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Christmas has come and gone, and you are now stuck with a bunch of stuff you didn’t ask for and you definitely don’t want.

Whether your grandmother got you a bag of ugly clothes or you figured out that your boy/girlfriend doesn’t know you at all, your Christmas sucked and you’re not so happy about it.

If you can’t find the words to ‘fess up and tell them how you really feel about the gifts you received, then follow my tips on how to get what you want without hurting your gifters’ feelings and how to avoid the whole mess next year!

What to do with the stuff

While there are times when you can get away with junking something without anyone finding out, there are certain times you cannot do this; enter: the gift you received from your parents, siblings or significant other.

What you want to avoid here is anyone finding out how you truly feel about the gifts, so throwing them in the garbage and pretending like you lost them just ain’t gunna cut it.

1. Clothes

If you got them from your grandmother or from someone who never sees you, the best option here would be to search for a gift receipt or church donation box. Throwing away clothes is not cool, especially if the only reason is a style discrepancy. Make sure to give them to the Salvation Army, church donation box, or someone less fortunate.

If the items came from your parents or siblings, you may be able to get away with asking for a gift receipt so you can “get a bigger/smaller size” in which case, you would return the items without them knowing, get something that you do like, and then pretend like it got lost in the laundry at school.

If the clothes were given to you by a significant other, you need to be very careful so you don’t hurt his/her feelings. Put yourself in their shoes; they probably spent a lot of time picking out the items, thinking they were the perfect gifts, etc. You may have to suck it up and deal with the gifts, but you may be able to get away with getting something else if you are very careful about it.

Suggestion: tell your guy/girl that the size or color is wrong, and ask if they will accompany you to the store to find the “right” size/color/etc. Many times, the original items will no longer be there (Christmas sales, etc), so that could be your way out right there.

However, if the items are still available, point out something else that you really love before he/she can see that the original items are still available. Your significant other may pick up on the cues and suggest trading the original gift for the item that you REALLY love. This is not a guarantee, but it is worth a shot if you really dislike the gift(s).

2. Random Items

So you got some weird DVD’s, books, video games, lotions, or bunny slippers and you just aren’t feelin’ any of them.

If the items were given to you by friends, you can usually try to exchange the items without him/her knowing. Even if you don’t have the receipt, stores are usually understanding when it comes to people exchanging things they don’t want after the holidays.

As long as you bring back the items in their original box or bag unused, you should be able to exchange them for something you like better at the same price.

This principle may be able to be used with parents/siblings as well, but make sure the items are not things they would expect to see in your room, car, or on you. If worst comes to worst, tell them the item is defective or broken and when you went to exchange it for a “good” one, the store was all out!

If you were given something random or weird by your significant other, you may not be able to get out of this one. The only thing I can suggest would be leave to whatever it is at home and not bring it to school with you. Chalk it up to it being your first Christmas together and hope for something better next year (unless the gift was so bad it ruined your relationship, in which case, return it and get something else).

How to Avoid it Next Year

1. Make a list

There is nothing wrong with suggesting gift lists as a way to avoid wasting money and time.

Tell your parents or significant other that there are very specific things you want or need this year and you don’t want them to waste their money buying you things you can’t use. Obviously, do not put things on the list that are extremely extravagant so your gifters have no choice, but to drop a ton of money on you.

Include items that are varying in price so the person buying has many options; maybe they will buy you a few small items or one expensive item.

2. Use your friends/siblings

You may not get along perfectly with your siblings, but they know you better than anyone so why not clue them in on what you want so they can reach out to your parents or significant other?

Let them in on what happened this year and explain that the best way to avoid another year of bad gifts would be for you to help EACH OTHER out. Suggest doing the same for him/her and the two of you can reach an agreement on how to make the next Christmas (or birthday) better.

3. Ask for gift cards/$

While some view these gifts as impersonal, I would have to disagree.

If you know the persons’ favorite store, why not get him/her a gift card to shop wherever they please? I wouldn’t suggest giving your girl/boyfriend cash, but a gift card to a favorite store is a great route if you really don’t know what to get them.

If you make it clear to whoever is buying you gifts that you do not know what you want this year, but know where you want to go shopping AFTER Christmas, this may clue him/her into the idea of getting you a gift card.

Despite whatever you received this year, always remember that Christmas is a time for giving and that it doesn’t always matter what you get, but who gave it to you, that is important.

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