Used and Loved

The ultimate top tips for a second-hand Christmas

Written by Niamh


I know, it's early to be talking about it, but, second-hand Christmas shopping needs extra time.

This is going to be a list I add to as I get more tips from you guys in the community, so if you think of anything to add, this is the ultimate list to add it to!

Planning second-hand Christmas gifts:

  • Not everyone will appreciate a second-hand Christmas gift... but not everyone has to know their gift is second-hand!
    • There are so many items for sale that are either in excellent condition or still have the tags on, that you don't need to let second-hand-phobes put you off!
  • Start making lists of gift ideas. The earlier in the year the better. Anytime you talk to them, they might accidentally give you a great idea of something they would really benefit from, or they would just love to have. Write it down, so you can see if you can find it for them.
    • My partner Davey LOVES fizzy water, but we try not to buy it because of the plastic bottles, and one day he said "I would kill for some fizzy water" (obviously, hopefully, he was joking!), but I knew then and there the perfect gift for him... a soda stream! And he blinking loves it!!
  • Buy better... because second-hand is cheaper, you can buy higher quality things than you might otherwise afford to buy new!
    • And instead of buying everyone loads of smaller gifts, you can buy something really special instead.
Loading placeholder for Santa with list and boySanta with list and boy

Start your second-hand Christmas gift search early:

  • Searching for second-hand, sometimes seems like you need the stars to align! But, if you have the patience, then they usually do!
    • Often when I've been selling second-hand, I'll notice how strange it is, that the random thing I've listed, will usually get taken by someone, eventually. There is that one person out there for everything!
    • And it's the same for buying. You just need to wait for that one person to decide to sell that thing you want, and bingo!
  • Other times, the thing you want to find, is such a good/useful/sought-after thing, that it's the fastest finger first! So you need to keep your eyes peeled (what a saying!!) to get it before someone else does!
  • Second-hand Christmas is not only no different, the competition is on! More people are searching (especially with the cost of living crisis, and the love of second-hand from eBay sponsoring Love Island 😁). More people are listing things for sale too, so you should have a great time searching.

Set a budget, and stick to it:

  • The thing with second-hand shopping is you can get blinded by the fact that you've been searching for a while to find something. So, when you do, logic can go for a walk out the window!
  • You can also discover a million and one things you think are so awesome, and so one-off, that if you don't buy it, you might regret it, and never be able to find it again! So you need a strong head, stay focused on the prize and don't get too distracted by the many rabbit holes!
  • You might also get tempted to give up and buy new, this blog might help you learn how to say no to new.

Second-hand Christmas decorations:

  • It's tempting, when you first start getting those Christmassy feelings, or maybe it's a tradition in your house, that you go out to the shops and buy all new decorations, so you can have a different themed Christmas.
    • Instead, you can keep the ones from the year before, which is the easiest option. And if you loved them last year, you can love them again this year!
    • Build new traditions. Find one really special 'new to you' Christmas decoration each year. Then each one will have more value and hold more of a story, and remind you of each year instead.

The Christmas tree:

  • If you have the space, you can have a live tree, in a pot, with its root, and you just move it in/outside each year.
    • You just need to make sure you water it (all year, not just for Christmas), and re-pot it every few years.
    • It can be part of your family. If you have young children, you can introduce it as your new family member, who will grow bigger and bigger as your kids do too, so magic!
  • Second-hand (and often free) plastic Christmas trees.
    • This is a great one to look for in January when you will get the best selection. But people still have clear-outs throughout the year, and running up to Christmas.
Loading placeholder for Family decorating Christmas treeFamily decorating Christmas tree

Wrapping and cards:

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle. You can use all sorts of things to wrap gifts.
    • Second-hand fabric
    • Pillowcases
    • Newspaper (my favourite)
    • Second-hand wrapping paper
  • Cards are a tricky one. I've seen more and more people stop sending out Christmas cards. I will keep sending them to those that I know will really appreciate them (like a lonely relative).
    • Instead of sending cards to everyone you know, you can give them a call, or send them an email with a really nice update on your life, a link to where some pictures are saved (to save emailing loads of attachments, which are also not great for the planet)
Loading placeholder for Girl holding out second-hand Christmas present in brown paper wrappingGirl holding out second-hand Christmas present in brown paper wrapping

If you have tips and tricks you would like to share for this list... join our group, if you haven't already and write them in a post here: Journey to second hand living UK