15th of Dec

Charity Shop Gift Guide

by Florenne Earle Ledger

We know we’re late to the gift guide party (it literally seemed like the day after Halloween the internet was swamped) but we need to add our two pence. We’re here with a festive gift guide featuring 100% second-hand suggestions of charity shop gems because giving gifts doesn't have to cost the earth. You can thank us later.

To set the scene, it’s a few weeks before Christmas and you still haven’t finished your Christmas shopping. The postal strikes are ruling out online shopping so you’ve no choice but to face the streets. You think to yourself, maybe you are for the streets after-all. Heading into your local charity shop is your last resort. If you’ve already seen our London Tube ad (subtle flex 💅), you’ll know we’re not here for sh*t gifts. Nearly 23 million gifts end up in landfill each year in the UK alone, so consider this gift guide your answer for a more sustainable Christmas.

Stop The Stigma

Before we dish out our charity shop gift recs, let’s address the elephant in the room: the stigma of second-hand gifts. If you’re part of the club turning up your nose at preloved presents, please reconsider your gift-giving values. We’re hoping most of our readers are open to slow fashion, including preloved gems, so if you’ve got no issue with second-hand clothing, why should second-hand gifts be any different?

We hate to be cliché but it really is the thought that counts. Viewing something second-hand as less thoughtful or of a worse quality is definitely an outdated opinion, so get with the times, bestie. We’re trying to be sustainable now, okay?

With being sustainable comes buying gifts people actually want. That’s why we’re asking you to apply these rules to our gift ideas to ensure they really, really, really suit the person you’re buying for.

  1. Has the giftee mentioned a particular item they’re dreaming of or that they like similar things? If not, maybe it wouldn’t be an asset to their life.
  2. Do they already have something similar? Or will it be something they wear and love for years to come?
  3. Would you be happy if someone gifted this to you? Take this one with a pinch of salt — because we all have different tastes — but if you wouldn’t be happy to receive it, it may be worth reconsidering whether it’s a good purchase or not.

It's Called Fashion, Look it up

There are plenty of gems for the fashionistas in your life to be found in charity shops. Let’s run through some of our faves found in nine-out-of-10 charity shops.

Y2K Belts

For the Depop gurlies out there, you can find some 2000’s style belts to satiate their need for new looks. They’re deffo not for everyone, but most charity shops have a selection of undiscovered statement belts just waiting to be gifted. Plus, belts are an accessory no one really wants to spend their own money on, but they make for a great addition to any outfit. The fashion lovers in your life will be grateful, trust us.

Bags Galore

There’s always a range of bags in charity shops. From crossbody bags, tote bags, shoulder bags, and handbags — there’s always a hidden gem waiting to be found. If you’re looking for something really special, try checking out the charity shops in fancy areas like Mayfair or Notting Hill in London or Ancoats in Manchester. You’re likely to find a diamond in the rough.

Hats off

We all know you can’t go wrong with a hat — they’re a winter essential, after all. Unique and funky headgear is always hiding in charity shops, you just have to do the work and scout them out. Along with belts, they’re also an item people may not think to buy for themselves, especially if money is tight (thanks cost of living crisis…).


Some people get grossed out by second-hand earrings, but it’s nothing a little sterilization can’t fix. Find the funkiest earrings in your local charity shop by checking either the general jewellery table or the locked cabinet for a lucky find. From dangly statement earrings to something a little more subtle, jewellery always makes a great gift. If you know someone well, gift them a perfect pair of earrings — they’ll think of you every time they wear them.

Make a Day of it

If taking on the charity shop seems too daunting to do alone, why not give the experience as a gift? Heading into town with a friend and spending hours checking out the different charity stores (with a coffee in-between) makes for a great Saturday. If you’re stuck on what to give, offer to pay for a couple of items and a drink, maybe dinner out after if you’re feeling generous. Besides, this way you can be sure they’ll definitely end up with something they like!

Gifts for all

Yes, we may be fashion-focused, but it’s not the be-all and end-all of our lives. That’s why we’ve added a couple of gift ideas outside of the clothing and accessories realm.

Booked and Busy

Maybe I'm biased as an English Lit graduate, but a good book is a great gift. Charity shops have everything from classics you’ve been meaning to read for years (with a range of cute covers and editions) to easy reads you can fly through on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Have a read of some blurbs and choose something you think they’ll love. FYI Poetry collections also make a very nice gift for the literature lovers out there.


Similar to earrings, people don’t like to buy crockery second-hand. But if you’ve ever been to a restaurant, then we hate to burst your bubble — there really is no difference. Either way, you don’t know who’s used what but once it’s clean it’s as good as new.

Charity shops have amazing mugs, glasses and plates that make great gifts. When do you ever buy something like that for yourself? It’s rare you’ll see a cute plate and decide to make a purchase, so it really is a great gift. I don’t know if it’s just me but the idea of having mismatched plates and cups is a definite vibe. Charity shops are THE place for that.

There’s so much you can find in charity shops that make great gifts, but we’re not going to recommend too many because we’re all about conscious consumption. It’s really about the person and your relationship with them rather than simply buying stuff to fill a budget.

Don’t forget to follow our guide and give the gift of second hand this year. Happy holidays ✨

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