The rush of unwrapping neatly wrapped packages under the Christmas tree may be underwhelming when these gifts don’t hit their marks. However, turning these gifts into something that everyone likes (i.e. cash) is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Few people can frown at the thought of getting extra money as a Christmas present. Especially in the currently struggling economy, many Americans would actually prefer money over an ugly sweater or another piece of superfluous home decor.

Sadly, that is not the Christmas tradition. So, here’s how you can transform your unwanted gifts into an asset anyone would want.

401K / Flickr source

From Gift to Cash

Head over to the store with your gift receipt and proceed to return your gifts. Since most retailers prefer to keep the sales on their books, they’ll issue a refund in the form of a gift card. While gift cards offer plenty of possibilities when it comes to picking gifts, cash is the ultimate winner in that regard.

In addition to the typical hot spots such as Craigslist and eBay, relatively new sites such as Cardpool, Gift Card Rescue, and Plastic Jungle will buy your gift card for a little less than the value of the card.

For example, Plastic Jungle will buy your Best Buy gift card for 92.4% of its value. It will sell it back out for 95% of its value.

If you’d like to reserve that cash for gifts (to respect the gift-giver’s Christmas spirit), you can purchase gift cards for stores that you would shop at – while getting a small discount from these websites. Otherwise, it’ll be a smart move to dump that cash right into a savings account.

Donate ’em

Should a gift be non-returnable or you simply can’t make use of the store credit/gift card, consider donating them. It may not be as satisfying as cold hard cash, but it certainly results in a cash-equivalent.

Plenty of local or major organizations can benefit from your unwanted gifts and gift cards. These donations can be written off to reduce your tax burden. If the charity doesn’t accept gift card donations, ask if you could donate goods that can be purchased with the gift card.

Your donation to a qualified charity is deductible in the same year that the donation is made. So if you want to cut your taxes for the 2011 tax year, do it soon. If you donated non-cash gifts with a total value over $500, you will have to file Form 8283.

Remember to get receipts for your donations!

Did you enjoy this article? Yes No
Oops! What was wrong? Please let us know.

Ask a Question