Six guilt-free ways to get rid of unwanted Christmas presents

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·5-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
You don't have to keep things forever... (Getty Images)
You don't have to keep things forever... (Getty Images)

Nearly a quarter of Brits admit to politely keeping Christmas presents they don’t like, according to a recent survey.

Whether it’s a garish jumper or a bottle of alcohol when you've just vowed to cut down, we’ve all been the recipient of an unwanted gift – but that doesn’t mean we have to keep hold of them.

Hand lotion that smells like bubblegum, asphyxiating body spray, novelty boxers, unsustainable plastic toys and clothes that don't fit (and frankly, even if they did...) are cluttering up houses all over Britain this week, the sorry products of relations who haven't seen you since you were six, partners who don't listen, and Secret Santa office grinches.

But getting rid of them is even harder than saying 'wow, thanks!' sincerely. Guilt, festive exhaustion and a vague sense that it 'might come in handy' all conspire to cram your home with the unwanted ghosts of Christmas presents.

But it doesn't have to be this way, according to Nick Drewe, retail expert at online discount platform WeThrift. He shares his top tips on how to get rid of unwanted gifts this Christmas - guilt-free.

1. Donate them

Woman hand holding donation box with clothes, toys and books.
Face it; you'll never wear that jumper... (Getty Images)

"It goes without saying that the best thing you can do with your unwanted gifts is donate them to a good cause," says Drewe. 

"When it comes to charity shop donations, make sure to apply for Gift Aid on your items. This is a form of tax relief that allows charities to claim an extra 25p on every £1 donation at no extra cost. In other words, your donation will be boosted!

 Read more: Upcycle your old dress into a stylish two-piece set

"Other than charity shops, you can also donate your unwanted toys to a children’s hospital, as well as any books to a school or library."

2. Sell them

New York, U.S.A. - August 13, 2015: Ebay home page on the screen of a iphone 5 smart phone and in browser window in the background. eBay is the most visited an online auction and shopping website in US.
Sell your unwanted stuff online – but take good photos. (Getty Images)

"These days, you have more options than just eBay when it comes to selling your unwanted presents online.," explains Drewe.

"For example, there are websites and apps such as Depop, Vinted, Shpock and Facebook Marketplace which let you sell a wide range of items.

"If you do decide to sell your unwanted Christmas presents on these platforms, it’s important that your item description is as detailed as possible. Be clear about the condition of the items, and if you’re dealing with clothes, list the exact measurements. The more information and photos you give about your product, the more likely it will sell quickly."

3. Recycle them

delivery, mail, people and shipping concept.Young woman sign in digital mobile phone after receiving parcel from courier at home.
Look for schemes where shops will buy back. (Getty Images)

"You can also opt to do your bit and help save the planet with your unwanted presents," Drewe says. "Retailers including John Lewis, M&S, Nike and H&M have schemes where they will buy back your unwanted clothes or shoes. 

"If you’re wanting to recycle unwanted electronics, games and CDs, you can use websites such as MusicMagpie, which allow you to post your items for an agreed amount of cash."

4. Re-gift them

Save money and make your gran happy, all at once. (Getty Images)
Save money and make your gran happy, all at once. (Getty Images)

"If you think the present would be better suited for someone else, then you should have no shame in re-gifting an item to a friend, relative or acquaintance that will give it a better home," says Drewe. 

"Doing this will guarantee that the gift won’t go to waste, and you’ll also be saving money on buying something new for your friend's birthday. Just re-wrap the present in fresh paper, or put it in a cute gift bag." 

If it's edible, however, always check the use by date!

Watch: Decluttering expert, hailed as the UK's Marie Kondo, has seen her business boom since the pandemic

5. Return them

Portrait Of Female Owner Of Fashion Store Using Digital Tablet To Check Stock In Clothing Store
You can return clothes, usually within 28 days of purchase. (Getty Images)

"To return or exchange your items, all that is required to take it back to the store is a proof of purchase," says Nick Drewe. 

"If a gift receipt was left in your present, you can use this to exchange the item for something else.

Read more: How to Regift Like a Pro to Save Money—and Time—This Holiday Season

"If there is no gift receipt, you’ll unfortunately have to ask the person who got the gift for a receipt. Likewise, if the present was bought online, it is the buyer’s responsibility to return or exchange it for something else. 

"Obviously, this all boils down to how comfortable you are telling the person you don’t like their gift!" Of course you can always say clothes don't fit and you're exchanging for a different size... 

6. Repurpose them

Woman knitting at home, close-up.
You can always try to repurpose a gift to your liking. (Getty)

"Alternatively, you can choose to keep hold of the present and turn it into something useful for yourself," suggests Drewe.

"For instance, you can use part of that unwanted top as a hair band, or craft a fluffy scarf out of an awful jumper. Or, if you love the style of a particular piece of clothing but hate its colour, perhaps give it a makeover by dyeing it. 

"The DIY possibilities are endless!"

Watch: Lululemon leggings: TikTok hack

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting