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Shopping ethically this Christmas

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

✦ Have you ever thought about shopping second hand at Christmas? We talked to Kurt Russell from Lifeline about shopping ethically this Christmas.

There is a movement to normalise second-hand gifts, handmade gifts, consumable gifts, experience gifts and small business gifts. Giving pre-loved gifts is long past being tacky. It’s seen as socially responsible gift giving and is slowly becoming normalised.

Many people have grown up feeling like only new items carry the weight of a generous spirit. But if done right, second-hand gifting is not only a great way to save money, but helpful in cutting down on stuff that ends up as clutter.

Kurt Russell Business Manager with Jemma McDonald Retail Manager Lifeline Shops, featured on Brilliant-Online
Lifeline Shops' Business Manager Kurt Russell with Retail Manager Jemma McDonald

When you think that the average kid plays with only 12 toys, but owns 238, pressure exists to provide family members with the best, new, shiny presents they can find.

Not too many decades ago, dolls were taken to the “doll hospital” and given a new lease of life and regifted for Christmas. There was pleasure in receiving an upgraded version of a much loved and cherished toy.

Buying second-hand gifts for Christmas or other occasions sounds nice in theory, and maybe second-hand gifts would be fine for the immediate family, but what about extended family and friends? What about that fussy relative with high gift expectations?

We spoke to Kurt Russell the Business Manager for Lifeline Mid Coast about choosing Lifeline to purchase Christmas presents this year

“There are many reasons to shop at Lifeline this Christmas. A few of them include that Lifeline is prevalent in the community providing suicide prevention programs and the secondhand industry is a much greener way to go than purchasing new, low cost, fast fashion. So, it’s twice as beneficial.”

“It's a feel-good shopping situation. It also satisfies the treasure hunt aspect to your shopping as well. You never know what you come across at an op-shop, especially at Lifeline Op-Shops. There is a certain amount of adventure about it.”

The shopping itself is fun and the end result is getting a unique gift to give someone.

Traditionally people have given new gifts at Christmas. What does Lifeline have in the store that would make a good present?

“That’s the beauty of op-shopping, there are treasures buried within and it’s up to the customer to work out what would suit the recipient. Because it’s unique, and not in every other store.”

Lifeline are now offering gift vouchers

“Everybody likes getting gift vouchers. You don’t have to worry about the personalised part of the shopping. It’s easier on the purchaser and it’s good for the person who receives it because they can go in and buy in their own time frame, and buy what they want, when they need it, as opposed to getting too many gifts at once that maybe they don't need.”

How to Give Second-hand Gifts the Right Way

There’s a trick to pulling off second-hand gift-giving: like any gift-giving, you must match the item to the recipient. You can’t just give any gift, it should be something your recipient will love.

It won’t be long until you find the perfect item and while it’s ok to be generous towards others, digging yourself into debt to give gifts is crazy. Even if each person bought one second-hand gift, that would be tonnes less ‘stuff’ produced and ending up in landfill.

Second-hand Gift Ideas that work for anyone.

Pre-loved Games

Whether it’s a game for the Xbox or Playstation, a board game in good condition, or a jigsaw puzzle, a good way to save on games is to buy them second-hand.

A lot of Xbox/ PlayStation games are only ever played once. When the player has reached the end, the novelty of the game is over – their boredom is your gain. Before buying, check the disc for scratches and if you’re buying pre-loved board games, check that all the pieces are in the box. You may need to download instructions for play.

Classic Books

Classic books or first-edition books to second-hand books. Imagine giving (or receiving) a whole series instead of just the first in the series and buying it for the cost of a single book!

Vintage Accessories

Handbags, vintage suitcases, hair accessories, fountain pens, stationery or desk sets, jewellery boxes, perfume bottles, silk scarves can all make great gifts for the right person.


Finding genuine antiques at frugal prices requires a bit of ingenuity and scouting, which is why it’s a good idea to keep gifts in mind when your op-shopping. Bargains are there for the savvy buyer. The key is to look for quality at your price point, matching the gift to the tastes of the recipient.


Know someone who collects? People collect all sorts of random things and if they are a true collector, they will love gifts that can be added to their collection.

Classic and Quality Toys

Classic or quality toys, like wooden toys that are in good condition, more great gift ideas.

“New” Second-hand Items

Here we come to the re-gifted item. The unwanted present from last year that hasn’t even been opened. You could really say these items are not even second-hand at all.


Second-hand sports equipment can be a great way for a loved one to get into that sport or hobby they’ve always wanted.

The key is to always, always match the gift to the recipient (this holds true for brand new gifts too). If it’s still in good shape and it’s something your recipient loves, then it won’t matter how many people have pre-loved it.


Lifeline offers 24 hour crisis support line. In case of an emergency please dial 000 immediately.

(02) 6581 2800

PO Box: 5030 Port Macquarie NSW 2444


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