How to Graciously Accept Unwanted Holiday Gifts

First of all, let’s start off by saying that the holiday season is about being with loved ones, giving thanks for all of the good in our lives, and the spirit of giving. But, we’ve all been in a situation where we have received gifts that we, in all honesty, just aren’t that excited about. If you’re at your family gathering this year and you receive a gift that you won’t use or just plain don’t like, don’t sweat it! Things don’t need to get awkward. We have some tips on how to keep the holiday spirit alive by graciously accepting unwanted holiday gifts, as well some suggestions for what to do with those unwanted gifts when the party is over.

It’s the thought that counts, right?

Regardless of the gift, be sure to thank the giver! Even if you’re not over the moon about the present you just opened, be sure to smile and thank the person who gave it to you. Remember that this person still thought of YOU when making their shopping list this year. Even if they missed the mark, the giver may have put a lot of thought into the gift, and they definitely took the time to buy it, wrap it and get it to you. Smiling and thanking them shows that you appreciate their efforts.
(Pro Tip: Whether you receive the gift in person or in the mail, we recommend always sending a hand-written thank you card. Your grandmother would be proud!)

If you don’t love a gift, don’t say that you do.

By immediately telling someone you love their gift, they will rightfully think they hit a home run, and they may try to get you something similar in the future because they are confident you will love it. If you don’t like a gift, stick to smiling and thanking the person who gave it to you. Let them know it was very thoughtful of them and that you appreciate the present, but avoid saying things like, “Thanks, I will use it all of the time” or “I needed this!”.

Drop hints next year.

If you receive a gift you don’t like from someone you talk to regularly, it might be a good idea next year to give them a heads up about things you may need or want for Christmas. You can also casually mention if there are items you do not want. If you don’t let them know what you’d like or wouldn’t like, you may end up with another gift you don’t care for in the future. Studies show that those who get gifts that they specifically asked for are significantly happier than those who receive a gift that someone put thought into to surprise them.

Think about how you would feel in their position.

Would you be upset if you gave a gift to someone and they didn’t show any appreciation whatsoever? Put yourself in the shoes of the gift giver. Just as you want friends and family to be happy when you give them gifts, the person who gave you that unwanted present this year will be hoping for and expecting some sort of positive reaction. Do your best to be gracious, grateful, and positive. Likewise, when you are planning your holiday gifts for the year, make a conscious effort to think about what your friends and family have mentioned wanting or not wanting.

Once a gift is received, it is the recipients.

After you receive the gift, it is yours to do with as you wish. If you decide not to keep it, that is your decision. Gift givers may give you a hard time if they don’t see their given item on display or being used somehow, however you cannot let that determine what you do with that gift.

It’s okay to let it go.

Regift the item, return it to the store if possible, or donate it. Regifting is very common. It is a great way to pass along something you may not want to someone who can better use the gift. Don’t regift just to get rid of it; make sure you think the person will actually use it, otherwise they will be in the exact position you were just in. If you can’t find anyone to regift an item to, then donate the item to a local shelter or charity.
(Pro Tips: If you are regifting, be sure to mark who the gift was from so you don’t accidentally regift to the person who gave it to you in the first place. Choose someone that doesn’t typically have any contact with the person you received the gift from to avoid any issues.)

We found this Pinterest link below for more information on how to return, exchange and regift your unwanted gifts. Avoid the stress, be gracious, and have a Happy Holiday!

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