Do you give second-hand presents?

As an advocate of all things second-hand is it fair that I should give my friends pre-loved gifts too? I recently purchased this  book through the charity book buying site: Green Metropolis.



It was on the recommendation of blogger Silver Bells and I was delighted to find a copy to give to my friend for her birthday. We usually buy each other books and I know she’ll love the story. I had been about to buy a copy on Amazon but when Green Metropolis was recommended I decided to purchase from the site. As it mentions in the accompanying gift slip:

“Your gift was purchased from, a company dedicated to turning read books green by encouraging its members to recycle their books…”

My purchase also included a small donation to the Dogs Trust. There are a number of charities that sellers on the site can choose to donate some of their sales to.

I still feel slightly tight as the book cost less than a full price, brand new one. But my friend is  environmentally conscious and I know she will appreciate the charitable donation, and re-usability of the gift (I hope).

In the past my second-hand present buying has been limited to my daughters (a few charity shop books at Christmas) and my husband (see here for the vinyl spin on this year’s birthday present)

However I’m still unsure what the majority of my friends and family would think if I started shopping for their birthdays exclusively at second-hand shops.

Over the past few years I have bought the Oxfam Unwrapped gift cards (especially for all the 40th and 50th birthday parties I seem to be going to at the moment).  I find these are the easiest things to get when I don’t want to give the birthday boy/girl yet another unwanted ornament.

I also keep a shelf of unopened and unused presents which my daughters have received. They do get a lot of presents from family and friends and there’s only so many craft sets a child can use. Again, I feel rather mean re-gifting these but they can also solve the last minute party present crisis.


So I’m still undecided about second-hand presents. I will see what my friend’s reaction is when she opens her gift this weekend.

What about you? Do you give second-hand, or ‘re-gift’ unwanted presents?

10 thoughts on “Do you give second-hand presents?

  1. Like you, I’m in two minds about this. So far, I’ve been sticking to buying what friends/family request, but this year my dad did say he’d be happy with second hand copies of the books he was after, which was great!

    I’ve been moving to buying more gifts from small businesses on Etsy or local shops – not second hand but better than buying mass-produced gifts, I think.

    Regarding ‘re-gifting’, that’s definitely something I would do, or donate the unwanted presents to charity.

      • The Green Metropolis is completely down to Helen. They also do gift vouchers which I would be tempted to give to friends.I, too, am trying to use Etsy more. Good luck with the hunt for your Dad’s books – there’s something very nice about browsing in second-hand bookshops

  2. Great that you found Green Metropolis – and nice to know that what I write has positive knock-on effects!

    As for presents, I have bought secondhand stuff for my daughter. Depending on the quality, I think I would do the same for others but also like to support small shops and producers.

  3. Green Metropolis is such a fine – thank you so much! Think I’ll continue to get second-hand gifts for close family and will probably be doing Christmas shopping in the local charity shops soon…

  4. Emma Croft says:

    I had this same dilemma recently. I found a perfect set of bath toys in the charity shop for my friend’s one year old but really wasn’t sure how she would respond. I was up front that they were second hand and was she ok with that and as it turned out she was delighted on all accounts. I did wimp out a bit however and buy some eco baby bath soap as an accompaniment!

  5. I don’t think that was wimping out- what a nice present to get (something new and something old). I really think it depends on whom you are giving the present to and their values. Sounds like your friend was pretty happy with the bath toys. My friend got her book yesterday and was happy with it and liked the idea of Green a Metropolis so phwew!

  6. I once read the view that if we are given something then it should be the givers intention that the item is ours to as we wish with.
    I think it’s good to regift. I also give more home made gifts now, jams etc. People all have plenty in the main and I think they often feel overwhelmed with stuff too.

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