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You can have a more thoughtful and less consumerist Christmas by telling the truth about your purchases, using vodka to spritz clothes, and investing in vintage wrapping paper.

It’s not the gift of Bottega Veneta boots or cashmere made from the wool of rare-breed Yaks that will make you a fashion icon this Christmas.

Secondhand was once a dirty word. The global “preloved fashion market” is worth $130 billion. Vinted, an online marketplace for secondhand goods, found that one in six people are determined to give preloved Christmas gifts this year. Secondhand purchases can help reduce the number of Christmas gifts going to waste each year.

A “vintage” gift is no longer considered cheap or unimportant. It’s an indication that the person who gave it is serious about their pulse.

This is why we have compiled these guidelines to help you with second-hand gift-giving for Christmas.

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Tell the truth

You can avoid awkward moments by blaming the source of your secondhand present. Lucy Mackay, the founder of And They Wear, an east London-based site that sells vintage children’s clothing, suggests that you put a note inside a card to emphasize your point. She advises, “I believe a bit more explanation helps confirm it’s thoughtful choice.” “Almost everyone believes vintage is cool these day. It should be well received.”

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It is common for a Christmas gift to say “I don’t know who you are” or “I don’t care what you like”, which is a terrible present. A hand-picked vintage gift is a treasure. It’s a thoughtful piece that will add character to a home,” Chloe McDonald says. She sells vintage homeware via her Instagram account and says zigzag candle holders and onyx and alabaster bookends are coveted gifts this December. Anna O’Brien is a Depop seller and car-booter from Frome. She suggests that you focus on pieces that will increase in value with age such as first editions or clothes built to withstand the test of time. She suggests being personal for a guaranteed sense of sentimental value. Think about their birthday or favorite colour and then shop accordingly.

It’s a great idea for your kids

Preloved childrenswear has become a big business. However, a pair of used PJs is a boring gift. Independent sellers should stock cult brands for guaranteed success. Mackay claims OshKosh denim jackets and Levi’s dungarees are her favorite pieces for giving as gifts. Pastel knitwear is also a popular choice. I change the buttons to smiley faces. She says customers love it because they get something personalised and unique.

Your gift should look great

Every secondhand present should undergo strict vetting. Check for missing pages in books. Replace any batteries in toys. If it is clothing, take it to a dry cleaner to clean the fabric. O’Brien also suggests a spray of vodka mixed with water to get rid of any musty odors. If you don’t have the time or desire to research vintage sellers and sites, there are many options. Aside from her own business, McDonald recommends Finna Vintage, The Attic, and Foxberry Vintage. “They have already gone through all the trouble of sourcing the-moment, and interesting pieces.” Websites such as Vestiaire Collective will go through a strict authenticity process to ensure that you don’t get a counterfeit.

It’s all about the “add-ons”

April Salsbury is a vintage influencer and seasoned thrifter. She believes that finding the perfect pairing for a preloved gift is the key. She suggests pairing a bestseller book with a cashmere jumper from a charity shop or vintage wine decanter with red wine.

mug of coffee with marshmallow in front of open book on tray

Gift giving is frowned upon

There are exceptions. It’s not socially acceptable to give away a pair of boots that you don’t want, but treasured items make wonderful gifts. This is a great way to give jewellery and art. Elle Richie, owner of Depop shop Studio Ell Richie, says that it is really the thought that matters. “Look at your possessions and think about the things that are no longer serving you.”

Consider presentation

You’ve sourced your best friend an almost-impossible-to-track-down dress from a Stella McCartney collection of old. Don’t ruin it by using cheap foil wrapping paper or sticky tape. McDonald’s buys vintage wrapping paper for her gifts. Simpler things can have their benefits. Salsbury says, “I add velvet ribbon and cuts of garden foliage to the brown paper.” McDonald’s recommends that you shop directly from the Instagram sellers. They post products in beautiful packaging that can be placed under your Christmas tree. She says that most sellers offer gift messaging so the product feels extra special when it arrives.