We've all been there. Christmas day is done and dusted and along with a pile of fabulous pressies and a turkey and Christmas pudding hangover, you've got a few gifts that are so terrible, you know you'll never use them. Whether it's a pair of novelty socks, a smoothie maker or a Mamma Mia DVD, you'd rather have the cash. It may sound rather Scrooge-like and far be it from us to put a dampener on the festive spirit but in these troubled times, we could all use a little extra wonga and it's far better that someone should get some use out of our presents rather than them sitting on a shelf gathering dust. We've put together a handy guide for converting your unwanted gifts into cash. Bah Humbug.
Ah, eBay. The handy online auction site that's absolutely perfect for getting rid of unwanted pressies. Somewhat depressingly, post-Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for the site, with misers the world over listing their unwanted gifts before the leftover turkey has even been scoffed. All you need to do is set up a listing along with a picture of the item (many pictures for DVDs and books etc are provided for you by eBay), then select a 'reserve' or minimum price that you want your item to sell for. You can wait to see how the auction pans out or offer a 'Buy it Now' option for impatient bargain hunters.
If you're a new user, then make sure you come up with a suitably covert user ID otherwise your money-making schemes could come crashing down around your ears if a loved one sees the carefully selected present that they bought for you turning up on eBay. You have been warned.
Remember that eBay isn't the only place to sell your stuff online. Many retail websites offer a sellers section, with the best example being Amazon Marketplace. This enables you to sell up to 35 items a month (if you want to sell more you need to sign up as a professional seller) although you'll only be able to sell items that are already in the Amazon catalogue. Listing items is straightforward and Amazon takes care of a lot of the admin for you so all you have to do is make sure that you send the item out once someone has bought it. Again, be careful what you choose as your public ID as you don't want any eagle-eyed relatives spotting your poor unwanted pressies on there.
Recycle a Gift.com
If you don't want to sign up as a seller on eBay or Amazon then why not check out dedicated pressie-offloading site Recycleagift.com? Part of retailer Play.com, this simple site lets you change your presents into cash by following a few simple steps. All you need to do is state whether the items is a book, DVD, game, audiobook, ticket or music, then enter the title, artist or author. Alternatively you can enter the number on the item's barcode. You can then select the item and list it for sale within a few short steps.
Established ten years ago, Gumtree was previously a London-based site for people that had just moved to the city. It's now one of the UK's biggest local classified ad sites and also operate across several other countries. Not only is this a great place for looking for homes to rent and buy, jobs and services, it's also a good place to sell unwanted goods (for free) and maybe even pick up a bargain yourself.
As the idea is meet local buyers face to face to but out postage cost, this site is well suited to bigger items such as furniture. If you're going to sell on Gumtree then make sure that you stick to the site's safety tips such as exchanging the money and goods at the same time and taking a friend with you to meet up with the buyer.
Craigslist is another great place for listing items for sale for free. You can list almost anything (within reason) and the site generates an email address for each user which, while not revealing your real name, means that you can be contacted by any interested buyers. There are regional sites for cities all over the world and the site also includes personal ads, community notices and job and housing adverts alongside the listings for items for sale.
You won't make any money from this one, but Freecycle might give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside from preventing the build-up of rubbish. Supposedly the primary idea behind the site is to keep usable items out of landfills. And there was you thinking it was just a way of getting something for nothing.
You simply post the item by sending an email to your local group stating what the items is and wait for other freecyclers to respond. All items must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages, so no posting an ad asking for £50 in return for a bumper colleciton of pirate porno DVDs.
The big boys of social networking - Facebook and Twitter - have fast become the first port of call for gathering information. Need to know the footie score? Tweet it. Want to know who's going to the party tonight? Update your status.
This is also a great way to let your friends and followers know that you've got goods for sale or maybe even some stuff to swap or give away for free. Just be careful that the person that gave you the unwanted present in the first place isn't on there or you could land yourself in hot water.
If you're feeling bad about getting rid of your unwanted pressies but you want to retain a little self-respect, then why not donate your gifts to a charity? Your local charity shop will be more than happy to accept anything that you don't want, as long as it's in good condition (and it's nothing dodgy or illegal, of course). By giving your goods to a charity shop, you may not benefit financially but at least you know that someone who's less well off than yourself will get themselves a bargain and a charity will get the profits. You can look up your local charity shops here.
Regifting may be a ghastly word, both in the sense of heartlessly giving away presents and in the sense of using the word 'gift' as a verb, but it can be a handy way of clearing out those unwanted pressies. Not only does this free your home from stuff that you don't want, but you'll also save money on buying new presents for people. It goes without saying you should make sure that you don't 'regift' your item to the person that gave it to you, or anyone that they live with or see on a regular basis. Also, make sure that the gift is still in pristine condition and that you re-wrap it and use a new label.
A word of warning...
We're not suggesting that you immediately offload all of your presents the second you've finished your Christmas pud. Hopefully most of your presents will be accepted with good grace and a smile on your face, even if they weren't exactly the 60in 3D plasma TV that you were after. Make sure you think carefully before ditching any of your pressies, and if you are going to sell or swap them, be discrete and considerate of your nearest and dearest's feelings. You don't want your Great Aunt Mabel spotting the Rudolph socks that she spent half her pension on through the local charity shop window now, do you?