How To Regift (For Good) That Holiday Present You Don’t Want

Photo: (Getty)

My family doesn’t have many holiday traditions, but I’ll never forget the year we were each allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve. I chose a small, square one from my grandmother. I ripped off the wrapping paper, opened the box and found a paperweight…with a dead tarantula inside.

This was problematic for two reasons: I couldn’t have been older than 10 years old (and therefore really had no need for a paperweight), and I’m terrified of spiders.

We’ve all been there. All eyes are on you, you open a gift — and it’s terrible. Whatever the reason it doesn’t fit in your life right now (or, you know, LIKE EVER) and you know immediately you can’t keep it.

So how can you turn this year’s No, really, you shouldn’t have! into a Best. Christmas. Ever. kind of present? Below are just a few ways you can regift for good.


Problem: Sure, we all have our favorite books to read, but how many copies do you need? Maybe you already downloaded it to your Kindle or have a beloved, dog-eared copy on your bookshelf.

Solution: Check with your local library or (depending on grade level) local school. Books are expensive and hard to come by, especially since teachers usually have to buy them out of pocket. They’d be happy to take that extra copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone off your shelf. Another option: Check out the site, which is an online charity that makes it easy to help students in need. They are often looking for book donations too!


Problem: Did I say problem? I meant #firstworldproblem. You were extra-good this year and now have an old phone/e-reader/tablet to get off your hands. Now what?

Solution: Organizations like Cell Phones for Life and Cellphones for Soldiers would be happy to receive your used cellphone. Goods for Good and neighBORROW will send your computer to students in need in Malawi.


Problem: Sigh. Your mom/crazy aunt/other relative bought you something that is two sizes too big, way too small or in the one color you’d never rock again because it totally reminds you of your ex.

Solution: Head on over to your local Goodwill or women’s shelter. You can donate your unworn clothes (which, let’s face it, would look great on anyone else it’s just not your jam) and rack up the good karma points at the same time. If your clothes are office-appropriate considering donating them to Dress For Success, an org that helps disadvantaged women by providing professional attire and career services. There’s 120 locations throughout the US and all over the world so there’s gotta be one near you!


Problem: Surprise! You’ve been the recipient of an obvious regift because you have no idea why someone would think to pick you out that. Whatever that is (baking supplies even though you don’t cook, a bookbag when you’re no longer in school), you’re so confused you barely remember to say thanks.

Solution: After the holiday madness winds down, call your favorite local non-profit and see if they can benefit by taking this regift off your hands. You’d be surprised what items are in-demand, and you can rest easy knowing your gift is helping make your community a better place.

Sound off in the comments below or send us a tweet: If you think you have a present that beats my dead-spider-in-a-paperweight fiasco, I want to hear about it!

take action

Donate Your Cell

Donate Your Cell

Find out how you can donate your cellphone to a soldier

take action

Donate to Dress for Success!

Donate to Dress for Success!

Donate professional clothing to help disadvantaged women success in their careers!