Christmas is undeniably a time of immense joy and festivity, where presents are given and received across the globe. It is interesting to note, however, that approximately two out of every three citizens in the U.S. will receive at least one present that they either do not like or need, and therefore be faced with the unenviable task of disposing of it. However, an unwanted Christmas present need not be the burden that it seems, so long as you are creative and consider the following options to make them work for you. (For some information on great gifts, read 5 Holiday Gifts That Keep On Giving.)
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Become an Online Seller and Make Money
Thanks to the emergence of e-commerce at the turn of the 21st century, there is now a range of different websites through which you can register and sell your unwanted items. Online shopping is increasingly big business in the U.S., and by the end of this year a staggering 148 million U.S. consumers will have made at least one online purchase. It is estimated that more than 72% of all online users will shop online through the next 12 months, so there is no better way to market and sell your unwanted items.
Ebay and Amazon stand as the two shining beacons of e-commerce activity, and as a consumer allow you to both promote and sell your goods. Just as Ebay provides you with an opportunity to list your items and encourage a competitive auctions among potential buyers, Amazon delivers a platform from which goods can be sold as new or nearly new for a fixed cost. So, as long as you keep your unwanted gifts in their original packaging and immaculate condition, it is possible to make money and buy something that you really want this Christmas.
Swap Your Gift for Something You Want
In terms of internet resources, online swap shops have also emerged as common place in the last decade or so. These may be general market places or niche driven communities, but each allows you to market your unwanted items and exchange them for more desirable ones. Many of these, such as Swaptree, provide a market where individuals can swap books, CDs, DVDs and video games. Barter Place is an example of a site that offers a more open market place, and a platform from which you can exchange as well as sell those undesirable Christmas presents. (For more, read How To Look Good For Less.)
Swapping not only allows you to get the items that you really want this Christmas, but also ensures that the gifts you are given are utilized and not left hidden away in a dusty attic. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that $27.2 billion was spent in U.S. retail stores last Christmas (2010), it seems a shame to waste perfectly good gifts simply because they are not to your taste. Remember that one man's junk is another man's treasure, and you may just make somebody's Christmas by putting your unwanted gifts onto the market.
Recycle Your Present
If e-commerce and Internet swap sites are not within your comfort zone, then you may well prefer to store your unwanted gifts and repackage them to give out during the following year. This has the potential to save you money on birthday and Christmas presents, as well ensuring that well intended gifts are given a suitable home. This method is even considered as an environmentally friendly way of recycling unwanted goods, as it reduces household waste and the amount of packaging that is discarded during the year.
The are certain things to bear in mind before you recycle your unwanted presents. The first is that you must take great care to keep these items in perfect condition, so do not tamper with their original packaging or contents. When storing them, it is also important to keep them well-protected and safe from wear, especially if they are fragile or likely to deteriorate in a specific climate. Above all, take an organized approach to your re-gifting policy. Make a list of each gift you wish to recycle and who gave it you in the first place, and this will help to avoid any embarrassing scenarios in 2012.
The Bottom Line
We have all received unwanted presents at Christmas, and many of us have left them to gather dust in a dark corner of our attic. However, the combination of emerging online resources and your own initiative can work to find suitable homes for those unwanted gifts, while even making or saving you significant levels of money. (For some great holiday gift ideas, read 5 Digital Gift Ideas For The Holiday Season.)