True, there’s not much you can do when great-aunt Helga knits you a tunic sweater in chartreuse chenille other than grit your teeth and say thank-you, but most less-than-ideal holiday gifts do present you with several options:
Put it in your gift closet. Regifting isn’t tacky, it’s resourceful. (Just so long as you don’t regift to the person who gave it to you in the first place. That would be tacky.) Sometimes things just aren’t your style or something you need, but someone else might really enjoy it. There’s no harm in recycling a gift. Just make sure you remove any tags or other evidence of your resourcefulness!
Donate it. There’s always someone in need who may benefit from your cast-offs. If you’re like me, handing brand-new items to someplace like Goodwill may feel strange, or maybe even wasteful, but charity is a good thing and this way your unwanted items can help someone else. And then you can tell yourself that the giver simply wanted to give you a bit of good karma this year.
Exchange it. Yes, it helps if you have a receipt, but don’t assume that if you don’t have one you can’t return it. If you can identify the store where it was purchased (often easy to do via the brand, sales tags, or with a bit of research online) you can almost certainly make an exchange. The down side to this, of course, is that you may not get the full price paid—the store will give you the latest sale value—but lots of other stuff is on sale now, too, so it may work out. I brought a gift set back to Bath and Body Works because I wasn’t wild about the scent, and although they only exchanged it for me at half-price, their body lotions were 70% off—so I got a ton of stuff for that amount, anyway.
Don’t be a martyr; decide what to do with those not-quite-right gifts and then move on.