No More Stuff: Alternatives to Traditional Gift Giving

So I’m about to tell you a little secret: some of the items we have given as gifts were, in fact, purchased at a second hand store. However, they were new with tags on them. I realize not everyone shares my purchasing philosophy and am conscious of that. However, many may be receptive to receiving used goods.


A friend of mine said that his young daughter (under 5) never noticed or cared that she received some used toys for Christmas. It was the simply unwrapping and receiving that was the fun. And how many times have parents been exasperated by a child’s obsession with a box over what came in it? Sometimes we adults place pre-conceived notions on children, that they may not have. We can learn a lot from the young.


We have all heard of the dreaded re-gift. The gift you didn’t want and then give to someone else. This only makes sense if the gift is truly something the other person would want. And be careful! I’ve heard of re-gift horror stories where the person re-gifted back the gift that was given to them. The local Timebank here solves our re-gift problems by hosting an annual swap in December where everyone brings their unwanted gifts and trades them for things they want.


Another way to avoid the usual gift is to give an experience – a gift card to a restaurant, tickets to a concert, or movie passes. These are all ways to support local business and avoid creating waste. Or better yet, give to a charity that the recipient cares about in their name. These are meaningful ways to bring a little cheer beyond two individuals.

Remember: every dollar you spend is a statement about the kind of world you want and the quality of life you value. Use your dollar votes wisely.

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