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How to make the most of your unwanted Christmas presents

Published 6 January 2015 by

We write lists and drop not-so-subtle hints every year, yet, for most of us, we still end up with unwanted Christmas presents. From books we’ve already read and DVDs we already own, to gift sets we’ll never use, unloved presents are abandoned under the tree every year.

Most people don’t know what to do with these items and, as a result, they’re tossed into the back of a cupboard and forgotten about. This year you can stop them cluttering up your house, by following our tips for re-using unwanted gifts:

Help others

While we’re enjoying nice food, being spoilt with gifts and relaxing in the company of loved ones over the festive period, it’s easy to forget that there are many people less lucky and well off than we are, so why not offer your unwanted presents to the people who need them most?

Charities are renowned for struggling as New Year arrives, so you could donate your gifts to a worthy cause. Charity shops are always on the hunt for items to sell and they’ll be grateful for anything you send their way – no matter how big or small. You can search for local charity shops here.

Think ahead

Your unwanted gift might not seem very helpful right now, but if you plan ahead for upcoming birthdays and occasions, they could come in handy while saving you a pound or two, too. If the product doesn’t have a sell-by date, you could even re-use them for Christmas 2015 – just make sure you don’t give it the person who gave it to you! Dedicated “re-gifters” even keep a log of who gave them what item to avoid just such embarrassment!


If you’ve been given edible goodies or beverages you don’t like, you could store them away and save them for an upcoming party. If you’re the host you’ll save money on catering, and if you’re attending someone else’s gathering, you won’t have to worry about turning up empty handed!

Swap or sell

If you want to get something back from your unwanted Christmas present, you could swap or sell the item for something you prefer or for a monetary return. eBay is a good starting point and can be used for almost every single type of product. If you want to target your items more accurately, Amazon is handy for selling books and musicMagpie is ideal for CDs.

If you’re looking to swap an unwelcome gift, Swapz caters for all – from jewellery to antiques and gaming to garden, you name it, they swap it. If you want something a bit more specific to your unwanted item, Read It Swap It is a good website for books, Swishing for clothes and SWAPR for CDs, games and DVDs.

Return it

If you’re not afraid of confronting the gift-buyer, you could always do the obvious and ask for the receipt and return the item to buy something more to your liking. Most stores have a limited returns policy though, so be sure to check this out and ensure you take it back in time.