Return, Sell or Regift? What to Do With Your Unwanted Presents

By Erin Donnelly

Reduce Reuse RegiftYou sent Santa (and your parents, siblings, pals, and officemates) a very detailed Christmas wish list. Unfortunately, those great gift ideas seem to have been lost in translation, and instead of the fab swag you were expecting, you’re staring at a pile of ugly sweaters, too-big jeans, and assorted bric-a-brac that you have absolutely no need for.

But don’t reach for the Hefty bags just yet. You can still get some value out of these unwanted holiday gifts, through returning, selling, and even regifting (shocking, we know!). Read on to see what you should trash, and what you should cash.

Return/Exchange: Did Aunt Meryl forget that you’re not a size zero anymore? No worries—if you like the item, and there is a gift receipt attached, swap it at the store for a new size. Don’t delay; most store policies demand that returns or exchanges occur within 30 days. If you don’t like the gift at all, you can always ask for store credit. While the post-holiday sales may help you maximize your gift voucher’s value, keep in mind that you may end up going over the amount of your store credit, in which case that unwanted tunic will wind up costing you.

Sell: Grandma Jeanne can always be counted on for expensive gifts. Unfortunately, they’re not always your type. If you’ve got a hot-ticket designer item and/or no gift receipt, try your luck by putting it on Ebay. For clothing, keep the tags on and leave the item in good condition to entice bidders. Another option is to take garments to a local consignment shop where you can earn a percentage of the sell price—provided it sells, of course. Hey, one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure!

Return, Sell or Regift? What to Do With Your Unwanted PresentsRegift: Regifting has always gotten a bad rap, but in this economy, it can’t hurt to “recycle” your wares. Want to give that unused journal or extra toaster a good home? First, make sure that there are absolutely no signs of wear or tear (including books that may be inscribed, or engraved jewelry) and that the item is in its original packaging. Secondly, make sure that the item suits is something the recipient might actually enjoy or need—there’s no sense bestowing them with a random present that they’ll probably regift too. And finally, don’t regift a present to someone who knows the original buyer—unless you like committing social suicide.

Donate: There are certain gifts (a pack of socks, for instance) that you may not have a need for, and can’t imagine trying to sell. So don’t—donate them instead. Round up any unwanted items and take them to a Goodwill or local charity. Got any new toys or children’s items you don’t want? Donate them to My Stuff Bags, which will pass them on to foster children in need (and take a look at Single Mind ed Women and Matt Logelin’s charity gift registry for additional gift ideas!).

Swap: If you’ve got pals with unwanted gifts, why not round them up, throw in some wine and hors d’oeuvres, and host a gift swap party? You just might be able to trade your Chia pet for something fabulous! (Hey, stranger things have happened!)

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