Christmas is over but it’s time to unwrap it gifts have just begun.
While everyone will certainly appreciate the effort and be thankful, many Canadians will, from time to time, receive gifts that they don’t like. To make matters worse, receipts may not be attached to gifts, so returning them or exchanging them for something else could be upside—but there are options, says one expert.
According to etiquette consultant Susie Fossati, re-gifting what you don’t want to keep is an option, although a somewhat difficult one.
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“There’s a lot to be said about re-gifting,” Fossati said. “And while a lot of people think it’s a faux pas, if it’s done right — there are many, many things to keep in mind when I say it’s done right — re-gifting is a good thing.”
Re-gifting, according to Fossati, is acceptable as long as the packaging hasn’t been opened, and the item is in perfect, brand new condition.
It’s also important to make sure it’s given to someone outside the circle of who gave the gift, she says.
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“So, if I had a friend who gave me a gift, I wouldn’t go and give it to someone else in our same circle of friends. Or if a cousin gave me a gift, I wouldn’t (and) give it to another family member,” Fossati said.
“You never want a person to find out that (their gift) has been rejected.”
To avoid harassment, Fossati says people can use sticky notes to remind themselves who gave them the gift in the first place — so, when re-gifting, they’ll know which social circle to avoid.
She adds that it’s always a good idea to add a “personal touch” when giving away an item.
“Maybe when you gift someone a cheese board, be creative and include the person’s favorite cheese or a nice bottle of wine that[complements]the cheese,” Fossati said.
She added that re-wrapping or re-wrapping the gift with his or her own papers and embellishments, and putting that special touch on the gift “would go a long way.”
But one has to be kind, even if the gift doesn’t appeal to us, Fossati says.
She advised that the first rule is to be kind and considerate to the person giving us the gift – even if you don’t like the gift.
“Keep a very neutral face, because you always want to look super excited once you open the gift, whether you like it or not, just out of politeness,” Fossati said.
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“You’re always going (to want) to look very, very happy, because the most important thing we want to do is focus on the gesture and not the gift itself.”
Giving back to the community by donating unwanted gifts is also an option.
For books in good condition, some local libraries accept donations. The Toronto Public Library, for example, has two volunteer-run bookstores, both called BookEnds, that sell used books to raise money to support library programs and services.
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Hand out items at thrift stores like Value Village or Salvation Army is another viable option. This will allow stores to resell your items at an affordable price to those who need them.
Most thrift stores will gently accept used or new clothing, and some will take toys, furniture, home décor, and books.
New and unwrapped toys, games, and crafts can also be donated to Children’s Hospitals.
Some shelters, like Kent House Toronto and Nyssa Homes, accept gift cards as donations, too. Cards from fast food restaurants, retailers and grocery stores allow those in need to have some choice in purchasing what they need.
Local Buy Nothing groups are also a great option for people to give away unwanted gifts.
Buy Nothing was founded in the US in 2013 by Rebecca Rockefeller and Liesl Clark, to encourage the gift economy where community members give away items for free so that anyone in their area can take advantage of them.
There is usually no buying, selling, trading, bartering or exchanging of money, as the founders believe that “the true wealth of the gift economy is the people involved and the network of connections that are formed to support them”.
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How do most returns and exchanges work?
For most big box retailers, returns and exchanges are straightforward, if you know the rules.
Indigo, one of Canada’s largest bookstore and lifestyle retailers, accepts items with gift receipts returned anywhere within 30 days of purchase. It can also be exchanged for goods, or the amount can be credited to a gift card.
For in-store purchases without a receipt, the store can immediately look up the customer’s transaction details and provide solutions, provided they can provide sufficient information about the purchase, according to Indigo Customer Service.
As for Costco, the company states: website that customers may return merchandise for a full refund as long as it is in the original packaging, within 30 days of purchase and is accompanied by a Costco receipt.
In general, Costco says, a receipt is not required because they only need the customer’s membership card and the item purchased to receive a refund or exchange.
If you received a gift through AmazonThe online retailer will usually offer returns for items within 30 days of receiving a shipment. However, the return timeframe has been extended for the 2022 holiday season – most items purchased between October 11th and December 25th can be returned through January 31st, 2023.
The order number, which can be found on the packing slip, is required to process the return. Customers may be asked to contact Amazon if they do not have the order number.
Return shipping cost will be refunded if items qualify for free return or if the return is a result of an Amazon error.
Most fashion sellers, such as Zara And the H&M, only allow returns when there are receipts or their online equivalent. However, some cosmetics retailers, such as Sephoraallowing customers to return or exchange new or gently used items without a receipt, but only if they can find a transaction history for the product within their system.