The holidays are over and your family may be swimming in a pile of new presents. While it’s the thought that counts, what about duplicates, toys your little one (or you) don’t like, and the feeling you may have way too much stuff already? Here’s how to repurpose, regift or tactfully return the baby gifts you don’t want sitting around until 2019.

photo: Shiloh Hrissikopoulos via Flickr

1. Snap a pic
Take a photo of your child using, holding or wearing the item (to share it with the gift giver) and then donate it to a person or a cause in need. Charity Navigator can help you find a worthy place to give your things, or check out your local Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Goodwill, or Salvation Army thrift stores. There’s no shame in re-gifting to an organization that needs it more than your family does.

2. Stash away toys for travel
If the toy you received is loud, too bright and colorful, or something you just don’t love, then keep it in the car or an overnight bag for whenever you’re out of the house. This way you don’t have to deal with the toy day after day, and the novelty of it will be just what your baby needs when settling into a trip. Bonus points if the gift giver sees it with you during your travels!

photo: Justin McGregor via Flickr

3. Repurpose
Don’t love the top your mother-in-law gave your baby? Use it during messy mealtimes or as an art smock. Frustrated that your wee one doesn’t play with those pretty wooden toys? Put them on a nursery shelf as art objects. Annoyed your little guy was given something beyond his years? Store it in a closet or the basement and set a reminder on your phone to break it out at a better time. Also, check out our article on incredibly creative ways to repurpose toys.

4. Regift it to someone who’ll cherish it
The idea here is to give the gift to someone who actually wants the item, not just to get it off your hands and into anyone else’s. Avoid giving it to someone in the same circle of friends or family, so the original giver comes across it in someone else’s house. And regift it in a timely manner so it’s not out of season or out of style.

5. Trade it in accepts tons of books, DVDs, and anything really popular, like Frozen-themed items, for store credit. It’s far less risky than listing the item on your eBay or Craigslist accounts, where the gift giver could see it.

photo: Chuttersnap via Unsplash

6. Hide it in a closet (we won’t tell)
If the gift was personalized or meant to be a meaningful, special gift, keep it if you can. Stash the item in a closet or under a bed so it’s out of your way. Just remember to take it out before the gift giver stops by for a visit.

7. Take it back
Most websites and stores will accept a return or exchange if you have the email address or name of the person who gifted you the item, and if you’re within the returns window. (It’s 90 days for many stores, but less for some.) Don’t worry, the giver won’t be notified that you’ve returned or exchanged the gift!

If you need the receipt, ask for it in a casual, breezy way. Something like, “Oh, we were going through the gifts and realized we didn’t have a receipt for yours along with all the others. Do you happen to have it?” Or, if you feel comfortable, be more direct: “We are so grateful for the gift you gave our childthank you! But he/she really needs a new [fill in the blank] this year. We were hoping to exchange it at the store. Do you have the receipt?”

In a perfectly polite world, the gift giver would include the receipt with the item and realize a gift is just a material object. Your relationship is much more important. Take heart in knowing that the gift giver probably just wants you and your baby to be happy, with the gift or not.

How do you handle gifts you can’t use? Let us know in the comments.

— Whitney C. Harris