There’s no shame in getting rid of ‘unwanted’ gifts | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

New year's resolution dont work and what you can do instead for 010124

I started purging my closet for things I haven’t worn in a year, for donation, during the short Christmas break. I’m not even halfway done and now I have to make more room for gifts received during Christmas—many of which, quite frankly, just have no place in a limited condo living space.

I don’t mean to sound ungracious and ungrateful, but I know I wouldn’t be alone in admitting we receive unwanted gifts at all times of the year, but especially during Christmas. They’re “unwanted” not so much because we don’t like or want them, but because they have no use, or simply have no literal space, in our lives.

I mean, really, who needs five French presses in their cupboard? Or four charcuterie boards with your initials (or, worse, a company’s logo) carved on them? Or any sort of plastic object stamped with a company logo (seriously, companies should rethink giving these away; they’re mostly useless and are very, very bad for the environment)?

And, of course, let’s be honest, who hasn’t unboxed a dud, facepalm of a gift during Christmas?

It is this act of being gracious gift receivers that has many of us holding on to unwanted objects, which gather dust and clutter our homes and our lives. It’s not the givers’ fault that we’re stuck with these things—gifts are, after all, thoughtful, often well-meaning gestures. But what to do with them is up to us, the receivers. They’re ours to deal with.

Returning to the giver may not be the most appropriate response, since no polite excuse or reason will ever be acceptable, especially in our culture, where returning a gift is just plain ill-mannered and ungrateful. So, what can you do instead, short of chucking the unwanted gift and adding waste to the landfills?

Exchange. Some gift givers are thoughtful enough to include gift receipts, anticipating that the gift may not be to your liking and giving you an opportunity to exchange it for something you really like, want or need.

New year's resolution dont work and what you can do instead for 010124

Share it or donate. With the overflow of food gifts during the holidays, my instructions to the condo reception where I live was, just save the gift tags and distribute to the guards and housekeeping staff. I did the same with all the Christmas hampers. Everyone’s happy—and no added clutter in our living space. Also, there are many charities that will be happy to take clothes and books and whatnot off your hands.

Regift. This is controversial—but only if you’re careless enough to gift it back to the person who gave it to you. Let’s avoid any drama and make sure the gift doesn’t wind up with the original giver—or with the original gift tag still attached when we give it away to someone else (we’ve heard way too many funny and awkward stories of such mishaps). As long as the item is in unused, in great condition and not engraved with your name or something, then I see no reason regifting should be a bad thing. An unwanted gift to you may be a coveted, wished-for one for someone else.

Sell. Again, somewhat controversial, but the gift is yours now, so it’s your call. There are many reselling platforms—Facebook Marketplace, Carousell, eBay, Vestiare Collective, The Real Real, etc.—where you can unload your unwanted gifts for cold hard cash. That gifted dress or bag may be pretty and expensive, but if it’s really not your style, sell and buy something you will actually wear. Or, sell it and donate the proceeds to charity.

Whatever you decide to do, don’t hang on to an unwanted gift simply because of some misplaced feeling of shame or ingratitude. Again, it’s yours now and it’s your call what to do with it. And—nobody ever has to know. INQ

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