You’ll wake up on Christmas Day to a pile of gifts under the tree. Perhaps, you’ll receive a few gifts from coworkers or neighbors as well. You’ll gratefully accept the gifts, but somewhere in your mind you think two or three are unnecessary. Better yet, you might not even “like” them per say.
People usually throw away gifts they don’t like. It creates waste and oftentimes leads to many perfectly functional items being tossed out. Throwing things away might be an old habit for some people, but there are other options that could help spread a positive impact.
Imagine the joy created by “paying it forward” instead of “throwing away.”
On top of that, forming this new habit doesn’t only apply to holidays. You can create this kind of social impact ripple during any special occasion where you receive unwanted gifts.
If you end up having a few unwanted gifts, here are a couple of ways for you to turn those almost-discarded gifts into social impact:
1. Find a New Use for the Gift
Tons of creative people in the world who use items for something they’re completely not “meant” to be used for. In reality, doing that is a huge plus for sustainability and zero waste lifestyles.
Gather your unwanted gifts and reimagine what they can be used for. For example, you may have an unwanted water jug that works perfectly as a plant jar or you may get a shirt that’s too large and decide to make the shirt into a bag sewing project.
2. Donate to a Thrift Store
Thrift Store donations are the multilateral default for everyone. For starters, it requires the least amount of effort from you. You can simply drop items off at a local thrift store. This creates a more positive ripple than if you trash the items.
Highlighting more positives, you’re creating a double impact. It’s tangible and intangible. You are providing a physical item to the thrift store, but it’s specifically a new item. Whoever buys your “unwanted” gift will be thrilled about finding a brand new item while thrifting. You’re basically making someone smile from ear to ear about how lucky they are that day.
3. Become a UGC Creator and donate your profits
A UGC Creator makes visual content like videos and photos that promote a brand or product. It’s a bit like Influencers, except a follower count is not important for UGC media. These creators are paid specifically for content, not access to an audience.
Funnily, many UGC Creators first build their portfolios by creating content for products already in their homes. You could use this method to land deals for your unwanted gifts and donate the profits. For example, maybe you received an unwanted blender that you can create UGC content for instead of throwing it away.
Afterwards, you can donate your profits and pay the unwanted gift forward using one of the other options (such as thrift store donation).
4. Offer Items to Families in Your Community
Your “unwanted” gifts may be just what your neighbor is looking for. They’d benefit from your gift in ways you may not fully understand.
Perhaps a family really needs that new dining set you got as a gift. You don’t want the set, so you give it to that family so they can bond over a nice meal. Think about an everyday item your family uses often that represents something more to you, such as your grandmother’s favorite oven mittens that she always uses when baking your favorite dessert.
Those kinds of memories and small gestures build such a lasting positive impact. It’s the kind of action that even the person receiving your gift may feel inspired to pay it forward in the future.
5. Host an Unwanted Gift Swap
The more the merrier! Something simply works better if there are more people involved. For example, if a group of people need to get rid of unwanted gifts, they can join together to host a gift swap.
Having a gift swap allows you to prevent waste and get the items to people who’ll actually use them. While everyone gathers, it could also be a chance to update each other on thoughts about recent events in the community. It doesn’t need to be very official or formal, but having a chance to engage the community can help build a stronger future.
Nervous about Giving Gifts Away?
It’s understandable that some people wonder how they can give a gift away that someone bought specifically for them. You may not have to overthink the situation at all.
First, being upfront about unwanted gifts helps people choose better gifts for you next time. Second, people often appreciate honesty. Third, you get to help the gift giver be part of the social impact.
Think about it, this is one of your best options. Sharing the ways you create a positive impact by paying unwanted gifts forward is also a reflection of the person who gave the gift in the first place. Without them, the chance to do such a thing wouldn’t exist.
The people giving and receiving the social impact all get to feel good.