What To Do With That Unwanted Christmas Gift

presents (red)

Every year there’s always that one gift. That one that you just know you’ll never use. You don’t want to be rude on Christmas, but on boxing day? It’s all about searching for some way, any way to get rid of it.

Re-Gift It

just for you presents

The classic re-gifting. No one said it’s against the rules to just pass on that rubbish present to an unsuspecting relative, friend, or colleague. Heck, some people even keep tubs of unwanted presents, ready to pass on to someone else.  The most important thing, of course, is to never let someone know you re-gifted their present. The best way to do this is to stick a post-it or some other kind of removable tag on the present saying who gave it to you so you don’t give it back to them.

It’s also important to make sure they don’t learn you re-gifted their gift from someone else. So if a family member gave you something you don’t like, you can re-gift it to friends or work mates, but not to another family member. Same goes for the other two. You must not re-gift within the same circle.

Donate it

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Donating to those less fortunate is always a nice idea. So if you’ve been given something you don’t want, who’s to say someone else won’t? This is one of the simplest solutions to this awkward problem. The person you originally gave you the gift might not even mind! (But don’t take our word on it — your gift-giver might still be upset.)

You can take your gifts to your local op shop, shelter, or secretly place them on a doorstep of a neighbour with less than you (especially if they have kids and you have extra toys).

Try it out

Linen Beach Bag, Blue Banana Leaf

Gifts like towels, bags, blankets—all those kinds of things—can often seem a bit impersonal and you might not be too excited to have one as a present. But here’s the kicker: those things can be great!

You never know, you may actually enjoy that gift. Take it out for a spin. Head out on a day of adventure with something you would have never bought for yourself. You might discover it’s your new favourite item!

Return it

shopping bags

So you didn’t get what you wanted this year. That doesn’t matter! Return, return, return! You may only be able to get store credit depending on the store policy, but you can still get yourself something nice with that!

You can also keep this in mind for those to whom you are giving presents and buy from large department stores with plenty of ways to spend store credit, if you like. (Though of course, no one would ever return your present.)

Plan ahead

OK so this isn’t super useful when you already have a gift you don’t want. But planning ahead for the next year is never a bad idea. Make the holiday all about the people and the food instead.

Consider a no-gift holiday next time. (Though, let’s be honest, that sounds boring.) Or perhaps everyone can create wishlists with a bunch of things they want for the holiday and everyone else can buy from that list (just make sure two people don’t buy the same thing). You could even try a gift card Christmas. For every bad gift, there’s a creative solution to avoid another in the future.


Pitch in

Flynn Teddy Bear

Another form of the plan-ahead, this involves a lot of people pitching in to give someone a large gift, like a trip away. Help send them to a sunny resort, a far-away land, or snow capped mountains with their partner for a romantic getaway or alone for a solo retreat.

Or you can put in towards a larger present, with the receiver paying for some of it too. Perhaps if they’re getting a new car, you could put in and say you’re paying for the new wheels, while someone else puts in to pay for the new motor and so on. The gift receiver still gets to choose the car they want, but you’ve made it a much easier financial effort for them. (Of course this applies to larger presents other than cars too.)

Choose a theme

the mob christmas

Pick a theme for your holiday. It could be anything from mugs to edibles. If you all get together and pick a theme, then no one will be upset with their gift! (This is also a great idea for any groups getting involved in Secret Santas.)

Make sure you choose your theme wisely and democratically. Come up with a few ideas and host a secret ballot for a fair vote. Or better yet come up with an idea that every one likes!


Do you have your own great ideas for what to do with an unwanted gift? Let us know in the comments or on social media.

Paige Riddiford is a writer and editor from NSW with a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Wollongong. When not writing, Paige is often found reading, baking cakes, playing video games, or binging whatever's new on Netflix.