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Secondhand gifts are in Vogue. Literally.

Secondhand gifts are in Vogue. Literally.

When the Queen of Fashion, Anna Wintour says preloved gifts are more than acceptable, then you know change is in the air. If you didn’t already realise that gift sourcing has an impact on the climate crisis engulfing the world, then you are acting like a cave-living hermit. Sorry, that was harsh, but considering Dunedin almost turned into a ski field in October, Hurricane Ian has near-flattened sunny Florida, and Pakistan is under water, how could you not realise that every action, no matter how small, is making matters worse … and devastating the lives of millions of people living through catastrophic natural disasters? As the saying goes, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

With the alarming effects of climate change all around us and Christmas looming in the not-to-distant future, it’s worth taking a moment to consider moving (at least some of) your gift sourcing to secondhand. The environment will thank you, and so too will your recipients .. if you follow these few tips.

1. First and foremost, be out and proud that you are not gifting new, as part of your contribution to saving the Planet. This is important, otherwise your gift recipients may be confused about the condition of their gifts. Instead of trying to hide the not new nature of your gift, fly the secondhand flag to accentuate (rather than diminish) its fabulousness. You could write the gift’s back story or relevance to the recipient in an accompanying card, share with family & friends your decision to only gift secondhand or handmade this ______ (insert Year/Month/Christmas), or make a “you’ve been preloved” gift label.

2. Find inspiration in your recipients’ interests. For instance, if someone in your family loves to cook, but they don’t have a place to rest their spatulas and ladles, then maybe a vintage spoon rest would make a great present.

3. Keep a running list of potential gifting ideas; ideally on your phone so the list is handy when a great idea pops into your head.

4. Cookbooks are loved as gifts, as much for inspiration as the recipes. Gifted cookbook should ideally be unmistakably vintage or pristine preloved. (Note: If cookbook cover has any greasy marks, sprinkle over generous amount of baby powder to absorb the grease, and then gently dust off with a tissue. Also works on clothes)

5. Add to your preloved cookbook gift, a vintage jar or tin filled with homemade baking, vintage baking moulds or retro mixing bowls.

6. Never write an inscription in a book (unless you wrote the book yourself). Instead, put sentiments into an enclosed card, to extend the life of the book; as about one third of gifts end up in somebody else’s home, or a charity shop.

7. Find a basket and fill it with preloved outdoor plates, cups, cutlery, table napkins and a thermos. Layer the base and sides with a gingham tea-towel, add some homemade treats and voilà … a beautiful picnic basket.

8. Present the gift as beautiful as if it were new - as this sets the tone for the value of what's beneath the wrapping.