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Managing unwanted Christmas gifts

Managing unwanted Christmas gifts
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Operations - Store and Insure

Deal quickly with your unwanted gifts

The flood of Christmas gifts is already beginning, and if you’re anything like me you might already have opened a couple. I love to give and receive, but my experiences in the storage industry tell me that unwanted gifts are a major source of clutter. The trick is to decide quickly what you are going to do with an unwanted gift and put it into action before the item becomes part of your household scenery.

Try it anyway

I always say, even if you are not sure about a gift food, give it a try. The worst that can happen is you end up dumping half a jar of chutney in the compost bin.

The same goes for games – play it once and you may be surprised at how much fun you have.

And never save food (or anything consumable) ‘for a special occasion’. The giver meant you to enjoy it, so make that special occasion today (or next Tuesday).

Exchange it

If your unwanted gift came with a convenient envelope containing the receipt, that’s a sign that the giver will not be offended if you want to swap it. Some shops will let you exchange a product that is obviously theirs, so don’t be afraid to ask. As to whether you tell the giver, that’s up to you! Which? has some information about returning goods with (and without) receipts.

Donate it

Charity shops are often glad of unwanted Christmas gifts – but make sure it really is saleable. Foodbanks may welcome packets of tea or biscuits. Or take them to work to share out in the break room. Shelters and organisations that support people flee domestic abuse may take toiletries. And any organisation that raises funds through fairs and fetes will be glad of appealing items to raffle or sell.

Re-gift it

This can work really well, or it can be a disaster. I’ll never forget my colleague who grumbled quietly that most of her January birthday presents were re-gifts from Christmas, some of them even lightly used. Be careful when re-gifting, and definitely avoid returning it to the original giver!

Save for next year

If an item is only really appropriate for Christmas and you want to re-gift it, or perhaps use it yourself next Christmas, think carefully about how you’re going to store it. With a little care and attention, you can avoid bumps and scratches that make an item ungiftable. Box them up and put them in your storage unit so they don’t get damaged as they might if you are moving them around at home.

And for Christmas 2019 (and perhaps birthdays in 2019, too), commit to giving low clutter gifts yourself. And think about how you might stop unwanted gifts from coming in. Would your family welcome a secret Santa system, where everyone gives and receives a single gift? Can you ask friends for a no-present agreement? Money saving expert Martin Lewis’s video and blogpost can help you explain this. Have these conversations early, though, so that people have time to adjust their expectations and shopping plans.