How Do You Feel About Used Gifts?

While browsing Andrea’s site not too long ago, I came across her post on used gifts and was wondering what YOU all thought about them.

Why is it that so many people think they have to give brand new items away at Christmas time (or for any holiday, really)? I actually love receiving used gifts and I have many friends and family members who feel the same… but we always receive new gifts during the holidays.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful. Of course I am appreciative of any gift I receive, but I love seeing people save money and one great way to do that is to give used gifts. I’m not talking about dirty or broken items, but things that someone could actually reuse and love as much as you once did.

Here are some used gift ideas that you might consider giving this year.

1. Clothing
Even though new clothing goes on sale all the time, it’s rare that you can pick up an article for a few dollars or less. Thrift stores, yard sales and online classifieds like Kijiji and Craigslist, are great places to find used clothing for a fraction of their original prices.

T-shirts, pants, sweaters, jackets… all of these are articles of clothing that everyone needs. They surely would make great gifts! You will be able to give more than usual, as well, because the cost of used clothing is much lower than anything new.

2. Baby Gear
Do you have an expectant mother and/or father on your gift list this year? Consider giving used baby items that you either pass down yourself or purchase from a thrift store.

Some great used baby gear ideas would be toys, swing, changing table, bouncy seat, high chair, etc. Babies don’t need much to be happy and well cared for.. but the items they do need can be rather expensive if you purchase them all brand new. Baby items are meant to be shared, so go ahead and gift some of your favourite used items this year.

3. Books
As long as there is no visible wear (or not very much, at least), books make great used gifts. Have you seen the price of books lately? I don’t know what’s going on, but prices seem to be going higher and higher all the time.

I can’t justify spending $20 on a book that someone is probably just going to read once. What’s wrong with buying a used copy instead – for only $5?

4. Furniture
If there’s someone on your gift list that has been talking about getting some new furniture, it might be a good idea to see if you can pick something up for them from the classifieds or a thrift store.

Some people are very picky about the type of furniture that they purchase, though, so I wouldn’t advise giving used furniture gifts to those folks. However, if you know that your friend or family member is open to different types of used pieces, it may be a good idea to see if this is something you are able to purchase for them.

Coffee & side tables, baskets & bins, lamps and coat racks are all great gift ideas… but do pay attention to what people are mentioning needing and try to only pick up those pieces to avoid adding more clutter to someone’s home.

5. Home Decor
Think candles, serving dishes, clocks, mirrors, and artwork when it comes to home decor gifts. These types of items can always be found at your local thrift store, so be sure to check out their selection every so often to find that perfect little something for a loved one.
Home decor gifts are one of my favourite things to receive (used or new!). I’m not even close to being a designer, but I do know that you have to love your home and the things inside it if you want to be happy living there. Since I spend a good 90% of my time in the house, I want to be surrounded by beautiful things.

Giving used gifts does not make you cheap and it does not mean that you are poor. You are choosing to give those types of gifts because you think they will be useful and loved by the recipient(s).

Of course, it’s a good idea to make sure that the people/person you plan to give used gifts to are okay with the idea. Some people are really put off by letting used items come into their home and it’s probably not very smart to gift those types of items if you’re unsure of the recipients’ feelings toward used goods.

Giving used gifts is not only a great way to save money, but it is a fantastic way to recycle! One (wo)man’s trash is another (wo)man’s treasure…. right?

Do you like to receive used gifts? Please let us know in the comments.

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  1. Christine says:

    I don’t mind a used gift if it a collectible item or antique. I also like homemade gifts like baking or soaps etc.

  2. sb says:

    My nephews are happy with anything they receive, but my niece once turned her nose up at a gift (that was new!) because some of the tape on the box was loose, so she pouted, crossed her arms and said, “It’s USED!”


  3. Lauren says:

    I actually almost only buy used things for my mom, daughter and husband.
    Mom and I grew up garage saling and thats were alot of her presents come from now.
    My daughter is 2 so she doesnt care either way
    My husband, well… he is so used to my frugal livestyle that he expects it now…
    ( he also has his own rule that if “new clothing” shows up in his drawers, dont ask were it care from just wear it if he likes it!)
    of course some gifts are new but alot are used.

    My in laws on the other hand, I think would die if i gave them something used…

    and we also have a friends christmas party ( we are in our mid 20’s) and each year someone holds it (usually there is someone each year that has moved out, bought a house ect.. and they like to show it off… and the theme for the secret santa is ” make it, regift it, acquire it… as long as you dont go out and buy it/ spend money on it” …. I love it, always some of the best gifts get given this way 🙂

  4. Coleene Major says:

    My kids don’t know the difference between new and used. My husband and I always say “it is new to you”. I am thankful that my husband and I don’t worry about “things” coming to us “brand new” as we have saved a ton of money shopping at places like Value Village and watching for their 50% off days.

    This saved our butts and our finances when my husband lost his job and we spent 2 years living on very reduced income due to the situation it put us in.

  5. Holly says:

    I think it is sad that North Americans are so obsessed with the material. I am always touched by the thought that is put into giving a gift, new or used. Christmas, birthdays, etc should not be about giving a gift and worrying about social acceptance if a gift is given that is used or not given at all. This is why Rememberance Day is the absolute best holiday in my opinion. It has a meaning that is unattached to consumerism and represents something that is very important to everyone without the stress of giving gifts at all.

  6. Lisa says:

    I’m not the type of person who enjoys used clothing. (although there is nothing wrong with it) but one thing I do LOVE….. is getting my old or my husbands old baby clothes that my son can wear! That’s my favorite because it’s something we enjoyed as we were little, and now my son can enjoy!

  7. Fay says:

    My family has always given – and enjoyed! – used gifts.

    Two of my most memorable Christmas presents were used – an old fashioned dolls’ pram and a HUGE stack of Sweet Valley High novels.

    Now that we’re all adults we have a spending limit of $35 per person – and this often includes used items. My best find this year was a Nygard skirts for $7.50 that a friend took in, and that my sister will love.

  8. Clare says:

    I have bought most of my gifts this year from the Salvation Army thrift store. I don’t mind used at all! I did receive one present one year from my MIL. She has sinced passed away. It was a set of coffee mugs with the ring of coffee still in the bottom of two of the mugs. Now that was too USED for my liking. She also gave my dh (her son) a size medium shirt and he hadn’t been a medium for quite a few years. I would rather of had just a card from her because it showed she put no effort in giving us the gifts.

  9. Jamie says:

    We don’t mind getting or giving used gifts. My kids also don’t really know the difference between new and used. My oldest is 9 now and understands there is a difference between buying new vs. buying used, but she is not bothered by having 2nd hand items. All year long we buy almost everything 2nd hand. If we really need something, we always look for it 2nd hard first and then if can’t find it we start to look for new.

  10. Gen says:

    I received a wonderful gift in the fall, that I know was used. I know this because it was a partylite candle holder that was from a collection they haven’t sold in a few years. It was the one piece of the collection I didn’t own, and I was so delighted to know that my friend found it and thought of me. I have also given used gifts before, it truly is the thought that counts, and sometimes when you are out browsing the second hand shops you actually find the perfect gift.

  11. Caroline says:

    I too appreciate used or “recycled” gifts, handmade gifts too…we also have a tight $$ limit which is anything goes!!

  12. Mia says:

    Except in very special circumstances, I would never give someone a used item as a gift. Circumstances in which I think used gifts are okay are if the item was an heirloom or otherwise special item. I wouldn’t just go to a thrift store and pick out something that was previously owned by a stranger. (I would, however, purchase things for myself and immediate family from a thrift store) or if the item is an antique/usually bought used anyway/not readily available new in stores. Or as someone has already mentioned in the story in their post, something that someone was looking for and you happened to stumble across. I think homemade gifts are a kind gesture however, because you put time and effort into creating a gift with that person in mind. I think these types of gifts are both frugal and thoughtful. I don’t know if I agree that I or the people I know would feel quite the same about something that was bought used, no matter how thoughtful it may seem.

  13. Kristy says:

    I actually asked family to buy used baby toys for Christmas this year…they save money, and baby receives “new” items to play with! I’ve also given TV series DVD’s that I purchased at a movie store that closed…I watched them first, then re-gifted them too! They were more than happy to have received the entire season!

  14. Betty says:

    I have no problem with used gifts (been doing it for years). However, as I am informed by my eldest daughter be careful of used furniture especially with the boom in bedbug infestations. You may be getting more than you bargained for. One lady I know thought she was getting a great deal on an antique desk but wound up having to take rabies shots. The reason: Dead rabid bats were found behind drawers of desk & no one was wearing gloves. Anyways, Merry Christmas to all (or Happy Holidays, Happy Hannakuh if you don’t celebrate Christmas)

  15. Melanie says:

    I think it’s a good way to save money i enjoy recieveing used gifts so yes it’s good

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