When you return gifts, do you tell?

This morning we talked about the hits from the holidays, but what about the misses?

Do you tell family members when you’re going to return or do you just hope they don’t ask to see you wear it or use it? What about relatives that live far away? Do you send a thank you note and don’t mention the exchange? Is it necessary to come up with an excuse to return or could you just say,“I don’t like it.”

Michael and I disagree on this. He thinks you don’t need to offer any explanation for a return or even tell the person you are exchanging or returning.I think it would be awfully embarrassing to be caught without the present and have to explain at a later date.

If you return gifts from your spouse, does that make your spouse feel badly and not want to buy for you in the future? (My mom swears that happened with my dad. He doesn’t even try any more.)

Are you retuning any presents? Will you tell the giver? Will you make up an excuse or just tell them why you really don’t want it?

22 comments Add your comment


December 28th, 2011
12:46 pm

Good luck with this one..I have never returned a gift, so can’t offer anything on this..:)


December 28th, 2011
12:47 pm

We’re not returning anything this year, but in past years when we have, we haven’t felt obligated to tell the gift-giver that we had done so. Even before getting married and having a child, I was always told by my parents that if they gave me something that didn’t fit/didn’t suit me, that they would rather me exchange it for something that would than to keep it out of a sense of obligation.


December 28th, 2011
12:48 pm

I don’t usually return gifts for myself but I often regift. I don’t tell the person who gave me the gift unless they specifically ask and I have only had that happen once. When the person asked, I was honest and told her that while her gift was appreciated, it wasn’t something I could use so I passed it along to someone who I knew would use it. I don’t think the person was offended but I never followed up to find out either.

As far as regifting, the items that I regift are (usually) things that are nice enough that I’m not ashamed to give them to someone but just something that I can’t use. For the “White Elephant” exchange at my office Christmas party this year, I gave a nice pair of candle holders that someone had given me a while ago. They were really nice but just not my style. They were “stolen” a couple of times during the exchange so I’m sure that the person who ended up with them really liked them. I gave my sister in law the gift that my coworkers gave me for my birthday because it’s something that I know I wouldn’t use but that she loves.


December 28th, 2011
12:50 pm

If they ask, “it didn’t fit or it didn’t work”


December 28th, 2011
3:05 pm

I have returned things and sometimes tell the person and sometimes don’t. Depends on how often I will see them and how I think they will handle it.

I have friends who expect their husbands to read their minds about what they want then get upset and return the gift he picked out because it wasn’t what they wanted. Hints don’t work well with most husbands so, if you want something specific, tell him specifically what you want.
The husbands whose wives return most of their gifts do end up just giving gift cards or not trying hard figuring they are just giving them something to return and get money from. One friend loves shoes. Her husband (then fiancee I think) gave her shoes one year for Christmas. She thinks it’s hilarious/odd that he would have done that and returned them. I think it showed that he was paying attention and should have been praised. What he learned is that she didn’t value his attention to her likes/dislikes so he stopped trying.


December 28th, 2011
3:11 pm

As far as relatives far away, I wish that I could get my husband’s relatives to stop buying my kids gifts. I would so much rather them take that money/gift and donate to their local charity or toys for tots. I appreciate that they are thinking of my kids, but they don’t know my kids well since they only see them twice a year. We don’t end up getting those gifts until sometime in January/February because they don’t mail them, my in-laws deliver them the next time we see them.
There are kids out there who need toys and my kids would enjoy knowing their ‘gifts’ had made someone else happy. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out a good way to suggest it without hurting either my in-laws’ or the relatives’ feelings.

☺☻Have A Smile!

December 28th, 2011
3:19 pm

Well I have returned things before when I honestly can’t use it. I try never to put myself in a position to lie about it, because generally I won’t.

BUT I won’t ever tell them that sh*t ended up on eBay!!


December 28th, 2011
3:44 pm

I have a friend who has finally decided to buy her own christmas presents. She will tell her boyfriend what she wants, or point things out in the stores, and he tells her “no you don’t want that” and she would end up with a scarf and gloves from him (he has NO imagination whatsoever)…..so this year, she bought herself a couple of presents, things she wanted, and gave them to him, and said, “these are from you.”


December 28th, 2011
4:18 pm

Doesn’t matter to me if someone returns something I got. I miss sometimes. It would hurt my feelings if they let the dog chew it up, however.

As to whether you should tell someone: I am close with anyone I exchange gifts with, so I wouldn’t be worried about avoiding telling them.


December 28th, 2011
4:55 pm

If I know where it comes from and I don’t like it, I will exchange it for something else. I usually miss with my husband, so I absolutely hate shopping for him. We just have opposite tastes. My kids do a better job choosing his gifts for him than I do. This year my parents bought my son video games but didn’t look at the ratings. It was rates M. Next year I will recommend a gift card instead. It’s just easier.


December 28th, 2011
5:09 pm

A gift recipient is free to do anything with a gift without notifying the gift-giver.

Also, a woman who “cannot shop for her husband” is just plain lazy. You’re with a guy practically 24/7/365 and you can’t figure out what he wants or likes? Here’s an idea – give him a divorce, so he can find true life-long partner who can figure these things out on her own.

K's Mom

December 28th, 2011
5:11 pm

I am with Stacey, I usually do appropriate regifting, but I am very careful to not hurt feelings. I am allergic to most scents and all of the Bath and Body Works stuff I get is usually regifted or donated to the women’s shelters. It is a nice thought and I appreciate the gifts, but I cannot use that stuff.

As for stuff from husbands, mine asks for a list and I give it to him. I usually want something for our house that I would not just buy. He was skeptical that I really wanted a tablecloth one year but he got it for me and I use it most special occasions, so he now believes that I am honest with my lists!


December 28th, 2011
5:24 pm

On the thank you…..You send a note being gracious saying how much you appreciate they got you the shirt without mentioning it is heinous!

Most of the out of town folks are unsure about my kids’ sizes so they put gift receipts in the box….No biggie, if the kid really never uses it (toy or clothes) we sometimes just give it to charity–that happened to a bunch of Hannah Montanna items a few years ago.

The hard one is my parents. My mother has bought things and when I do not give the right reaction she says “I knew you would hate it” to which I have asked “Then why did you buy me someting you knew I would hate?” She did get the point about the 3rd time I asked that, she said how about if we go look at things you do like and I can get one of those without you knowing which one? I have some very nice dishes and glassware that did not need to be returned…and funny thing, she liked them too!


December 28th, 2011
5:40 pm

Roberta: not being able to shop for your husband is not lazy or uninterested. As a for instance I will give you my situation: my husband is into photography and computers. His wants are very technical and pricey, so no, I cannot shop for him. I can buy clothes for him (and I do because he never does), but I am unable to buy his true wants.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

December 28th, 2011
6:12 pm

mom2alex — I tried hard to surprise Michael with a technology gift and it didn’t go well. I think he is returning. bummer!!! but rather him return it and use the money toward something he will really use!!

Heading to target and hobby lobby now to return things I edited that I bought for the kids — bought it and then decided wasn’t the best thing.


December 28th, 2011
6:23 pm

I really dont understand this issue. I know and realize that I’m a man d and when it comes to this, we’re different. But please explain to me why you buy things that you’re not sure you’re going to keep. If I have any doubt I may not be sure of a purchase, I don’t buy it. Simple.

ya think?

December 28th, 2011
6:28 pm


“Are you retuning any presents?”

Do you not have the decency and respect for the reader and the publication that pays you to take 30 seconds to READ, let alone edit, what you typed?

“I’ve been like super busy, typing many blogs”
“I’ve been totally sick, my kids are sick, my dog is totally sick”


December 28th, 2011
8:31 pm

wow, gift-giving has hit an all time low. Not only do people expect gifts, they expect the right gift. Maybe if gifts are anticipated, one could mention that they do not need a gift, or offer suggestions to donate the funds to a charity in the recipients name. There is this old adage of “it’s the thought that counts” that I remember from childhood. I have seen it out in a while.

I made it loud and clear several years ago that I do not wish to receive gifts because a holiday deems it necessary. If someone feels like getting me a gift, write me a note and tell me if I have made a difference or something.

If I participate in a little gift exchange, then I usually regift or use the item that I eventually received, but I never bother with the hassle of a return.


December 29th, 2011
4:39 pm

There is usually no need for a return since we discuss gift ideas ahead of time. I rarely return the gifts that don’t work out, but usually donate them to charities.

I have gotten duplicate gifts, but have started heading those off by telling people if I have already gotten the latest book from a favorite author.


December 29th, 2011
6:36 pm

I think it all depends on who it’s from and you’re relationship with them. If it’s from someone you’re close with, then maybe you tell them because you have a relationship like that. If you’re not that close, then maybe you don’t have too. Just use your best judgement I say. The same goes for sending thank you notes. Gauge the situation, gift, and person, and decide whether to include that piece of information or don’t.

Feel free to check out our site Thankster.com. Send printed thank you notes quick and easy. And use our technology to create a font out of your handwriting that looks authentic. No more hand cramps and no more licking stamps.


December 30th, 2011
1:18 am

Theresa – my post was eaten.


January 3rd, 2012
4:26 am

I came across a site called, giftuwish.com recently. It helps avoiding unwanted gifts giving an option for the receiver of gift to choose without the giver knowing it. Other features of the site say, event invitations, anniversary reminders, online greetings are also useful.