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Christmas gift exchange at home opening unwanted gifts

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Americans spent an estimated $942 to $960 billion over the holidays this year, says Investopedia. On average, shoppers spent a little over $800 on gifts. Many dollars certainly go out the door this time of year. We intend for them to go into gifts that go into the hands of loved ones who absolutely adore those presents. But do a lot of those dollars wind up in the trash? Figuratively or even literally?

Unfortunately, yes. A survey from shows that over half of Americans open at least one unwanted gift per year. Clothing and jewelry top the charts of items people like to receive the least, followed by household items, cosmetics and fragrances. So, what are you going to do with all of those fuzzy sweaters, bangle bracelets and placemats with funny sayings on them?

For now, they’re sitting piled up on that one chair in your room or they’re filling up the trunk of your car. It’s time to face the music and deal with those well-intended but poorly-executed presents. Here’s your ultimate guide to handling all of those unwanted gifts.


First, Take A Beat

Young beautiful smiling woman unwrapping Christmas gift at home

Source: Milko / Getty

Your first instinct might be to donate everything, toss out everything or stuff everything into a box that you shove under your bed and forget. There’s a lot to process in that pile of gifts, but there’s no rush to do so. Give yourself some time to assess your feelings about each individual gift. Even if you ultimately decide you don’t want any of them, the final destination for one unwanted gift isn’t always the right place for another. There can be intention and purpose behind getting rid of unwanted gifts (read on). And it requires a little time spent with the gifts.

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