Instead of shop ’till you drop, we say slow down and buy second hand!
The world is a whole lot more sustainable than it used to be. We try and recycle as much as we can, reduce the amount of plastic that we use and fix our loved items rather than replace them, all to help reduce the huge impact of waste on our world. So why does Christmas make all of this hard work go out the window?
We rush around spending cash we sometimes don’t have on many things we don’t need just to show those special to us that we love them. We’re all guilty of believing the more we spend, the more we care and it’s time for this to change. Although we now campaign for second hand and recycling to become the norm, we don’t have the same mind-set when it comes to Christmas gifts. Instead, many believe that a second hand or recycled gift is an insult or means that we haven’t been thought about as much.
Why second-hand makes the perfect gift
In fact, a second-hand or handmade gift is actually a whole lot more thoughtful than you think! It allows us to connect more with the recipient and takes a lot more planning and imagination than buying a gift from a store.
What we need to do this Christmas is stem the flow of plastic toys, cheap party clothes and throwaway electronics and give a gift that truly means something to our loved ones and our environment.
The huge benefits of buying second-hand
Protect our pockets!
According to money.co.uk, UK shoppers spent an average of £780 each on Christmas gifts in 2019. That’s not even taking into account the amount spent on food and decorations too. Not only this, GWP Group discovered that a whopping £42 million of unwanted Christmas presents are thrown out and end up in landfill in the UK every year. So, not only does our Christmas spending leave a pretty big hole in our pockets, it could just be going to waste too!
Protect the environment
Even if recipients are keeping gifts they receive, it still means they are most likely replacing old items meaning these are thrown away too. A report from the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership found that 2019 set the record for the amount of e-waste ever generated worldwide. 53.6 million metric tons of discarded phones, computers, appliances and other gadgets were disposed of with most of them pilling up around Christmas time. This is a whopping 21% increase since 2014.
Help your community
After a turbulent year, charity shops are struggling to survive. One good thing though, is that after a year of clear outs, they have plenty on offer so you could find yourself some real treasures! If you’re looking for something in particular, you could even try searching for online sellers. Places like Facebook shopping, eBay or Gumtree allow people to sell their unwanted goods for much cheaper prices. Sometimes these are barely used. This way you can help out your local charity or help someone get rid of their unwanted stuff and get a great bargain for your Christmas gifts. Much better than it being sent to landfill!
So where do we start?
Second-hand gift first timer? No problem! We’ve got some great gift ideas to get you started.
For the kids
Kids get through toys faster than you can say Merry Christmas! That’s why charity shops and consumer selling sites are full of practically untouched toys and games. Before you head out to buy new check these out instead. You could even have some old-school fun with a board game gift to keep them entertained or find some great hand-made crafts for their room.
For the culture lover
A relax with a good old fashioned book is a gift you can’t beat! If your friend or family member is a true book-lover, head out to an old book store or charity shop. Find out what kind of books they love to read and surprise them with something they may not have heard of yet or a classic to get their teeth into.
For the interior fanatic
You can’t go wrong with some vintage decor! Check out some local vintage shops or scan charity shops for some unique gifts they are bound to love. A special ornament, cup and saucer set or unusual painting will surely show them you know them.
For the foodie
Bake! If you’re into baking or even if you’re a newbie, try out some new recipes of the treats you know they love. You could even purchase a vintage container for them or even make your own that they can use afterwards. It’s thoughtful and yummy at the same time!
For the gadget fanatic
If you’re looking for gadgets such as phones, iPads or games consoles, you don’t have to pay over the odds. Stores like CEX sell quality used gadgets or you can check whether people are selling their pre-loved ones on seller sites. If you wanted to gift your loved ones a new appliance such as coffee machines or a kettle and toaster set, you can check out charity shops or seller sites again. You can save even more by buying appliances that are faulty and fixing them up yourself. That will really show you’ve put the effort in!
For the fashionista
Every fashionista loves a one-off piece and where better to get one of those than your local charity shop or vintage store. If you’re looking for something a little newer, websites such as Re-Fashion stock second-hand clothes that are only in top condition and from major high-street brands too.
For the second-hand sceptic
If you’re gifting a non-vintage lover or someone that may be slightly sceptical when it comes to second hand, why not go for an upcycled gift instead. Etsy has some great upcycled gifts and sites such as Wearth London and green tulip have some fantastic creations made from recycled materials. Or, you could save money and create your own gifts from things around your home. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog with some great ideas on this.
So let’s do Christmas a little differently this year. If we embrace the true value of second-hand and pre-loved items we can benefit not only ourselves but our environment and our loved ones too.