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What to do with those gifts you don’t want

Got a gift or two over the holiday season you don’t particularly want or need? Rather than putting off doing something with it, see if one of these solutions works.

disappointed woman holding present

Return or exchange

If, for whatever reason, you don’t want a gift you’ve been given, obviously the best option is to return or exchange it. But because most stores take gifts back only if you have the receipt, this method only works if your friend has included a gift receipt. Fortunately most people who buy an article of clothing that possibly won’t fit or an item you may already have will include the receipt to be on the safe side. In this situation, what may be holding you back is the chance you might hurt their feelings by returning it. But the fact is, if you’re never going to enjoy what has been given to you, it’s better that you make use of your friend’s generosity rather than store what they’ve given you away for years to come. So if the option of returning it is available to you, don’t be afraid to use it. Chances are your friend will never find out, and if she does, she’ll likely understand.

Start a gift cupboard

The concept of “regifting” is often considered tacky. And sure, if you give someone something just because you want to get rid of it, you aren’t embracing the gifting spirit. But just because something isn’t to your taste or you might not have use for it doesn’t mean it’s worthless. You may not need another set of candlesticks, but a few years down the road you could very well have a friend who desperately needs some to brighten up her dining room. That’s why starting a gift cupboard is a great idea. It gives you a place to store away items you don’t need but that you think might be useful eventually. Sometimes you simply don’t have the time to go shopping, and having a picture frame or a nice set of coasters on hand can really help you out. They key is to keep only worthwhile pieces in your gift cupboard, and always make sure you don’t regift an item to someone who’s in contact with the person who gifted it to you.


With so many online selling platforms, it’s unbelievably easy to turn that gift you don’t want into money you can put toward something you really need. If you’re hesitant about the concept of selling something someone else has given you, consider holding on to it for a month. If after that time you haven’t found a use for it, accept the fact that it’s better in someone else’s home than sitting in your closet. Then rely on sites such as Kijiji or Craigslist to make a sale.

Donate to charity

If you have a friend or relative who loves to give you little trinkets you’re never going to use, it’s OK to donate them to charity. Organizations such as Goodwill collect just about any new and gently used items, so any clothing, collectibles, knick-knacks, home furnishings, housewares and electronics can be donated. The money raised by selling them will go toward helping Canadians facing financial distress and unemployment. Now that’s use of a Christmas gift you can really feel good about!

More on decluttering

Kitchen clutter: Items that have to go
Childhood memorabilia: What to keep and what can go
Get organized and live a healthier lifestyle

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