Christmas is a time for family, friends, festive food and, for many of us, presents - but while children wallow in the excitement of much desired gifts, almost 50 per cent of adults say they have received gifts they don’t want and will never use, according to a new survey by Barnardo’s.

The survey also revealed the majority of these gifts are left gathering dust, with more than a third of UK adults (36 per cent) saying they put these gifts in a cupboard and never use them.

One in 10 people didn’t donate their gift to charity so they hang on to it to pretend they use the item, while 20 per cent simply feel too guilty to pass on their unwanted gifts.

In a YouGov survey of adults who receive gifts at Christmas, 47 per cent said they received unwanted gifts last year, with novelty items such as humorous gifts being the main culprit for 59 per cent of people.

Cosmetic sets (47 per cent) and candles (41 per cent) also proved to be a disappointment.

The results come as Barnardo’s launches a campaign asking people to donate their unwanted festive gifts to their local Barnardo’s charity shop.

The proceeds from the sale of good-quality, unused Christmas gifts are a vital source of income for the charity’s work supporting vulnerable children across the UK.

Festive socks

Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said: “We’ve all received gifts that end up at the back of a cupboard. But this year, instead of holding on to gifts that you’ll never use, we’re asking people to donate them to their local Barnardo’s shop.

“Donating to our stores means somebody else can find joy in our unwanted gifts.

“It also helps Barnardo’s to bring care, hope and love to vulnerable children across the UK, at Christmas and all year round.”


The YouGov poll of 2,050 adults, with 1,864 who receive Christmas gifts, across the UK revealed of those who received unwanted gifts last year and didn’t donate them to charity, the reasons were:

●       24% intended to re-gift it at a later date


●       20% felt guilty giving it away
●       15% didn’t get round to taking it to a charity shop
●       11% wanted to pretend they used it
●       10% cited other reasons
●       8% didn’t think anyone would want to buy it from a charity shop
●       4% wanted to return them to the place it was purchased from.

Of those who receive Christmas gifts, the type of gifts that people do not want to receive included:



The YouGov poll also showed that when they received an unwanted Christmas gift last year:

●  40% donated them to charity


●  36% stored them away in a cupboard and never used them
●  34% re-gifted their unwanted gifts
●  11% sold them
●  4% returned them to the place it was purchased from
●  4% threw them away.

You can your local Barnardo’s shop here .