We want to open the discussion on a sometimes taboo subject…Is it ever ok to give second-hand toys to your kids for Christmas (or birthdays)?
Let us share our story and thoughts and then we want to hear from you! But no matter what, the result of how well this is received in your family and your children is all based on your own attitude about it. This is what is going to make a world of difference!
Christmastime is a wonderful time of year for many but the reality is that for others its not.
There are many factors that contribute to this time of year being one filled with stress, sadness, disappointment and so much more. But the factor we want to address here are those struggling financially, let alone to spend extra money they don’t have for Christmas.
Christmas is a time for giving, spending time with family and for learning about what matters most.
These are hard lessons for adults to learn in our nation and in our day and age.
But it is especially hard for children. Even more so when kids around them are the ones receiving gifts of all kinds.
It can be hard for children that do not come from wealthy families, or families that are not in a financial situation to be able to “gift them galore.” This time of year is especially taxing on finances. So families that are already struggling to make ends meet throughout the year are lost this time of year.
Although we have provided multiple challenges and ideas to help you save for Christmas slowly and throughout the year, we understand that for many times are still tough and many just may not have the resources to be prepared – no matter how much they want to.
We’ve been in that boat ourselves.
We’ve been at a place where we wanted to bless our children but did not have the resources to do so. But even through that, we’ve tried to make the merriest of Christmases with our children never knowing that times were tough in terms of providing Christmas.
If you’ve read our story, you will know that many years ago, we started our journey to become debt-free of over $100k of consumer debts. When we started, we had nothing, we couldn’t even go a day without a paycheck as this would have put us under. In fact, realistically, we were probably only a week or two from bankruptcy before we decided to get ourselves out of this mess.
You might also recall that this turn around began when we became pregnant with our first child. Reality hit us and this child caused us to mature and grow in the area of finances – to wise us up, if you will. She really was the baby that saved us financially. And she is now nearly 12!
Well, when those first few Christmases hit with children, we didn’t know what to do. We did not have the money available to provide the All-American Christmas. And of course, we didn’t have anything saved because we just didn’t do that back then.
Our girls wanted a play kitchen. It was out of the question as far as our budget was concerned, even the cheapest was too much for us. I was sad and torn as to what to do. One day, we were driving around and saw a garage sale with a play kitchen. We got out and it was actually in really good shape, just needing a bit of washing up for only $10!
We bought it and gave it to them Christmas morning. They were so excited! To this day, they have no idea that this play kitchen was bought used for $10. And then about 8 years later, we sold this same kitchen in our own garage sale for $5!
We continued to purchase all, then many, then some gifts second-hand depending on what our budget would allow. We went through several Christmases with us trying to pay off debts, that this really became a huge blessing and a huge joy and our kids were so thankful and so grateful for the abundance of “new to them” toys!
Our children received some very nice second-hand gifts over the years. I still, to this day, keep my eye out for some great toys and other items that would make for great gifts for our children throughout the year.
One year, we even purchased these mini dolls that were dressed like the characters in books (I can’t remember the series now), but they were new in the box and I bought them for $4 at a garage sale. We had Josephine from Little Women and Fern from Charlottes Web, etc. They were amazing. When I looked them up later, they were collectors items and selling for $90!
Today, we have a Christmas Savings plan that starts in January and we are well prepared for the Christmas season. And although we don’t rely on second-hand toys anymore, if we see some, we are not opposed to getting them and gifting them to our children. Honestly, there is nothing that says you have to give new, from the store, toys to children. And our children, they wanted to give gifts to each other and so our kids actually purchased second-hand toys for each other. They are so excited to see the looks on their siblings faces when they open up these treasures that they bought themselves!
And we are thankful that we had this option when we needed it and thankful to have it today to save us a little more.
The best part is that our children, now teenagers, still comment on how great and wonderful their childhood Christmases were. They know now that the toys were second hand, but they had no idea then.
I have 4 kids – ages 17, 12, 10 and 5. They are aware that about 75% of their Christmas presents are second hand from garage sales. They also know that this is how we afford their extra curricular activities and the 25% of what they really want for Christmas. They don’t care at all, although they tease me endlessly. I have a new game my son has wanted all year that I picked up new, in the shrink wrap, for $5 at a garage sale. It is worth well over $100. Also, my daughter is getting an American Girl Doll that I picked up at a garage sale. This makes my Christmas very merry and debt free!
YAY! We love debt-free Christmas, we love second-hand! It’s all great! Thanks for sharing and letting us know we are not the only ones that do this. 🙂
YES! It teaches kids to be selfish, and arrogant to think that they should only have new toys. It’s not new the day after Christmas, anyway. I remember one lady who was my Secret Pal who searched yard sales for my gifts. Of all the years I did it, those are the most precious memories. To think of her searching for the perfect thing just for me. And they were perfect, in fact, most of her gifts I still have and enjoy years later. Going into debt for Christmas is not part of our life. Now that the kids are grown it was a very good lesson they have taken into adulthood.
Love this! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and even that of being a receiver of second-hand gifts. Most all of them are so special and well thought out!
Kudos to you! I’m sure you have a lot more in the bank than some families that wouldn’t think of doing it. Don’t think you’ll get much hate mail, though as those families won’t be interested in ways to master their finances. They will just continue to sit around and complain that they “don’t make enough money to save”.
I love how much you appreciated that. I will pick up things that make me think of others, and take it home, wash it up, and then gift it to the person. Some people may not appreciate it but when you know it is something that they collect, or something for their desk that will make them smile, then it is the perfect gift. I have found some really cool sports collectibles, and my own office has cool baseball photos, etc. on the walls, all from Goodwill, or garage sales, etc.
Savannah @ Budget Preps
We started our baby steps last February, coming up on one year. We have a 2 year old daughter, who is the only grandchild on both sides. We know that she is going to get completely spoiled with gifts from our family, so we went light on our gifts to her…3 from Santa and 2 from us. 2 of her gifts are second hand, but in amazing condition. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this whatsoever. Who says that something needs to be new to be a gift? I think that as long as it means something, and there is thought behind it…that’s all that matters!
Yes! Especially when they are little, but since we have had beautiful Christmases on a tight budget from the beginning, we’ve continued the second-hand and now have older kids. We’ve found some great electronic stuff too! It’s so great! And I love that our kids this year bought gifts for each other during garage sale season. One of our kids bought a .50 porcelain doll that just needs her hair combed and stuffed toys, baby toys and all kinds of fun 🙂
1. Don’t forget to check your second-hand stores, like Goodwill, which often have like new or even brand new toys, some with price tags still on.
2. You can also exchange gently used toys with a friend’s family, who shares your need to save, rather than spend money.
3. Remember that the loving biblical care & instruction is the best a parent can give. And teaching children the true meaning of Christ coming to earth is the greatest gift. These are two gifts, which money can never buy.
Thanks, Thrifty Couple for such a warm and inviting family loving site! How I wish you were around when my children were young. God bless you!
One of my son’s favorite presents ever was a used Thomas the Tank Engine table. We could not afford a new table, but a used table was within our budget. I would much rather buy my kiddo used quality toys than a new toy that my not be well made and fall apart quickly.
No funds one Christmas meant no Christmas for our daughter, who was 9 yrs. old. I managed to scrape together a few dollars and went in to a local ‘thrift’ store that sold used items. I found a Guess, down-filled, hooded parka for $6. She loved it and I told her a year or two later where it came from. She didn’t mind. Used is fine in my book. I would give used and gladly accept it as well. Life is too short to stress out over Christmas gifts when your situation is rough. You do what you can and you pray hard and God provides, somehow. 🙂
If a gift comes from the heart, it should not matter where the giver purchased it from, correct? Our grandson loves Thomas the Train and many of the components he would love to have are not longer manufactured for retail purchase. His grandfather and I are constantly online as well as searching boot sales and thrift shops for these elusive treasures from the past. A package of 100 individually-wrapped alcohol sterilizing pads costs about $6 at any local pharmacy and are wonderful for cleaning all of the crooks and crannies of used finds. The old adage is certainly true, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” As long as our children and grandchildren “treasure” their gifts, how could “used” toys be anything but good?
Absolutely! My husband & I go yard sailing every Saturday. We’ve picked up many things for our Granddaughter in excellent used condition & new never opened. Barbies- Good used $5. New never opened $10-$20. Toy box- $5 & a lot more items. We start in April & Stop the week before Christmas. We accumulate a lot of nice stuff. We also buy new in box items for Toys for tots. This year we were able to buy a laser tag set for $2, baby blankets $1 each & some party dresses.
I have been buying and giving used to my two sons since day one. I think that didn’t receive an item with a tag on it until they were about 8 or 9. They didn’t know that the gobs of Thomas the Train and Legos that I purchased all year long at garage sales were already played with. They had enough play left in them for my boys. Our oldest son Evan has wanted a Nintendo Switch since he was 7, he is now 14. Each year I would write a letter from Santa or from our Elf Fred letting him know that maybe next year he would get the Nintendo Switch. He always read the notes and was happy with his other presents. This year I decided to change things at our house, they get 4 gifts only. A want, a need, a homemade and a read. This year I broke down and got the Nintendo Switch, $284 big dollars. The other 3 presents he receives will all be second hand purchased. And I think he will be fine. I garage sale all summer for my boys, they have everything that they need, and more.
gwen l hicks
I think this is wonderful. I volunteered in a thrift shop that saves all year for a giant Christmas sale. They get so many new donations that it just makes sense to do this. People can come in and buy new items for pennies on the dollar. We have several children in our church who do not have parents present. Some are needy. Shopping at thrifts means that I can help them have a good Christmas even though I am on a small fixed income. The goal of the season is to spread the spirit of joy, love. and giving. If used helps us do this then I think we are following the ideals of Christ. Merry Christmas to everyone.
Kate and kids
Second hand is normal in our family. And it’s not even really a financial thing (though it certainly does save money and makes the “yes” so much easier). Our kids love that they are giving a new life to stuff that another person is done with. And when they are done with their stuff, it is easier to let go of, knowing that it will be loved by a new family (and not disposed of). The real question is whether its ok to buy a new ‘anything’ when there are thousands of perfectly great ‘everything’ available second hand. I’ve even given second hand gifts to friends’ kids (and that’s a bit more taboo). But no one ever complained. Actually, last time I asked what someones daughter wanted, they requested that I hunt down a second hand barbie dreamhouse 🙂
Added bonus, thrift = less packaging to get rid of.
When it comes to CSGO bets, technical support becomes an important element in the infrastructure of each site. Some CSGO bets services provide technical support in the form of a delayed ticket system – this in itself is not a drawback. But the most successful implementation of a csgo empire technical support system is considered to be an online chat with an employee. It is with the help of it that you can get advice as quickly and efficiently as possible regarding any problem that has arisen related to both the operation of the service and directly with your CSGO bets.
I think it is ok when you don’t have much money. We are modern family and we do not have prejudices against computer games you know. But we are also aware that digital entertainment cost a lot of money and so we discovered a possibility to buy, let’s just older N64 Games and we still think that they are good enough to play, and kids are also satisfied with them, so we are happy