What To Do With Unwanted Gifts: Sustainable Solutions

As we begin to return to normality after the festive period, many of us will be focusing on our resolutions and starting the new year by giving our homes a good cleanout. You may find that the clutter that has accumulated over Christmas, whether that be unwanted gifts, broken toys or the mountain of Christmas cards that you’ve yet to dispose of are filling your house. This is yet another reminder that as much as we all love the festive period, there’s no denying that Christmas is a time of massive overconsumption. I’m sure we’ve all collected one too many bath sets or more fluffy socks than we could use in one lifetime. So what will become of these superfluous gifts that are all but guaranteed to sit in our cupboards collecting dust? Well, unfortunately, it’s estimated that one in ten unwanted Christmas gifts will end up in the landfill.  At Wearth, we’re always trying to think of sustainable solutions for issues such as this, so read on to discover our suggestions on how you can save your unwanted gifts from this fate.

Credits - Tom Fisk via Pexels

Donate, Donate, Donate!

Donation seems fairly obvious, and your first thought may be to fill a bag and drop it off at your local charity shop. However, many other organisations are crying out for donations, especially after Christmas and could really benefit from taking those unwanted gift sets off your hands. For instance, if the new influx of gifts from your family has meant that your kids no longer pick up their old toys, consider donating them to a children’s hospital to help bring a smile to the face of a child who is struggling.

You can also donate hygiene based gift sets, socks and blankets to a homeless shelter, and schools and libraries will also appreciate the donation of any books you may have lying around (just check that they’re age-appropriate first). To find out more about how to donate click here to learn about the children’s book project. After the festive period, you may also have a surplus of food items in your cupboard, or have been gifted multiple tins of chocolate that you won’t get round to eating. These items will be welcomed by your local food bank, whose stocks are likely depleted after the holiday season. Find your nearest foodbank here.

Credits - Julia M Cameron via Pexels

Thoughtful Regifting:

Although regifting is a fantastic way of gifting sustainably, many of us live in fear of accidentally regifting the item directly back to the person who gave it to us in the first place. So how do we go about navigating this, without the risk of possibly offending a close friend or family member? Well, one way is to simply keep track of who you received each gift from. Just stick a note describing who gave it to you on each item before putting it into storage. Another great method to thoughtfully re-gift something is to open up any sets you’ve received, repackage the items and place them into individual hampers along with other products. This allows you to repurpose unwanted gifts whilst creating a really considerate, personalised present that is sure to be treasured by the recipient.

Credits - Freestocks via Unspash

Sell or Swap:

If you find yourself low on cash after Christmas, then selling your unwanted gifts is the perfect solution to your problem. Apps like depop, vinted and ebay make it a fairly stress-free process. It’s also a great way to come up with the funds to invest in your new year’s resolution. For instance, if you are committed to veganuary, consider spending your earnings on some fresh produce to create something tasty from our collection of vegan recipes found here.

However, if the thought of constantly running to the post office to ship packages leaves you feeling anxious, then swapping may be the way to go. Hosting a gift swapping party not only allows you to switch your unwanted gift with something you could really use, but it’s also a great excuse to spend time with your friends, helping you to banish the January blues. Of course it’s definitely worth checking that the items you intend to swap weren’t gifted to you by those in attendance!

Credits - Liza Summer via Pexels

Upcycle and Repurpose:

Figuring out how to upcycle or repurpose your unwanted gifts is a great opportunity to get creative. If you were lucky enough to receive clothing, but find it’s not quite your style, consider getting out your sewing machine to alter it. If you don’t trust your own sewing skills, enlist the help of your local dressmaker. Perhaps you were given the perfect t-shirt or jumper, but in a colour you’re not particularly fond of. Dye it! Don’t be afraid to experiment with methods of upcycling that you may be unfamiliar with, it’s a fun way to experiment on a dreary January afternoon and will give you a great sense of satisfaction once completed.

Credit - cottonbro via Pexels

Hopefully, these suggestions will inspire you to tackle the festive cleaning and decluttering you may have been putting off (no judgment, we’ve all been there) and help you to find a new home for those unwanted gifts. Also, consider this your gentle reminder for a more conscious approach to gifting in 2022. If you’re looking for gifts that have been created with the planet in mind then click here to discover our full range.