What to do with your unwanted holiday gifts

Amanda Weston

When it comes to gift giving it’s been said that “it’s the thought that counts,” however I sometimes find myself wondering what exactly a well-meaning friend or family member was thinking when an awful neon orange and green polka-dot turtleneck, a pair of atrocious shoes better suited and my great-grandmother or tickets for that one band I liked when I was twelve are unwrapped. Not wanting to seem ungrateful, I accept the presents, knowing they will never be used or worn. Now that the holiday season has passed, it’s time to decide what to actually do with them. The obvious solution is to shove them in the closet for the rest of your life; however there are alternatives.

1. Sell it online

Auction sites like eBay are perfect solutions for ridding yourself of undesired gifts and making a bit of cash in the process. Chances are someone out there will actually want what you don’t and put it to good use. Make that sweater sound like the best gift out there: it’s not old, it’s vintage! Plus, with the money you’ve made you can take advantage of the post-holiday sales and buy something you really want.

2. Re-gift

Maybe that awful gift is perfect for another friend. Re-wrap it and happily give it away as if it was always meant for them. But there are several risks that accompany re-gifting. Make sure your recipient is not in the same circle of friends as the person who gave you the gift, as this makes it all too easy to be discovered. Don’t even try to re-gift novelty or one-of-a-kind gifts. Also, be sure to remove any gift tags addressed to you, and don’t attempt to give away personalized presents.

3. Ask for the receipt

But be courteous about it. If it’s an unbearable piece of clothing, simply say that it doesn’t quite fit. Then you can exchange it for something you’ll actually enjoy wearing. If a few weeks later your friend asks why you aren’t wearing that terrible sweater, tell them they were sold out, but that you still appreciate the gift.

4. Donate it

Contribute to a good cause by donating your presents to local charities, such as Goodwill. They will appreciate the gesture and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped someone in need.

No matter how you decide to rid yourself of well-meant but awful gifts, keep in mind that your friend has put time and effort into your gift, so be polite and appreciative. Nothing’s worse than a rude and ungrateful gift recipient. The holiday season is about the spirit of giving, so don’t ruin it for someone else when the New Year sheds light on their horrible decisions. If none of the above methods work out, wear or use the present just once to show the giver that you appreciate the gesture. After this you are free to never let that fuzzy disaster see the light of day again.