As we are sat slumped on the sofa after a day or two of massive overindulgence, there are a lot of people contemplating what to do with their unwanted Christmas presents. In fact, it’s a pretty safe bet that, if you were to search eBay for the most recently listed items, the vast majority would be unwanted gifts. As sad as this sounds, a poll for the website Gumtree found that the average adult will receive two unwanted gifts with an estimated value of around £43, but only 2 percent of those would make it known that they weren’t happy with their gifts.
However, two-thirds of people would pretend to be pleased and thank the giver, which at least perhaps shows a little gratitude and appreciation. If you think about it, ending up on eBay is a better fate for those gifts than the bin, which is where 4 percent of unwanted items go.
According to the poll, the most common types of unwanted gifts include: toiletries, beauty products, trinkets, ornaments and clothing. Whilst in one of the big four supermarkets picking up some essentials on Boxing Day, I saw a bigger queue at the Customer Service Desk than any other till, with many people returning items on this list as well as electrical items and CDs, DVDs and games. People clearly don’t like to waste any time! There was even a trolley holding a vacuum cleaner – you have got to admit that a vacuum cleaner isn’t the best gifts.
In the grand scheme of things, two unwanted gifts per average person isn’t actually a lot, particularly considering some of the pictures of people’s piles of gifts before they’ve been opened that have been posted on the various social media platforms. Despite the recession, this year has been a year for gifts just as extravagant as any other. With top selling items including games consoles, tablet computers, HD and Smart televisions, laptops, smartphones and designer jewellery and clothing, none of which come particularly cheap. It seems that, although most people are tight on money, some people just can’t stop themselves spending lots of money in the hope that their gifts will be appreciated. Unfortunately, it is this desire to please that lands a lot of people in post-Christmas debt.
As nice as it is to receive lots of gifts or such expensive gifts, the monetary value is not really important. The most successful gifts are those with the greatest thought put into them; the vintage vinyl record player for the old school music lover, the fragrance your lover wore on your first date that you noticed had run out without being told, the coffee table Vivienne Westwood book that your sister who adores her work didn’t even realise existed. Gifts that are personal are more likely to remain timeless and even be handed down through the generations and perhaps become even more treasured than the day they were first received.
By Louise Hayward