Would You Give Second-Hand Gifts To Your Friends And Family This Christmas?

Good for the planet (and your pocket) – but would you do it?

second hand gifts for christmas 2021

by Natalie Hammond |

The panic starts to set in sometime around November. Christmas. Is. Coming. But instead of leaving it to the last moment - and impulse-buying a load of tat from your nearest high street that your family will diplomatically stuff under their beds later - why not start thinking about doing things a bit more sustainably this year? In fact, instead of buying anything new at all, why not go one step further and go second-hand this festive season?

According to Vinted, the online marketplace dedicated to buying and selling second-hand clothing, giving something second-hand still carries something of a stigma. Its survey found that only one in six people said they intended to buy solely second-hand gifts this Christmas, while more than half of people surveyed said they intended to buy a mixture of new and second-hand. (Just anecdotally, I love buying second-hand clothes for myself, but can't remember ever gifting something vintage or pre-loved to friends or family.)

Natacha Blanchard, consumer lead at Vinted, says there's no reason for such a stigma to exist. 'Gifting a pre-loved item isn’t just a great option to find a unique or even a vintage gift, it's also a cost-effective and practical way to share our conscious values with our loved ones. And who knows, you might even encourage them to play their own part towards a more circular and sharing economy,' she says.

Think back to you last Christmas. How much money did you spend on gifts for your friends and family? Now think about where those gifts are. If they're under the aforementioned bed - or if they got dropped at the local charity shop after New Year's Day - then maybe it's time to do things differently.

'Second-hand does not mean second-best or old, and it is important to remind ourselves that this also counts for gifts,' says Blancard. 'There are plenty of pre-loved gift ideas and items with beautiful stories that are just waiting for a new chapter. Opting for a pre-loved or second-hand item doesn’t diminish the spirit of gifting, if done right it actually can be more meaningful.'

In terms of how you'll be helping the planet, Cathy Moscardini, sustainability manager at Depop, explains. 'In the UK, extending the life of a piece of clothing by an extra nine months can reduce its carbon, waste and water footprint by 20-30%. By shopping second-hand this Christmas, you’re helping prevent the mass discarding of clothing – and often supporting a social cause or a small business in the process,' she says. 'It’s also very easy to search Depop using hashtags and searching for keywords specific to your friend or family member. Ask questions - find out if the person you are gifting is into any new trends or hobbys then look for items that fit into those categories.'

When it comes to nailing the art of second-hand gifting, Camille Charrière recently posted about a vintage velvet dress that she bought from a stall for $100 a on trip to New York, offering some choice advice about buying something pre-loved to her followers. 'Always try things on, don’t buy something too small hoping you’ll fit into it one day but do buy something too big that can be tailored, don’t be afraid to barter, enquire about return/exchange policies, and always ask to see whats in the back (mark my words, that's where the good stuff is plus they’ll know you’re a pro).' If you're more of an online shopper, then start with places like Vinted, Depop, Vestiaire Collective, eBay and HEWI.

Of course, if you're buying for someone else then it can be difficult to judge size so perhaps stick to items that aren't so dependant on a snug fit like knitwear (great for #sweaterweather), blouses, dresses (as long as they're not bodycon) and, of course, accessories (trousers, in my experience, tend to be the most difficult to guesstimate so are perhaps worth avoiding).

Got it? Good. Here's to a more sustainable Christmas - and no stuffing things under the bed.


SEE: Our Guide To The Best Second-Hand Fashion Platforms

1 of 7

Loved by 29 million users worldwide, you'll find high street sell-outs, niche streetwear hits and vintage clothing on this easy-to-use app. Known for a lower (and flexible) price point, the communication is super quick so be prepared to barter and settle on a good price when selling/buying. And top tip: when selling on Depop, treat your feed like your Instagram, embracing the #aesthetic for more interest.

2 of 7

Heroine, born from brother site Grailed, focuses on branded fashion from smaller streetwear brands to high fashion labels. 'For enthusiasts, by enthusiasts', it's the ultimate destination for the one that got away. Whether it's archive Helmut Lang or sell-out Supreme, this is 'the one' for dedicated fashion fans on the hunt for that perfect piece.

3 of 7

eBay doesn't just focus on fashion, but is a great option for anything and everything between. Be careful on Buy It Now/Auction to make sure your luxury items don't sell for 99p (our handy guide will help).

Vestiaire Collective
4 of 7

Most fashion editors have a wishlist as long as their arm on luxury resale site Vestiaire Collective, which also offers a concierge service so that you can outsource the entire selling process to the in-house team. It's the largest, and ultimate, resale site for designer clothes and accessories that are verified for authenticity by in-house experts.

5 of 7

Similar to Vestiaire Collective, HEWI, or Hardly Ever Worn It, offers authentication on pre-owned goods that, as the title suggests, have hardly ever been worn. With a real focus on luxury, this is where you can find those prized fashion pieces at a fraction of the price, and in mint condition. What's not to love?

6 of 7

Everything available on this platform benefits a chosen charity (sellers recommend which they'd like to support during the listing process, with a minimum of £1 and a maximum of 66% of the sale price donated) to make for an almost guilt-free shopping (or selling) experience.

7 of 7

Vinted is the resale platform for anyone who believes that 'good clothes should live long'. With a global community of 50 million - and activity in 15 different markets, including the UK - make it your one-stop-shop for buying and selling second-hand.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us