So, this week I’ve come up against the issue of what to do about gift shopping while I’m on secondhand safari.
I’ve got two delightfully different celebrations to go to. First up, on Saturday night, are identical twin friends’ fortieth birthday party. Andrew has emigrated to Australia, and is only back to mark the big occasion with his brother. I haven’t seen Andrew for at least 15 years and can’t wait. Adrian I’ve rekindled a warm and welcome friendship with as we both separately wound our way to the rainy city, since our days of all hanging out together in the student union at university.
Then on Sunday we’ve got a party in the local community centre for my neighbours’ son’s wedding (also technically our neighbour as he still lives at home).
Parties mean presents. And cards. I knew that it was only a matter of time until this would come up, and I’d planned to be fully organised with handmade, lovingly crafted and unique gifts made from found materials. I hold up my hands and confess that I’ve failed dismally to do that, and for this time ONLY (I hope!) have pathetically purchased chocolates all round, as a ‘loophole’ gift because I can buy food and drink new, as part of the reasonable exemptions I’ve imposed on myself. Not even nearly good enough, Madame SHS. An early lesson that secondhand shopping takes both time, organisation and dedication.
As for cards, well right now I’ve got a stash of cards that I buy up whenever I see nice ones going cheap (often unused ones donated to charity shops) for the birthday boys. But I don’t have a card for the wedding, so I suspect we’ll be spending some of the weekend cutting, pasting, gluing and sticking from existing arts materials we’ve got round the house. We might sacrifice a couple of our own wedding cards to the cause, so that we can create some sort of collage-type card.
The main issue that all of this partying has raised is, what should I do about buying for people who aren’t necessarily of the same opinion as me when it comes to secondhand shopping? Just because I think that it’s a wonderful thing doesn’t mean that everyone else will. I certainly don’t want to cause offence, or be considered to have given a shoddy or substandard gift. It’s certainly true that usually while I don’t hesitate to buy secondhand stuff for both myself and my own children (including birthdays and Christmas. Last year saw me locked in vicious last-minute battles on ebay for Thomas the Tank Engine Fat Controllers and Morphs) I wouldn’t dream of doing it when I’m giving to anyone else. So why is this? Obviously there’s some part of me deep down that still thinks that secondhand goods are only good for certain purposes. Why would it matter, and wouldn’t people be delighted if I spent the same amount of money on them but was able to give them three or four times more stuff? I realised that I also never shop for gifts for people in sales.
I’d love to know what everyone else does about this. Would you ever consider giving a present to somebody that was pre-owned? And if not, why not?