It’s buying season, and the joy of shopping for and wrapping the perfect gift is here. But, unfortunately, it’s also the season of spending too much money on gifts that may harm the planet.
Secondhand is grand, so let’s normalize pre-owned Christmas gifts for kids.
Secondhand gifts are pre-loved gifts that are better for both the planet and your wallet since these kinds of gifts usually cost a fraction of new ones.
Historically, there may have been some stigma surrounding secondhand gifts, but nowadays, it’s becoming more popular with the resurgence of vintage items.
My husband and I buy lots of our kids’ clothes and toys secondhand, and most of their birthday and christmas gifts are pre-owned. Some I traded for, some we found on ebay, and some we bought from thrift shops. The best part about secondhand gifts is that they cost less, and my kids are just as happy. For example, last year, my boys received rollerblades and legos—both bought secondhand—and my teenaged daughter got a gift card for Thredup.com, where she could buy fashionable shoes, clothes and bags.
Newness doesn’t matter to kids. Of course, they don’t want something that’s broken, like a toy car with no wheels. But I genuinely believe that if it’s a quality present from a thrift store, they’ll love it as much as they would love a new toy.
Tips for Buying Secondhand Kids’ Gifts
Buying gifts from thrift stores, consignment shops, rummage sales, and online marketplaces like eBay or Craigslist can be a great way to find good deals without breaking the bank.
However, you need to be especially careful that the gifts you’re buying are safe for your kids. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Avoid buying secondhand baby furniture or equipment, as safety standards for these items have changed significantly in recent years.
- Helmets and safety pads are good to wear when biking, skating or doing similar activities, but they probably should be bought new rather than used.
- Look for chips, dents, cracks and other signs of wear that could pose a safety hazard.
- Check to see if there are any missing parts that could compromise the item’s safety.
- Search to see if there are any recalls or alerts on the items.
In most cases, there’s nothing wrong with buying something secondhand. Just remember to give whatever you buy a good wash when you get home.
Best Places to Shop for Secondhand Toys and Kids’ Gifts:
Thrift Stores – Find bikes, books, and toys for less.
eBay – Find electronic toys, gaming consoles like PlayStation, Legos, and dolls.
Facebook MarketPlace –Facebook in general is a great place to find used kids items and toys. Just tell people what you’re looking for, and you’ll probably find it! I’m always amazed how someone knows someone who is selling it secondhand.
Craigslist – Find used toys, bikes, skateboards, surfboards, and gaming consoles like PlayStation at affordable garage sale prices. And, since it’s usually local, the items might be closer to home.
Toycycle– An online kids’ thrift store that sells used baby gear, kids’ clothes, and toys.
I know not everyone loves the idea of gifting secondhand items, but I’m a firm believer that buying a good quality used gift makes it possible to make both your kids and the planet happy this Christmas.