By Elisabeth Monaghan
Christmas morning has arrived. Those stockings that were hung by the chimney with care are now overflowing with happy surprises. Underneath the tree is an array of colorful gift bags and pretty packages with tidy bows – a veritable bounty of presents just waiting for you to open.
The stack of gifts look so perfectly festive, but what do you do when you discover that inside is something you know instantly you would never use and is most definitely not something you requested?
With that sense of disappointment, you have just entered the Land of Holiday Gift Fails, or “Dud Gifts.” For some of us, hiding that disappointment can be tricky, but once you’ve opened the gift, it is yours to do with as you choose. In case you are not sure what to do with the gift, here are some suggestions for how you might “repurpose” it.
If there’s a gift receipt with the dud gift, the person who gave it to you recognized the gift might not have been “just what you’ve always wanted,” which means that receipt supports your decision to exchange the unwanted gift.
For those who participate in white elephant exchanges, you now have an instant present ready for the next one. If the giver of the undesirable present is a participant in your white elephant exchange, do not despair. There are other options to pass it on.
If the gift is one of value, a pawn shop may be a place to offload it. If you’re not a frequenter of pawn shops, you may want to research the process so you have realistic expectations about how the transaction works.
If your dud gift is something wearable, you could take it to a consignment shop. That way, not only will the person who ends up purchasing the clothing be someone who actually likes it, but you also will make a little money off of the sale of your items.
Wheat Ridge has a couple of charming consignment shops to consider, the Avenue Consignment Boutique at 7777 W. 38th Ave., and Suziebelles Near New Shop, 4165 Wadsworth Blvd. If your consigned clothes do sell, be patient, as it may take the consignment shop a few months to pay you.
If they do not sell, you can take them to a local thrift store, which is a terrific option for getting rid of dud gifts and possibly making a difference in someone’s life.
Proceeds from sales at the Treasure Trunk Thrift Store, at 5892 W. 44th Ave., support Family Tree, a charitable organization that provides services designed to end child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, and homelessness. Additional Wheat Ridge-based or nearby thrift stores to which you might consider donating your unwanted items include the Goodwill, located at 5825 W. 44th Ave., and the Angels With Paws Thrift Store at 10041 W. 26th Ave., which supports the Angels with Paws pet adoption center.
Another way to offload dud gifts is to use sites like Facebook’s “Marketplace” and Craigslist’s “For Sell” section. Both sites allow you to list just about anything you’d like to get rid of. There are also websites like ThredUP and TrashNothing where you can sell your items.
While it is difficult to be on the receiving end of dud gifts, Neighborhood Gazette contributing writer Gwen Clayton has made an art of re-gifting unwanted presents.
“I never met a gift I didn't like,” she explains. “If I personally couldn't use it, I saved it for a friend or to put in a raffle drawing.”
When Clayton’s former mother-in-law consistently bought items that did not appeal to her tastes, Clayton was able to give them to a close friend whose tastes they did suit. While living in California, Clayton frequently attended her local chamber’s monthly mixers, where it was common for all attendees to leave with at least one raffle prize. Any of the prizes she didn’t want went into Clayton’s closet with the rest of her collection of gift and raffle prize duds. At one point, Clayton had amassed as many as 50 gift duds and unused raffle prizes, giving her an ample supply for white elephant exchanges.
With the belief that no one should go empty-handed to a party, meal or other social gatherings at someone’s home, Clayton also had an impressive selection of gifts to thank her hosts/hostesses.
One helpful tip Clayton shares is if you plan to re-gift any of presents or raffle prizes, first make notes about who gave them to you to avoid passing them along to the original giver.
No one likes receiving dud gifts, but chances are, the person who gave the gift has no idea it is a dud. With that in mind, try not to take it personally and realize you are not stuck with the gift. In some instances, you may have to hold onto it for a period of time, but when you are ready, you’ll discover that, with a number of methods to get rid of, or repurpose your gift, all is not lost. Even better, your efforts to repurpose the items might result in having fun, making a little money, or supporting a meaningful cause.