I try to keep out of arguments on social media. Life’s simply too short to go wading in every time you see something you disagree with. Last week though I saw an exchange which just left me speechless.
Some blogger friends of mine are taking part in a campaign with the Salvation Army to raise the profile of doing your Christmas shopping in charity shops as a way of supporting charities at this time of year. One particular blogger tweeted about the things that she’d found this year for her family’s Christmas presents and someone else (who I refuse to give a link to here – don’t feed the trolls and all that) started to go on (and on and on) about how no child should be given a used toy for Christmas. Yes, there did end up with some crossed wires about whether people were talking about secondhand toys for your own children, or to give to a charity who is giving out toys to needy children at Christmas, but to be honest I don’t see a problem with either of those situations.
Now I love buying things in charity shops and I’ve been seeking out suitable presents for my children and other family members all year. Heck, last year I even managed to find some of Little Miss C’s birthday presents six months in advance in a charity shop. There have been some fantastic bargains to be had at different points in the year, so not only have I saved money, but in doing so I have been giving money to the charities whose shops I have bought from. A win, win situation. My children certainly don’t see toys from a charity shop, or secondhand via any other route, as any different to toys bought brand new.
It’s not only gifts for my children that I buy in charity shops. Other family members will be finding charity shop purchases under the Christmas tree this year, and I know in the past that I’ve been given things from charity shops as gifts. Gifts that I’ve really been grateful to receive.
Another of the reasons that I’m such a fan of secondhand though is that it helps to keep things out of landfill. So much gets thrown away in this day and age that it really is criminal. I see people throwing away things that still have plenty of life left in them, or that could be fixed very easily. Buying a brand new replacement is just a waste – both in terms of raw materials and the energy used to make the product in the first place. In my mind anything like this should be passed to a charity shop instead of being thrown away, as I know there are people out there who would appreciate it, even if you don’t.
When it comes to giving secondhand gifts to the needy I also don’t see where the problem lies. As long as the gift is not so broken that it’s useless or dirty that it’s horrible then surely that is better than not giving anything at all? Some people on twitter were called “greedy” and “cheapskates” for giving secondhand things to charities, but some people simply can’t afford to buy new things to give away. There seem to be two schools of thought on this though – some people saying that children deserve to have new toys, and another which says that needy children will just be grateful to receive a gift at all. In my mind, all children deserve to have a present, and deserve to have toys, and they should be in good condition, but I don’t think this necessitates new.
Anyway, enough of me going on – I’ve got more charity shops to scour to finish off my Christmas shopping. What are your thoughts on this? Will your children be receiving secondhand gifts this Christmas?