How do you get rid of unwanted gifts?

STILL wondering what to do with that less-than-ideal Christmas present?

You can grin and bear it, sell it, donate it to a charity, or give it as a present to someone else.

The Salvation Army is leading the charity charge for unwanted Christmas gifts.

Charity shops have, in recent years, become much more discerning over what they will accept to sell on, but they do offer the chance to do some good with an unwanted gift.

Salvation Army shops in South Tyneside are even holding a "no questions-asked" Christmas gift amnesty.

The charity's shops in the Bede Precinct at the Viking Centre, Jarrow, and in Fowler Street, South Shields, are willing to take everything – absolutely everything – that you may wish to donate.

All donations will be either reused or recycled, with profits gift-aided to the Salvation Army, helping to fund its work throughout the UK.

This work includes helping the homeless, caring for the elderly, tracing missing people, and addictions services.

The scheme was launched on Monday and will run until the end of February.

North East area manager Wendy Glaister Smith said: " Last year a few of our shops decided to hold a gift amnesty, and it was such a success we're all doing it now.

"We're all bound to get a few gifts that, although sent with love, just aren't our cup of tea. They might be perfect for someone else, so why not donate them to us?

"We're accepting everything from clothing to toys, CDs, DVDs and bric-a-brac. Nothing will be turned away and everything gratefully received.

"Not only will you be helping raise money for charity, you'll be decluttering and spring cleaning at the same time."

Another charity shop which will make the most of just about any donation is Redesign 4 U, which is also based in Fowler Street.

The charity teaches people with special needs new skills which they can market.

It also recycles old materials and places great emphasis on the environment.

Alison Duffy, who runs the shop, said: "We'll try to do something with whatever we receive. We'll take something you might think is unsellable and try to make it into something else.

"For example, if someone has a toiletries set that has been opened, we will take the individual items, wrap and sell them separately. We are in the market for anything and everything."

If your unwanted gifts are electronic, such as mobile phones, i-Pods, consoles, games and DVDs, you may be able to cash in by visiting the CeX Entertainment Exchange in King Street, South Shields.

It re-sells and recycles such items. Trade at the shop for electronic presents has been brisk – and immediate.

The store's supervisor, Juliet Tang, said: "It's picking up. The first two days we were open after Christmas, people were coming in and selling games, consoles and phones. We had quite a lot on Boxing Day."

Getting rid of unwanted gifts online

MANY people log on to the internet to cash in on unwanted items.

According to a survey by the Co-operative Bank, 70 per cent of adults in the UK will sell on unwanted gifts on the net.

The reason for this may also be shown in the same survey, which says 40 per cent of people in this country are in debt after the Christmas spending spree.

The debt averages 262, although the North East average is 203. Northern Ireland has the highest debt with 394.

By far the most popular online auction site is eBay. Setting up an account on the site is simple, with just a couple of online forms to complete, which will include a credit check.

Sellers pay a maximum fee of 1.30 to sell an item, then 10 per cent of the sales price, up to a maximum of 40.

It is advisable to open a PayPal account, which will enable you to receive money without having to give your bank details to a complete stranger.

However, there are other sites which may offer a better deal, such as gumtree.co.uk, ebid.co.uk, cqout.com and priceminister.co.uk.

Amazon.co.uk and play.com also allow users to re-sell computer games, books, CDs and DVDs.

According to research by eBay and market researchers TNS, a whopping 652m was spent by British shoppers on unwanted Christmas gifts in 2009.

Other people use a less hi-tech method of passing on an unwanted present – by simply re-wrapping it and giving it to someone else.

An online survey by AnyJunk, an on-demand rubbish clearance company, says that 74 per cent of people re-used the presents they didn't want.

The penny pinching doesn't end there. Anyjunk also says that 52 per cent of Britons will re-use wrapping paper, while 24 per cent no longer send Christmas cards.

All of this may sound rather cynical, but in these harsh economic times, is it such a bad thing?

Probably not, unless the person who gave you the present finds out.