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What to do with your unwanted Christmas presents

This year, the average Aussie spent $955 on Christmas presents, leaving many of us with a pile of gifts we neither want nor need.

More than one-third of Australians reported having received at least one unwanted gift for Christmas, according to Gumtree. Even worse, the festive period leaves the average Australian with a credit card 'debt hangover' of $1,666.

A survey from Virgin Mobile found that the five Christmas gifts most loathed by Australians included novelty gifts, something ‘smelly’, stuffed toys, trinkets and a ‘free with purchase’ gift, with 7 in 10 people saying they thought stocking fillers were a waste of space.

With the festive season done and dusted for another year, how can we thoughtfully offload our unwanted gifts?

Sell it

Sites like Gumtree and eBay make it really easy for you to resell any unwanted items.

“While Aussies have had a record year when it comes to giving unwanted gifts, there is hope! We typically see a surge in listings on Gumtree post-Christmas, so people should get online and treat themselves to find the gift they really wanted for Christmas," said Kirsty Dunn from Gumtree.

“On average every Aussie received at least one unwanted gift, valued at $68, and plenty of people are cashing in on their unwanted gifts and putting money back in their back pockets.”

Take some good quality photos, write a short and snappy description and do some research into how much similar items have sold for before you put a price on your listing. Who knows, you might just be able to earn some extra cash!

Ask for the receipt

This will likely involve an awkward conversation, but the best way to make sure the gift-giver hasn’t wasted their money would be to politely let them know that – while you’re extremely grateful for their thoughtful present – you’re not sure you’ll get much use out of it. You could even suggest going back to the store and choosing a new present together. Check the receipt for the terms and conditions of exchanging or refunding your gift, and understand your consumer rights

Donate it

Charities are always looking for good-quality, saleable items, so if you can’t bear to ask the gift-giver for the receipt, take the item to your local op-shop and see if they’ll accept it.

“Donating unwanted gifts to Vinnies Shops is an excellent way to de-clutter your home in the post-holiday season while also supporting Vinnies' good work in your local community,” explains Yolanda Saiz from Vinnies NSW. “40% of our organisation’s income is generated from Shop sales, and all Shop proceeds fund programs and opportunities for families and individuals experiencing disadvantage."

If you’re not sure whether you can donate the item, check the Vinnies and Salvos websites.

Re-gift it

Re-gifting is a growing trend in Australia, with more than 10 million Australians saying they have re-gifted an unwanted item, according to Gumtree.

See if any of your family members are willing to do a gift-swap, or give the item to someone who you know would love it. After all, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!

Plan better for Christmas 2018

Don’t feel embarrassed to send the people close to you a specific wish-list next Christmas. Many people will actually find this helpful, as it saves their time and they know you’ll love the gift they give you.

Speak to your friends and family about whether it’s best to do a Kris Kringle next year, so that you end up getting one really thoughtful present at Christmas time, rather than 10 stocking-fillers.

Being the recipient of an unwanted gift can also make you feel guilty, especially when there are so many people in need at Christmas time. Have a think about whether it would really be so bad to receive nothing next year and have your family and friends donate to your favourite charity instead.

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