6 Tips for Returning Holiday Gifts

Holiday Gift Returns

At this time of year, everyone wants to know what to do with gifts they’ve received but don’t need or want. Here are some handy suggestions about what to do with unwanted or not needed holiday gifts. Regardless of which of the 6 tips for returning holiday gifts you choose, a thank you note is the best way to begin.

6 Tips for Returning Holiday Gifts

  1. If the gift didn’t come with a receipt and you’d like to exchange or return it, ask the giver for a copy of the receipt. You can do this by explaining that you have too many similar items already and you’re trying to cut back on duplicates. (This is a good time to joke about not wanting to be featured on the show, “Hoarders” because everyone can relate to that.)
  2. If you don’t want to ask for a copy of the receipt, inquire about where the gift was purchased and see if you can return it to the store for store credit. Many times, stores are more willing to do an exchange for a similar or less expensive item rather than to give cash back.
  3. If the gift is not in original packaging, try as best you can to put it back together nicely and re-gift it. Make sure to note who gave the gift so that you don’t give the same item back to the giver. Giving a re-gifted gift is no less heart-felt or gracious than giving one that was purchased new.
  4. Donate the item to your favorite non-profit.
  5. Sell it at your next garage sale.
  6. Use it a White Elephant gift exchange party. My bunko (or is it bunco?) group and our dinner group have done white elephant gift exchanges and this is another good way to share a gift that you don’t need or want. One man’s junk is truly another one’s treasure. The exchange always produces lots of laughs and stories.

I hope you’ll find one of these solutions useful.

What do you do with an unwanted or unneeded gift?

Go Gingham related links:

Kid’s birthday party gifts that are budget friendly and very sweet
Frugal gift ideas for teachers – lovely and homemade
How to handle the group gift for teachers – bowing out gracefully
Frugal and easy gifts to give – very easy
Frugal and green wedding gifts – simple gifts with an upgrade element, too
Wrapping paper alternatives – old maps!

4 thoughts on “6 Tips for Returning Holiday Gifts

  1. What do I do with unwanted/unneeded gifts? Hmm…first, I hang onto them far too long, wanting to honor the spirit in which they were given. Then, I realize that keeping something we don’t want/need really doesn’t do that. At that point, it’s too late for return, so I usually donate it to a non-profit.

    Luckily, I didn’t receive any such gifts this year (another benefit of cutting back on gift exchanges!) so I can skip that whole process. 🙂 Love your suggestions–and I completely agree with #3.


    1. Rita,
      You are very funny…
      “What do I do with unwanted/unneeded gifts? Hmm…first, I hang onto them far too long, wanting to honor the spirit in which they were given.”
      Yes, that does make a difference. You are kind to do so.
      Simple holidays with fewer gifts are really a nice way to handle the holidays. Plus, there’s a lot less trash generated by celebrating simply.
      Thanks, Rita!


  2. I’m not comfortable with the idea of re-gifting. I usually ask someone else if they would want the item (I received 2 boxes of herbal tea a week ago–but I hate herbal tea–so I found a friend who likes it. Tada!). Now I just have 3 smallish bottles of scented lotion to bestow upon someone (scented lotions and soaps don’t do my eczema any favors). I really like your first comment–a thank-you is definitely the place to start!


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