What to do with unwanted gifts.
practical, novel, and thoughtful
Number 12 is of course a little biassed !
Do you know what the most commonly returned Christmas gifts are ?
No. 1 surprised me – Shoes !
Billions of pounds are wasted each year on unwanted gifts, and 1 in 9 of us in the UK will return or swap their gift… according to a Country Living article in 2019. Even gift cards get returned these days if it´s from a shop people don´t usually buy from.
Shoes are often returned Because the style or size is incorrect. I´ve only been bought shoes once for Christmas ( by Paul ). After a back operation when the surgeon explained that I shouldn´t be wearing flat shoes all the time, he took the nod to go out and buy me some gorgeous high heels . I could really only manage wearing them sometimes to the local pub, two doors away, but I definitely wasn´t going t give them up ! In fact, they came out of the box again recently, but I´ll save that story for another time ,)
The no. 2 most returned Christmas gift is kitchen appliances.
However, it´s not such a big surprise that the second most commonly returned items is kitchen appliances. Whilst it´s a great, practical idea though, you don´t need more than one of some gadgets like toasters, so you have to choose which to keep. Kitchenware ( here´s a definition ) as a whole category can be anything from a little stocking filler to a big appliance, and they cover everything from a practical present to a stylish one.
But, we hang on to these for the wrong reasons. Certainly not to make us cook better I think. As kitchens get bigger and bigger, and we have too much drawer and cupboard space, we just continue to hoard. Guilty ! Then our kitchens and our minds and our lives get more complicated. Like everything else, I´m finding that by decluttering the stuff, by simplifying and focussing on the things that I really need helps give me the all important ´space´ I need to be able to enjoy cooking more, and better .
If you´re interested, the no. 3-10 returned gifts were …
3) Video games ; 4) Sweets and chocolates ; 5) Candles ; 6) Gym wear ; 7) DVDs ; 8) Toddler clothing ; 9) Glassware ; 10) Make-up
I imagine with everything it comes down to a conflict of taste or style, the wrong size or colour, or you don´t need it at all for whatever reason… you already have it, you don´t like clutter, or , god forbid, you don´t like the gift giver !
Think about the gift giver.
First, a little about what you should do when you get any gift.
Always be kind and considerate.
Someone has gone to the trouble of buying you something and I imagine hoping it connects you more, not less. So when you receive it, think in the same way.
¨What do you say¨ … Oh gosh, that very phrase brings back memories as a child-in-training !
Before you open your mouth of course, think, about the effect it will have. Think twice if you want to be brave and honest.
In the right situation, perhaps you could say ´Thanks for thinking of me with that gift – you obviously know me well because whilst I love it, sadly I already have one… or don´t have room for it´ … or whatever the reason is that works well.
And a little about what you should not do !
Don´t inadvertently dis-respect.
Don´t leave it lying unloved under the tree (especially if if the gift giver is around), and don´t just shove it hastily in a drawer either. You´re going to have to face this.
Don´t be too hasty giving it back to the gift giver unless you know them really really well and that works ! Trust me, it can really sting if they´ve put a lot of thought into this gift. So hurting them is the last thing you want to do. It would feel most uncaring… like you´re saying ¨I don´t want it and I also can´t be bothered doing anything with it, so here you are again- just have it back ! ¨Ouch !!.
Don´t clutter your mind, and your space with something you don´t want or need. Deal with it practically and promptly. Read on and choose one of the 12 options below.
from unwanted to wanted
In the sprirt of dealing with this promptly, here are 12 ideas for the 12 days after Christmas.
Some of these are written tongue in cheek, but please avoid hurting anyones feelings.
Day 1: Give it to someone close to you
Only if you´re really sure they really need or want it ! Don´t let the gift be unloved twice ! Or worse still get passed on again and again.
day 2: Take it back to the shop
Day 2 is Boxing Day ( or St. Stephen´s day ), and the shops are probably open again today or tomorrow. Get in quickly and take it back to the shop. Exchange for money, or a credit note or something else. If you leave it to late, there might be a timing issue, i.e. gifts may only be returned a certain number of days after purchase and you don´t know when it was purchased do you !
You don´t really want to have to involve the gift giver… in all the excitement, do you even know who the gift giver was ? Some really caring gift givers are so practical and offer a gift receipt with the present so you know exactly where you stand timing wise. Also, that kind of lovely person is also usually happy for you to do whatever you want with it !
Day 3. Swap it, if you´re quick !
… with someone else who has an unwanted gift.
Of course, getting two people with unwanted gifts the other wants would be quite rare ! However, there´s a chance whilst you have the family around for the festivities. So keep your eyes and ears open to opportunities when the gifts are being unwrapped !
Day 4. Use it... for a while
Go to day 12 for the next part.
Day 5. Start a gift box
…, if you don´t already have one !
If you can´t think of anyone to give it to now, then save it in a special ´gift giving box´ or drawer for a later birthday or something. Don´t just do that as a means of procrastinating though ! Make the right decision now, and only put it in the box if you can truly name someone that would just love it.
Remember, it´s a well known theory that there are only 6 connections between any of us, so re-gifting might take you too close to the original gift giver ! What if they end up getting it back sooner than you think after a few re-giftings ahaha.
Day 6. Regifting to an international friend
A bit like putting it back under the tree – but better. Some nations ( and non Christians ) only gift on N. Years Eve, for example Russia, or on King´s Day ( Spain ).
So maybe you have some international friends and can pàss it on. Again though, try not to just lump it with just anyone. You can do better than that… read on ! Also, try not to give it to someone that has a birthday around the festive period – they can usually smell a rat.
Day 7. Give it to charity shop / thrift store
There´s a couple of things to note here. These shops don´t usually accept electrical items ( but check your local free-cycle depot because they might accept it. )
Sadly, many charity shops also closed this year due to the pandemic. Others got completely overwhelmed with everyone decluttering in the first lockdown periods so they can´t take any more. Some also just cannot cope, because they´re lacking staff – staff that are often older and need to stay home sheltering from the virus. Finally, be careful which shop you put it in… do you really want your gift giver to see it in the window !!
Day 8. Donate to a local charity like a shelter
… or a food poverty project.
However do remember that kitchenware is no good to the homeless themselves, but if your gift is suitable and practical, you could try a charity that cooks for people.
But you want it to go to the right home, so check out any local community food poverty projects ( ask your local council ). Maybe they could use it to teach people to cook, or can pass it on to a struggling family that could use it to get food on the table every day.
Day 9. Donate to a local food bank
Try… but be aware that food banks may not want appliances because or extra hassle, and the whole electrical items thing ( I tried ! )
So, these are the kind of projects we´ll support in a different way… with 10% of our marketplace profits, either directly or via donated equipment. So if you choose no. 12 you will achieve this too, and it´s a divided win for everyone.
Day 10. Save it for a car boot sale.
… when the weather gets better !
But you´ll notoriously get very little for it, and you´ll need to prove it works. How do you do that if it´s electrical ? I´m sure you can , so leave me a comment below if you know.
Day 11. Host a lucky dip party
If it´s not something you think anyone will want ( did Granny knit you another tea cosy ? ) and all your friends have had a similar kind of gift, then maybe have a lucky dip party ( maybe a virtual one nowadays ) and swap with friends for a laugh . Someone might get lucky !
This is one of my favourites… along with no. 12 of course.
A bit like an adult version of pass the pàrcel ! Hey that´s another idea for this kind of party. Use up all the leftover or discarded gift wrap from Christmas and keep wrapping your gift up for a loooong party with your girl friends.
5 points to remember when listing on a marketplace.
1. Which site is best ?
If you can, choose a specialised site for your type of gift.
There are plenty of general sites, and you´ll be overwhelmed with choices for fashion clothes, bags and shoes.
Traditionally, kitchenware gets lost amongst the huge volume of second hand junk for sale online, and your shiny new item just won´t stand out. It´s also often relegated to the ´other items´ section so it doesn´t get much visibility.
2. Free or not ?
Not all sites allow you to list for free. So choose wisely. Be aware that you do usually have to pay a commission as a selling fee. On our site, buyers pay nothing, sellers pay a commission. But if you drive to a charity shop etc, you´re also spending time and money no matter which way you choose to offload the gift. At least you can do this one mostly from anywhere !
3. Showing your profile or not.
If you list it on facebook marketplace, Facebook shows your profile and your item will show up for local searches. So if you don´t want any local to see it, don´t list it here. If you want to hide it from friends, I believe there is a way to do it on the mobile app, but not sure if you can do it on the computer. ¨Open the Facebook mobile app, go to your listings, hit edit the listing and scrolls down to bottom, you will see hide from friends option, swipe it right and you will be good. I don’t see this option on web/computer. only in mobile app so far.¨
When setting up an account on our marketplace you don´t have to use your real name or a profile picture that is your face ! So no one will know it´s you. On our marketplace, it´s free and easy to set up. Your email address is not shared, and all the conversations are on the marketplace platform to be most transparent and keep everyone up to date with the status of the item.
4. List on more than one platform.
But, when you sell it on one, make sure you can take it off the others promptly. I´ve seen it reported that it´s hard to list on eBay as well as other sites because of the auctions there that are pretty much run by computer programs not humans. So you sell it elsewhere first, it can be tough getting it unlisted on eBay.
5. Selling price.
Make sure you’re realistic about your starting price. It’s unlikely people will pay the ´new´ price of a present you didn’t want. We have answered a lot more marketplace FAQs here.
What we got for Christmas ?
a new computer and logo
We don´t do big gifts unless we need something.
I needed a new computer ( ouch! ) because mine gave up the ghost a few weeks before Christmas. And, if you´re a regular reader, you may have noticed – my new little logo below. This life and this blog has grown organically, that was the plan. It´s been a progression. But it´s now big enough to pull into order and I needed a nice logo to start that off. It´s a keeper…. and you can click on it 😉
Santa gets us little things that we need ! A little make-up for me, a shaver for Paul … and of course stockings full of healthy or fun consumables (so we don´t keep gathering stuff). Some handy kitchen tools made it into the stocking and I´ll be adding them to the ´tools we like´ post after I´ve tested them out thoroughly.
The most thoughtful things gifted to us were… a handy gnocchi and garganelli pasta making tool for Paul, and a delicious herbal tea mix for me, and a beautiful personal painting for both of us ! All keepers for sure.
Paul is having fun making gnocchi and it´s great to have the opportunity to expand our home made foods.
This tool reminds me of my granny´s butter making paddles. I know you could probably use a fork to make the lines, but the board allows you to roll along, the stick is a handy shape maker too for the garganelli pasta. I also realise is just like an Irish potato bread, then boiled not fried !
Some of the best gifts don´t have to cost a fortune. Now will this be a keeper forever, or will it fall into a Day 4 solution ! For now, it´s a keeper.
Affiliate Disclosure : As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I may earn a commission.
Think again… not all gifts are unwanted.
Time to upgrade.
You might originally feel you don´t need a gift because you already have something like it . Think again, it might actually be a better offer ? Even if it is of equal functionality to something you have, it is newer ! And remember, the warranty time on a new item will only just be starting too.
If you have received something better than the one you already have, then it´s time to keep the upgrade, and get rid of the one you already own. What an opportunity. Clean it up and list it immediately !
Or something better.
If I wish for something, I always add ór something better´to my wish. So keep an open mind, and don´t be disappointed if you don´t get your wish. It might just be something better for you !
Think of it like this too. Getting gifts is great but we build up more and more stuff. So when you get something new, take the opportunity to get rid of something else that´s older. Decluttering isn´t just good for the home physically, it´s good for the mind and spirit too. I always think – bin, give away, or sell.
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Thank-you to Tengyart from Russia for this sad to mad eggs image.
Eggs can be the most difficult things to cook well, and I feel this image represents all the emotions from cook to chef.
Makes us giggle.