What to do with your unwanted Christmas gifts


If your child spent most of Christmas Day excitedly ripping the paper off present after present from doting grandparents, aunties, uncles and friends – or you or your partner received more presents than Father Christmas could safely carry –you probably will have found yourself wondering just what to do with it all.


You’re not alone

According to the charity Sightsavers, the total value of Brits’ unwanted gifts exceeded £21 million, with the cost of each person’s unwanted gift collection costing gift givers an average of £40.

Top of the list of unwanted presents are beauty products, novelty items, gloves and woolly jumpers.

While one in five of the people surveyed let their hoard languish at the back of the wardrobe, another fifth said they had “rehomed” their unwanted presents before the end of February. Some of those surveyed, in a desperate bid to reclaim the space in their house, admitted they resorted to throwing out their unwanted presents with the rubbish.


Four main options

Binning them aside, if you still have unwanted Christmas presents that are taking up valuable space in your home, your best bet is one of the following.

1. Return them to the store.

If the shop offers a flexible refund or exchange policy you may be lucky and receive a refund or voucher with which you can buy something you do like. However, retailers are not under any legal obligation to offer you a refund or exchange, and most only do so as a gesture of goodwill. If your relative thoughtfully slipped a gift receipt into the parcel and your little one did not destroy the packaging and/or damage the item in their excitement, you would normally need to return it within 28 days or the period set out in the store’s return policy to be able to exchange the item for its full value.

After this time, or if you never had a receipt, the best you can hope for is an exchange or voucher for the item’s current retail value – which may be considerably less after the January sales’ final clearances.

2. Give them to charity.

If the unwanted items are quality items that someone else may appreciate, you may like to donate them to a charity shop. If you complete a Gift Aid declaration, you can help the charity raise an additional 25 pence for every pound they make from your items.

3. Sell them.

The easiest option for quickly selling old clothes, DVDs, CDs, games and electronic items is to box them up and sell them via the Internet. You can then put the money you make aside to help pay for next Christmas.

4. Re-gift them.

If you think you could wrap up your unwanted gifts and give them to someone else next year, go for it! (Just make sure no one finds out.)