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Unwanted gifts should be put to good use

MORE than £2 billion of unwanted gifts will go to waste this Christmas because Britons are stumped by the etiquette of gift giving and receiving.

Enough presents to fund two Millennium Domes will gather dust before being sneakily passed on or thrown away, according to the leading Internet swapping site

So Webswappers has joined forces with etiquette experts Debrett’s to save festive blushes and make sure that good manners end the waste this year.

For example, Zoe Gullen, assistant editor of Debrett’s said: "Unless it’s for a wrongly-sized item of clothing, it is very rude to ask for receipts. But that does not mean unwanted gifts should just go to waste.

"It is far better and perfectly good manners to swap unwanted gifts for something you do want. What makes it bad manners is for money or receipts to come back into the equation."

Webswappers and Debrett’s have teamed up to produce a 10-point guide for clueless gift givers and receivers to make sure they spend as much time on the act of exchanging presents as they do buying them.

Wasting unwanted gifts is undoubtedly the greatest Christmas crime, says Debrett’s.

Other major blunders include not putting enough thought into presents, forgetting who’s bought what and late thank you letters.

Jonathan Attwood, Webswappers CEO, said: "For every unwanted present we throw into the back of our wardrobe there is someone out there who wants it and there will be other people who have the things you hoped for but didn’t get.

"It’s better to swap an unwanted gift for something you do want when someone has, with the best intentions, spent time and money on it."

The festive giving and receiving guidelines have been posted on so users can check up on the most polite way to tackle the Christmas present exchange.

The Webswappers - Debretts 10 point guide to present giving and receiving

DO remember that it is the thought that counts when you receive a present that you don’t like

DO always accept presents with good grace

DO swap unwanted presents for something that you really want

DO change a present rather than let it go to waste

DO make sure that thank you letters are sent promptly

DON’T let it be known that you don’t like the present you’ve been given

DON’T ask for the receipt unless it’s for a wrongly-sized item of clothing

DON’T try to sell an unwanted present for cash or ask for receipts

DON’T feel guilty about exchanging your unwanted present; it could be the very thing that someone else is looking for

DON’T lose the address tags, they will help to remind you of who sent what

DON’T forget that the gesture of giving is more important than the present itself

Whether you’re looking for a Christmas present or you want a post Christmas bargain is the ideal place to swap what you have and find what you want - for free!

Note to Editors:

Webswappers is Europe’s first and leading website dedicated to facilitating the swapping of goods and services online. Webswappers is revolutionising the concept of swapping and bartering by allowing people to swap what they have and find what they want across 400 plus categories - for free. From books and CDs, to cars and houses, there is something for everyone.

Webswappers boasts Nicholas Negroponte amongst its backers and advisors. Negroponte is a highly regarded expert on the digital economy. He is the founder and a director of the MIT media lab, a founder of Wired magazine and author of the best seller, 'Being Digital'. He also serves on the board of directors of Motorola Inc.

In the UK, there are also tax advantages to swapping, for example house swaps incur only £5 in stamp duty, saving people thousands of pounds in tax.

Users have complete flexibility in how they place their ‘haves’ and ‘wants’. They can add photos of their swaps and use the confidential email system for online questioning and bartering. If a user does not see the swap they want, they can set up a swap alert to be notified when it comes online.

The site is also accessible through the world’s first WAP swapshop at

Webswappers is also the world’s largest provider of swapping services to other sites through its ‘powered by webswappers’ service.

For further information:

Jonathan Attwood, CEO

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7610 1575, mobile 0403 314 997


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