What to do with your unwanted holiday gifts

Now that the holidays are over, you probably have a nice stockpile of gifts from friends and family, but as we all know, some are better at gift-giving than others. What do you do with those gifts that were not exactly on your wish list? We’ve got some ideas to make sure that they don’t just get stuck in the storage closet.


We know it’s cliche and a bit taboo, but regifting can be a great way to recycle a gift that would go unused otherwise. The important thing is that the gift is appreciated, so if a friend’s birthday is coming up and they have been eyeing an iPod dock like the one you just received, there’s no shame in regifting it to them. Just make sure there are no obvious signs that point to your recycling technique.


Check the return and exchange policy of the store your gift was purchased at. Some stores, like Best Buy, are extending the timeframe of return policies to allow for holiday gift returns. Many stores will also accept returns without a receipt. Even if the customer service information online says that they won’t, go to a store and explain that you are trying to return an unwanted gift. Oftentimes store discretion will get you the return regardless of the official policy.

Sell or trade online

If it’s too late to return your gift and/or you’re just not into regifting, there are plenty of ways to get some value out of your gift by selling it or trading online. Ebay is always a reliable way to sell your unwanted items, but also check out Craigslist and NoLongerNeedIt.com. Craigslist is also great for avoiding shipping costs, since you can sell or trade with people in your area. NoLongerNeedIt.com offers your basic buy/sell services, but is known for their trade system and will also let you give away your item for free if you are so inclined.


If none of the above options will suffice, host a get-together with friends and plan to swap unwanted gifts. Hopefully your gift will go to someone who wants it and you will walk away with something more to your liking. Just make sure whoever gave you the unwanted gift isn’t at the party, unless you are close and know they won’t be offended.

The dilemma of what to do with unwanted gifts always seems to be a post-holiday battle, and some companies are attempting to provide even more ways to get the most from your gift. If you have an unwanted gift card, a few sites (PlasticJungle, CardWoo, CardPool) will charge you a small fee to exchange it for a more desirable gift card. In the future, Amazon is planning to offer an alert service to customers that allows them to veto a gift and make an exchange before said gift is even shipped. Until that day arrives, one of the above options should help keep your gift from going unused.

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