Thrifted Gift Ideas

Thrifted Gift Ideas

Buying gifts second-hand might feel like a cheapskate move but if money is tight and you're trying to reduce waste, thrifting some of the things you need to buy can be an easy way to make gifting a little more eco-friendly. I shopped second-hand for a few gifts last year and I'm doing it again this year because no one notices and no one cares if you get them something they want.

57% of us receive things we don't want at Christmas, that's 60 million unwanted gifts that often sadly end up in the bin rather than being regifted or donated. The most common unwanted gifts include bath products, film or box sets, candles, chocolates, and socks. The easiest way to avoid wasted gifts (and money) is to simplify gifting. Only exchange gifts with close friends and relatives, avoid tit-for-tat gift exchanges, agree to a spending cap, and share wishlists so you know what you're buying (or receiving) is wanted and needed.

Thrifting is another steps towards reducing waste and repurposing gifts. Since there are so much unwanted stuff gifted at Christmas, it makes sense many of those items were never opened and never used. If you thrift online and in-person, you'll discover plenty of like-new unwanted possessions being sold for a lot less than the retail price, sometimes even being given away for free.

I've found everything from books to backpacks in brand new condition with the dust covers and tags still on. There was very little difference between a brand new item and the one I purchase second-hand except for the price. Before resorting to buying new, write a list of the gifts you want to buy and check online marketplaces, auction sites, and thrift shops. You'll be surprised at how many gifts you can pick up, the waste you can reduce, and how much money you can save. Here are few ideas for gifts to consider buying second-hand.

Thrifted Gift Ideas


People often donate books in excellent condition. They've usually been read only once or just flicked through and send off to the thrift store or put up for auction on eBay. Second-hand books are usually a third of the retail price meaning you save a hefty sum especially on hardbacks. A bundle of children's storybooks, a new cookbook, or a stack of cult classics; whatever you're looking for you'll undoubtedly find second-hand, online or in-store. When I can't find a book at the library, I buy second-hand and I'll be doing the same for any books I purchase as gifts.

Home Decor

Baskets, cushions, vases, blankets, and pots - even small items of furniture like stools, benches, or magazine racks. There are so many home decor items available online and in thrift shops. Picking a homeware gift that is warmly received relies on knowing someone's style very well so make sure what you're buying is in keeping with their home. I discovered a mid-century magazine rack worth quite a bit more than I paid for it in a charity shop, and numerous baskets and planters for styling in my home.

Pots and Jars

There are plenty of Kilner and Le Parfait jars available to purchase for cheap in charity shops ideal for filling with homemade treats. Some of them are plain while others have lovely decorations on them. I've purchased a couple to fill with homemade candied nuts and spiced cookies to give away as gifts. You could also fill them with DIY scrubs, brownie mix, herb or spice blends, or homemade pickles. Decorative pots can be turned into planters, either for herbs or houseplants, or turned into vases with bundles of dried flowers.


Some of my best finds in thrift shops have been knitted jumpers and cardigans. If you know someone who would appreciate knitwear with a vintage flair, you can pick up a few pieces for a very affordable price online or in-store. Charity shops are the best place to buy festive jumpers from Nordic sweaters to novelty jumpers at a much more affordable price. Don't forget about scarves, gloves, and woolly hats too.

Games and Jigsaws

Not everyone appreciates board games or jigsaw puzzles but if you know someone who does, there are plenty of unwanted games on auction sites and marketplaces and every charity shop I know stocks a selection of jigsaws. Games in particular make a great gift for large and small families alike because they are so diverse. Board Game Geek can help you find the best games depending on what type of game you're looking for and how many players there are.

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