A third of people shove unwanted Christmas gifts away in a cupboard, Oxfam research reveals

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- Short URL: https://www.oxfam.org.uk/mc/xbaen9/

Many gifts only see the light of day if the giver visits. Now, Oxfam is calling on the nation to bite the bullet and donate unloved Christmas gifts instead.

British cupboards are cluttered with unwanted Christmas gifts, according to new research which reveals 40 per cent of us receive between one and five Christmas presents we would prefer to do without. Thirty-one per cent say they put the gifts away out of sight, with 14 per cent only fishing them out if the giver comes round. Ten per cent of people chuck unwanted gifts away. While six per cent hand them back!

The study of 2,772 adults across the UK found almost half of people (49 per cent) pretend they love the unwanted gift. While more than one in 10 (11 per cent) said they were honest and let the giver know. Almost a third (29 per cent) said each year it was the same person who gave them the present they didn’t want.

The research conducted by One Poll for Oxfam found well over half (57 per cent) give some of their unwanted gifts to charity. And now Oxfam is asking others without a use for quality, but undesired, presents to do the same.

Lorna Fallon, Oxfam’s Retail Director said: “Finding the perfect gift at Christmas is a challenge. So, it’s unsurprising we can’t get it right every time. So, instead of leaving millions of surplus presents to gather dust in cupboards, we’re asking people to put those items to good use. We will sell well-meant, but as-yet unloved, presents to others who will want them cutting down on waste and crucially raising money for our work fighting poverty around the world. So please join our gift amnesty. Donate your unwanted stash to an Oxfam shop and do something amazing this New Year.’

Toiletries topped the unwanted gift list. Twenty-eight per cent of respondents said they received soaps and bath bombs they didn’t want, with moisturiser next (22pc). Seventeen per cent said they received unsuitable jumpers and candles.

Hearteningly, evidence shows getting less-than-perfect presents can feel like a good thing. Thirty per cent of people asked said they didn’t mind getting unwanted gifts as they can give them to charity. The same number said they can regift the item to someone else, which saves them money.

Lorna Fallon said. ‘The New Year is the perfect time to declutter and make space for what you really want or need in your life. So, if you have surplus items, like unopened toiletries, you think someone else will enjoy then please donate them to us. You’ll be giving someone the chance to buy quality items at affordable prices, and contribute to the circular economy, which is better for the planet and people. And you’ll be part of a positive global movement fighting the injustice of poverty, helping to make the world a fairer, kinder place. Isn’t that something we all wish for in 2023?’


  1. Soap
  2. Bath Bomb
  3. Moisturiser
  4. Bubble Bath
  5. Body Spray
  6. Candle
  7. Jumper
  8. Mug
  9. Joke/Gag gift
  10. Perfume

Also appearing on the list – ties, keyrings, handmade gifts, and pens.

Whilst toiletries regularly top the list of most unwanted presents, Oxfam’s survey uncovered some more unusual festive gift faux paus including an out-of-date diary, a toilet seat, a broken bottle, bag of apples, bikini trimmer, steak knives gifted to a vegetarian, and a hairbrush given to a bald man!

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