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Holiday Gift-Giving Approach/Avoidance

Holiday Gift-Giving Approach/Avoidance

Being both an environmentalist and in the business of selling products, this is an awkward topic for me, and I have often felt conflicted about it.

I do believe that shopping resale is a more sustainable approach to the holidays than trudging through the malls, or scrolling online retailers. Still, as a Westerner, and an American in particular, I have too much stuff.

With new storage rental facilities sprouting like mushrooms in every sector of the city, clearly I’m not alone in my accumulation. My immediate family gave up gift giving many years ago. The nieces and nephews are grown and the gift list got too long. My husband and I have a no-gift policy between ourselves. But even that decision makes me conflicted. Gift giving is fun – seeing the surprise and delight of the recipient. We’re not grinches, but on the rare occasion we do gift each other, it’s usually more in the way of experiences rather than things. The things we get are typically something for the house or garden, and are often resale rather than new. I found a lot to relate to in this Opinion Piece from the New York Times- shopping resale is more fun, it’s a treasure hunt! The gifts I find seem more unique and special because of the thrill of finding them. It’s hard to separate the holiday season from the act of gifting. It’s ingrained in me from a young age, the excitement of Christmas morning, the rush of watching someone open your present to them, or opening one yourself!

Still, stuff makes me anxious. I crave clear surfaces, empty storage spaces, an organized pantry and uncluttered closets, but it’s easier said than done. It’s fun to buy and acquire new things! For me, it’s offset somewhat by reselling or donating things I already have and putting them back into the stream for someone else to love or need. Having just come from helping to clear out my mom’s house and moving her to an apartment (after 62 years!) I am even more acutely aware of the quantity of stuff I have. I want to have less and enjoy it more.

So, how do I resolve my conflict? Is it even possible? How can I be a responsible citizen of the planet and still want to buy things for myself and others?

Here are the rules I’m setting out for myself this year, although I make no promises about how strictly I will comply! ;-)

  1. Buy smaller quantities of food items. (I don’t need to have 10 pounds of pasta on hand!)
  2. Every week, I'll pull something out of back of the pantry and use it in a meal.
  3. When I buy a new-to-me clothing item, I will remove one thing from my closet.
  4. I will resell clothing pieces before I am completely tired of them.
  5. At the end of a season I will look carefully at what I didn’t wear at all and be strict about culling.
  6. Even though I really want to try the new cool kitchen appliance (talkin’ to you Air Fryer!) I will not acquire another thing if it has to live on the countertop.
  7. Put more items onto giveaway sites like Nextdoor. Here's another NYT article about gifting on buy nothing sites. It’s gratifying to put things into the hands of people who’ll use them more than I do.

You can see my dilemma, my business depends on selling things, and yet I’m a big believer in simplifying and having a smaller impact on the planet. At the same time, I’m such a big believer in resale shopping, saving money and repurposing quality clothing, designer handbags, and shoes. When you buy quality products they last longer, wear better and reduce the need for new. Most well-made shoes, for example can be re-soled and touched up to keep looking great for longer. Handbags, likewise, can be repaired, refurbished and even get softer and more lovable with use. So, I do believe strongly in what I do, and think we are part of the solution to rampant consumerism.

Resale shopping can be guilt-free, just like any form of shopping in moderation. Just remember to clean out the closet at the same time. It’s a much easier task to tackle if you only plan to cull out 2 or 3 pieces instead of trying to accomplish it all in one fell swoop.

Here are some ways to make resale gifting easier than ever:

Can you shop resale for gifts? Indeed!

  • Hesitant to gift resale? At HWGA, we not only get a lot of items that are new with tags, we also carry a variety of fun gift items and stocking stuffers. Check out our New With Tags rack!
  • Ask for help – with years of experience helping shoppers with a range of budgets, tastes and sizes, we offer expert advice! You can even call us ahead and we’ll curate a selection for consideration.
  • Consider accessories – we always have a great selection of scarves, jewelry, handbags and small accessories that aren’t size-specific. Many of these items are new, too!
  • We have a gift guarantee – if you’re not certain about an item, we allow returns for store credit through the first week of the New Year.
  • Still not sure? Gift certificates always fit!
  • Given a bit of extra time, we can even gift-wrap for you!


I’m reluctant to discourage you all from shopping, as you might expect, but proud that while we encourage you to try new things, we don’t ever push anyone to buy something that doesn’t suit their needs and make them look fantastic!

Happy Holidays! Happy Gifting (or not!) Happy Donating! Happy Resale-ing!

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