Unwanted Gifts And What To Do With Them

Dealing With Unwanted Gifts

Unwanted gifts can come with a lot of guilt that can make us feel obliged to keep them even if it's something we'll never wear or use. We feel guilty about the wasted time and money someone spent on picking out and purchasing a gift for us that we just don't like.

Keeping a gift we don't want doesn't change the fact that we won't use it; either way it gets pushed to the back of a cupboard or wardrobe until the guilt finally wears off and we discard it. But letting go of unwanted gifts can feel risky. What if the giftee finds out we took it back to the shop or regifted it to someone else? What if they asked where it is and what we've done with it? The fear of being found out can stop us from getting rid of these unwanted things.

Passing on gifts we don't like, want, or need doesn't mean we're selfish or ungrateful. The purpose of a gift is to be given, what happens to it afterwards is up to the giftee. Most people won't ask what happened to the gift they gave you just like you probably won't ask them. So it's time we got over the awkwardness of unwanted gifts and what to do with them.

Take It Back

If the unwanted gift still has its tags or even perhaps the receipt, you could try returning the item in exchange for something more suitable. Big box stores typically extended their holiday returns window and allow items without receipts to be exchanged. If someone gifts you an item and mentions, should you need it, there's a receipt you can use for an exchange - use it! Don't get stuck with the wrong size or pattern because you were too coy to take them up on the offer.


If an unwanted gift cannot be returned and you'd prefer money to invest in something else, one option is to try to sell it. Online auction sites, marketplaces, and classified ads are all useful options; try eBay, Depop, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist too. This is more likely to work with clothing that holds value, furniture and larger home decor items, and collectibles rather than smaller items like books and toiletries.


Sometimes we receive gifts that would be better gifted to someone else. Passing on these items to others is often the best thing you can do since you know it will be appreciated and used. Find a good home for the things you don't want, just make sure the people you're regifting them to really do want them. If you don't know any friends or family who want your unwanted gifts, list them on Facebook Marketplace, Freecyle, Gumtree, or Craigslist.


If you can, take your unwanted gifts to places that could really benefit from your donation where they will be very much appreciated and greatly received. Shelters are often in desperate need of donations of essentials such as socks, toiletries, make-up and skin care, as well as electrical appliances. For other items, drop them off at your local charity shop where organisations can resell them.


The best cure for unwanted gifts is to attempt to avoid them altogether, which might be futile but we can at least try. Communicating with those who are likely to present us with gifts on birthdays and around holidays is a good place to start. It's important to remember though that for some, gifting is part of their love language and no matter how much we insist we do not need a gift at all, they will buy us one anyway. It's often best to give options; telling people you want nothing at all often results in gifts regardless. It's better to provide some options for those who insist on gifting you something. Remember to have these conversations well in advance of birthdays and holidays, to get the message across before it's too late.

What do you do with your unwanted gifts?
Any tips for passing them on or dealing with the guilt?

Pin This Post:
Dealing With Unwanted Gifts