For the fourth and final installment of Green Living’s “Sustainable Holiday” web series, we’re offering simple alternatives for how to limit gift waste and be intentional in repurposing the gifts you might not want.
The holiday season is finally here—time for Christmas cookies, hot cocoa, thoughtful gifts, and holiday tunes. Unfortunately, it can also be the season for unwanted holiday presents and gifts that we inevitably forget about—or at least, try to forget about.
It happens every year: you unwrap a gift and find something that you’re not sure what to do with. And sadly, a lot of those unwanted gifts end up in the trash before the year is over. Or maybe they end up in a shelf or in a closet first, and then in three years when you’re going through ‘old junk’ and you find them, they still end up in the trash.
According to a survey conducted by PureProfile, Americans throw away 16 billion dollars worth of gifts—that’s a lot of money. And it’s also a lot of trash that ends up in our landfills.
This year, we invite you to not throw away your unwanted Christmas gifts, but rather, to find ways to repurpose them—for both your own sake, and the environment’s.
In your bag
If you received a receipt with your unwanted gift then use it to return it or exchange it at the store. While this option may seem a little harsh, it certainly is a lot better than having that gift end up in the trash. And there’s a reason that receipt came with your gift—the person was giving you the option of exchanging it.
By doing this, you will still be keeping a gift from the same person, and you will also be protecting the planet from unnecessary junk. Maybe Rachel Green from Friends was simply trying to protect the planet every time she exchanged her gifts. Choose to “Go Green!”
Don’t chuck—make a buck
Another thing you could do to help avoid waste is selling the unwanted gift. Again, do not feel bad, this is a lot better than hurting our planet. And you could even use that money for good. There really might be someone out there who would really enjoy buying that gift.
Have some Goodwill
If you would like to do some good with the gift, a really nice option would be to donate it to a charity or donation center. Fortunately, there’s a lot of different options for that. And depending on what the gift is (book, toy, etc.), you could probably find the perfect place to donate it to.
It would be heartwarming to know that someone else is enjoying the gift this holiday season. And it’s also very likely that the person who gave you the gift would not mind this at all. So choose to do good, and give the gift away.
A new home
Find your unwanted gift a new home! Think through the list of people you know and consider regifting it to someone who you believe might enjoy the gift more.
Received a comic book collection? Well, maybe your sister’s son would like it. Did someone give you a toaster but you already have one? Well, maybe your friend’s daughter who is starting college next semester could need it. It’s all a matter of giving it some thought. Every unwanted gift could find its perfect home. Start brainstorming today! One’s trash can always be someone else’s treasure.
A fresh take on a classic
As mentioned before, receiving unwanted gifts is not uncommon. It is estimated that every person receives at least one every year. A fun idea to repurpose these gifts would be to host an unwanted gift “White Elephant” party after the holidays!
In this exchange, every attendee brings a gift, and then everyone takes turns choosing from the group of gifts available. This could prove to be a fun way to ensure that these unpopular gifts end up in a home rather than in the trash.
This year has been financially difficult for a lot of people, so offer up the gift to anyone who might need it for gifting purposes. You can do this through social media or even by asking around.
This holiday season, do not dispose of your unwanted gifts in the trash, and choose to give the gift of green. Using one of these creative alternatives will help to preserve your sanity and the greater environment, in the process.