Home > No shame in second-hand Christmas, right?>

No shame in second-hand Christmas, right?>

November 1st, 2009 at 03:06 am

So, Bean is interested in playing with train sets. He thinks they are fun, and from what I understand,that phase tends to last for a couple of years for little boys.

So, I am orchestrating with the grandparents to assemble some Brio and other compatible wood-track sets for Bean's Christmas presents.

I got the deal of the century today on a used Brio train table on Craigslist-- $50. New, they are $125 just for the frame, with no insert. The lady also gave me two Thomas Dvds, a plastic Thomas train, and a train case. Great deal! I was also searching for some track pieces.

Well, my mom pipes up with "But honey, it's Christmas. Can't he have something new?"

My thought is of course, but when it comes to stuff like wood tracks, does it matter if they are new or not? And with all the money we saved just on the table, doesn't that free up more money for tracks and trains??

I guess I disagree that Christmas gifts are devalued if they aren't new from the store. If you can get more bang for your gift buck and really assemble something spectacular, does it matter that it's not in its original package?

Any thoughts?

Plus, I already bought the Bean a NEW Magnadoodle, an IKEA rocking moose, and the Leapster Word Whammer.

18 Responses to “No shame in second-hand Christmas, right?>”

  1. LuxLiving Says:


    Today at a garage sale I bought two Christmas gifts -

    ...a nice can of Godiva Hot Chocolate and a hardback book.

    The recipients will be thrilled.

    Also, there are folks in my family who like antique stuff so there are often second-hand objects at Christmas.

  2. momcents Says:

    The grandparents will evolve as the number of grandchildren increase.

    My MIL told her mother (who was very frugal Depression-Era) in reference to my shopping habits: "Who would have thougth that MY grandchild would wear USED clothing?" And she spent $200 on a dress my daughter wore once for pictures - too scratchy and she cried.

    Now that there are five grandchildren, same Grandmother boasts on what cute outfits she can put together at Walmart for under $20.

    It does sound like you scored a great deal on the Brio train table. How old is Beaner? Like two and a half? Save your money for gifts for next year!

  3. leahb Says:

    I think if you can save some money on it and it's in good shape why not! Especially with toys. I have three girls and I have no problem with used toys. I clean them and the best part when the loose interest in them I can usually sell them for close to what I paid for them used. The more kids (or grandkids) you have the more you'll appreciate it

  4. Broken Arrow Says:

    So long as it's not broken down or tacky, there is definitely no shame in second-hand gifts!

    In fact, a small part of me would wonder if people have lost perspective on what Christmas is suppose to mean, if we focus too much on the gifts.

    I mean, I realize they're your parents and everything but....

  5. baselle Says:

    The train set will be new to little Bean - he's never seen it.

    Even if little Bean can determine "newness" like gramma can, a "new" train set turns into a "used" train set milliseconds after the box is opened.

  6. Petunia Says:

    Nope, no shame in a second hand Christmas. It sounds like the train table is in good condition and Bean will be thrilled with it!

    I purchased a skirt for Daisy for Christmas at the Goodwill Outlet. It needs to be washed, and it needs a new zipper - both of which I can easily do. (And, I have a stash of Goodwill zippers!) She will LOVE the color and style. It's really more about knowing the recipient than where the item came from.

  7. LuxLiving Says:

    When I did the shopping for my 'young men', I'd take them in early October to the consignment store and give them each a budget of $75. They could buy their next season's wardrobe/shoes as part of their Christmas gift.

    What didn't get bought here? Had to come out of their own earnings. (They never did buy their own clothes out of their own earnings!) We'd make a day of it. They were always able to get 3 or 4 pair of pants, 3 or 4 shirts/sweaters and sometimes a jacket and sometimes shoes out of their money.

    Then, we'd haul the finds home and I'd pack them away. By Christmas time they'd pretty much forgotten what they picked out and as it was only a part of their Christmas it was always a good thing to them. As homeschoolers they didn't need a lot of clothes, but understandably at church they wanted to appear fashionably the same as their peers.

    Used is fine. And as stated, everything is only new for a little bit.

  8. creditcardfree Says:

    You did great! I've given used gifts with full disclosure to the receipents. They have been well received.

  9. homebody Says:

    First time grandma here, I would definitely buy good used toys (we have been buying one thing and then putting money in savings for granddaughter). We are cognizant of the fact more grandchildren are coming (hopefully) and realize we will need to do the same for each, that is why DH didn't want to do DRIPs, because what if we get 6 grandchildren??

    Sounds like I need to regularly start checking Craig's list! Anybody else see those cute little old fashioned tricycles at Costco, Radio Flyer brand?? We resisted so far, but may get Ally one for Christmas.

  10. monkeymama Says:

    Our house is filled with used stuff - why would Christmas be different? Big Grin
    & at this age, gah. Do they really even know better? (& when they are older - they appreciate a good deal. My kids are only 4 & 6 and LOVE selling their old toys and buying "new" ones for a fraction at garage sales and off Craigslist. It's an important money lesson to learn - that your money will stretch considerably farther whn you consider used purchases. & to learn that "used" doesn't mean broken or worn, or somehow subpar. To send the message that "new is better" would be rather confusing to my kids).

  11. thriftorama Says:

    Lux-- you HAVE to look on Craigslist. Speaking of Radio Flyer tricycles-- I bought one for Bean on Craigslist, in mint condition, for $15. There are a lot of deals on there.

    Phew. I feel better now. I guess for me it was a no brainer to try to find a nice used one of a big-ticket item first. I know there are things that parents paid a lot for that are now sitting unused in their basements because their children have outgrown them. Buying stuff from them helps us and helps them. And Brio table I got was far nicer than the cheapest new knock-off one, which costs $89 at Target.

    My mom means well. Christmas is her favorite holiday though and she usually goes way too overboard. We talked about it this year, and she agrees it's time to start toning it down, but she might just mean for gifts for me and my sister, not her only grandbabies!

    She's very thrifty,a great saver, and a great budgeter. We always lived well on very little growing up, and she was always responsible-- no debt, etc. But Christmas, well, that's her one time of year to live in largesse. It's her yearly splurge.

    Bean is 19 months-- too young to care if it came from a store, or to care about name brands, and Sid will be the only other grandbaby. She only gets two!

    I buy a lot of second hand gifts.

    For instance, my friends bought a house down the street from me (great for when our kids are old enough to walk to each others' houses). For Christmas, I bought them a Herman Miller Charles Eames fiberglass wing chair in off white.

    These chairs are considered a classic of mid-century modern furniture design and will fit their house style perfectly. Well, guess what. They are $300 a up new AND used on eBay, but I found five of them at my church's convent yard sale for $5 each. I bought them all. Four for my sun porch and one for them as a gift. That's my idea of a second-hand gift!

  12. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    There are no doubt a lot of people who want nothing second-hand, not even expensive antiques. Different people have different reasons, but it seems like it boils down to an almost gustatory aversion. But it doesn't sound like your mom is like that at all. Sounds like she really enjoys the once a year, exuberant, big blow out gift giving!

    My kid's grandparents all understood second-hand just fine. Heck, there are some things you can only find second hand, as they are no longer manufactured. Grandparents have lived long enough to be familiar with some things that I was not, and sometimes they would watch secondhand shops and yard sales for years before finding a specific item they knew they wanted to get for my son. I think it was neat that they got their grandchild playing with some of the same things their own children or even they themselves had played with, or similarly found books and music that nodded toward the family's past....You should see how proud my FIL was to see my son loved the same poetry as him, after having been given my son a book of it. And who knew my son would memorize and recite poetry like that? All due to a secondhand gift from Grandpa.

  13. LuxLiving Says:

    Thriftorama - I already use Craigslist & Freecycle quite regularly! Mainly to sell or get rid of items. But, we've gotten quite a few things on there as well. Hubster now sits on a nicer office chair bought off there, since I abscounded with the big one we bought him one Father's Day! Big Grin

  14. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    I would rather receive a well thought out used item than something new. When it comes to Brio the quality is exceptional and the resale value is fantastic. My neighbour sold all of her Brio for $200 and had buyers lining up for it. Even if you don't have kids this product has a strong following so I buy whatever I can find and flip on-line.

  15. thriftorama Says:

    Sorry Lux, I was responding to Homebody!

  16. HouseHopeful Says:

    I think second hand is perfectly fine. As long as its clean and usable (all the parts there, ect). Kids like new to them, but usually don't need brand new!

  17. M E 2 Says:

    Your son is what, 2-ish? He isn't going to know that the gift is "second-hand"

    At that age he will be more interested in the box than the train. Maybe not the first couple of days but eventually.

    I don't get why "people" insist on buying huge and/or expensive Christmas and/or birthday gifts for ANY child under 3. THEY DON'T GET WHAT THE BIG DEAL IS YET. Total insanity.

  18. jewels3 Says:

    Having a son who is a huge train lover (and has been for several years), he would absolutely love getting a gift like that! We've bought new and used track for gifts, and to be honest, the new ends up looking like the used after a short period of time. As long as the track is not damaged, it doesn't matter.

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