We’ve all been there: sitting around the Christmas tree, opening presents only to be gifted the mother of all terrible jumpers/scarfs/socks. Most people have mastered the art of looking delighted in front of festive family spectators, all the while knowing that as soon as this charade is over that item will be going straight to the bottom of the wardrobe, never to see the light of day.
But rather than letting all those unloved presents gather dust, or chucking them in the bin to go to landfill, why not do something useful with them?
Here are four ways you could give those unloved items a new life:
Donate children’s toys to to a local toy bank and unloved hamper food to a food bank.
It’s a sad reality that while some children have more toys than they could possibly ever play with, there are many who won’t have any because their family simply can’t afford to buy presents. If your child has one too many toys or you’ve noticed a bunch of unloved ones languishing in the corner of the toy box you can donate them directly to a local toy bank. Look online to see what charities operate in your area, or get in touch with the Salvation Army, which runs many present appeals at churches and other centres this time of year.
The same goes for all that leftover, long-life food cluttering up the kitchen. If you’ve been gifted boxes of biscuits and luxury foods in a hamper, unwanted toiletries, or simply have got more than you need - why not donate to a food bank to help people in need.
We all buy too much, consume too much, and waste too much, especially at this time of year. So if you’ve been given quality gifts that aren’t to your taste but you know someone else will love them, why not consider regifting them throughout the year for birthdays and special occasions. It’s good for the environment, and for your conscience.
Caution: just make sure you don’t accidentally give it back to the original gifter.
Give your clothes to a clothing bank, or charity shop.
You can directly donate some clothes to charities that will then give them to people in need. The homeless charity Barnabus in Manchester, for example, does this and takes men and women’s clothing, food, and toiletries.
The same goes for Women’s Aid, which provides refuge to victims of domestic violence. Contact your local branch to find out what they need.
You can also look up what charities do similar in your local area, or donate clothes to a charity clothes bank or charity shop to be resold to raise money for charity.
If you really can’t find a new loving home for those unwanted gifts, then it’s worth finding out if you can recycle them. Unfortunately, most toys are not recyclable because they are made out of multiple materials.
But when it comes to clothes and other fabrics, many of these can be processed by charities which will then sell on materials for money.
Oxfam, Salvation Army and Islamic Relief are among a number of charities that will take items to be recycled.