Discover 9 ways to gracefully avoid unwanted gifts this Christmas. Embrace mindful giving and skip the unwanted hassle!

A Jolly Festive Exclusive
Man Looking at Unwanted Gift of Slippers With Christmas Tree & More Presents Behind Him.

Gift-giving is one of the great joys of the festive season, offering a chance to express love and appreciation. However, sometimes these well-meaning gestures can turn into a source of awkwardness, wastefulness, or unnecessary pressure, financial or otherwise.

If you’re seeking ways to steer clear of unwanted or unnecessary gifts this Christmas, consider these nine suggestions:

If you’d rather not receive gifts at all, it’s okay to be honest and communicate your preference. Here are some ways to do so:

  • Suggest a donation to a chosen charity instead.
  • Propose a get-together over Christmas or in the New Year.
  • Opt for a joint activity rather than physical gifts.
  • Consider doing birthday gifts only rather than Christmas presents, thus halving the number of gifts without eliminating them completely.
  • Share that you’re making conscious choices in consumption or decluttering the house and would be grateful if they could support your decision.
  • Share that finances are tight and you’d prefer to focus on time spent together until things ease.

2.  Stop Giving Gifts

If your request for no gifts doesn’t result in any change, consider refraining from giving gifts. Over time, you may find that they start to reciprocate. Reiterate your reasons to minimise any upset.

3. Arrange A Secret Santa

Set up a Secret Santa among friends, colleagues, or between the adult members of your family. This reduces the overall number of gifts received and, hopefully, reduces the likelihood of receiving unwanted ones.  Jo has used a Secret Santa with her hubby’s family for a few years now and find it works really well.

By putting in place limits on spend or suggestions of homemade gifts only, it can also be easier to steer the gift giving to align with your preferences and requirements.

4. Share A Wishlist

Share a Wishlist of items you’d love to receive. Many companies now offer the option to share Wishlists. For Secret Santa, consider using an app with the facility to share a Wishlist with links. We use Elfster for a Secret Santa with some fellow bloggers and it works a treat.

5. Seek Suggestions

If sharing your own Wishlist feels awkward, ask others for theirs in the hope that they will reciprocate the request. When they share their ideas, gently steer the conversation towards your preferences too.

6. Drop Hints

While out with friends and family before Christmas, casually drop hints about things you like. Don’t feel embarrassed; your guidance will be appreciated, whether they say it explicitly or not!

In fact, Jo and I will often go browsing the shops together and make less-than-subtle hints about things we like as we go along.  We’ll then break for a period of time to shop separately before regrouping for a cup of tea.  The perfect way to know that anything purchased will be spot on, enjoy a festive day together, and still leave a little intrigue and anticipation in the air. wink

7. Encourage Gift Receipts

Include gift receipts with your gifts and communicate that you’re fine with them being used. By demonstrating this, you encourage others to do the same. 

Gift receipts enable your recipient to return or exchange the item and benefit from the full amount spent rather than only receiving a portion of your generosity if they need to use other ways to pass on unwanted items.  Even with Amazon, you can send a gift receipt email if you check the box at the checkout.

8. Consider Cash Gifts

Money might seem less personal, but often, it’s what’s appreciated most. Present it creatively, and it can be a thoughtful and versatile gift. Be cautious when purchasing gift cards – be sure that the the expiry date won’t be restrictive and it’s definitely a brand that will be appreciated.

9. Reassess Regular Gifts

If you tend to give the same gifts based on past feedback, take the time to check in and ensure they’re still appreciated. People’s needs change, and it’s essential to keep up with their preferences. 

Common examples include Kindles eliminating the need for physical books, or people using their diary app and so no longer needing a wall calendar. 

Hopefully the above ideas will help you navigate discussions and gift plans with your family and friends and avoid unwanted gifts this Christmas. 

Of course giving is a great part of the pleasure of the season for many people  It’s important to find the right balance to ensure everyone feels comfortable with how this festive tradition is embraced.

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And be sure to tag #jollyfestive in your photos.  We love to see which Christmas activities you’ve been enjoying!