Unwanted Christmas Gifts
My Story: The R's of Reducing Expenses
The Rules of Re-Gifting
I keep a large bag tucked away in my closet with items that I have received that I consider to be useless gifts. I then give one away whenever I need to give a gift to someone when the gift doesn't have to be very personal. I have attached a sticky note to each item in the bag stating who gave the item to me in the first place so I don't make the mistake of giving it back to the giver.
My favorite way to get rid of unwanted gifts: save them with tags on for a yard or garage sale. If you are worried that the giver of the gift might come to your garage sale, ask a friend to sell it for you at his or her garage sale. You can do the same for your friend in return.
Likewise, there are many charitable organizations that help support themselves by selling used goods in thrift stores (Salvation Army, Volunteers of America, etc.) An unused item with tags still on will sell for a good price at the thrift store, and the charity will be happy to have it.
A friend of mine holds a "bad gift swap" the week after Christmas with all her friends...each person brings the gift they hated the most as a re-gift swap and it's a lot of fun!
Nursing Home Prizes
Because I deal with the public on a daily basis, I get a lot of small gifts. Because it's Christmas I get lots and lots of ornaments and Christmas decorations. I get candy and things like gloves and bath salts, you know, the kind of things you give to someone who is only an acquaintance. I have an old teacher that I visit in a nursing home. I bag up these presents and bring them. She, in turn, gives them to the person who runs the Bingo games, and then they are used as prizes! I get a chance to give, and she gets a chance to give, also!
Our hockey team has a fundraiser in January with a raffle. All of the hockey parents are expected to donate something (either that they bought or were able to secure as a donation from a company). We are donating unwanted Christmas gifts. Things that we either didn't like or didn't need. Hopefully someone else will like them and we didn't have to spend any money for a prize for the raffle.
Hockey Mom in Cleveland
One suggestion I heard over the holidays is to auction them on eBay or a similar site. Or on a local level, a non-profit group might sponsor a community wide auction to generate revenue by soliciting unwanted Christmas gifts.
Our church has a missions closet where they collect new items and let visiting missionaries select anything they want. I don't use shower gel or anything with a scent as my husband has sneezing fits so they all get donated to the closet. Also, any new clothes that are the wrong size or something I know we won't wear goes to the missions closet.
Help the Homeless
One thing that people seem to receive alot of is the "bath and body" type gift- fragrant soap, lotion, etc. Since most of us already have more than we'll ever use or need, how about giving it to a homeless shelter where it could be put to good use for less fortunate people. The same could be said for multiple hats, gloves, socks, (even clothes), etc.
Prepared for Last Minute Needs
Each year, I receive a multitude of candles, jams, scented soaps, lotions, and Christmas knick-knacks. When I open the present, I'm very gracious and thank the giver profusely, all the while avoiding tearing the wrap because these are next year's emergency presents. (If my heart is set on it, of course, I keep it!) The unopened gifts go into a separate Christmas box after the New Year, each with a piece of tape letting me know from whom the present was received so I don't accidentally give it back. Next Christmas, these gifts are given out at the last minute to neighbors who stop by with a plate of cookies, to co-workers, and even to family members who haven't seen the present before. This practice may be poor etiquette, but I have no problem with it. If the gift is something I have several of at home, and I don't need or want it, why not pass it on and save a little Christmas money in the process?
We're still paying off last Christmas and worry how we'll afford the holidays this year without charging it again! Tell us: Yes, we could use help getting out of the debt trap we're in! or No, debt is not a problem for us but I'm always looking for ways to trim my family's expenses further!