By our author Ulrike Seidel
The neighbor’s child’s used bicycle, a puzzle from Ebay classifieds or grandpa’s old violin – many parents will put a secondhand gift under the Christmas tree this year. To save money, protect the environment and because it might feel a bit like the old days. But are secondhand toys really okay for Christmas? And how do you pimp up the bargains to very personal, special gifts?
A flood of gifts threatens every year again
Every year, at the feast of love, I dread (despite all the anticipation) a bit before the beautiful gift-giving ceremony: Have I met the person’s taste? Are the gifts good and expensive enough? Did our child get enough? Will his classmates get more? To be on the safe side, we buy the expensive marble run set, the coolest bike, or a high-end keyboard, plus all kinds of “nice” stuff, pedagogically valuable books, and the new pants of the desired brand. After the colorful splendor lies on the carpet, there are still gifts from grandmas, grandpas, cousins, and aunts… And I pray inwardly that all these things will bring out the blissful smile on our son’s face when he unwraps the longed-for toy and starts playing with it under the Christmas tree.
What used to be secondhand is now “pre-loved” or “refurbished”
But: Does it really have to be? Is it important that all gifts are new? So many? Especially in times of crisis, many parents, grandmas or neighbors can’t and don’t want to afford this annual spending spree. They buy used Christmas gifts. Secondhand has long since lost its somewhat gloomy basement box image: Nowadays, the goods are called “pre-loved”, “pre-owned” or “refurbished” – and are more hip than dingy.
Surveys prove: used gifts are in
A survey conducted by the second-hand fashion exchange “Vinted” in four countries revealed that 56 percent of respondents want to give away and also receive a mix of new and used things for Christmas. A further 14 percent say they only want to give second-hand items as gifts. Other retailers also confirm the trend.
- The sales figures at the second-hand goods retailer Oxfam rise by ten percent in the run-up to Christmas.
- Also a survey on behalf of eBay Germany showed a year ago that the second-hand trend is growing: 33 percent of Germans said they would also give away used items or second-hand goods at Christmas, among young adults (18-29 years) it is even 46 percent. And what would the over 10,000 respondents buy second-hand as gifts? The answer: toys (57.7 percent), bicycles (54.1 percent), electronics like TVs, smartphones or tablets (49.7 percent) and jewelry (49.1 percent).
- Sustainability is the most important reason for 72 percent of Germans to resort to used items or second-hand goods for Christmas gifts. Reason two is the price, which 49 percent of respondents named.
- In a trend study on ethical consumption published by the Otto Group in 2020, 73 percent of respondents said they liked being able to buy or sell used things such as clothes or furniture.
How do children react to secondhand gifts?
So secondhand gift-givers are in good company. But does my child really feel loved when they get something secondhand?
Yes, they do – if you manage to turn your secondhand bargain into a treasure – and combine everything cleverly. For example, our son owns almost exclusively secondhand clothes that we get from relatives. It’s practical for us, but I wouldn’t give him any used clothes for Christmas – on the contrary: every year I sew him a shirt with his desired motif, grandma buys him the anorak he’s been longing for, or the uncle is commissioned to get a Messi jersey. Therefore, the LEGO airplanes under the Christmas tree are then “pre-owned” and nevertheless much sought after, because there are these models are no longer available anywhere else.
5-Gift Rule Provides Guidance
Gift-giving is, after all, in pathetic terms, love wrapped in glitter. Parents need to consider what their children might really enjoy. First of all, you need to figure out how many gifts there should be in the first place. Many parents in our circle of friends now take the 5-gift rule as a guardrail: a heart’s desire, something useful, something to wear, something to read, and lots and lots of time. As soon as you know approximately what you want, the hunt for the hidden treasures can begin.
Got inspired? flustix wishes a lot of fun while searching for treasures and giving things away.