Good Intentions, Bad Gifts: Avoid Giving Unwanted Gifts

By Ali + Julie on 6 Apr 2023

If you haven’t heard the news yet, you might be surprised to know that you are crap at giving gifts. I am not joking. You, I, we suck. Here are the facts: 30% of the gifts we give are re-gifted (money down the drain); 10-15% of the gifts we give are returned (money down the drain) and another 20% of our gifts sit in an unwanted gifts cupboard because they can’t be returned for one reason or another (need I even type it…money down the drain).

You got me WHAT??

That’s a lot of our money, time and effort going down the drain. It begs the question, why do we do it? And then keep on doing it? Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So apparently most of us are insane…at least that would explain our behaviour.

Are you INSANE??

But seriously, why do we keep doing it? We have good intentions but buy bad gifts. It seems there is a simple solution – ask the person what they want! Nailed it! Problem solved. Or is it? What if the gift is for a child, what if you do ask and the answer is, “Don’t buy anything, I have everything I need”. Or what if you can’t afford what they’d like? Then asking doesn’t help. Since custom dictates that we give a gift – off we go again, blindly buying another one.

What to do then? Cash? If everyone gives cash than what’s the point, it’s like passing money around from friend to friend. Or, what if you can’t give much, then it doesn’t feel nice or gracious to give cash. Surely there must be a happy medium where we can do the right thing and turn what would have been our wasted money and effort into a gift that is truly wanted.

Prada handbag not scented candles

The answer is to give a group gift. When family & friends chip in for a gift together, we benefit from economies of scale. We pool our individual resources together so that we can give one great gift. And who doesn’t want or can’t think of one fabulous gift they would love to have. Think GoPro camera instead of cologne. Think DJ system instead of nerf gun. Think Prada handbag instead of scented candles.

So when it’s time to buy the next gift, don’t be insane – instead think group, think chipping in together, think one great gift. Alternatively, you can take the money you are going to spend on the next gift, divide it equally into 2 piles, and throw one pile into the bin. Now that is insane.

Visit us at to set up a group gift collection.

1. 30% of gifts are re-gifted (2014 American Express Survey)
2. 10-16% of gifts are returned (2014 The Journal of Consumer Research)
3. 20% of gifts in gift cupboard (2004-2014 Unofficial survey of my, my friends, my families and everyone I know’s unwanted gift cupboards)

Sick of giving unwanted gifts?

Try GroupTogether for the perfect group gift.

Ali Julie Square

Ali + Julie

Co-Founders, GroupTogether

Life’s busy. That’s why we’re here to make it easy for you to collect money from a group. Less wasted time, less packaging waste, and spending a little less but giving a lot better!

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