10 Things to Do with Unwanted Gifts

Did you receive a gift this holiday season that you simply have no need for? While our loved ones mean well, sometimes they miss the mark, and we end up with something that simply doesn’t work for our lifestyle and are left wondering what to do with it.

I have a few ideas for you.

Be grateful

Whether a gift is something you can use or not, someone spent their hard-earned money and time getting you something. Be grateful that they thought of you enough to do so. For some people, giving gifts is the way they express love (check out The Five Love Languages to learn more about that), and they are showing their love for you in the way they know how.

I am part of some minimalist groups on Facebook (I am not an actual minimalist, but aspiring to be more intentional with the items I own), and I see a lot of anger over the gifts people receive vented on these boards, particularly when it comes to gifts for children. While I understand wanting to live a more intentional life and not fill the house with junk, I wonder what example this anger is setting for the  children about gratitude.

Even if we get more gifts for my kids than we need, including gifts I wouldn’t have purchased for them myself, I am grateful for the amount of people in our lives that love my kids and thought about them over the holidays. Not everyone has that in their life, and I am grateful my family does.

I also think this misses the mark and places the importance of a material possession over a relationship. If you are trying to live a life that places less importance on stuff, placing more value on the gift someone gave you than your actual relationship with that person seems like a step backwards to me.

Don’t feel you need to keep it

Feeling gratitude for the love someone showed by gifting you something does not mean you have to keep the actual gift if it does not fit into your lifestyle. It is absolutely okay to either return it or follow one of my other tips for passing it on.

The act of love was already displayed and appreciated, having the gift wasting away in the back of your closet won’t do anyone any favors after that. It actually becomes a waste of resources, both financial and environmental, if it is sitting untouched when someone else could use it.  

Do something good with the gift

  • If you can’t return it, sell it on a Facebook group, eBay, or Craigslist and set the money aside to help you accomplish a big goal of yours.
  • Check out your local homeless or domestic violence shelters and see if that is something they could use. Then you know it is going to serve people in need in your community.
  • If it is a toy and you have the space, consider saving it for next year and donating it to Toys for Tots or towards adopting a family for Christmas.
  • Gather it and any other unused items and hold a “Gratitude Garage Sale.” You can learn more about that here.
  • If it is a clothing or accessory item, find a local clothing closet or organization that provides clothing to people in need.
  • Post the item on Freecycle so other people in your community who might need the item can get it for free.
  • Check to see if any of the local charities you love could use it for a raffle prize or an item in a fundraising sale. (One local charity I love does a barn sale every year and takes all kinds of items to sell.)
  • Donate it to a charity shop.

I hope these tips help you with any gifts you have received that simply don’t fit your lifestyle (or any items you may have that don’t fit your lifestyle, for that matter) so we can all have a more intentional year.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *