Along with all the fun, cheer and eggnog that encapsulates the Christmas spirit comes a dark side to the holiday…the awkward social scenario of opening a gift that makes you go “what?” You’ve been there before: the ugly Christmas sweater, a chain restaurant gift certificate, jewelry that’s not your style, maybe even a leg lamp. The common denominator is that the gift has got to go. Of course, it’s the thought that counts and no one wants to offend a gift giver, so here are some ideas on how to discreetly move an unwanted Christmas present along…

Return to Store

Around the holidays retail stores are inundated with returns. Because of this, some become a bit more relaxed about their gift receipt policy, accepting items brought back to their store. Of course, having a gift receipt is ideal, but if the gift didn’t come with one it can understandably be uncomfortable to ask for. It is worth noting that you will likely be given a gift certificate in exchange for a return, and the value may be discounted from the normal price, since holiday shoppers often go for the sales. An exchange is also a great option, where you return merchandise and simultaneously pick out something you love to replace it with.

Sell Online


Web giants, eBay and Amazon, have become the staple for selling goods due to their easy-to-navigate marketplace and influence amongst a variety of users. Since the fees associated with both sites can slowly add up, it is important to be familiar with their polices. Niche websites, like WP Diamonds make it easy to sell a specific type of product online, such as unwanted holiday jewelry, diamonds and watches. The company prioritizes customer service with quick 24 hr. appraisal/offer turnaround time and insured postage, making the process seamless during the hectic gift return period. Going with a reputable niche online trader often coincides with higher payouts for selling. Similarly, Gift Card Granny is a great resource for selling gift cards online, partnering with a variety of merchants and fully disclosing their sell percentages, making it easy for users to choose which merchant offers the best deal on a gift card.


When the King of Siam was displeased with courtiers, he would gift them albino elephants, whose upkeep costs would cause financial ruin…and thus the term “White Elephant” party was coined. Keep the tradition alive by throwing a party where everyone brings their unwanted wrapped Christmas Gifts to swap and fight for. At the very least, it will be entertaining, and an evening with good laughs is worth re-gifting for another unwanted Christmas present.

Swap It

If you haven’t thought of bartering as a great way to move gifts, think again. Websites like U-Exchangeand Title Trader allow people to easily swap goods and services. Exchange that unwanted gift for a service you could actually use, like an oil change or salon services, starting the season with productivity.


Getting creative by turning a present into something else entirely is also a fun alternative for holiday gifts. Whether searching for inspiration on Martha Stewart or Pinterest, you can learn to make art out of almost anything. From multi-media sculptures to furniture, everything you can imagine can be re-created with modge podge and a hot glue gun.

Make it trend

Ugly Christmas sweaters have so many uses nowadays. For one, Ugly Sweater Parties are all the rage, and if you want to host the event of the year, give your friends something to talk about with an Ugly Sweater Party featuring photo props and a hot chocolate bar, alternatively, you could also throw a onesie party. They’ll be begging for you to re-create it every year as a holiday tradition, and the photos from the evening will be iconic. If you are the fashion-forward type, making swants (sweater pants) is also an exciting option. Here’s a DIY tutorialon turning your sweater into hip pants to keep you warm all winter long.


If you aren’t particularly fond of donning holiday sweaters on your legs, giving your warm clothes away to those in need is always appreciated and a complement to the season. The Giving Effectpairs donors to those in need, making it easy to distribute a variety of items, searchable by need, clothing, car, audio etc. or category like health, military, education etc..

No matter which discretionary route is taken, it is important to remember that anyone taking the time to give a gift is always a thoughtful and appreciated gesture. After all, it is the season for giving…

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