9 Ways to Handle Unwanted Christmas Gifts

So what do you do when you receive unwanted Christmas gifts, or gifts you just simply do not like?

It happens to all of us, and we just treat it like a dirty little secret and don’t talk about it that much. And, we don’t want to think about it… but we’ve all gifted duds to other people too. It does go both ways. But here are 9 things you can do whenever you receive unwanted Christmas gifts, in order to make the best of the situation.

  1. Keep It and Show It Off. Depending on who gave it to you (for example, kids or anyone else that will be looking it for it on a regular basis), then you’d probably feel compelled to keep it forever and show it off. This is my reaction to every gift from my mom – I just proudly display it in my home. Despite the fact that it doesn’t fit in. Just like I’ve done with her brightly colored-egg gift from a couple years ago at Christmas. It’s in my curio cabinet. I have a photo of it below…
  2. Memorialize It. This is what I usually do with handmade gift and crafts from my daughter. I wouldn’t be able to keep them forever or show them off forever – not because they are unwanted, but usually due to space limitations and the material won’t last the test of time or I don’t have a good/safe place for them. But I do want my daughter to know that I will REMEMBER them forever. So I do photograph all her crafts and handmade gifts and keep the photos in an album or a digital folder online so I’ll never forget these items she made for me. And then when it’s safe to do so, I throw them away unfortunately. 🙁
  3. Keep it and Hide It. Yes, I totally have a hiding spot for unwanted Christmas gifts and other items that I want to forget even exist, but yet I also cannot part with them due to guilt or a feeling of obligation.
  4. Re-Gift It. This is my favorite move, undoubtedly. If there is someone in my life that would enjoy it instead, I would prefer that they have it and I’ll gladly gift it to them at my soonest opportunity.
  5. Donate It. This is my second favorite move with gifts I don’t like. It’s just another way to get it into the hands of other people that would enjoy it instead.
  6. Exchange It. This option works if you KNOW where the item originated from. And your likelihood of success when attempting to exchange it depends on the specific store, as well as the terms on the gift receipt (if you even have a gift receipt, which isn’t that common I’ve noticed). So this option doesn’t work all the time. Be sure to check those dates on the gift receipts too, because some of them expire so fast. I wish you luck if you try it! 🙂
  7. Sell It. I’ve tried this on some online marketplaces before – like the Facebook marketplaces or Ebay. And it’s a bit of a hassle in my opinion since you have to create a posting to advertise the item on sale, then you have to wait around for someone to be interested enough to buy it, and then you have to figure out the logistics of getting it to them. So it’s probably the most leg-work of all the options available. But it’s also a chance for you to receive some money for unwanted Christmas gifts instead.
  8. Refuse It. This option would only be recommended if there’s bad intentions or ulterior motives from the gift-giver, or if there in an underlying issue which is unhealthy. This does happen in rare circumstances. Some gifts are simply inappropriate and cross boundaries. Acceptance of the gift in these situations can also give mixed signals. Some examples of how it can be in your best interest to decline a gift would be a romantic gift from someone you’ve no romantic interest in, or a romantic gift from your boss or a married friend, etc… But if there is no unhealthy or toxic underlying issue, then I would advise just going ahead and accepting the gift to avoid any hurt feelings.
  9. Throw It Away. This may be the most dramatic option for unwanted Christmas gifts, and it feels a bit wasteful to me. But sometimes you just have to take this step. I would probably do this if the gift I received was already damaged in some way so I wouldn’t want anyone else to have it instead.
Unwanted Christmas Gifts
Unwanted Christmas Gifts / Image Source: Pepper Valentine

Anyhow, this is the time of year when I start dreading the whole gifting thing. It does stress me out as it’s not something I enjoy very much. I’m definitely not a gift person. I actually don’t mind giving gifts, I enjoy that. But I kinda HATE receiving gifts. Is that weird?

Whenever anyone asks me what I want for Christmas, it’s never an object or a thing that can be bought. I’d want them to accompany me to dinner or to drinks or to join me on a little trip somewhere. I’d appreciate that so much more than an item that I just end-up re-gifting to someone else anyway, or stowing away somewhere and forgetting about it.

But I’m not a complete Grinch about gifts, I don’t think. I did create a post of gifts that I would actually like despite all my grievances about them, and I wrote about them here: Gift Ideas for the Minimalist Mom.

I don’t know. I’m being a weirdo about gifts, I guess. 🙁

How about you all? What do you do about unwanted Christmas gifts?

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15 Replies to “9 Ways to Handle Unwanted Christmas Gifts”

  1. I definitely have a stockpile of things I don’t like that I’ve received so I can regift them lol I don’t have enough patience to post, negotiate and sell anything but if I did that would be a good option! 😊

  2. Hey Pepper I’m with you I’d rather have experiences than stuff! Let’s make memories. Unfortunately much of the worlds economies rely on us buying crap. I don’t know what I’m doing this year. I’m screwed lol.

    1. Yep, me and you agree on that! I’m a bit opposed to rampant consumerism so I do get disgruntled around Christmastime for that reason. 🙁 Good luck figuring out everything you still need for this year! 🙂

  3. You’re a quality time person! Those are my favorite people to get gifts for, because it is easy! I love to give little coupons “redeemable for lunch” or coffee or yard sale-ing, or whatever it is that someone likes to do. They can use it when the holiday stress is past and I get to have fun with them too! I learned where the best thrift stores are in my area because I gifted my daughter a coupon to thrift with her one year. Win/win! I hope you get many of those kinds of gifts this year!

  4. What a great post! There are truly a lot of unwanted gifts out there. For me it depends a lot on who is the one gifting. But I’ve done all of your suggestions before 🙃

    1. True story! Just watch out for those expiration dates with those gift receipts! Some of them expire after just 30 days post purchase, which may not leave you much time after Christmas. 😮

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