5 Places to shop for sustainable, secondhand & unique Christmas gifts

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday sneaking up on us, this seems to be the weekend that people really throw themselves into their Christmas shopping. And sometimes, when there’s a big discount on offer, it can be so tempting to splash the cash – and really difficult to stick your usual ethos of shopping ethically and sustainably. Which is precisely why I wanted to share a few ideas for keeping your Christmas shopping ‘green’ today…

Earlier this week I read about an ATG poll that showed that 82% of survey respondents consider sustainability in some way when making a purchase. That’s fantastic, right?! But I often find that our usual ideals go out of the window when the stress of the festive season is upon us. We’ve got limited time and lots of gifts to buy so, naturally, we head online for convenience or traipse up and down the high street grabbing whatever gifts we can.

So, how can we be more mindful with our shopping, when there’s so much pressure on us at this time of year? I think the key is to start looking for gifts now, and give yourself the time you need to find those special, more sustainable gifts that your family will actually want to keep hold of.

“As a country, we throw away an estimated 1.6m tonnes of bulky waste and furniture every year. So there is still a lot of work to do to educate consumers about how their purchasing decisions – from fashion and food to furniture – impact the environment. And of course, buying second-hand or vintage is usually better for our wallets, too, as there are fabulous deals to be had.”

– ATG CEO, John-Paul Savant

This quote sums up everything I wanted to include in this sustainable shopping blog post. It confirms that buying second-hand, antique, handmade or vintage gifts is THE best way to minimise our impact when stocking up on stocking fillers. And – most importantly for me – that it often costs less to buy second-hand compared to new goods.

So here’s how to do it:

  • Make a list of the people you need to buy gifts for.
  • Carefully consider their interests.
  • Come up with some ideas for vintage, second-hand or locally made items that would suit them.
  • Start shopping now and give yourself time to find the right item.

5 PLACES TO SHOP SUSTAINABLY

  1. Visit makers markets to find handmade, locally-made, sustainable new gifts that puts your money into the pockets of local small businesses.
  2. You don’t have to miss out on online bargains – there are plenty of auction sites where you can bid online to get the ideal gift. Or you can go to a real life auction for a fun, festive day out.
  3. If you’re shopping for tech, many second-hand-but-great-condition devices will be available on Gumtree or Facebook selling pages after Black Friday when other people upgrade their tech.
  4. There are SO many fashion resale sites, like Depop or Vinted where you can pick up second-hand or vintage clothing and accessories – or something for you to wear to the office Christmas party!
  5. Don’t worry about the youngsters on your gift list not wanting to receive a second-hand gift – online thrift store ThredUp’s 2019 Resale Report reported that Millennials and Gen Z are adopting second hand 2.5 times faster than other age groups, showing that fashion resale could be the future of retail. So head to the charity shops for that Christmas jumper, or shop for genuine vintage pieces at auction.

Even though we’re all pushed for time in December, it doesn’t mean you have to rush out and buy whatever you can get your hands on. With a little bit of planning (and some fun festive days out at a craft market or auction!) you can easily get all the gifts you need for your family. PLUS, they’ll be much more thoughtful presents than the usual 3-for-2 toiletries sets that we all end up buying at the last minute!

Do let me know what other ways you can think of for shopping sustainably this Christmas in the comments below. I’d love to hear how you get a bargain while enjoying a ‘green’ Christmas 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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