What to do with gifts you don’t want


Anna Baluch

Anna Baluch

Blog author Anna Baluch

Anna Baluch is a freelance personal finance writer who enjoys writing about personal finance topics including mortgages, retirement, insurance, and investing. Her work can be seen on LendingTree, Business Insider, Experian and other well-known publications. Anna lives in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio and holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing. You can contact her on LinkedIn.

Published December 23, 2019|2 min read

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In a perfect world, you’d love every gift you get this holiday season. The reality? You’re bound to get a gift or two that you don’t want or need.

If this happens to you, don’t worry. You don’t have to let the gift clutter your home and collect dust. Here are six things to do with the gifts you don’t want.

1. Return it

If your gift came with a receipt or you know where it’s from, do research and find the store’s return policy. You can likely exchange it for something else, get cash back or collect store credit.

Policies vary depending on the store. Places like Nordstrom and L.L.Bean have laid back return policies, while others like Best Buy and Barnes & Noble have time limits and restrictions.

The chance of exchange or refund is higher if you have a gift receipt. If you don’t have a gift receipt, you may still be able to return your item, but may only get store credit. Keep in mind some stores don't accept returns without gift receipts at all.

2. Sell it

Just because you don’t like the gift doesn’t mean someone else won’t. You can sell your gift on online platforms like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or Ebay.

Before you post your item, research its value so you know how much to sell it for. Take quality photos and include a lengthy description. We have a guide on how to monetize your old stuff.

3. Donate it

If you’d like to give back with your unwanted gift, donate it to a homeless shelter or collection center like The Salvation Army or Goodwill.

Another bonus? You may be able to claim a charitable donation on your taxes — here’s a guide.

4. Regift it

You may get a gift that you don’t want, but know your friend will love. In this case, you can regift it. Take off any tags with your name and wrap the gift again. It’s often better to regift it than let it go to waste. You’ll also save some cash on gift shopping.

5. Repurpose it

Maybe you got a purse you’ll never wear in public. Consider using it for another purpose, like for storing your makeup or hair products in it. Get creative and think of other ways you can use the gift instead of throwing it away.

6. Trade it

If you got a gift you don’t want this year, you likely aren’t alone. Invite your loved ones over to trade unwanted gifts. A gift trade party can be a fun way to spend time with your loved ones after the holidays and ensure gifts don’t go to waste.

Doing last-minute holiday shopping? Here’s how to holiday gift without breaking the bank (or looking cheap.)

Image: Billy Williams