An older, wiser friend of mine recently said: ‘I can’t help feeling sorry for young parents these days. First there’s advent calendars with a present for every day of December, then there’s Christmas Eve boxes full of presents, then stockings, then the big presents on the day itself, and on top of that, some bright spark has come up with Elf on the Shelf’!’
She might just have a point. But it isn’t just parents who feel the pressure. From decorations and party outfits to Christmas jumpers, festive food, Secret Santa presents, stocking fillers, and dream gifts, it’s easier than ever for spending to spiral out of control. And that’s just the social side of the silly season. On the other side of Christmas is a massive amount of tat that only ends up in landfill.
But there’s an alternative…
Martin Lewis recently called on the nation to ‘ban unnecessary Christmas presents’ – but that might be a bit extreme for some. Other people, meanwhile, are finding more sustainable ways to spend at Christmas – and our Shelter charity shops are increasingly part of the movement.
Throughout the year, our shop teams stash away festive donations like trees, decorations, unopened gifts, winter wear, and party dresses – so that in November, they can launch their Christmas sections.
Not only do our shops offer a fantastic way to save money, but these second-hand goods aren’t going to landfill, and are often as good as new. Plus, making a purchase means you’re helping someone struggling with bad housing or homelessness get the support they need.
So, if you’re in the market for a show-stopping Christmas jumper, you might want to try your local Shelter shop first. I bagged this ace Ted Baker number for £6 when I popped into our Holloway Road shop recently (a perk of the job!).
And if you want to deck the halls for a bit less, our shops are a real treasure trove for decorations – this Fortnum & Mason cracker set retails for £65, but was recently sold for just £10 in one of our shops.
Shopping for the big day
And then there’s the gifts themselves. Even if you’ve never considered buying a gift from a charity shop before, or you’re worried about buying second-hand goods, it’s worth knowing that many items in our shops are still new, barely used or in excellent condition… And they’re ready to be picked up at a fraction of their original cost! In fact, a recent article confirmed that pre-Christmas is one of the best times to pick up designer bargains at charity shops.
It's a win-win you save money, help the environment, and help our shops raise vital, unrestricted funds for our services and campaigning work....
So if you’re near a Shelter shop this December, pop in and hunt down some festive finds in store. And if you can, please wish our incredible shop volunteers a happy Christmas – without them, we couldn’t do what we do.