The History of Unwanted Christmas Gifts

It’ll soon be that time of the year again. Christmas is just around the corner, and just like every year, thousands of Britons will end up with unwanted gifts. In fact, 2.6 billion pounds is spent on unwanted Christmas gifts every year in the UK, and a huge 32 percent of people — that’s nearly one in every three — receive presents that they just don’t want. Here’s a brief history of unwanted Christmas gifts and what you can do if you receive an undesired present.

The History of Unwanted Gifts

Unwanted Christmas gifts have always been an unusual social phenomenon. Many consumers realise they need to go Christmas shopping when it’s nearly the big day, usually sometime in mid-December, and often have to settle for products that haven’t already been sold. Others have no clue what to buy their loved ones so just end up purchasing the first thing they see. They think it’s the thought that counts and the recipient won’t mind. Many Britons are afraid to tell present senders that they don’t want their gifts and just make do. However, in recent years, some gift givers are asking their loved ones what they want for the festive season, just to make sure. Others send a gift card so the recipient can choose the products they want, and some even place a receipt with the gift so the recipient can return the item at a later stage.

How to Save Money This Christmas

What are the Most Unwanted Gifts?

Some of the most unwanted gifts might surprise you. According to a survey in the Kent region of the most donated items to charity shops after the festive season, selfie sticks were the most unpopular. Other unwanted items in the list include celebrity autobiographies, novelty socks, celebrity cookbooks, onesies and classic board games. Unwanted gifts might also include items that the recipient originally wanted. For example, someone might receive an item of clothing they like but in the wrong size or colour. Alternatively, they might be given a present that they have already received from someone else.

What to Do if You Receive an Unwanted Gift

If you received a gift that you just don’t want, try and be grateful. Even if it’s something that you hate, realise that the other person has spent money on the item. There are a number of ways you can get rid of unwanted gifts. Some retailers let you return the item even if you don’t have the receipt (for a limited time only). Alternatively, you can put your item on a second-hand auction website, give it to a charity shop or gift it to someone else.

How to Avoid Giving an Unwanted Gift

There are a number of ways you can avoid giving an unwanted Christmas gift. First, talk to the recipient’s friends and family and find out what they want. They might not be able to whittle it down completely but they could provide you with some suggestions. Secondly, plan ahead. You don’t want to be scouring the shops on Christmas Eve looking for something last-minute. Many retailers bump their prices during this time and you could end up buying something that your recipient really doesn’t want.

You can make your shopping hunt easier by using a comparison site, where you can shop for gift ideas in one place and find out which retailers sell these items for the cheapest price. Alternatively, check out Christmas gift guides on retailers’ websites.

How to Avoid Giving an Unwanted Gift
These will include the most sought-after items for Christmas time, so you’ll be able to find something that could suit the person you are buying for. If you have a rough idea what someone wants but aren’t sure about which brand or exact product to purchase, check out third-party review websites, where you can find reviews that have been left by previous customers who have purchased that item. This will give you a better idea of the type of gift your recipient wants.

Another area where gift givers go wrong is selecting clothing sizes. It can always be tricky to gauge what size clothes someone wears. To overcome this problem, many retailers have uploaded size guides to their websites, which will provide you with tips on which items to purchase and in what sizes. If the item is completely wrong and the person you give it to doesn’t like it, you can always return the item in the post if you’re buying online. Check the retailer’s return policy first, though, as some may require that you return the item within a particular time frame.

How to Save Money This Christmas

There are various ways you can save money this Christmas when buying online. Don’t forget to use a voucher code if you have one, as this could save you cash on any gifts you buy this year. Your discount code could give you money off your order or free delivery. You can find these codes if you sign up to a retailer’s mailing list or follow them on social media. You might also save money if you check the clearance sections and sales pages of your favourite websites. These items might include old stock that has been reduced to a cheaper price.

Other ways to save money online include checking for sales and discounts on the retailer’s main page or purchasing an item in the New Year sales if you are planning on seeing your recipient after Christmas has finished. Many retailers reduce items during this period, and you could make a considerable saving on your purchase.


It’s the season to be jolly so try and look happy if you receive a gift this year, even if it’s not what you were expecting! If you don’t want your gift, why not donate your present to your local charity shop or gift it to someone else you know? If you’re stuck for ideas for what to buy someone and don’t want them to receive something undesired, plan ahead and search the Internet for Christmas gift guides that will provide you with all the information you need. You can save money this year, too, but using a discount code, following your favourite retailers on social media and looking out for sales.

Not sure where to find these voucher codes? Not so long ago we wrote an article on the best voucher code websites.