Pesky Unwanted Gifts....

It is the day after Christmas and you are bright eyed and bushy tailed to try out all of your new gadgets and gizmos. Well, except that one in the corner from Aunt Sue that you set off to the side hoping to forget about it. The ant farm makes you cringe at how little she knows about you and has no clue how old you are! A gift that cannot possibly be meant for you, but there it is, your name on the tag, “To Bob Merry Christmas! With love, Aunt Sue”. What do you do now? You have this awful gift that will never be used. You smile at her kind gesture and wonder, “Why Aunt Sue?”

This has happened to you at least once in your life. Take a stroll down memory lane and remember that one gift that you had to like because Aunt Sue gave it to you “with love.” The one that still has the tag on it, but you cannot part ways with it because if she found out World War III would ensue! Yes, that is the one. The gift you kept it in the closet to collect dust for 30 years hoping Aunt Sue would never ask about or ask why it was not sitting out. Just a sneaking suspicion that is what you did.

                Instead of locking away that horrid gift, why not do something else with it. Let it see the light of day and shine somewhere else besides the closet. Here are a few alternatives for those unwanted gifts.

·         Return it to the store: Typically, around the holidays a gift receipt is given with the gift. This allows you to return it to the store for cash or exchange to be able to get something you can use. If they do not have a receipt with it, you can ask where it was purchased and return for a store credit (depending on the store).

·         Donate the gift: There are plenty of charitable organizations that will take items you do not care for. You can look up specific organizations if you have an item meant for a specific person. For example; a child’s toy could go to Toys for Tots etc.

·         Re-gift the gift: If you know of someone who would be thrilled to have that gift you cannot stand, simply give it to them. If there is a party you are going to attend, like a White Elephant, then take your gift with you. Re-gifting is a great option especially if it is not something you can return or want to give away to just anyone.

·         Upcycle or re-purpose the gift: This is a trend that has been more prevalent in the last few years. Upcycle the gift by changing it to be something better or more useful for you. Put a coat of spray paint on it, use it to clean the car (that ugly Christmas sweater) etc. and now you have a usable gift. Using the ant farm example here is what I would do. Free the ants (of course away from you), paint the plastic (not the clear part so you can still see through), and create sand art. Have fun with it and get something more useful out of it. Make it into something you like and let the creative juices flow!

·         Sell it on Amazon, eBay or other places: Post it on the websites to see if someone out there can take your gift off your hands and get some use out of it. You would be surprised at how much you can get for items.

·         Local or Neighborhood buy/sell sites: If you know there are a lot of neighborhood kids or you would rather put items online locally, you can always post on LetGo, Craigslist or your local Facebook pages to see if anyone in your area is interested and get a few bucks for it.

·         Put it in the pile: The garage sale pile is a perfect place to put those unwanted gifts. Yes, you might only get $.25 cents for it, but it was a gift and that is $.25 cents more than what you had and now is it someone else’s treasure.

·         Trash: You simply want to get rid of it as fast as possible by tossing it out. If this is the route you decide to go, make sure to do so properly. If the product is recyclable make sure to take it to the proper facility. If it is electronics try recycling places like Best Buy etc. Do not simply just throw it out as there are hazardous materials in a lot of our everyday items that cannot decompose properly or cannot even go into landfills. A lot of those items can be recycled, but it might take a few phone calls to double check if they are.

·         Last Resort: If all options have failed or you are just a straight forward individual, go tell Aunt Sue, “Thank you! But I really do not need this and would rather have it go to a more loving home.” Their feelings might be hurt at first but later they will appreciate the honesty. Sometimes honesty can be the best policy and will prevent future headaches for Aunt Sue and you! This will help alleviate the cycle of unwanted gifts from Aunt Sue and ultimately help you both in the end.

Holidays are stressful, and it can be very hard to pick gifts for people. When receiving a gift always have an open mind and heart to those who gave you the gift. Remember, it is the thought that counts not the actual gift and they were thinking of you when they purchased it. These are just a few ways to help you enjoy an unwanted gift you received for Christmas. Think outside of the box if none of these alternatives work for you and find a solution to your ant farm!