The unwanted gift is one of the least fun parts of the holiday season. We’ve all been there. You unwrap a present, fake a big smile, thank the giver as sincerely as possible, and then take the item home and wonder, “What were they thinking? And what am I going to do with this thing?”
If you’re faking happiness during your family’s annual gift exchange, you’re not alone. Nearly three-quarters of people Groupon surveyed this year confessed to less-than-honest reactions when receiving a present, and 80% of people will lie and say they love a gift when they really can’t stand it. In many cases, gift givers are in on your act. A recent study by researchers at the New York Institute of Technology found that many people intentionally give bad gifts. (In other words, your aunt who bought you that weight-loss book really is mean, not clueless.)
Aside from making you feel like you need to lie to your friends and family, unwanted gifts present another problem: They take up space. America’s basements and attics are cluttered with all those ill-thought-out gifts, which many people hang on to out of guilt or laziness. Among people who said they’d received a gift they didn’t want last year, 53% kept it, a 2016 ING survey of consumers around the world found, by far the most common response. Another 5% simply tossed the gift (Americans were more likely to throw unwanted gifts away than people in Europe or Australia.)
Rather than letting ugly sweaters, useless gadgets, and gifts cards to stores where you never shop languish in your closet or fill up a landfill, put them to good use. Here are five ways to get rid of your unwanted gifts and possibly save (or earn) some money in the process.