5 Ideas To Get Something Out Of Useless Christmas Gifts

5 Ideas To Get Something Out Of Useless Christmas Gifts

Every year at Christmas, it seems you get at least one gift that’s useless to you. It could be an appliance for which you have no need, a piece of jewelry identical to a piece you already own, or an article of clothing that just does not quite fit your style. Instead of letting them sit in a closet and gather dust or re-gifting them to clients, coworkers or friends, why not use one of these ideas to turn that useless gift into a holiday boon.

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First idea:

Donate those unwanted gifts to a charity such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army. There are even charities that cater to specific needs, such as Dress for Success and Career gear, which allow people to donate business attire. These items will then be used to help dress men and women, who could not otherwise afford it, for job interviews. It’s a great way to donate the myriad ties you received. As an added bonus, you get a nice tax deduction for donating to nonprofit charities.

Second idea:

Many recipients of gifts find it hard to ask for the receipt for an expensive item, afraid that it might hurt the giver’s feelings. For items such as gold jewelry or gold cuff links, instead of letting them sit in your jewelry box and gather dust, why not take that jewelry to your local pawn shop and sell it for cash? Not only will you be getting quite a bit of cash, but a future buyer will be getting a great deal on a new piece of jewelry.

Third idea:

Most of us can’t find a use for two toasters, crock pots or blenders. Websites such as Craigslist.com are great places to unload small or large appliances for a bit of extra pocket cash. Just remember to take safety precautions when allowing strangers into your home!

Fourth idea:

In today’s fast-paced world, many of us don’t have time to do a lot of shopping for anyone other than a few select friends and family members, so we give and receive gift cards for Christmas. Sometimes, though, those gift cards are not suited to our interests and we just won’t use them. Instead of letting them expire and allowing the company to keep all that profit, you could donate those gift cards to children’s hospitals, senior living facilities or even military organizations. Many of these people will be without their families or on a fixed income over the holidays and the kind gesture would be appreciated.

Fifth idea:

If you’re the outgoing type, start a yearly neighborhood gift exchange. After the holidays are over, each person brings one gift they received, which is useless to them, and exchanges with another person for something more useful. It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors and turn a gift that wasn’t quite right for you, into something you’ll be able to use. For more fun, have each person bring a snack or drinks and turn it into a party!

Whether it’s a little pocket change for yourself or making someone else’s day a bit brighter, just follow a few of these suggestions, and maybe come up with a few ideas of your own, and you can turn those useless gifts into something beneficial for everyone.

Tomas Lloyd has worked as a financial planner for over 15 years. He recommends visiting mint.com/blog which he regularly reads for financial tips & useful investing information.

Top Story: 8 Gift Ideas For Mom This Christmas

Top Story: 8 Gift Ideas For Mom This Christmas

It has been said that a mother’s love knows no bounds. Yet when it comes time to select a gift for the most special woman in your life, you might come up empty. This Christmas, show Mom your appreciation with one of these gift ideas.

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1. Her Signature Scent

Treat Mom to her favorite fragrance this year. She’ll think of you every time she puts it on. If Mom doesn’t wear fragrances regularly, consider assembling a basket of beauty supplies to help her pamper herself. Scented body washes and lotions will help her refresh whenever she needs recharging.

2. Designer Earrings

Exquisite jewelry can dress up even the simplest outfit. A pair of designer earrings in your mom’s personal style is sure to please. Designer studs add timeless elegance to any outfit. Playful dangles lend a touch of whimsy to the blandest clothing.

3. Updated Electronics

While electronics are touted as perfect gifts for dads, moms like their gadgets too. Smartphones, tablets, laptops, e-readers or even gaming consoles can bring a smile to Mom’s face on Christmas.

4. A Gift That Keeps On Giving

Subscriptions enable you to shower Mom with gifts all year long. Once relegated to magazines, it is now possible to send monthly deliveries of flower bouquets, beauty boxes brimming with hot new cosmetics, and wines or beer. For foodies, consider monthly food deliveries with gourmet treats or even a subscription to her local CSA for organic produce boxes.

5. Anything Cashmere

For many moms, nothing can compare to the feel of cashmere. The classic cashmere sweater adds luxury to Mom’s wardrobe. Now cashmere can be found in scarves and other items, for a truly special gift.

6. Spa Treatments

One thing most moms have in common is that they tend to put the needs of everyone else ahead of their own. A day at the spa can help your mom get the well-deserved relaxation and pampering she needs. Consider purchasing a massage package so she can receive several massages during the year. Gift certificates for manicures, facials or waxing are also gladly welcomed by many mothers.

7. Her Favorite Treats

Is Mom a chocoholic? A Starbucks junkie? You know Mom best. This gift can be as simple as a gift card to her favorite haunt or as elaborate as a beautiful basket stuffed to the brim with all of her favorite treats. She will be touched that you remembered all of her favorites and thrilled to be stocked up when her next craving hits.

8. The Gift of Time

Of all the things your mom loves, she loves you the most. Schedule some special uninterrupted time for the two of you to visit. A spa day together, a special meal or even a simple picnic is sure to bring a smile to her face. If your mom is getting on in years, perhaps she could use some help around the house. Maybe you could spend a day completing her tasks for her.

Let Mom know how much you love and appreciate her this Christmas by thinking of her favorite things when you hit the stores. A little forethought can help you make her holiday more special than ever this year.

Jill Sharp has worked in high-end retail stores for over 5 years and loves helping people chose gifts for their loved ones. For more great gift ideas, Jill recommends visiting thegiftinsider.com.

Top Story: 15 Worst Gifts To Give A Woman During The Holidays

Top Story: 15 Worst Gifts To Give A Woman During The Holidays

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Over the years men have been courting women, celebrating special occasions, and righting wrongs with gifts. With the holiday season coming up in the next few months, you may already be thinking about what to get that special lady. If you want to celebrate the special woman in your life, here is a list of fifteen gifts to never give her for the holidays.

  1. Candy is a great additional gift or a gift on Valentine’s Day. A major holiday or anniversary should be celebrating with something that shows how much you care, with maybe a side of chocolate.
  2. Perfume is only a good gift if she specifically asked for her favorite type. If you take it upon yourself to buy a scent at the fragrance aisle you are risking her hating the scent or being allergic to it.
  3. Cash is probably the most unthoughtful gift you can give. A gift card to her favorite store with the promise to go shopping with her to pick out something nice is going to go a lot further than just pulling money out of your wallet and saying you forgot that the day existed.
  4. A framed picture of yourself is self-absorbed and can easily be replaced with a picture of the two of you which will show her that you really care.
  5. Last year’s gift went over well, but if you give it to her two years in a row she may think that you are too lazy to think of a gift idea, or that she is unworthy of something new. If she liked the dinner at that Italian Restaurant last year try making one of her favorite Italian dishes and treating her to a massage this year.
  6. Flowers, like candy, are not long lasting or as thoughtful as a gift that you put thought into. Save that for date night or a day you want to cheer her up.
  7. Alcohol is another gift that doesn’t last. However, if you combine her favorite wine, flowers, a box of chocolates, and a home cooked meal you will definitely show how much you pay attention to what she likes. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy these things with her!
  8. Cosmetics are a gift like perfume that have too many variables. You may get a product she hates, is allergic to, or will cause offense. It is best to let her pick those items out herself.
  9. Novelty items without a significant meaning behind them are not a great gift idea. No one needs a hula dancer on their dash board. Unless you want the memories of this holiday to be bitter, stay away from anything that sings, shakes, wiggles, or has beady eyes.
  10. Tickets to a sporting event – unless this is something you two have talked about doing before and she loves the sport as much as you – is going to seem like a gift for yourself. Find out an event or concert that she would enjoy and go with her to that instead. Maybe she’s always wanted to go to the zoo and you love monkeys; now you have a picture you can put in that frame next year.
  11. A gift for yourself, like the newest gaming system that she may use once, is not a gift for her. She will resent you and this gift so just buy yourself the system next week and splurge on her today.
  12. A gym membership may be something that she talks about all of the time, but if you buy it for her she may think you are commenting on her weight. Don’t buy her anything that can send the message that you don’t like exactly who she is.
  13. Clothes are something that she has to buy herself. The issues of size, style, and cost are all easily misinterpreted and you are safer with that purse she has been talking about for months or jewelry.
  14. Any item that you cannot exchange can always be a bad idea. If she hates an item and is stuck with it you wasted time and money and she is upset. This is not what you intended, so play it safe and get that gift receipt.
  15. Appliances are one of the gifts heard as office jokes the most. Someone’s boss buys his wife a toaster for Christmas and next year he is sleeping on the couch. The implication being that a woman should be in the kitchen. Unless a woman asks for a specific appliance, it is best to just stay clear of this whole area.

These 15 gifts may be what the special woman in your life specifically asked for, but if not, please do not make the mistake of getting a gift that will end in tears. Put thought into a gift and purchase something that will last her as long as the memories that are made. You will be equally as happy in the long run.

Today, guest author Mark Reynolds is writing from first-hand experience! It seems he has committed every dating faux pas possible. As they say, those who can’t do – teach.  So, Mark now shares his advice online.  Usually, he is contributing to Do Girls Like Shy Guys?  He writes about everything from how to ask a girl out to meeting the parents.

4 Gifts That No One Actually Wants

4 Gifts That No One Actually Wants

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Everyone loves presents, and gift giving has become a very important part of our culture. Gifts make the receiver feel appreciated and can certainly rack up some good karma for the giver. But not all gifts are created equally. No matter how shiny the wrapping paper, how artistic the bow tying or how sweet the card is, there are just some gifts that nobody wants to get. Here are some gifts to stay away from along with some possible substitutions for them.

Ties, sweaters and the like

Ah, the Father’s Day special. Or Christmas. Or really any other occasion. Articles of clothing are generally considered the “easy way out” when it comes to gift giving. They don’t particularly require much thought. After all, everybody wears clothes (well, most everybody). No matter how well you think you might know what your friend, sibling or co-worker would just love to add to their wardrobe, invariably whatever you buy will be the wrong color, wrong pattern or wrong size and find its way to the back of the closet. If you still want to go the route of wearable gifts, try cufflinks for men and jewelry for women.

Fitness equipment

Of course, if your giftee is an athlete or a gym rat, this is a perfectly appropriate gift, but otherwise, gifting fitness equipment will likely prompt the question “So you’re saying I’m fat?” Chances are, that’s not what you’re implying, but seeing that the idea behind gift giving is to give the giftee a gift they’ll use (say that five times fast), your gesture could be taken as “Yeah, you should probably use this stuff to get in shape.” Instead, consider a particular hobby that the receiver might enjoy and purchase something that would be useful in that arena.

Fruit baskets

When did fruit become an acceptable gift anyway? You don’t see anybody giving presents of carrots, bottled water or tofu, do you? So why fruit? The general rule here is that if your mom and dad had to force feed it to you as a child, it probably wouldn’t make a good gift. Plus, fruit expires. Do you really think your buddy is going to eat those 15 guavas over the course of a week? Probably not. This doesn’t apply to all consumable gifts, though. Pastries or a nice bottle of wine or scotch can be real hits and are sure to be appreciated.

Magazine subscriptions

This goes on the list for two reasons. Reason #1: Nobody reads magazines anymore anyway. Anything that you’d find in a magazine, you can easily find online (or on an online magazine), and you don’t have to wait 30 days for it. Reason #2: Should your giftee want to cancel their subscription, no doubt they’ll be feeling somewhat guilty as they make the call to return your present, and shame isn’t an acceptable gift either. Books, however, are still in style. For the avid reader, just substitute a novel or informational book of the same or similar topic as that magazine they’re not going to read.

David Cormier is a blogger for EDCO, a leading provider of awards, trophies, and personalized gifts for all occasions.

How to Shop for the Holidays on a Budget

How to Shop for the Holidays on a Budget

The holidays are fast approaching and with each day, budgets and wallets begin their yearly shriek of dismay. Shopping for so many people can quickly add up and though it may seem easy to stick everything on “plastic,” the repercussions come January and February can be brutal. But fret not because there are some great tips for shopping throughout the holiday gift giving season while still remaining on a budget. If you think that the best laptops are out of range, think again because there are some incredible deals to be found. Here are some tips for shopping that will allow you to spend exactly what you have budgeted while still getting some of those big “wish list” items.

Gift Cards

Often people make the mistake thinking that gift cards are the easy option for gifts and so tend to avoid them. They want to give personalized items and do not want to come across as being unfriendly. But sometimes those “personalized” gifts end up being returned after the holidays. Gift cards are a fabulous way of giving someone the power to buy exactly what they want. That means it saves you time and them the hassle of returning clothing that does not fit, or jewelry that is not their style or redundant electronics. The bonus: there are some great gift card swaps that allow you to purchase gift cards for a fraction of their worth.

Household items

There are some great household items that make fabulous gifts and a great place to shop is local antique or thrift stores. You can pick up incredible decorative vases, plates, china, antique furniture and even handmade quilts for incredible bargains.

Toys

If you do not want to battle Black Friday shoppers the day after Thanksgiving to stock up on all those must have toys…be patient. You can get the same deals, if not cheaper, by shopping online. Most online retailers even offer free shipping. Retailers know that by offering deals throughout the holiday shopping season, they will attract more customers. If you are patient and scan the sales each week, you can find those expensive toys and not break your budget.

Big Ticket Items

As for the big ticket items such as Smart TV’s, the best laptops, printers and cameras, keep an eye out on “Bundles.” These bundles will often offer the higher end items combined with other useful electronics for far less than the cost of just one. If you take the time to scan the circulars, online ads and browse websites, you will save a lot of money.

Holiday shopping is not easy but it does not have to be expensive. Take your time and find the best deals that will not break your budget!

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Author Byline: Jillian Johnson is a professional marketing content writer who blogs on a variety of topics. Follow her @MissWritey.