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When you re not rapt in presents
When you're not rapt in presents

It may be the season of goodwill but for anyone receiving an unwanted gift this Christmas, it could also be the season for painted-on smiles and carefully worded words of gratitude.

No sooner will the turkey go cold before internet auction sites are littered with "brand new", "still boxed" gifts that failed to make the cut around the Christmas tree.

Perth etiquette expert Louise Percy said Christmas time brought with it a host of etiquette dilemmas, the most common being whether to regift, how much to spend and how to deal with unwanted presents.

Ms Percy, who runs the Percy Institute of International Protocol, said regifting was acceptable, provided it was handled sensitively with no chance of the sender finding out.

"I get so many people asking can you regift? Can you return a gift," she said. "I think it's all right to regift if you get something from someone who is not really that close.

"Just make sure you're not regifting it to someone in the same group."

Ms Percy said it was polite to get permission from the sender before returning unwanted or ill-fitting clothing. Most unwanted homewares should be kept to be shown off if the sender was a regular visitor to the home.

Image Power founder Natalia Josephs said buyers could avoid having their presents regifted by putting extra thought into their purchases.

Some items best avoided included alcohol for non-drinkers, sexually inappropriate gifts and personal gifts such as perfume and cosmetics for someone you do not know well.

"Also avoid giving art or crafts you have created," she said.

"You may love it but it may cause embarrassment to the receiver if they do not like it and feel obliged to display the gift."

Lotto tickets and gift cards could make alternative gifts for those on a tight budget, Ms Josephs said. She advises buyers to be careful not to spend too much on budget-conscious friends.

"For example, buying an expensive gift for a child whose parents could not afford similar is bad manners unless discussed openly first," Ms Josephs said.

Consumer watchdog Choice has urged shoppers to watch out for overpriced Christmas hampers and gift cards with restrictive terms and conditions.