While I recently shared my eco-friendly gift ideas post, something I wanted to chat about today are secondhand gift ideas.

Compared to buying new, shopping secondhand is an even more sustainable way to treat our loved ones at Christmas, or for birthdays or other special occasions. And it can be gentler on our bank balance too. Yet there is often a stigma around secondhand gifts, that prevents more people from giving secondhand.

When it comes to secondhand gift ideas, there is a huge difference between a bobbly, misshapen jumper, or dog-eared book, compared to a well thought out piece that’s perfect for your recipient. It’s important to remind ourselves that secondhand does not mean second-best. There are a wealth of ideas of secondhand gift ideas for everyone, that would be a delight to receive.

I’ve set out some of my five favourite secondhand gift ideas, as well as ideas on where to shop for them. In most cases, I’d recommend starting your search online, in order to gather inspiration.

Your search might take you minutes, to a few days to a few weeks, but secondhand websites are usually updated frequently, so the right gift is bound to appear. With both patience and persistence, you’ll find the perfect gift within your budget, that’s meaningful for your loved one.

secondhand gifts ideas for christmas and birthdays

My Top Five Secondhand Ideas for Sustainable Gift Giving

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Vintage Vinyl

Secondhand gift ideas that work especially well are gifts that people expect to be old. One of these is vinyl.

Vinyl records are enjoying a revival right now, with, in 2019, vinyl outselling CDs for the first time in forty years. If your loved one is into vinyl, then a vintage record from one of their favourite artists would make a great secondhand gift idea. You may have to ask some prying questions first to discover what gaps they have in their collection, but it’s worth it to avoid buying something they already own.

Once you’ve worked out what record they would love, it’s time to get searching. Online eBay, Oxfam Online, and Discogs are great places to look for secondhand vinyl. Locally, you might have a secondhand record shop near you. Alternatively, Oxfam has six dedicated bricks and mortar music shops across Scotland and England that are a joy to browse in.

Vintage Jewellery

I always think there is something really special about vintage jewellery. I think it’s the idea that the piece has had a whole life of hidden stories with someone else. For that reason, I think it makes for one of those really great secondhand gift ideas.

Vintage jewellery is another thing that people expect to be old. And the great news is there is a ton of choice out there. From ostentatious costume jewellery, to elegant and refined vintage pieces, you name it, and I guarantee you can find it.

Etsy and eBay are good places to look online, as is Oxfam Online. Charity shops and antique shops are also a delight to browse for vintage jewellery, and if you have a specific piece in mind the shop may be able to call you if something comes in matching your description.

Toys

I’ve been buying my kids’ secondhand toys for their Christmas and birthdays since they were little, like in this post. Although that two-year-old is now almost a nine-year-old…!

We look for things that are in good condition. To make it special for the big day, we give the toys a wipe down and wrap them up prettily in a box with a bow on top.

Toys that we have found that work well secondhand include things like Lego and Duplo, as well as wooden toys. We’ve also had success with dolls (less so Barbie dolls, because their hair and costumes don’t always stand up to kids play), bikes, and games – just check all the pieces are there first.

Charity shops, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Gumtree are all great places to look. I’m having the most success with Facebook Marketplace at the moment – prices are reasonable and many sellers are open to negotiating on price.

Vintage Homeware

I’m not a person that buys a lot of clothes. Instead, my Achilles heel is vintage homeware. I cannot walk past a charity shop without having to go in to look at their homeware section. There’s not an antique store I don’t love. Right now the secondhand holy grail for me are these beauties and vintage mirrors.

If this sounds like your loved one, then a piece of vintage homeware is a great choice, as long as you are certain what style and which era they are into.

If you are pressed for time, then I find Etsy the best place to look online for vintage homewares. Both eBay and Facebook Marketplace can be a bit hit or miss, however, there are bargains to be had in both places if you get lucky. Charity shops and antique shops can be enjoyable to browse, but there are no guarantees you’ll find what you are looking for.

Unused and Unboxed Items

It’s a sad fact that people get given gifts that they don’t necessarily want. In the UK, British people receive over £2bn-worth of unwanted gifts, many of which are never opened, and donated to charity or sold on. An eye-watering figure if ever there was one.

Gifts are unwanted for a number of reasons. It could be the wrong size or style, or just not to their taste. It could be a duplicate of something they already have. Just because it’s unwanted, doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with it. Indeed, someone’s unwanted gift could be another person’s treasure, so it is worth keeping an eye out in case it’s the perfect thing for your loved one.

Charity shops and Facebook Marketplace are good places to look for unused and unboxed items – just check the box hasn’t been torn or ripped. eBay and Depop are good for clothes that still have their tags on them but haven’t been worn.

What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear!

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