When is it Alright to Return Gifts?

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So, someone in your life just got you this great gift for some big occasion and there is just one problem…  you want to return it.  The unfortunate reality is that not every gift hits the mark.  Gift recipients often wonder what to do with such stray gifts.  Should they try and use the gift anyway?  Find a nice home for the gift in the back of the closet?  Or, does it make sense to return gifts that they don’t want to get something that they like more?  The answer of course is that it depends on the exact circumstances.

Why return gifts in the first place?

There are a lot of reasons that you might want to return gifts that you received.  Is it clothing that just isn’t your style?  A new grilling set that you just don’t need since you already have one?  Or, is it something really expensive that you absolutely love but feel that it would be too indulgent if you keep it?  Depending on the situation a return may or may not be the way to go.

If the gift is clothing or anything else that just isn’t your style, take a careful look.  Is this a chance to broaden your horizons and try something a bit different?  If so, seize the opportunity to try something new and keep the gift.  On the other hand, if this gift is an electronic tie rack and you never where neckties, then there is no reason to keep it just to have it collect dust in your closet.

return gifts: tie rack

If someone gets you something that you already have, this is probably the easiest decision of all.  Return it!  The person that got you the gift took the time to think pick out something good for you.  So good in fact that you already own it.  No reason to keep another one.

So what if someone gets you a really incredible – a shirt, wine set, wallet, watch, or anything else?  You might not be the kind of person to splurge for a new $500 wallet when you can find one that will do for $50.  Maybe you would rather return the gift, get a less expensive version and pocket the difference in price.  So, should you do it?  GiftGlide would advise against returning in this case.  Part of the reason that receiving gifts is so much fun is that you often receive things that you wouldn’t normally purchase for yourself.  It’s a chance to be indulgent without actually parting with your own cash and feeling irresponsible.  And don’t forget, someone went out of their way to think about what to get for you, and they got something that you love.  So, enjoy it and everyone will be happy.

return gifts: wine set

Should I let the gift giver know that I am making a return?

This is a thorny question.  The answer depends in part on who the gift giver is and how they will react.  If it’s someone that you see regularly, they will probably notice the absence of the present that they gave you.  In this case, you are better off letting them know.  On the other hand, if the gift giver is your melodramatic sibling that lives half a continent away, there is probably no reason to break the news.

If you are letting someone know that you are making the return, there are a few tactful tips that may help depending on the exact circumstances.  For example, let’s say you are returning a grilling set because your already own one. But you are exchanging it for a grilling basket and BBQ skewers which you desperately need.  Let the gift giver know!  That way, they will realize that they generally hit the mark and that you made an exchange for a closely related product.  This type of explanation can also work well with clothing or accessories.  Maybe that new shirt didn’t quite fit right so you exchanged it for another shirt from the same store – that is a pretty soft blow.

return gifts: grilling basket

Just like in life, the world of gift giving is full of ups and downs.  Finding the perfect gift is never easy.  Sometimes, things work out better than expected and other times the gift recipient needs to gather all of their inner strength to feign a smile when unwrapping something that doesn’t suit them.  In the end though, the whole point is to enhance life’s moments with a small dose of fun.  So enjoy the experience and don’t fret when things go a little off plan and you have to return gifts.