How to Give Used Gifts Without Being Tacky
Contrary to popular belief, giving gently used items as gifts doesn't have to be tacky. Sometimes, it can result in a deeply personal gift that comes with big impact and a small price tag. Plus, whenever you purchase a used item or give a gently used gift, you're doing something good for the environment. Sustainable gift-giving is also a great way to maximize your money. To ensure your success, all that's required is a little creative thinking.
Dos and Don'ts in Giving Used/Recycled Gifts:
- Don't re-gift things you really wouldn't choose to give someone in order to just to get them it your hands. Doing so will make you look cheap, not thoughtful.
- Don't try to pass off used things as new. Be upfront about the fact that gifts are used. In fact, I love to call attention to the fact that items are not new by using recycled gift tags (as well as recycled gift wrap too).
- Do be thoughtful when giving recycled gifts. Matching the person to the present is even more important when giving used gifts.
- Don't give things that are excessively worn out, or don't have much “life” left in them.
- Don't give baby gear that could be subject to recalls (like car seats)
- Don't give something that comes with an obligation unless you know it's wanted – such as a used smartphone that will require the person to go into the store to activate it
- When you shop for gifts on eBay, do be sure to start early on in the season. You'll need to enough to allow time for the auction to run its course and the item to be shipped. You can also use eBay to look for gift cards, holiday apparel from your favorite stores for holiday parties.
- Do check out other resale sites like Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist can also be great places to shop. Or, check out Etsy for upcycled merchandise as well.
- Do KNOW the person you're giving the gift to. If they're regular thrift store shoppers or eBay junkies, they'll be more receptive to the gift. Other people may turn up their noses at the thought of receiving something that's not new. Ultimately you have to know your audience to know how the gift will be received.
Recycled gift ideas:
- An old toy you used to enjoy as a child
- The first edition of someone's favorite book
- Storytime book pack and video
- Antique postcards from a favorite place or hometown for a shadowbox
- “Lots” of DVDs or books of your child's favorite character purchased on eBay
- Use recycled jars to bottle your favorite homemade sauces
- Swap old video games for other gently used video games at used video stores
- Glassware and commemorative items found at thrift stores to match a person's hobbies or favorite places
- A lighted beer sign for someone's bar
- Vintage t-shirts of the recipient's favorite band, sports team or alma mater
Recycled Gifts I've Given and Received:
Last year, one eBay gift I gave was a collection of Family Circus books for my daughter. She loves reading them at her grandparents' house, but since they're out of print they can't be found in stores. While I can't get them anywhere nearby, used copies are still available on eBay. I purchased a “lot” of about 10 books for around $15. That's much less than buying ten new books, plus she'll love them!
My dad is also a huge Blatz Beer fan, and has been for many years. I found a collectible Blatz light-up sign he could display above the refrigerator in the garage. This was a lot more meaningful to him than anything new I could have purchased at the same price.
When my daughter was born, I received a used Diaper Genie (yes, it had been cleaned and sanitized) What made it special was that my friend decorated it with my nursery theme.
What are some recycled gifts you've given or were received that were a big hit? Comment below!