Enter eBay, a great way to turn the gifts that didn't quite make the cut into something that you actually want and can use-cash. Before you dismiss the idea on etiquette grounds, ask yourself a simple question: what will happen to the gift(s) in question if you keep it/them? If your answer involves words like "closet" or "trash," consider doing the green, socially conscious thing and finding a home for these goods while they can still be useful to someone. You'll need an eBay account, of course, to sell on eBay, and you'll be expected to pay eBay fees for the privilege of selling, but eBay can be used to get cash for things you might not have imagined you could ever use or sell. Here are a few examples:
- Gift cards you won't use. Gift cards that you don't want sell surprisingly well on eBay, often for most of face value. This means that you might be able to get $80-$90 back out of that gift card to the Fishing Palace that you'll never use on account of the fact that you don't fish.
- Clothing and accessories of unknown origin. Don't worry about those no-gift-receipt, no-tag clothing items that you wouldn't be caught dead wearing; on eBay, you don't need to know an item's brand name, origin, or product line in order to sell it. Just follow a few simple guidelines and a buyer will take them off your hands in no time.
- Home-made and craft goods that aren't up your alley. Who'd ever want that hand-stuffed, hand-lacquered piranha that uncle Dave mounted on a plaque for you? Someone on eBay, that's who! Hand-made, craft, and specialty goods of this kind tend to do surprisingly well on eBay, where there's a buyer for just about everything.
- Memorabilia of any kind. So your boss gave you a commemorative mug and pen set from when the Giants won the Super Bowl-only you're a Jets fan. No problem. On to eBay they go, where memorabilia sells like hotcakes.
- Electronics and appliance doubles. Did you hint a little too loudly this year that you were in the market for a new espresso maker-and now you've got three of them? Were you given an Xbox 360 game that you already beat-several times? Leave them in shrink wrap and sell them as new on eBay, where you're likely to get near retail price for them.
Regardless of the listing format that you choose, don't let yourself be stuck with gifts that you don't want (and that someone else likely does) as the holiday season winds down. Instead, turn those gifts into cash and go get something you really wanted.