Uses For Useless Or Unwanted Gifts This Christmas

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We’ve all received them – Christmas presents from hell. Items with little or no redeeming features, verging from inappropriate to unusable, and from cheap to grotesque, are a blight on the idea of festive goodwill. But what to do with them?
Looks promising but what's inside...?
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Looks promising but what's inside...?

Generic uses

Before padding out your dustbin bag with the new gift look for alternatives. Whatever you choose, dispose of it without its buyer finding out.
 
eBay is the most obvious option for moving it on, but also consider local car boot or table sales. Charity shops, playgroups and community centres may have a space for the wretched object if you can’t sell it.
 
You’ve always got the option of passing it on to someone else as a present, but make sure that they do not know the person who purchased it for you.
 
You can always lie and say ‘you’ve got one already’ – ask for the receipt and take it back to the hellhole from whence it came.
 
As a last resort, if it is a present with no redeeming features, then consider recycling it, or breaking it apart to see how it works.
Dreadful socks can be used for polishing or puppetry
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Dreadful socks can be used for polishing or puppetry

Awful socks

Everyone has unwrapped a pair of these abominations at some point, forcing a smile of appreciation before swiftly condemning them to the back of the cupboard as soon as the giver leaves.
 
However socks do have their uses. For a start you can wear them underneath a good pair on a cold day, particularly if you’re going hiking or rambling. You get two uses for the price of one if you’re an outdoor type, as a thick sock is a useful warmer for a cold water bottle.
 
A stretched out long pair can be used as an emergency draught excluder, while a shorter pair, with the possible addition of eyes and buttons, can make a superb pair of children's animal puppets; male or female, friends, or mortal enemies.
 
Final options; keep the pair in the car to use a) in the event that your current pair splits or b) to clean windows, mirrors and so in the event of an emergency.
Keep an emergency fragrance in the car
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Keep an emergency fragrance in the car

Terrible toiletries

“Yes of course nan, I love Stinks for Men”. It’s not true, you think it smells like a polecat’s backside, but again there may be other people who enjoy the glorious sweet smell of nasty talc and pungent shower gel.
 
The obvious destination is to give it away as a prize for a charity raffle, or tear it apart and use individual segments for gift baskets.
 
Keep the bottles for next Christmas and use them in the secret Santa, or in the car to be used in emergency on a hot sweaty day.
 
Finally, a little cologne may, just may, work as a boost for pot pourri in a dire emergency.  It’s unlikely, but not impossible.
The humble CD makes a coaster or children's decoration
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The humble CD makes a coaster or children's decoration

Dreadful DVDs and CDs

Yes, people still play them. Quite a few people actually. But if you’ve moved on to downloading, or have no interest in the greatest hits of Babylon Zoo, you’ll need an alternative course of action.

For a start, if it is a truly execrable act or movie then using it as a coaster is an easy and rather cool get-out.
 
Ever been to a 80s/90s/themed party? A CD can be converted into some cool retro earrings quickly, or added to the playlist to be ‘accidentally’ left behind.
 
Hanging CDs to actually look quite cool in a child’s bedroom as they reflect a spectrum of colours in sunlight, and on a similar theme they can be used to reflect light onto a shaded flower bed if placed correctly.
Fill your shelf with books that make you look smart
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Fill your shelf with books that make you look smart

Boring books

Accounting explained. Camping in comfort. Alex Reid – the biography.

To some they represent enjoyable reading, for others a waste of paper that deserves to be killed with fire.
 
Take solace in the fact that a low-quality book makes a high-quality scribbling pad for youngsters, or a source of paper mache.
 
Charity shops and old people’s homes may make use of the unwanted book.
 
Don’t forget that many people use books as ‘fillers’ for bookshelves; there’s no intention to read them in this lifetime, but it can make the owner look learned depending on the subject matter. 

And of course your tome  - covered, of course - might be ideal for balancing an unsteady table or sofa with a dodgy leg.

Christmas and retro jumpers are terrible
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Christmas and retro jumpers are terrible

Shameful sweater

We mentioned retro parties, and sauntering into the room with a dreadful aged pullover is the perfect way of grabbing everyone’s attention – the more lurid the better.
 
An awful sweater might make the ideal start to a crochet quilt, or act as an emergency baby blanket.
 
Finally your faithful canine friend may make use of this errant finery, either as a warmer lining the dog’s basket, or - probably following adjustment – an actual piece of clothing for him to wear in the winter.
A mug, plant pot and pencil holder all in one.
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A mug, plant pot and pencil holder all in one.

Misfit mugs

Is there anyone anywhere who doesn’t already have cups and mugs in their house? An awkward, badly patterned mug with an uncomfortable handle should have no place in the respectable tea drinker’s home.
 
Luckily there are plenty of other locations for this shameful ceramic. If large enough a mug can be used as a plant pot, particularly for individual herbs, or as a desk penholder; ideal for also hosting paperclips, chewed pen tops and broken pencils.

You can also place tools inside it in your workshop, or use it a s a loom band holder in your child's bedroom.
 
Do you have your own cup at work? If not, send it on its way, or give it to someone else at the office.
 
A rockery can sometimes be livened up with pieces of brightly coloured stone – put it in a bag, drop it from height/hit it with a hammer, and sprinkle the debris liberally.
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