The sweater that’s two sizes too small, the obscure kitchen gadget you’ll never use, the trio of chick-lit books you won’t read — unwanted Christmas gifts are as much a staple of the holiday season as sugar cookies and mistletoe. Why not keep the spirit of Christmas charity alive into the new year — and get a tax break while you’re at it — by donating those gifts?
Rather than shoving unwanted items into a closet where they’ll languish until you get around to spring cleaning or re-gifting them to other people, put those presents to use for yourself and for people in need. Books, clothes, appliances, gift cards and other new items can bolster local organizations such as charities and shelters, allowing them to distribute those items to people in need or sell them to earn money for the communities they help.
For instance, your local Goodwill might sell your unwanted Christmas gifts in its store. This provides opportunities, training skills and other employment preparation services to help people land good jobs. If you can’t find any charities in your area, you might sell the items online and make a cash donation to a national organization. Or you can simply donate to a local church or religious institution, which are generally tax-exempt.