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Don't Buy the 5 Most Frequently Returned Gifts

About $95 billion worth of merchandise will be returned this holiday season. Avoid gift-giving mishaps by skipping novelty toys, specialty kitchenware, and more.
Unwanted Christmas Gifts

When it comes to the holidays, there's nothing more stressful than gift shopping. There's always the risk that whatever you picked out will end up being returned or exchanged.

Whether you're looking for gift ideas for someone special or just shopping for your office Secret Santa, we'll help you sort out those presents that are more likely to be returned.

The Numbers

According to data compiled by B-Stock, a company that deals in liquidizing the excess inventory of major retailers, the rate of returns doubles during the holiday season. In fact, about $95 billion worth of merchandise will be returned to U.S. retailers this holiday season.

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What's more, 61% more items were listed on B-Stock after the holidays in 2016. This could mean that a larger number of people are returning things they bought (or were given) after the holidays.

What to Avoid

With this data in hand, B-Stock compiled a list of the five things that were most often returned to their top clients a couple of years ago. Keep these categories in mind, as they may just help you avoid any gift-giving mishaps this season.

Graphic T-Shirts for Kids

It's understandably tempting to buy the children in your life a brightly colored shirt with a seemingly catchy phrase plastered across the front, but believe us... you're going to want to leave those on the rack at Target this year. After the holiday season ended in 2016, shirts with corny little quips like, "Blink if You Think I'm Awesome," were returned more often than not.

SEE ALSO: Everything You Need to Know About Holiday Returns

While the shirt might look cute on a hanger, the likelihood that the kid you're buying it for will actually wear it is slim to none. Plus, they're going to grow out of it quickly anyways!

Novelty Toys

It usually seems like a good idea to hop on toy franchise trends, because we expect popular toys to be a bigger hit with our kids. However, unless your kids are specifically asking for the latest trend, you're better off getting them an old standby like a LEGO set.

Specialty Kitchenware

Get that quesadilla maker out of your online shopping cart! Just because fancy kitchen accessories are being pushed by retailers during the holiday season doesn't mean your sister is going to want a cluttered kitchen. Chances are, a gift like this will either be returned, or will gather dust in a kitchen pantry for eternity.

Just because fancy kitchen accessories are being pushed by retailers during the holiday season doesn't mean your sister is going to want a cluttered kitchen.


Buying your dad something random from Ace Hardware might seem like an easy way out, but believe us when we tell you that there's a 100% chance he already has at least one of whatever you're looking at hiding away somewhere in the garage.

It's generally a good rule of thumb to avoid giving common household goods for the holidays. And it's not just because people probably already own these things — they're also very impersonal gifts. Random bits of hardware just scream, "I didn't know what else to get you!"


Hoverboards were hot a few years ago — literally. We all remember how they caught on fire, right? So, it's safe to say that you should avoid buying your friends and family any kind of trendy recreation tech this season, unless you're absolutely sure of two things: that they actually want it, and that it's safe.

Some Parting Wisdom

Gift shopping can be difficult! It's easy to get swept away by kitschy ads online and in-store, but try not to overthink things when you're doing your holiday browsing this year. Remember: There's nothing wrong with simply asking people what they want, or taking advantage of gift card deals!

SEE ALSO: One for You, One for Me: The Best BOGO Gift Card Freebies

The most important thing to keep in mind while you're shopping for the people you love this holiday season is creativity. If you're strapped for time and the holidays are looming ever nearer, don't hesitate to try something new and fun, like a DIY gift or custom Vistaprint photo gifts.

As long as it shows that you put some thought and effort into your gift-giving or –making, the chances of the recipient using that cursed gift receipt to return your present will be much lower.

Readers, what gifts have you returned in the past? What things would you definitely return if someone gave them to you this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Contributing Writer

Sarah Heikkinen is an upstate New York-based freelance journalist and marketing and social media specialist. She has freelanced for several publications, including Teen Vogue, the Ithaca Times, and The Scofield. She graduated with her Master's in Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in 2017.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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Nice thanks OP
If this is supposed to be professional writing, you should not use the word, "anyways."
I have to say, the expression on her face is perfect.