Second-hand Gift Giving: Is It Okay to Give a Used Gift?

shopsmartSo here’s is the deal, I would say 60% of the gifts I give to people are second-hand items.

That number may seem high and/or crazy but it is no word of a lie. I am sure you may ask yourself after hearing this statement -is it really okay to give someone a used gift or is it cheap and tacky?

First off you have to know your recipient (the person you are giving the gift to). Most of the people I know “really well’ adore receiving authentic gifts – they appreciate being given something with vintage charm, that not from a big box store.

If I do not know someone well enough to determine their preference (on new and old) or if I have an idea they are passionate about only “shiny and new” I always purchase brand-spanking new.

For Bridal or Baby Showers (more formal events) I generally lean towards not giving used items unless I know the bride or mother to be’s stance and taste.

Most of the time I would say I give a 60/40 split of used and new items in the same bag. This just gives the feel of new and old which can be the best of both worlds. I personally like receiving only old and gently used.

These are the reasons why I have justified that receiving second-hand gifts can be better than getting new:

  1. Personalized & Unique: You can find something unique, not so cookie-cutter and really suitable for a dear friend. I remember I found a vintage silver circular engraved locket once that had the initial “L” on it. I gave it to my best friend Lauren in an old black floral vintage tin. It was probably one of my favourite finds. Something about it screamed her name and that is why it ended in her hands.
  2. Green Giving & Living: Help do your part for the environment. By second-hand giving you are reusing what is already existing and repurposing it – giving it new life. Plus older things always make a house look like a home. Sustainable can be stylin!
  3. Cost Savings: Used merchandise is usually available at a fraction of the cost. This can eliminate the stress or tension that comes with gift giving as there will be more money in your wallet at the end of the day.
  4. Value, Value, Value  -More for Less: I can place 15 used and equally awesome things in a gift bag for the price of one new tamer thing – generally speaking. If you compare dollar for dollar you as giver and them as a recipient get more. Stretch that dollar!
  5. Bringing History Back: What is fun about giving some old is you are bringing some of the great influences from the past back to light. You are also giving a conversation piece that may be the hit of the party. Especially if you have some history to share when giving the piece ex. this jewellery (accessory) was from an established home in this ritzy end of town. The women selling it was in her 90’s and said it came from…
  6. Branching Out Feels Good: It doesn’t hurt to branch out a little ex. give a funky shirt from the past because it may be fun for your friend to try a new style. If you are not spending a ton for a little fun -it doesn’t feel wasteful to stray from the ordinary gift.
  7. Depreciation Never Felt So Good: Some items are just better to buy used from a spending perspective. The second certain things are sold they depreciate in value. By picking them up second hand you may just be getting a better deal. I buy used books for friends all the time and they wouldn’t know the difference except sometimes they will find an old bookmark or entertaining inscription in their book. I think those finds along with a beaten cover are what make a book feel classic.

To each their own. If this is not your thing, I challenge you to think about why second-hand giving is not your thing.

I never thought of gift giving as a status symbol “look at the expensive & flashy thing I got you” for me it has always been about the feeling I provoked in someone I care about when they opened it.

After all, it is really the thought that counts.



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