Dec 8

How Sh*t Are Sh*t Gifts, Really?

by Nona Dimitrova

So I know you’ve probably seen us throwing around the same few phrases for the past couple of years: stop buying sh*t gifts, landfills are full of surprises, etc, etc.

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But what do we really mean by sh*t gifts, and why are we trying to drive the point home so much?


According to a survey done by the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association (UKGCVA), in the UK, we receive an average of two unwanted gifts each Christmas, equating to a total of 119,584,080* presents to miss the mark. All of this averages out to £41.70 being spent on each of these disliked presents. Let’s do the maths together: that comes out to an estimated nearly £5 billion (essentially) going down the Christmas… chimney? Drain?

Okay, so all of this already sounds quite bad. But what happens to these unwanted presents?

Almost one in five (19%) unwanted gifts will end up in landfill this Christmas, according to the same study. That’s 22,720,975, or almost 23 million gifts, contributing to the already extensive waste generated throughout the holiday season (think about all that wrapping paper!).

A bittersweet moment, but the research showed that around a third (33.1%) of unwanted gifts are donated to charity, a further 20.8% are put away and forgotten about in people’s homes. Can we find solace in the fact that not everything goes to literal waste?


We didn’t want to bombard you with a bunch of numbers, so let’s try to digest this together. What does all of this mean?

In short- it means we’re shopping for people we don’t truly know. Or, we’re refusing to think twice and opting for ‘joke’ presents which bring no real value to the receiver.

Not to mention, that all of this feeds data to the producer of these products- as long as somebody is buying, they believe there is demand to produce.


Can we all collectively take ourselves back to when poundland was selling a box of nothing? Packaged in plastic? While the sentiment was funny, reading “NOTHING - Exactly what you asked for!” underneath, for all the people who said they wanted nothing as a present, I think we can all agree it was a ridiculous waste of material which will outlive us all. And for every one person who bought nothing, Poundland was fed the belief that it was a great idea, and they should either make more, or make something similar.

Whichever way you look at it, we're stuck in a constant loop of giving and receiving unwanted gifts, making us reconsider the entire concept of gift giving as a whole:

What makes an unwanted gift, unwanted?


Luckily, there’s a very simple solution: stop buying sh*t gifts

Jokes and catchphrases aside, start trying to get to know the people you’re shopping for. Think about what they enjoy, what they do in their free time, something they’ve mentioned they need in passing. Better yet, if you’re worried that you’re just going to miss the mark, opt for gifting them an experience. You have the freedom to tailor this to something you know they like, or something you think they might like.

Don’t give into the Christmas shopping panic. Time goes so fast, suddenly it’s mid December and you’ve got all your shopping still to do. You’re frantically impulse buying anything remotely giving off a ‘nice vibe’. Stop and take a second to think about what they would actually like. We’ll say it again: don’t give into the Christmas shopping panic!! You’ve got time to slow down and think of something they will truly love. Don’t let sales and adverts sway you!

If none of the above feel right to you, it genuinely never hurts to ask for direction, or even ask for a Wishlist! It can still be a surprise, as the person won’t know exactly what you’re getting them, but at least you can be sure it’s something they want.

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