Creative ways to deal with bad Christmas gifts

Another Christmas has come and gone. With the addition of a few pounds of holiday treats riding around your middle, you most likely have a few presents sitting around that you could do without.

So what to do with those gifts that aren’t doing you (or likely anyone else on the planet) any good?

On the off-chance that the adage "one man’s trash is another man’s treasure" rings true, there is the option of donating that oh-so-lovely football vase or the singing fish. offers up a world of possibilities for unloading the unwanted.

Then there is the option of making the most of your gift-awful situation.

Got an ugly Christmas sweater from Aunt Mabel? (I have a great Aunt Mabel who was forever knitting — the whole family has sweaters with deer all over them.) Well, that striped Santa Claus sweater is actually several gifts in one.

The sleeves, which are usually the nicest part of an ugly sweater, can be cut off and stuffed, the ends tied with ribbon and — presto chango! — you have some sausage roll-style pillows.

Or, if you aren’t the crafty type, but rather find yourself to be the boozy party type, then I suggest hosting an ugly sweater party. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, it’s pretty basic: Take the ugliest sweater you can imagine, add all of your friends in their ugliest sweaters and multiply it by lots of booze. Good times will abound. Of course, there is no requirement that alcohol be involved, but if you are looking at really ugly sweaters for hours, sometimes a shot helps dull the pain on your eyes.

Sweaters aren’t the only common useless items that make an appearance as holiday gifts.

CDs and DVDs that never should have been made somehow always end up as stocking stuffers or gifts from relatives who don’t really know you.

There are other uses for those offenses against your senses — the easiest one being a coaster. That shiny surface works great as a barrier between your drink and your coffee table. Or if you want some snazzy wall art, take some fishing line, tie up a few of the CDs/DVDs in a line, then hang a few lines of glitter discs on a wall. This makes a much better piece of wall décor than that ugly painting of a landscape Uncle Therman gave you. (Trust me, there’s not a lot you can do to that painting, other than covering it with some fabric and making a fabric square.)

So remember this other little adage when surveying your Christmas loot: When life gives you lemons…grab some salt and tequila and find a new way to salvage your useless presents.

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