Hello Thrifty Sistas,

A big Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

I'm talking Preloved Gift Giving today ... yep ... you heard me right ... giving a gift that has been purchased from the likes of an Op Shop, Market or Second Hand dealer. Some may gasp at the thought ... but not me!

I spend many hours in op shops on a weekly basis and not only do I find the most amazing pieces of clothing, bags and accessories - I also stumble across many other items that have clearly never been used, have tags still on them, or are still in their original packaging.

We've all been in the situation where we've been given something that we don't like or don't need, or just isn't to our taste. Where does it end up??? Hopefully donated to the local OP Shop so that someone else can make the most of it. With this in mind, doesn't it make sense that there would be literally hundreds of potential gifts just waiting for a new home in the Op Shops. Imagine if instead of buying something new with each birthday that arises ... we bought something that has already been bought, and had been discarded? Imagine if we used up some of the millions of items that are discarded every year by Australians. Imagination the impact that would have ... not only on the environment but on your our own personal budget.

Take a moment to think about how any gifts you purchase in a year ... birthdays, wedding presents, Valentines Day presents, Easter presents, Christmas presents, Graduation presents, Baby Showers ... I could go on and on ... we have developed a culture to buy gifts for every single occasion! But everyone loves getting a present right!? But tell me ... is it the actual gift it's self ... or is it the gesture? I know for small children it's the act of unwrapping something ... the thrill of a surprise. That old saying 'it's the thought that counts' and 'it's the gift of giving' really ring true in my head. Personally, it's not about the actual gift or how many dollars were spent. It's the fact that the person was thinking of me or me of them, when a gift was purchased. The time taken in selecting a gift and the care taken in wrapping and giving it. It's the gesture, the love, and thought that was involved.

I read recently - The act of gift giving could be as old as Human Kind. Dating back to the caveman days - Men who gave generously, more easily attracted a mate. Not to mention the behaviors observed in our close relatives the Chimpanzees, whom also give small gifts of food to females as a sign of affection. Gift giving is in our DNA, it's part of the social nature that Human Beings are born with.

So with that in mind ... I wonder, does it matter if a gift is NEW, where its from or if it was EXPENSIVE? If 'it's the gift of giving' I can't see how any of this matters?

This Christmas, whilst I watched my children and family open gifts ... I couldn't help but notice the amount of waste ... the packaging alone was incredible! Layers and Layers of plastic and cardboard encompassing the smallest of toys. Not to mention the wrapping paper that was ripped off in seconds and popped into the recycle bin. Arhh ... it saddens me to think just how much waste each household produced over the Christmas period.

Life is all about choices, and as a mother and a woman in her 30's ... I can stand alone in what I believe, not only in making better choices for the environment, but by setting good examples for my daughters. The year 2017 will bring change ... like every year evidently does. I am setting myself a challenge ... and I would love you to join me!

This year I will strive to ONLY BUY PRELOVED gifts, whether they be hand me downs from my family, purchased from an OP SHOP, bought at a Market Stall, EBAY or maybe a garage Sale. Everything will have a story, it will have none (or minimal) packaging and will have been sourced and collected with intent. Yes, this will take more time, more effort and more thought - but I believe it will be worth it.

I look forward to sharing my PRELOVED GIFT GIVING journey with you ... I will keep track of my gift purchases and do a regular blog post on them - hopefully to inspire you to step outside your comfort zone and shop PRELOVED for gifts too! I've got two gifts to purchase this week ... My Dads and my Nephews birthday presents. I'm starting out with two hard ones ... I find males generally harder to buy for than females ... so this will definitely be a challenge in itself! But I just know I can find some fabulous PRELOVED things for them! Wish me luck!

Happy Thrifting!

Bianca x

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