Post-Holiday Returns and What-To-Do with Unwanted Gifts

With the holiday season just wrapping up, you’re probably still wondering what to do with all of the unwanted gifts you received. According to, ““Some 61% of Americans surveyed admit to getting at least one unwanted gift over the holidays, totaling roughly 154 million American adults.” Unfortunately, Christmas gifts etiquette is not always followed by well-intentioned friends and family members. Truth be told, it’s often etiquette that goes out the window first, especially if your gift was purchased at the last minute. Unwanted gifts are a plague on humanity and, since you can’t vaporize them to oblivion, it can take some clever maneuvering to get rid of them while avoiding detection by the gift-giver.


Here are 5 ways to get rid of all of your unwanted gifts once and for all!

Image Credit: Pixabay




5 Ways to Get Rid of Unwanted Gifts



Return It or Exchange It

One of the easiest and most straightforward ways to rid yourself of unwanted gifts is to take it back to the store. It does, however, help if you know which store it came from or whether it was purchased online. Regardless, with the power of the internet, it’s not too difficult to track down the source of a gift that you’re trying to return. Just remember that every store, whether brick-n-mortar or online, has its own individualized return policy.

  • In-Store Returns– The customer service desk is, typically, a hotspot the day after the Christmas holiday and in the weeks following. Eager gift recipients stand in long lines hoping to unload their unwanted gift in favor of cold hard cash or even a gift card. Everything depends on whether the gift-giver included a “gift receipt” as part of the packaging. If not, you’ll be given a store gift card loaded with the amount of the returned item. The time frame for returns varies store by store. If the gift is truly unwanted, return it as soon as possible.
  • Online Returns- When it comes to online returns, it can be a little more labor-intensive. Once you discover where the item was purchased, you can visit the website to learn more about its’ return policy. It’ll be impossible to get cash, as many online e-tailers only offer cash returns to the purchaser. Like stores, you’ll be given a gift card with the balance of the return loaded and possible deductions if the item has gone on sale recently. However, you must first ship the item back and pay the shipping fees to get the gift card. While some sites like Amazon offer free shipping labels, most do not.

*Pro-Tip: When learning how to return a gift on Amazon, remember to pay close attention to the Amazon exchange policy and fill out the necessary documentation to get your refund faster.

Image Credit: Pixabay



Sell It

Selling your unwanted gift is a great option to not only get rid of it but also to get cash for it. It goes without saying that you have to be extra careful that the gift-giver is not privy to the fact that you’re trying to sell it. That can be tricky given that one of the best places to list your unwanted gifts for sale is online at Through the Facebook Marketplace, you can list something for sale in your own city. Buyers can view the item and communicate with you directly to complete the purchase and arrange pick-up. In addition, Facebook also has local selling groups that you can join and list your unwanted gift for sale.


*Pro-Tip: A word of caution when selling online, always meet potential buyers in a public space and not your workplace or private residence.

Image Credit: Pixabay



Regift It

The art of regifting, although centuries old, was cemented into pop culture icon status by the hit NBC television show, Seinfeld. The premise of regifting is simple. You give an unwanted gift to someone else on a holiday or other special occasion. It sounds simple, but it does require a little tact, such as:

  • Make sure it fits the occasion. Don’t regift a holiday-themed gift to someone on their birthday, for example.
  • Rewrap it and remove cards or labels. Avoid regifting a gift that is still in its original packaging or gift bag. There could be telltale evidence pointing in your direction (such as your name on it!) that’ll let the proverbial ‘cat out of the bag’.
  • Avoid Regifting Personalized Gifts. A monogrammed tote bag, custom clothing item or a signed book are examples of gifts that were intended for someone else.
  • Don’t Regift to Close Friends or Family. By regifting in the same circle of people, you increase the odds that the original gifter will find out and their feelings will be hurt. When in doubt, regift to a new friend or even a co-worker.
  • Never Regift Family Heirlooms. No matter how heinous it is or how much you dislike it, it’s better to simply give it back to the gift-giver with a simple explanation. Alternatively, you can store it in an inconspicuous part of your home and pass it down to your kids one day as part of your family’s heritage.

Image Credit: Pixabay



Barter It

Dating all the way back to 6000 BC, bartering is a means of trading goods and services which has been used long before money was invented. Today, app technology has made it easier than ever to barter. That’s good news for anyone wanting to get rid of an unwanted gift. Apps like TradeMade and FreeCycle are user-friendly and will give you the tools you need to trade up!

Image Credit: Pixabay


Donate It

When all else fails, donate! You might not like your unwanted gift, but chances are someone else will. As the old adage goes, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” There are a variety of organizations that would be happy to receive your donation and pass it on to someone in need. Easily determine where your unwanted gift can be donated based on which category it falls under.

  • Tech-Donate all of your unwanted tech gifts to a local school. Most high schools, middle schools and elementary schools across the United States are underserved and will benefit greatly from your unwanted gift. Get in touch with school administration, via a local school’s website, to find out how you can donate. There are also several non-profit organizations in need of computers and equipment, such as Computers with Causes.
  • Food- All non-perishable food items can be donated to a food pantry or soup kitchen. Let your fingers do the clicking to find a local organization. For larger items, like unwanted food gift baskets, stop by your local hospital or police station to donate it to hard-working civil servants who’d appreciate the gesture.
  • Clothing- Unwanted clothing gifts might not fit in with your wardrobe, but would be welcome to someone truly in need. Contact your local Salvation Army to arrange a pick-up or plan a drop-off.
  • Toys- Gift your unwanted toy gifts to a child in need. Toys for Tots is a reputable non-profit organization that collects and distributes toys to low income families. Simply look up your local chapter to donate.


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