useless Christmas gifts image

What to do with Useless Christmas Gifts

Christmas is over, all the kiddies are back to school, the tree is either on the curb or back in a box, and your belly is in full muffin-top mode. Another successful minimalist Christmas was had by all, right? Ha, hardly. If my local Home Depot was any indication, commerce was in the air and many people had some great (and expensive) presents under the tree.

But what about those crappy gifts under the tree? You know the ones. The gifts that you opened and immediately thought “who can I pawn this off on”. We’ve all received them, and we’ve all done that fake smile with the obligatory “this is great” line of BS. In fact, my wife decided to participate in her workplace Secret Santa and got stuck with probably the dumbest gift we’ve ever seen. It’s a magnetic dartboard for your desk. Great. The gift that keeps on giving. Thanks! It was one of those “steal a gift” Secret Santa things too, which is just about as dumb as a magnetic dartboard for your desk, but I won’t judge.

Anyway, as we stare daily at the magnetic dartboard (for a desk, nowhere else), I thought; “What a great idea for a blog post – what to do with your useless Christmas gifts”.

If Bobby Gaylor’s song Stop Giving Me Crap for Christmas taught me anything, it’s that everyone receives useless Christmas gifts every year. So here’s a quick list of all the things you can do with those crummy Christmas gifts.

Donate it

It really is the easiest thing to do. Just drop it off at your local Salvation Army. It’s best if you can keep it wrapped in it’s original box (not the Christmas wrap). This allows the thrift shop to price it a little higher. They’ll likely take it either way, so if you happen to get a game of Twister, play it a couple of times, realize you’re not a) good at it and b) not going to get laid either playing it or after playing it, then donate it.

You don’t have to limit donations to thrift shops either. Try some shelters or charities that collect gifts for those in need. They tend to be popular in major cities, so I’ll list a couple from…uh…major cities that made the MLB playoffs last year.

New York –  Winter Wishes

Boston – Christmas in the City

Houston – Houston Children’s Charity

Cleveland – Couldn’t find a specific site via Google, so here’s Need Help Paying Bills with some info

Minnesota – Christmas Anonymous or Good in the Hood

Los Angeles – Mend Poverty

Washington, D.C – Global Living

Chicago  – Doing Good Together 

Arizona – Low Income Relief

Denver – One Nation Walking Together

And for our Canadian readers…

Toronto – Holiday Helpers

Vancouver – Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau

Montreal – The Shoebox Project

We’re not affiliated with any of the above charitable causes, and some would much prefer monetary donations over your useless Christmas gifts, but hey, if this list helps one person then I’m happy.

Bring it back

Sometimes you can tell where a gift is from. Certain stores have certain lines. If you’re lucky and you get a gift receipt then you can get full value. Without a receipt, if you’re lucky, you can get store credit for the lowest price the item was priced at – still better than nothing.

Just Use it

I once got margarita rimmer for Christmas. My first thought was “hmm, am I giving off an I’m gay vibe?”. Then I thought, well, this could be fun for summer drinks in the pool. Sadly the very next Christmas I got the exact same gift from the exact same person. My first thought waas “are you a moron? You got me this last year”. Then I thought “Am I giving off some ultra-uber-gay vibe that someone would think I used an entire can of margarita rimmer over the course of a summer?” Then reality set in that I now had not one, but two Margarita rimmers. So I used one, and the next one I decided to…

Re-gift it

Ah the re-gift. We’ve all done it. And we’ve all been victims of the re-gift. The magnetic dartboard (again, for your desk and nowhere else), could be re-gifted I suppose. Although this article is a dead giveaway that it’s a re-gift. There’s not really an art to regifting. It’s really about timing. Sometimes you know certain people in your family give $hitty gifts, and other family members who will put anything you give them to good use. If you typically get crappy gifts from a specific someone, visit them early over the holiday season so you have time to think of who you can re-gift that sucker to. Points if you can hang on to it for a year and re-gift it back to the original gifter, using the classic line; “I liked the one you got me so much that I got you one too”.

Re-purpose it

If you’re creative you can probably do something with that useless gift and turn it in to a useful treasure. I honestly can’t speak from experience on this one — I tend to go with the options above. But let’s just say someone gave me a tin of margarita rimmer, and then someone else gave me a magnetic dartboard (for my desk). I’m pretty sure I’d come up with…The Magnetic Margarita Dartboard Drinking Game (for those days at your desk when you just want to party).

Now go sell all your stuff and order me a margartia…hold the rimmer, I have my own. 


2 thoughts on “What to do with Useless Christmas Gifts”

  1. I recently started using Mercari to sell items I had around the house/received for Christmas/had been sitting in a box in a closet for years. I have about 100 items currently listed and have sold about 12 for an average of $10 each. It’s not making me rich but it does feel great when the items go out and the money comes in- when I reached $100 I had my balance transferred to my savings and now I’m working on my second $100. Who knows-that magnetic dart board might be just what someone else was looking for! (By the way, I’m available for margaritas anytime).

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