UK households spend over £500 more in December compared to other months – could this be down to Christmas? I think so. Rather than spending money on presents that are likely to be returned on boxing day, we’ve created a handy ‘Thrift Gift Guide’ highlighting the best pre-loved items to buy from vintage and charity shops.

“I shop mainly in charity shops because it involves, one, recycling, two, good value, three, money goes to good use and four, serendipity – you never know what you will find!”

UK consumer research, 2019. *

Top six thrift gift ideas:

  1. Clothing – Fashions come and go, but classics remain. If there are any fashionistas in the family looking for a special item of clothing or a vintage tea dress, then charity shops and marketplace listings are the place to look. According to recent Cybertill research, 47% of UK consumers would buy second-hand clothing for someone else, with 43% considering purchasing from charity shops. You never know what you might find, especially as charities such as Cancer Research UK and British Red Cross are tapping into the Gen Z market with listings on Depop and ASOS Marketplace.
  2. Home décor – 40% of UK consumers would consider purchasing home décor items for someone else from a charity shop, so if you’re buying for a couple, or someone who is home proud, head to your local high street charity shop and have a rummage through the amazing homewares. My personal favourite find was a beautiful Wedgewood clock from Dougie Mac in Stoke for £18 – bargain!
  3. Toys – Ok, so many of you are probably wondering why Toys are in the list, I mean, the best part of the toy is the box it comes in isn’t it? Yet, it seems that 43% of 18-44-year-olds would consider buying toys from a charity shop. The children you buy for won’t know the toys are pre-loved – think of Andy giving his toys to Bonnie in Toy Story 3! 💛
  4. Books – Whether hunting for a first edition or looking for a favourite for the avid reader in your life, books are always a good choice of gift for all ages and 77% of consumers would consider purchasing second hand books for someone else. Just imagine finding a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone for 50p in your local charity shop – that’s a hell of a return on investment.
  5. Vinyl/CDs – Vinyl is facing a renaissance and 51% of UK consumers would buy vinyl or CDs for someone else from a charity shop – the perfect place to get that sought-after record. The top 10 bestselling vinyl of 2019 from the official charts includes Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Queen and David Bowie in the top 10 – surely there’s an original Dark Side of the Moon out there…
  6. Jewellery –You get more for your money with second hand jewellery, but if you don’t have the cash to splash on an antique diamond then check out charity eBay listings, where you will spend a fraction of the cost on something amazing. 36% of consumers would consider buying jewellery from a charity shop but purchasing from a charity shop doesn’t mean items need to be pre-loved – check out these cool elephant earrings on the British Red Cross ecommerce website.

How to find the best gifts

If you don’t have the time to visit your local charity shops, you can always check out their ecommerce websites, or marketplace listings selling both new and donated goods.

The best way to access these marketplace listings is to visit a charity website and check out their shop page to see which channels they sell through – click on the links to be taken to your chosen marketplace and start shopping!

“I try to shop in Charity Shops or via eBay and Depop most of the time. As I believe in reusing and recycling everywhere possible, plus it is often cheaper, and you find much more interesting and unusual”

UK consumer research, 2019. *

Our favourite finds

Check out this beautiful necklace on Sense’s eBay listing and this rare edition of Charles Dickens Great Expectations on Dougie Mac’s eBay listing, or this cool 80’s vintage jacket on British Red Cross ASOS marketplace listing.

Remember, not all purchases from a charity shop need to be pre-loved, Cancer Research UK has a great selection of new goods you can buy online, including these snuggly slippers.


Gifts are thoughtful and something we all appreciate but it shouldn’t leave you out of pocket and certainly shouldn’t end up in a Boxing Day ‘returns’ bag! Make your gift count, for your loved ones and your chosen charity.

Happy shopping x


The research

Statistics in this blog were taken from the following:
Online YouGov Survey on behalf of Cybertill ‘Online/in-store shopping’, completed by 2004 adults between 11th – 12th April 2019. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

* These quotes were taken from the research, which asked ‘For the following question, please think about your favourite brands (i.e. brands that you most frequently purchase items from) … For what reason(s), if any, do you choose to shop with this/ these brand(s)? (Please type your answer(s) in the box below, giving as much detail as possible)’

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