In almost every wardrobe I have the pleasure of de-cluttering and restyling, I find them. Sometimes in a shoe box, sometimes in a carrier bag, sometimes in its original wrapping paper, but nonetheless there lies the hangover from the Christmas before the Christmas before: the unwanted gifts that never had stood a chance.

It’s always hard when Christmas rocks around and you have to perfect your “I love it” face when 69% of us will be the lucky recipients of gifts we don’t like. Even those who operate a strict Stick to The List policy get the occasional maverick relative who goes off-list gift when all you really wanted was Zara vouchers. In 2012 M&S discovered that during the festive period over one in four of us – a staggering 15 million – admits to putting unwanted gifts straight in to the bin. So what are your alternatives

Take it back – Most shops won’t take Christmas returns during the Christmas sale period so check the receipt before heading to the high street.

Sell it – eBay, Vestiaire, Buy My Wardrobe are good go-to sites for clothes, shoes and accessories.

Recycle it – Gumtree and Freecycle are two sites that will find a match for your unwanted gift. You can still specify a price on Gumtree but things tend to be free on Freecycle (funny that…)

Give it to charity – if you didn’t buy a poppy this year then think of your charitable donation as your slice of karma pie to take you in to 2014.

Re-gift it – you keep the gift and give it to someone else.

Re-gifting will save you money, save you time and keep things out of landfill. It really is as easy as 1, 2, 3 but you must follow these rules:

The gift has to be unsuitable for you but totally perfect for someone else in your life; another friend, relative, colleague (hereby known as the gift-receiver) and the gift MUST suit the gift-receivers taste and style as if you had gone to the shops and purchased it for them.

You should never tell the gift-giver what happened to their gift – this will make you appear ungrateful.

The gift-giver and gift-receiver MUST be in separate social circles preferably in another part of the country. This works great if you have friends and family in different cities.

The art of re-gifting is seeing all the possibilities in a gift and thinking beyond it as a gift that you don’t want- who would it bring joy to in your life? The beauty of re-gifting means that you are suitably prepared for the year ahead. All you need to do is wrap the gift and write the card. And you’ve done your bit by keeping something out of landfill. Now go and polish your halo.

By Stephanie Roper

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