What to Do With Unwanted Holiday Gifts

When it comes to gift giving, they say it’s the thought that counts. But what happens when the oh-so-generous folks in your life just happen to have the worst imaginable taste? It’s an unfortunate fact that sometimes bad holiday gifts happen to good people — and by “bad,” we’re talking everything from ugly sweaters to gaudy, kitschy fruit bowls that pain you to look at them. And then there are those gifts that aren’t terrible per se, but just unneeded or impractical — like that royal blue coffee mug that doesn’t match anything else in your kitchen, or that gift card to your local steakhouse that would be awesome if you didn’t happen to just turn vegetarian.

If you’re coming away from the holiday season with a load of things you don’t want or need, don’t despair. Here are some options to consider:

Sell Your Stuff
Don’t need that new selfie stick or high-speed food processor? Sell it for cash. You can try your luck with Craigslist, where it’s free to post an ad. Or, for a safer bet, list your unwanted items on eBay. You’ll pay a small fee, but on the plus side, you won’t have to worry about some sketchy stranger showing up at your door wanting to buy your stuff, or just creeping you out. You can even try listing the items you’re looking to unload on your Facebook page and seeing if your friends are interested in a swap — but if you do, make sure the people who gave you said gifts don’t have Facebook accounts. Otherwise you’re as good as busted.

Re-gift What You Can
Maybe that cashmere scarf or fancy bottle of perfume isn’t your taste, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put it to good use. Rather than throw it away or deal with selling it, see if you can re-gift it to someone who might appreciate it. As long as the item in question is of reasonably good quality, there’s no shame in giving it to someone who’s more likely to use it than you are.

Donate Items to Those in Need
If you’re stuck with gifts you can’t stand or don’t want, why not take the opportunity to help someone less fortunate? You can donate your unwanted gifts to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army, where they’ll either be sold or given to someone in need. You can also see if your local place of worship has put out a collection box. As an added bonus, you may even receive a receipt for your donation, which you can potentially count as tax deductible when tax season approaches.

Get Cash for Your Gift Cards
Many people enjoy receiving gift cards to spend as they please. But what if you’re given a gift card to a store you don’t like or a restaurant whose cuisine you don’t happen to enjoy? Rather than let your unwanted gift cards sit around collecting dust, you can sell them online. Sites like GiftCards.com and Gift Card Granny allow you to get cash in exchange for your gift cards. Though you’ll lose a percentage of your gift cards’ total value by selling them this way, $30 in cash, for example, is better than having an unwanted $50 gift card taking up space in your wallet.

Of course, you can also take steps to avoid winding up with useless gifts in the first place. The next time someone asks what you want for the holidays, just be honest. With any luck, your friends and loved ones will actually listen and oblige.

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