Your loved ones will never be able to tell that their gifts aren’t brand new!
Christmas shopping looks quite a bit different this year. Instead of perusing retail parks and shopping malls, many of us are sensibly opting to stay home and tackle our gift lists online instead. COVID precautions aside, most would argue that shopping from the comfort of your own sofa with a Baileys in hand is a much more pleasant experience than dealing with the exhausting scrum of crowds, anyway!
But this convenience comes at an environmental price. It’s all-too easy to click things merrily into your online basket without giving much thought to how they’re made, where they’re coming from or the logistics involved in getting them to your front door – online shopping is designed to be a cheap and cheerful experience, after all. Christmas has always been a time of mass consumption, but this year it’ll be dialled up a hefty notch, and that very much puts us on Santa’s naughty list when it comes to thinking about the climate.
The best way to mitigate this? Shop second-hand. Now for a lot of people, the term ‘second-hand’ conjures up images of unfashionable, musty-smelling clothing, dog-eared books and broken toys, but the advent of smart, sustainably-focused online marketplaces and swap shops has put pay to that. It’s now easier than ever to find and buy almost new, top-quality bargains at the click of a button, meaning you not only save money on your Christmas shopping, but by buying second-hand you’re also saving loads of extra emissions from being churned into the atmosphere. Here are our favourite sites, guaranteed to cater for everyone on your Christmas list.
Preloved is the UK’s fastest-growing free listing website, and unlike existing behemoths such as eBay and Gumtree, you’re able to buy items instantly online – no bartering, no bidding. The site offers everything from furniture and games to jewellery, clothing and homewares, and everything is top quality. This one is particularly worth checking out if you’ve got any toys or games on your shopping list.
Got a few books on your list this year? Before you default to Amazon, check out World of Books. This site offers more than five million used books in fantastic condition, covering all the latest releases as well as the classics. There’s a great selection of kids’ books, plus an old and rare section which is definitely worth exploring if you’ve got any collectors in your life.
A mash-up between eBay and Instagram, Depop aims to make preloved fashion ultra-chic with a trendy, style-centric marketplace that connects buyers and sellers. Search by brand, clothing category or price, or just scroll through Depop’s curated look books for some inspiration. This one is perfect if you’re shopping for a label-conscious fashionista.
If haut-couture is the only thing that will do this Christmas, do your bank balance and the environment a favour by checking out Vestiaire Collective, which deals exclusively in authenticated, pre-owned luxury fashion. Featured in the likes of Vogue and Vanity Fair, the site is certainly pricier than others on this list, but if you’re in the business of spending a lot of money on designer fashion you could still make tidy savings of up to 70%!
Mobile phones, games consoles, tablet computers… devices like these consistently come top of kids’ lists to Santa every year, but as most parents know, they’re expensive, and keeping up with the latest releases is nigh-on impossible. Music Magpie deals in refurbished electronics, which means that while they’ve been used before, they’ve been fully inspected and serviced to ensure they operate as good as new – plus all phones and devices come with a free 12-month warranty.
Oxfam might have started life as a high street charity shop, but nowadays it’s embracing every facet of digital innovation and has expanded to the web, with an online shop that offers everything from clothing and jewellery to art, books and even collectables. Everything is top-notch quality – you can even bag yourself some designer bargains while supporting a good cause.
Another good all-rounder, Shpock is much like Preloved in that it connects buyers and sellers across a wide range of categories, including fashion, electronics, toys and sports gear. This one is predominantly app-based, though, which makes it a good choice for those that need to do some sneaky shopping via their phones.
The bottom line
It’s all well and good preaching the true meaning of Christmas, but the reality is that shopping takes precedence for most people at this time of year. Choosing preloved and second-hand items doesn’t detract from the spirit of giving – both to others and to the environment – and you’ll save some cash in the process, too.
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