For most of us, unwanted gifts are one of the more unwelcome aspects of the Christmas season. But for online auction website eBay not only are they proving a great money-spinner but also the perfect subject for a New Year headline story.

The highly successful online bidding site is talk of the PR world after it courted the attention of the national newspapers with a fascinating statistic about the number of unwanted Christmas gifts being listed for auction at this time of year.

It claims that more than 3,000 rejected gifts have already been put up for sale on the site since Christmas. Many of the items have been listed as unopened, offering the bidder the chance to gamble on what’s inside.

Some of the listings also make a great story in their own right, offering tales of gifts from spurned lovers, mothers-in-law and Secret Santas.

Amongst some of the more amusing item descriptions includes one for several unwrapped presents from an ex-boyfriend listed as ‘7 unwanted, unopened Christmas presents. I want nothing to do with him or what he has to say or give me. More than likely the usual jewellery, perfume, make-up’.

Another eBay member was equally desperate to get rid, stating ‘It’s a one day auction as I just want them gone. I have no idea what’s in them but they are from a scumbag ex who thinks presents will win me over’.

You can only congratulate the PR people at eBay for spotting a great opportunity to steal the limelight at a time of year when the most of us are traditionally on the lookout to grab a bargain.

But what we like in particular about this crafty PR coup is the underlying message behind the story.

For many of us, receiving an unwanted Christmas present is a familiar annual occurrence. So when we read that other people are shamelessly listing their unwanted presents on eBay, chances are that thousands more will now follow in their footsteps.

And this, of course, means more listings, more auction fees and more profit for eBay.

About the author

Kevin is the principal contributor and longest-serving member of our blog-writing team. He also runs his own website copywriting business Write Online.