Once all of the wrapping paper has settled and the huge Christmas dinner finally eaten, have you ever taken inventory of your gift pile and been, well, disappointed? You’re not alone.
Staples conducted a survey that found 56% of people polled receive at least one gift they don’t like every holiday season (and it’s no wonder with the large selection of awful gifts out there!). That adds up to a huge amount of wasted money, about $3.8 billion a year!
So what can you do about this waste as a giver and a receiver?
Ways to Cut down on Waste as a Giver
- Buy Gifts People Want
Yes, this is definitely easier said than done, but it’s not impossible. If you’re agonizing over what to get someone on your list, don’t throw your hands up in frustration and buy the first thing that comes to mind. There are a slew of specialized gift guides online that can give you inspiration and ideas. You can also use the interactive gift guide that Staples created in conjunction with it’s survey, which generates personalized ideas based on the information you provide about the person you’re buying for (and if you Tweet your results, you can win your entire gift list–double win!).
- Limit Your Budget and Consider DIY
Another way to reduce gift waste is to limit your budget or consider DIY or homemade gifts. Even if you aren’t a crafty person there are plenty of detailed DIY guides that can help you create budget friendly, and personalized gifts. If you’re seriously not feeling creative, try browsing a site like Etsy, which is full of eco-friendly, hand-crafted gifts. You can also give of your time or talent (think along the lines of babysitting or painting a room).
Ways to Cut Down on Waste as a Receiver
- Re-Gift or Recycle
Yes, re-gifting gets a bad rap, but, according to the Staples survey, 38% of people who received gifts they didn’t like ended up re-gifting them–and ultimately, re-gifting is just a form of festive recycling, right? You can also recycle a surprisingly large number of gifts, or you can re-purpose them in creative ways. Also, remember to recycle any wrapping paper you receive, and keep tags, bows, and ribbons that you can’t recycle for later use.
If you receive a gift you don’t like, be honest with yourself about whether or not you’re going to use it. If the answer is no, try exchanging the gift for another that you will use.
If you can’t re-gift, recycle, or return, then consider donating any unwanted gifts. You can drop gifts off at a nearby thrift store or a holiday charity.
Yes, the holidays are a time for giving, but don’t let giving turn into wasted money, instead get creative with how you give and receive gifts. According to the Staples survey, most shoppers feel more confident gift buying when they know what people on their list want, so you can always help out your loved ones by letting them know what you’re interested in (and don’t be afraid to ask what someone wants for the holidays!).
Author’s Note: As mentioned in the article, Staples is hosting a contest as part of its survey and interactive gift giving guide. Check it out here and enter before Sat. Dec. 22nd by 11:59 PM EST for a chance to win!