I used to toss unwanted Christmas gifts in the back of my cupboard only to find them years later covered in dust which in clean up landed them straight in the bin.
Receiving ten boxes of bath bombs or five pairs of reindeer socks leave many in a bit of a conundrum. Is it ok to sell your unwanted gifts?
What last year’s stats tell you
Last year in the UK it was reported that 2.4 billion pounds worth of unwanted gifts were received by recipients.
Of people surveyed only 10% would ask for the receipt admitting that they did not like the gift. A third of people stuffed it in the cupboard like my past experiences, one in six would give it away and 2 % would throw away the unwanted gift (SMH, 2011).
If you are not ballsy enough to ask for the receipt, I don’t see the problem in selling the gift. Whilst the gift giver had good intentions I would think that most people would prefer you to gain some satisfaction from their present rather then it going into the bin.
Most people would agree
It seems most people around the world agree that selling unwanted gifts is acceptable.
A poll conducted in France found 30% of people admitted to selling unwanted goods whilst 75% thought that it was ok to do so (The Local, 2011).
It is pretty evident that this has become common practice simply by the sheer numbers of items that get posted online after Christmas Day.
EBay and Gumtree conducted a poll last Christmas and found a third of people will be racing to sell their unwanted items after Christmas online. It seems we are not only moving towards online for our Christmas shopping, but also our Christmas de-shopping.
Avoid getting caught
If you do want to get rid of those ghastly numbers you need to think about a few things first.
One thing that many people do (in fact 26% according to eBay Australia) is re-gift an unwanted present. But alas, this is just asking yourself to get caught people.
Many a story has come around with people receiving a gift back the following year-frankly I think this is much worse than the alternatives. The other way you get caught out is by getting rid of the gift before an appearance has been made to the gift giver. Yes you might have to wait awhile before on selling the items so you can “proudly” show off the item to your gift giver.
If you have discarded the gift before this time, make sure you have a backup story of where it is.
How to sell the unwanteds
The most common way to sell the unwanteds is by putting them up for sale on eBay or Gumtree. This is very simple and may in fact allow you to recoup some of that debt you went in to fund your own Christmas present expenditure.
It is a good idea to give your reason in your listing and be reasonable with your starting bids-remember you did not pay for it so why worry. You might even find a bargain or two from other people selling their own unwanteds.
Other methods to use
WikiHow actually has some interesting (and somewhat seemingly unethical) methods for disposing of your unwanteds.
If you are going to go the re-gifting route make sure you have a list of who gave you what. It is probably a good idea to re-gift items in different social circles to avoid getting caught out.
One idea they give is to actually give the gift back to the gift giver stating that you liked it so much that you wanted them to enjoy one too (sneaky!). If you are going to bin the item, consider donating it to charity. This may be especially important this year as people have tightened their belts in giving to charities before Christmas.
Selling these unwanteds is increasingly becoming a trend and is better than leaving them to gather room in your cupboard.
Be careful about which route you take and if you are going to sell or heaven forbid regift-don’t brag about it. Do this and your friends will constantly be wondering if their gift ended up for auction.
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Alex Wilson is the founder and editor of Savings Guide, Australia’s number one saving money website. For regular money saving tips, visit Savings Guide or follow Savings Guide on Facebook.