the option that is the most fun. Take that sweater and turn it into something great! Browse Pinterest and magazines for ideas. Cut the arms off and use them for leg warmers under boots. Take the blinking reindeer nose off and use it for a craft. Give the rest to your cat to make a snuggly bed.
Remember that you were given these gifts because people thought you would like them. The only way to prevent it from happening again is to gently redirect them to gifts you may like. Send them links to things and show them what you bought and you love throughout the year. If you’ve already tried this and Aunt Sally still brings you a horrible sweater every single year, ask her to donate in your name to your favorite charity next year. That’s a gift you can both feel good about.
Do you get a bunch of unwanted holiday gifts every year? What do you do with them?