Why You Should Consider Gifting Secondhand This Christmas

By Lily Rodgers

We’ve all been there: opening a present from a family member on Christmas Day as they offer an imploring look that forces you to say anything but “Wow, this is something I‘ll never use, wear or even re-gift. Straight to landfill! But I appreciate the effort”. While we love shopping as much as you do, there is a clear shift in habits and mindset on the subject of consumerism. And as we move toward more sustainable labels and practices, we need to keep that energy up when it comes to the frenzy that is Christmas shopping. 

Let’s start with one of the biggest culprits for festive waste: wrapping paper. Most wrapping paper designs actually can’t be recycled; the foil, glitter, dye, laminate, plus the spattering of sticky-tape means it often bypasses the recycle bin, even if your intentions are good. A far chicer option for both the planet and your present pile is to opt for plain brown kraft paper, accessorised with some twine or ribbon. 

Other alternatives include Ink Co., which stocks paper made from certified chain of custody sustainable plantation forest paper (which is fully recyclable with a production line entrenched in sustainable practices using 100% solar energy and a zero carbon footprint to boot). Cotton:On, whose stationery subsidiary Typo sells wrapping paper in cute prints that will break down or be recycled. And Brown Paper Packaging—who have a range of products made from recycled, sustainable and environmentally friendly products all made in Australia. 

While opting for recycled paper is a great start, by far the most eco-friendly and sustainable present option is to buy pre-loved items for your loved ones. The advantage of giving a second life to something is huge—particularly when it comes to fashion pieces that have retained their quality and sheen. It offers an opportunity to give a loved one a gift that would otherwise be unaffordable at retail price, as well as the added feel-good factor of partaking in the circular economy and contributing to a less wasteful fashion ecosystem. 

The UK have been leading the charge on thoughtful regifting with #SecondHandSeptember, a campaign highlighting the more than 2 tonnes of clothing bought in the UK every minute; generating the carbon emissions equivalent to driving a car around the planet 6 times. The initiative, created by Oxfam, encourages shoppers to only buy secondhand for an entire month—a habit they hope will extend to November, December, and beyond. 

Cutting down on clutter, prioritising quality over quantity, buying local—treating your loved ones to pre-loved items from leading brands will fare better environmentally, economically and ethically this Christmas.

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