Renting to resale – here’s 4 sustainable ways to deal with unwanted Christmas gifts

By Linnéa Pesonen
Christmas presents

Photo: Getty

Got a stack of presents that weren't quite your vibe this holiday? Here's an eco-friendly guide on what to do with them

Christmas can be a tricky time when it comes to gifting – not only when we're trying to figure out what to get for our loved ones, but also if we receive presents that we didn't quite need or ask for. Even if you set a 'no-gift-policy' this year, chances are that you've ended up with something surplus anyway.


If you're struggling with what to do with those gifts that weren’t on your wish list and want to deal with them in an environmentally friendly way, fret not – here’s Vogue Scandinavia's comprehensive guide on how to give these gifts a new, sustainable purpose.


Resell them

If the gift you received is not to your taste, or your wardrobe is already filled to the brim, a good idea could be to find the piece a new home. Resell sites such as Sellpy or Tise are an effortless way to list your items online. "The good news is that your unloved gift might be just the thing someone else is looking for," says Alma Riihelä, Sellpy's commercial lead in the Nordics.

"We at Sellpy sell items you no longer need — all you have to do is pack the items into a Sellpy bag and book a pick-up. We take care of the rest: we photograph the items, quality-check them, price them, create product descriptions, and make sure they get a second chance to come to better use."

But how do you make sure your pieces stand out from the crowd? Sell items appropriate for the current season, says Riihelä. She also notes that good quality and brand-new products are often the hottest sellers, making your unused Christmas gifts likely to sell fast. Plus, they usually sell for higher than average prices.


Tailor any badly fitting pieces

Got gifted a beautiful piece of clothing that doesn't fit you? Having the garment altered at the tailors is the best way to ensure a perfect fit without the hassle of having to return the item and change sizes — if that's even possible. Plus, by altering the piece to your measurements, your piece's fit will be far better than with the standard store sizes.

With a visit to the tailor's, you'll also do a great favour for our planet. "A big part in reducing the climate impact from the fashion industry is to reduce the number of textile fibres we use," says Joakim Hartzell, a tailor at Götrich & Co, one of Sweden's most renowned and long-standing bespoke tailors. "Buying quality garments from brands that have included enough allowance so you can get them altered to fit you is therefore, a wise choice both for your wallet and the planet. Your favourite clothes that can be altered and repaired, used over a long time, will have the least environmental impact."

From Vogue Scandinavia's December 2022 - January 2023 issue. Wearing double collar jacket, €1,530. Yohji Yamamoto. Cashmere dress, €2,200. Maison Margiela. Leather cowboy boots, €727. Texas Paris. Photo: Branislav Simoncik


Donate your clothes to charity

In case your wardrobe is already packed, donating any un-asked-for clothes you might have received for Christmas is a great way to make your present a much-needed gift to someone else. The options for different charities across Scandinavia are virtually endless, and the process is simple: gather the clothes you want to donate, ensure they are in good condition and drop them in the nearest clothes bin, which you can locate on the charity's website. Alternatively, with most charities, you can stop by their shop and bring the items you want to donate there (check ahead if you’re unsure).

Some of the biggest charities receiving clothes donations in the Nordics are UFF (Finland), Myrorna (Sweden), Red Cross (across Scandinavia) and Fida (Finland). Some charities, such as UFF, will sell your clothes in their shops and donate the proceeds to supporting development work in less fortunate areas of the world, while others, like the Red Cross, will donate your clothes straight to people needing them the most.

UFF is also amongst Finland's most popular second hand clothing shops. Photo: UFF


Rent your pieces out

The last couple of years have seen the popularity of rental platforms for clothes grow immensely, with sites and stores such as Gemme Collective, Ateljé, Vaatepuu and Ganni Repeat leading the way in the Nordics. These platforms allow us to rent garments from a host of brands spanning the high street to the high end for a fraction of their retail price. What could be a better way to enjoy quality wares sans buyer's remorse?

But these sites don’t just allow us to rent others' clothes, platforms like Gemme Collective and Ganni Repeat work both ways: users can list their items for rent as well. So, why not put the clothes you won't be wearing or aren't wearing right now to good use and make a little money from them too?

"The majority of clothes we buy end up unworn or used very little, so it's crucial that we explore business models that extend the life cycle of existing garments," says Ganni co-founder and CEO Nicolaj Reffstrup. Through its platform, Ganni Repeat, launched in 2019, the brand offers its customers the opportunity to resell and rent coveted Ganni pieces.

"The new generation of shoppers has a much more fluid approach to their wardrobe," asserts Reffstrup.