The unwanted Christmas gifts revealed

7:21 am on 12 December 2023
Christmas tree near present boxes, slippers.

File photo. Photo: 123RF

They say Christmas is about giving not receiving.

But most people are pretty excited to see the presents under the tree.

On the streets of Wellington, around half the people we spoke said they were happy with their Christmas presents.

The other half had some memorable mishaps.

One man had got a hat with their name on it in glitter pen. "I think I was about 12 and my cousin got the same hat and she was one [year old]."

A Wellingtonian woman meanwhile got four pairs of men's size 36 apple bottom jeans from her father when she was eight or nine.

"One other Christmas he gave me a cardboard box with a yoga book from his house and a bunch of bananas and a rain jacket," the woman said.

Of those RNZ spoke to, men were significantly worse offenders than woman when it came to buying gifts.

But broadcaster and former Christmas in the Park MC Petra Bagust said they didn't have to be.

"I think men often want to surprise and delight the woman of their lives, whether it's their mom or their daughters or their wives. But actually, women often know what they want, and I think that it can be truly, profoundly helpful for us to set the fellas up to get gifts we want them to get.

"We can take a photo of the thing we love, we can have a shared note on our phone, we can literally give the men the intel that they need to succeed."

She said in her family, online shopping had revolutionised her husband's gift buying abilities.

Her daughter meanwhile provided a list of wants, with direct links.

And it was safe to say a dust buster wasn't on anyone's list.

Petra sits at a desk with headphones on, speaking into a microphone and smiling.

Broadcaster and former Christmas in the Park MC Petra Bagust. Photo: Supplied

"I do not want anything for the kitchen or any cleaning appliance. I do not want something that has a really purposeful function," she said.

"For Christmas, I want a pop of colour, a spark of joy, something to read or relax with."

Bagust said it was also the thought that counted.

"If somebody's paid attention and given me something they think I'll like that matters more than the gift."

Bagust said people also needed to be kinder to themselves when the Christmas pressure hit.

"Part of my challenge now with Christmas is making each step an enjoyable part of the celebration rather than just beating myself into a pulp and expecting to arrive at Christmas Day in good condition."

She said that could include not feeling guilty about leaving gifts until late or making gifts part of a fun group activity.

Meanwhile, Trade Me said last year it saw 56,000 listed between 1 December 2022 and 31 January 2023.

Spokesperson Millie Silvester said 4300 of those had already been listed on Trade Me by 9am on Christmas Day.

"Some of our most viewed unwanted gifts last year included an empty Roses chocolates wrapper of 'disappointment' that sold for $200 and a sterling silver bracelet given to someone who is allergic to sterling silver."

Silvester said they also saw a lot of duplicates where the receiver got what they wanted ... more than once.

Back on the streets of Wellington, the main gifts people didn't want were any household appliances, or generic gifts like socks and toiletries.

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