Pretty much all my friends know that I shop in charity shops, and even my work colleagues know that if they compliment my outfit, I will say thank you and proceed to point out that each individual item cost less than £10 despite it’s good quality. Most of my friends have shopped in charity shops throughout their retail history, some of them do so now more frequently because of the stuff I seem to find, that is, if I don’t get there first!
Therefore Christmas posed a dilemma for me. So many friends compliment my finds, and go out to forage in charity shops themselves, so is it acceptable for me to give them gifts that were bought in charity shops? I know that I don’t mind wearing shoes that have clearly been worn before, and bags with signs of wear and tear, but really can I give that to someone else as a gift?
I have narrowed it down to 2 simple principals:
1. Are they an avid charity shop shopper?
If yes, then you can probably give them a gift from a charity shop. If they only forage occasionally, and mainly in your company, then I would stick to gifts from the high street.
2. Is the item you’re going to buy of extraordinary quality and/or almost brand new? (With box, barely worn, with labels?)
If yes, then essentially you are getting them the best possible quality at the lowest possible price, something that you wouldn’t have been able to afford normally, and they will most likely be extremely pleased with the gift. If this is the case you can probably buy this kind of a gift for friends who despise the idea of charity shops because you can disguise it well.
I bought two gifts from charity shops this Christmas. The first was for a friend called Elaine who never normally shops in charity shops. She is a good friend and particularly unfussy, so I new that if I did buy her something that she would not be offended. The last few times that I have been into Shelter on Union Street I had noticed a gorgeous pair of nude Schuh court shoes in patent leather with a bow. They were a size 3 and I wished they were a size 6 on numerous occasions. Have you ever noticed that as Christmas nears, your mindset changes and you start noticing things for other people instead. Well for weeks I had wished they were a 6, but after the first week of December I was celebrating that they were a 3 as that is Elaine’s shoe size. They were unworn, the heels pristine and the sole had very minor scuffs on them. As a new pair on high street these would have been at least £50, more than I would normally spend on friends.
Unfortunately they did not come with a box (and I know that I have listed the price but Elaine rarely reads my blog so I know she won’t see it, or care if she does!) So I used one of the random shoe boxes I have about the place. Again, this would be a dead give away to someone who doesn’t like second hand gifts, even if never worn, but I know Elaine doesn’t mind. She loves her shoes
My next gift was also from Shelter on Union Street, this was a real treasure trove for lovely things this Christmas.
I found this in one of their little glass cabinets at the front of the shop, they’re always full of goodies! I bought this for my friend Lesley for a variety of reasons. Firstly, she is always going through some sort of colour obsession, and the latest colour of the moment is red. This is actually quite a vibrant red but as I turned the flash off you can’t see it in this photograph. It was in exquisite condition, the fact that it was in the box added real value. The second reason I got it for her is that she is travelling down to London soon with her Mother to meet up with Neil (the gentleman I told you about from the wedding, you can read more on that here). He is taking them to a fashion show, Valentino I believe however I am most probably wrong, and we had a joke about Lesley acting as Southern Correspondent for LFFL while she is there, possibly having a peek around some of the best charity shops looking for designer bargains. What better way to send her on her way than with a designer passport holder. Now, I am not a philistine and I know that one does not need ones passport to travel from Inverness to London, it can be done with a driving licence, but I find a passport to be much more chic.
I had a quick search on the internet to see what I would be able to pick a Ralph Lauren passport older up for normally, click here to find out! I was shocked!
So there you have it, two lovely gifts for friends. I spent the same amount on all my friends this Christmas, bar one for whom I spread the Christmas gifts out over several months for some reason! I think there was an utter necessity for a cake stand in October, and then I would have hated for her to go without as she made us all gorgeous Christmas hampers for Christmas so I bought her some digital kitchen scales which is a bit like rubbing salt in the wound seeing as her beautiful cupcakes were already made by then!