What to Do with Unwanted Christmas Presents?

It happens to all of us. We open Christmas gifts only to find that one or some of them are just not what we want or need. Ugh… Unwanted Christmas Presents!

Maybe it’s something dreadfully tasteless. Maybe it’s something you can’t use, such as nice earrings but your ears aren’t pierced, or lovely high heels that you can’t wear because of your back. Maybe it’s a wool sweater that’s quite nice, but wool makes you itch.

Of course, some gifts are just hideous, and you can’t imagine anyone wanting them.

Other times, you end up with gag gifts – those funny gifts that are amusing for a few moments after unwrapping but serve no purpose at any other time (such as a singing Christmas tree).

What to do with Unwanted Christmas Presents!

What do you do with all these things? Returning it to the store is a rather obvious option, but it doesn’t always work. It might be an online purchase or have no discernible origin. What you do with your unwanted gifts kind of depends on the nature of the gift, and how much time and effort you want to put into recycling or getting rid of it. Here are some ideas.

What to Do with Unwanted Christmas Presents

Swap Party

You can always throw a swap party, where friends can get together and trade gifts. This idea works best if the friends involved have not given each other gifts – you don’t want guest #1 to see the trivet she gave to guest #4. At the swap party, everyone brings a gift and takes a gift home, and hopefully not the gift they came with.

Sell It on EBay

There is a slight risk that the giver of the gift you’re selling will see your eBay ad, but the chances are pretty slim. You can simply list it under its appropriate category and sell it.


If you have a decent-quality gift and really think someone could use it, consider donating it. Charities always need things they can give to needy people, regardless of the time of year.

Innovative Reuse

If you are into crafts, art, or simply making things, you can turn an unwanted gift into something nice. A sweater can be made into throw pillows, for instance, and a CD rack could serve a whole other purpose in your kitchen or bedroom. Novelty earrings can make Christmas ornaments, and gloves could be made into finger puppets. A little creative thought can create a whole new item out of something useless.

Tell us about an unwanted present you received once!

What to Do with Unwanted Christmas Gifts. Ugh


  1. Great ideas! I’m the dad, so all my gifts suck. It’s a rule I think. Except for a video game I got that I like. The wife got it for me and now she nags me about playing it all the time, so I guess it was a gift for both of us. Lol. I don’t even know what I’m saying now.

    1. Don — Nooooo!!!! Dads are supposed to get all of the cool gadgets and stuff. Go get what you want (that you didn’t get) and next year… put together a wish list so people will have a better chance of getting it right. Seriously, no one would get what they want for Christmas if they didn’t put together a wish list (and it’s a wish list, not a get list… so it’s not like you know exactly what you’re getting 🙂

  2. My inlaws (who I love, btw), are collectors of trinkets. Their house is FULL of trinkets. German beer steins. Horse brasses. Little woodland things. Commemorative plates. They could open a flea market. And they think everyone else loves collectible trinkets too. And when you say you DON’T like something, they get it for you for Christmas as a joke. I’m not kidding. They’d rather waste their money on something they KNOW you won’t like rather than thoughtfully spend it on something you DO like, or would use. My husband HATES lawn gnomes (I don’t like them either), so they kept giving him these heinous gigantic ceramic lawn gnomes for Christmas. We lived in a condo. We had no lawn on which to place a gnome, not that I would want to anyway. But my husband, bless his heart, wouldn’t let me throw them out, even though they were awful. So they lived on our bookshelf for years until we moved and they got “broken”.

    My mom loves to buy people those little plaques or candle holders that say “Live Laugh Love” on them. This year, I told her that any trinket she gifts me is going straight to the back of the crawlspace. She gave me a prepaid visa card instead :D. It’s hard when you have someone who shows love by giving gifts, because then YOUR house fills up with junk and they get offended if you ask them to just make a charitable donation instead.

    1. Gift giving should always be about what they person wants… not what the person wants to give! And I never feel offended when I get a gift card… it’s honest that they’re not sure what to give or would rather I pick something I actually want 🙂

  3. I regift a lot. I know it’s horrible; but my family and my in-laws live in different countries, and none of them know my friends (and most of my friends don’t know each other), so it’s actually really easy for me to regift and nobody is ever any wiser for it. I only do it with thing I am sure the other person will actually, genuinely like.

    And oh, I feel for the first poster! It’s so hard to buy for the men in my life, especially when they don’t tell me what they like!! I know my dad likes reading so he gets books – boring; but my parents live in a small condo and books don’t take up much space and he can get rid of them without feeling guilty about it. My husband likes sailing so if I can find him something sailing-related he’ll like it; but most of that stuff is mega-expensive (sorry, honey, that 30 foot yacht you want is just not in the budget this year!) But he won’t tell me what he wants for Christmas until, you know, the night of Christmas Eve when it’s too late to do anything about it; and he just goes and buys whatever he really wants – so I tell him I’ve done my best and if he doesn’t want to keep it, don’t feel bad about getting rid of it.

    1. LOL. I think you’ve made regifting an art 🙂 And don’t even get me started on how hard it is to buy for some people. At least your husband understands he’s a toughie!

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