The Art of Getting Rid of Unwanted Gifts

Unfortunately, it happens almost every year — well meaning friends and relatives give you Holiday gifts that you have no need or desire for

Of course, when you open the presents, you pretend to be delighted with the gift, but secretly you may be wondering what to do with the additional clutter.  Unless you have a very open relationship with the gift giver, asking for a receipt to return the item is very difficult to do and not recommended.

Enter the Art of Getting Rid of Unwanted Gifts:


This is the most common strategy for dealing with unwanted gifts — simply give the gift to someone else as a gift.

Done properly, this can be a great way to not only save money on gift giving but to clear your home of clutter.

A few words of caution here: don’t give the gift to someone who knows the original gift giver, make sure to remove any personalization such as name tags from the original gift giver, and make sure it is something the new recipient truly wants it.

There is no use sticking someone else with an unwanted gift.

Sell it.

unwanted gifts

Getting gifts is fun, but what do you do with gifts you’re not so fond of?

Head to eBay or Craigslist and put your unwanted gift up for sale.  The gift didn’t cost you anything, and you could make money from selling it.  Use the money to buy something you truly want or for some other purpose such as adding to your child’s college fund or paying down debt.

If you have an unwanted gift card, there are plenty of gift card sites such as and that will buy the gift cards, sometimes for as much as 92% of their retail value, or you could exchange it for a gift card you do want.

Donate it.

If you received a gift such as personal care like soap, body lotion or bath wash, or a fruit basket or some other edible item, consider donating it.  If you know someone who has fallen on hard times, you may give it to them, or consider donating it to a local women’s shelter or a homeless shelter so the gift will go to good use.

Freecycle it.

If you are not interested in profiting from a gift, put it on  You place an ad for the item, and someone comes to pick it up for free.  No money exchanges hands; you are free of your unwanted gift, and the person who picks it up has an item they want for free.

While there are plenty of ways to dispose of an unwanted gift, please exercise caution.

If the gift came from someone you see frequently or someone who likes to follow up on their gifts and ask you about them, you may need to keep the gift for awhile.

Have the person over to your home once so you can display the gift, or if it is a piece of clothing, wear the item once so they can see it on you.  Then you may be able to quietly get rid of it with one of the suggestions above.

While people who give you gifts want to give you something you need or want, sometimes you are still left with a gift you have no use for.  Rather than letting it clutter up your home, take the time to sell it, donate it or regift it so that someone who truly wants it can benefit from the gift.

What do you get rid of unwanted gifts?

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Published or updated December 11, 2014.


  1. I do my best to simply donate things right after Christmas that I know I’m never going to wear or use. I feel bad doing this, but I know that if I don’t like it now I’m not going to like it any better in a few months after it sits around in my basement or my closet.

  2. I usually use everything I get (I usually just get gift cards and things that are on my list), but most of my friends sell things on ebay or try returning them.

  3. I have no compunction about ‘re-gifting.’ Especially if I suspect my gift was a re-gift. 🙂 Just be careful not to give it back to the same person!

    • Dude, you totally get points for using the word “compunction!”

      Yeah, what a slippery slope gifting turns into when a gift starts making the rounds from friend to friend.

  4. I tell my family to not get me gifts. My mom and BF won’t listen. So, I just made my mom take the juicer that she bought me back (I already have one) but I’m keeping the netbook from the BF. 😉 He knows me so well. Electronics make my heart flutter like a school girl.

  5. Putting it in the trash can seems like the easiest solution for me. I’ve looked at freecycle in the past and usually the cost of gas isn’t worth the trouble. If the gift is of any value I would try Craigslist or Ebay.

  6. Learned something new today. Didn’t know about before your post. Seems like a great way to score some free items too 🙂 Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend with your fam!

  7. Getting rid of gifts can be a touchy subject. I like the idea of freecycling the unwanted gifts. Selling them is a great way to make money!

  8. I have no qualms with selling unwanted gifts. I do it quite often on eBay or Amazon.

    • Amazon seems pretty easy to sell to, at least textbooks. How much is involved with eBay? Is it really wort it for a gift yo don’t like? And you’re really getting that many un-wanted gifts?

  9. I came across a site called, recently. It helps avoiding unwanted gifts giving an option for the receiver of gift to choose without the giver knowing it. Other features of the site say, event invitations, anniversary reminders, online greetings are also useful.

What Do You Think?