The gift that keeps on giving

Thousands of unwanted Christmas presents will be thrown away in the coming weeks, but what is the best way to get rid of gifts?

You probably won’t want to hear this as you desperately scour the shops and the internet for quirky, imaginitive Christmas presents – but the fact is, that once all that sparkly wrapping paper has been torn off and consigned to the rubbish bin, your carefully-chosen gifts stand a pretty good chance of ending up at the back of a drawer or, worse yet, as a listing on an auction site come early 2018.

In fact, in the first two weeks of January this year, over 4,500 new items were listed on auction site eBay as “unwanted Christmas gifts”. Sad but true.

Along with pop star-named perfumes and silly cartoon character ties and slippers, one of the most popular (or unpopular, depending on how you look at it) gift choices was a Primark ‘onesie’, of which there were 200-odd unwanted and unworn examples going begging at auction.

So – onesie-buyers beware!  Would your loved one really like greeting the postman dressed as a fluffy panda, unicorn or tiger?

According to one writer there’s a definite etiquette about the whole business of the ‘unwanted gift’.  Who’d have thought it?

Apparently the first rule is never to talk about the unwanted gift to the giver. In fact, no matter how much an iffy present might offend your sensibilities or sense of style, a thank you letter must always be sent.

Having said that, the second rule of receiving unwanted gifts is that “you should not feel bad about disposing of them as swiftly as possible”.

It’s here that you have a choice:

You can, of course, place it in a dedicated family present cupboard – which can then become your own future store for emergency presents.  Invaluable if you ever get an unexpected party invite or an extra guest turns up for the holiday festivities.

The main danger with this ‘re-gifting’ tactic, of course, is that you end up giving someone the unwanted present they originally gave you.  So do be sure to keep a log of the who, when and what has changed hands.

Sounds complicated?  That’s because this gift-buying business is! If you have scruples, then perhaps a more honourable approach is to give away your reject gifts to the charity shop or local raffle, and let them benefit somebody else. For the fact is that while that grotesque dinosaur onesie, garish bobble hat or novelty cufflinks might not exactly float your boat, they could be just the thing somebody else has been looking for.