Shop to swap unloved gifts for practical presents

Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:55am EST
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By Marja Novak

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - If your drawers are packed with the ghosts of Christmases past in the shape of unwanted gifts, a new Slovenian shop may be just the thing for you this year.

On a narrow cobbled street winding up to a mediaeval castle overlooking the Slovenian capital, Darilnica (the Gift Shop) opened this month as a place where Christmas, birthday, anniversary, indeed gifts of any kind, can be exchanged for something you do want.

Four young women - three architects and a public relations expert - decided to open the shop to make people think before giving presents, particularly at Christmas.

"People get and give too many presents nowadays so we believe there is a need for a shop where you can exchange gifts, so that every present gets an owner who will find good use for it," one of the four women, Masa Cvetko, told Reuters.

She was wrapping up an ornament, a crystal cross that one of the customers got at her wedding a few years ago. She never liked it and eventually brought it to the shop, where it was exchanged for a piece of soap someone else brought in.

"We set no price on the presents, one can take anything we have in exchange for any present they bring and there is no money involved," Cvetko said.

"We hope to make people think before giving a gift and make them give presents that mean something, that have a symbolic, personal value," she added.

Each present is put in a box, wrapped up neatly and placed under a large Christmas tree while its photo is put on the wall so people can choose presents from the photos.   Continued...

<p>A woman checks gifts under a Christmas tree in the newly opened Darilnica (the Gift Shop) in Ljubljana December 22, 2009. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic</p>