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I realize that this is going to be a contentious post. If you don’t believe in ever getting rid of gifts, please don’t distress yourself by reading my suggestions of what to do with unwanted baby gifts. If you find yourself in the position of guiltily debating what to do with unwanted shower presents, birthday presents, or other gifts that have arrived for your child, I hope that these suggestions help you!
Whatever you decide to do with any unwanted presents, I firmly believe that taking action with gratitude is incredibly important. Always be thankful that someone thought of you and went out of their way to get you and your baby a gift. Be thankful that your life is so abundant that you have unwanted/unneeded presents. I’m not going to get into any specifics, but we recently received a present that was basically everything we don’t want for our girl. I know the gift giver liked it and thought it was adorable, but my husband and I agreed that there was no way we’d be keeping it. We were able to make a return and are very thankful for the store credit because we were able to purchase a few needed items. Likewise, we’ve brought a few outfits that just didn’t work for us (some were because of style, others because of size) to our local Kid to Kid shop and used the resulting store credit to purchase seasonally-appropriate items in the correct size. Again, we are thankful that we ultimately got items that were exactly what we wanted, even if the original gifts weren’t quite right for us.
Although I’m a huge fan of gratitude, don’t feel guilty if you find yourself frustrated or even mad about unwanted baby gifts. It can be upsetting if you’ve put together a baby registry with products you need and received a bunch of duplicate items, things you don’t particularly need, or even things you specifically don’t want. It’s particularly frustrating if you then have to add running around town (while pregnant or with a baby in tow) to make returns at various stores. It’s perfectly normal to be annoyed with the situation and being upset does not make you a bad person! Give yourself permission to feel your feelings, then move on with the process of figuring out what to do with your unwanted gifts. If you’re having trouble with this, you may want to check out this post on how to stop judging people. The section at the bottom talks about how to avoid judging yourself so harshly, too.
In summary – what to do when you receive unwanted baby gifts:
- Be thankful. Someone cared enough about you and your baby to give you a gift, even if it’s not something you would have picked out for yourself. Thank the giver for the present and the Universe for the abundance sent your way.
- Gratitude tip: Find something you can comment on positively/thank the giver for sincerely. For example, you might be able to honestly say “I like the colors” or “I can tell you enjoyed picking out this gift,” even if you don’t like something overall.
- Let go of guilt. I know this is a difficult one, but you have to at least try to let go of any guilt about not wanting the gift. It can really help if you recognize that gifts are sometimes more about the giver than the receiver. The giver most likely picked out something s/he liked and had the pleasure of giving it to you.
- Process any anger you may feel. You may be frustrated that you received things you specifically asked not to get, upset that you didn’t get items you truly need from a registry, or just generally annoyed because you’re still working on letting go of guilt about not wanting the item in question. It’s okay to feel upset – give yourself time to process these feelings.
Now that you’ve (hopefully) worked through any guilt/anger and been able to approach the situation with gratitude, here are some ideas of what to do with unwanted baby gifts:
- If it’s going to be a bone of contention in the future, consider simply keeping the item (or at least keep it long enough to snap a couple of photos before moving it out of your life).
- Regift it. Just because you don’t want/need something doesn’t mean someone else won’t want it! Maybe you know someone else who’s expecting or has a baby who could really use the items you don’t want.
- Return it. If the giver included a gift receipt, that’s a pretty clear indication that they’re okay with you returning the item! Many stores will accept returns without a receipt for store credit as long as the item truly is from their store. (Some, like Bed Bath and Beyond, will less you a percentage to account for possible coupon use.)
- Consign or resell it. Check for resell stores in your area, like the chain Kid to Kid, or online swap groups, and use the opportunity to trade in for things you still need.
- Donate it. Someone will doubtlessly be thrilled to find your unwanted baby items for sale at a local thrift shop. As you make your donation, be thankful that your life is so abundant that you can give useful items to others.
- Do not lie! Seriously, just don’t do it. Saying “Oh, yes, we love it and she uses it all the time!” may create more problems in the future when they notice it isn’t at your home or continue to give you similar items, believing that they’re wanted. If anyone does ask “So, how about that tutu onesie dress with the sunglasses wearing chihuahua I gave you last year?” just keep your reply simple. Something like “Thank you for giving that to us. It doesn’t fit anymore, so we’ve donated so another little girl can have the pleasure of wearing it” is better than concocting tall tales.
- Try to prevent the same issue from arising in the future. If you’re feeling brave and the item came from someone who’s likely to give your child more presents in the future, you can try to have a conversation with them about your needs and values. “I know little girl dresses are really cute and hard to resist,” you might say “But she’s crawling right now and dresses get in her way. She gets frustrated and has slipped and face planted a few times while wearing a dress, so we’re not putting her in dresses for again until she’s a really solid walker.” Or “We’re trying as a family to use less plastic. Could you please help us help the environment by choosing toys made from natural materials?” Sometimes explaining the situation lovingly can really help! Putting together a registry or wish list on Amazon (if you haven’t already) can help, too. Sometimes people simply aren’t aware that you had a registry so that’s why they got something you didn’t really want.
I truly hope that these tips for what to do with unwanted baby gifts help you out!
What do you do with unwanted or unneeded gifts for your little ones?