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Christmas: eight solutions to impossible gifts


What to do with the unsightly mess? Giving back is one option, but there are far more ideas. Some of them will certainly also help to protect your relationship with the giver.

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Impossible Gifts: Totally hideous, but too good to throw away

Photo: Mike Kemp / Tetra images RF / Getty Images

Perhaps you had a nasty surprise on Christmas Eve and at least one gift was just wrong.

It won't be that unsuitable, I claim.

And if you find it utterly hideous, but also too good to throw it away, then my eight tips might help you to save it.

In my experience, there are five honest variants - and three somewhat cowardly ways of getting rid of your unloved gifts.

They are also more gentle on the relationship.

The honest variants:

  • One:

    Talk to the person giving the gift, thank you for the kind gesture and ask him or her if the gift may have been bought online. That would be the simplest option. You can cancel online transactions for at least 14 days without giving a reason. Amazon even offers 30 days of cancellation by default and for Christmas purchases currently until January 31, 2022. Just like Otto or Cyberport. Zalando offers a 100-day withdrawal period. And every fourth Christmas present was last ordered online. For more than 20 billion euros. The giver sends the gift back unused - and gets your money back. Usually, you don't even have to return the gift in the original packaging. Since the longer return is granted voluntarily,dealers are usually stricter than the legally guaranteed return within 14 days. The only disadvantage of this variant: over 300 million returns are sent through the republic every year, many of them after Christmas - that is not environmentally friendly.

  • Two:

    The gift was bought in the store - unfortunately you do not have a statutory right of withdrawal. But quite often the dealers assure as goodwill that if you don't like it, you can exchange it. Caution, that often does not mean "money back" as it does in online trading. Many dealers only exchange or, at best, issue a voucher. You are only entitled to a return if the gift has defects and the retailer does not want to remedy the defects.

  • Three:

    The purchase cannot be canceled - and the gift cannot be exchanged. Maybe because it was bought privately or on vacation. Then the following applies: "bought is bought". Then the gift can possibly be used. For example on Ebay classifieds or next After Christmas business is booming on the second sale portals and this is how the economic damage of the unsuccessful gift can be limited.

  • Four:

    Another way of recycling is giving it away. That may not be the option for the used Opel Astra. But you may know a neighbor or nephew who might like what you consider to be an ugly scarf. You make him happy. And you can explain this to the giver - of course, without reference to the ugliness.

  • Five:


    In addition to the monetary donation, there is also a donation in kind.

    Aid organizations are honestly more happy about the donation, because it is easier and freer to use where the need is greatest.

    But sometimes a warm sweater not in the trendy colors or a scarf for homeless care in winter is really helpful.

    And sometimes you can even get a donation receipt from the association for the donation of expensive but unsuccessful gifts - and claim this for tax purposes for 2021 or 2022.

    Depending on your tax rate, you get 40 percent of the recommended retail price.

The fig variants:

  • Six:

    If you have the order number for an Amazon gift package, you can also return the gift yourself to the shipping giant and have a voucher reimbursed.

    The giver doesn't even have to notice.

    In a survey for the Finanztip newsletter, almost 14 percent of the respondents said that they would not show anything if they received an unfortunate gift.

  • Seven:

    The gift will stay on the living room cupboard for a few days after Christmas, maybe the person giving the gift will come over for a mulled wine after all or (in Corona times) join a Zoom conference or a Skype conversation. And then you can see the gift there. The gift will then be wrapped up again and given away at the next available opportunity. There are always birthdays or anniversaries. But I warn against giving away to close relatives and friends. Such gift castling involves the risk that the gift will eventually reach the original giver or he will find out about it. Thus the joy of the originally gifted recipient is identified as hypocrisy. With a bottle of cognac that once made the rounds among my mother's siblings,may still go on. But with hand-knitted wool socks, the social pain is great when they get home.

  • Eight:

    The donors can of course do something to make the whole thing less embarrassing. Apart from conjuring up the perfect gift. Unfortunately, that comes down to something completely unromantic. Next time just give away a shopping voucher. The recipient cannot have a voucher paid out. According to the German Civil Code, it is valid for at least three years. Unless the dealer writes something else on it. However, if the retailer goes too far with the restriction, this can even be useful. Validity of less than one year is invalid and means that the statutory three-year rule automatically applies again. In other words: A voucher like this lasts for at least a year, and therefore long enough to buy another Christmas present if in doubt.

Speaking of vouchers.

Perhaps you still have a voucher from the early Corona days.

Vouchers for tickets or services that you bought before March 8, 2020 and that the provider has still not been able to redeem can be reimbursed in cash from the New Year onwards.

Which brings me to the end for 2021.

A happy and blessed holiday to you, health, a few quiet days and then a happy new year.

Hermann-Josef Tenhagen

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-12-25

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