In a perfect world, everyone will have his or her own “gift registry.” Present givers will waste less energy agonizing over what to buy, and receivers will avoid the conundrum of pretending to like the gift then secretly trying to get rid of it. Luckily, there are effective ways to handle presents you don’t want:
Return it, even without a receipt!
The most important thing to remember is to not tear up the packaging or price/return tags when you open the present. With a thoughtful gift receipt included by the giver, returning an item to the store should be a no brainer. But Lifehacker.com says you can still return items without receipts! You can make the return more legitimate by putting the item inside a bag from the store. Or you can try returning it at a different store/to another employee if you don’t succeed the first time.
Sell or swap the gift online
Most items can be listed for sale on eBay and Craigslist. However, there are plenty of other websites specializing in different types of products. For clothing, go to sustainable exchanging sites like Swap Style or Rehash Clothes. There’s also the option of reselling or putting your designer items on consignment at second-hand stores like Buffalo Exchange or Second Time Around, depending on where you live.
Believe it or not, unwanted gift cards are hot commodities at sites like CardCash.com, GiftCards.com and Cardpool.com. It was estimated that $2 billion in gift cards went unredeemed in 2011. So don’t be shy to sell gift cards you don’t want because you can get back up to 92% value of the card.
To get ride of games, movies and books that you’re not so excited about, put them up on Amazon trade in or Swap.com. For electronics, you can trade them in or resell at InstantSale.com, Gazelle.com and NextWorth.com.
Organize a gift exchange party
I have a friend who used to throw a clothing exchange party twice a year. Girls bring in clothes that don’t fit or items they no longer like. We always have a blast trying stuff on because one woman’s trash can be another one’s treasure! The rest of the items are donated to Goodwill or Salvation Army. How fun would it be if you can do the same thing with your holiday gifts?
Gather up your circle of friends one January weekend. You’ll need to set up a comfortable space at one person’s apartment where people can put their gifts once they arrive. Make it a casual shopping affair with hot chocolate and some snacks. You’re guaranteed a good time and some great finds. The best thing to do is to create a guest list where people can RSVP and see who the other guests are (Facebook Event). This is to avoid the embarrassment of trying to get rid of a present whose giver will be present.
Avoid getting unwanted items
You can combine the holiday party with a Secret Santa, where everyone gives a list of three specific items they want. This way, it is easier for the secret Santa to hunt for presents. The receivers can also be excited anticipating the gifts.
Another creative idea is to give up your holiday present for a good cause! You can ask everyone to donate to a charity or nonprofit of your choice instead of buying you a present. This way, you will both avoid the pain of dealing with miscellaneous unwanted gifts and feel good because you’ve given back to the community.