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Hand-me-downs for Christmas Gifts?

Hand-Me-Downs for Christmas Gifts | SimplyRebekah.com

Recently my sister-in-law came over to my house with some kid books, DVDs, and toys she wanted to sell online and at garage sales.  I was thankful that she gave me first dibs on her stuff!

After I picked out several items, I gave my sister-in-law 2 options:

  1. I could pay her for the items and keep them that day.
  2. She could keep the toys and give those them to my kids for Christmas this year.

She picked the Christmas option and rightly so!  Her shopping is done, it didn’t cost her anything, and she knows it is stuff my kids will like because I hand picked the items.

Do you have friends or family that could give the gift of hand-me-downs to your children?  Be bold and speak up!  Think outside the normal Christmas gift box and encourage those around you to pass things down to your children rather than buying new.

Be careful if you want to give hand-me-downs as Christmas gifts because some people could think you are being cheap and rude.  However, if you know you have the kind of relationship with the parents that hand-me-downs wouldn’t be insulting then you can certainly offer.

Christmas is a chaotic and expensive time of year.  Why not simplify things by giving hand-me-downs for Christmas gifts this year?

Looking for more ways to simplify your gift giving?  Try giving consumable gifts.

What do you think?  Are hand-me-downs tacky when it comes to gifts or a smart use of resources? 


  1. This is what we’re doing for our baby boy this year. We’re paying our oldest $30 for his tub of Thomas the Tank toys and track he no longer plays with and we’re giving it to the little one.

  2. We are doing that with some electronic stuff we have for the older kids. I upgrading my tablet, but have a working one still in the closet. My daughter asked for a Nabi, but instead I’m going to give her my old tablet and fill it with educational games. My 13 year old asked for a PSP which is a little outdated. My husband has one he never uses and the price on games is really low. There’s a part of the “mom guilt” that says I should be buying new, but my rational self says why???

    1. Heidi, I’ve heard that gifts just get more and more expensive the older the kids get. If you can put off that expense for another year than go for it!

  3. We did something similar.
    Though not hand-me-down, per se, we did buy used at a consignment sale. We got a kitchen set with all the food (barely looked used), some Melissa and Doug puzzles, a wooden toddler table and chairs, some books, etc.
    Figuring out the cost, we spent less than half of the what we would have paid for it all brand new!

    1. Admittedly, I’m not great at going to consignment sales or garage sales. I kind of hate shopping and trying to do it with (or without!) my kids is a struggle. Did you take your kids with you? How do you shop with little ones? Cause this mama is terrible at it!

      1. I feel ya. I HATE shopping. I don’t frequent resale shops or garage sales. So, I typically only shop at one massive consignment sale: Rhea Lana’s. (www.rhealana.com)
        (I’ll probably sound like I’m a paid advertisement, but I promise I’m not. I just love it that much. haha)
        It’s a unique consignment sale – it is franchised and only happens in the spring and fall (so the locations might move). I get all of my daughter’s clothes and this year, Christmas presents – PLUS, I sell her used clothes. Most of the time, I make money, even after buying her new wardrobe. Selling is a lot of work, but so worth it for my family.
        The one I go to is one of the largest in Arkansas, and because this one is so ridiculously large, I make special plans for Daddy to stay with the kiddo. The day I go is a private opening and children are highly discouraged. (It’s very packed and she’d get lost.)
        See if one is near your area. If it is, it might be worth a try come March/April. Most are not as big as the one I go to, however they all have good deals.

        Shopping in other places – well, I just make sure I have her stroller and strap her in with a snack. That keeps her entertained if I do need to find something in a jam-packed resale shop. Other than that, I typically resort to Daddy-duty. 😉
        Hope that helps.
        Hope that helps.

  4. As long as the receiver (or their parents!) are ok with used gifts, I go for it. The consignment sales in my area are fabulous and if I shop year-round, I can buy nice things for next to nothing (or sometimes free with my consignment credit). My nephew and his parents are thrilled with the items and I love giving what I would like to give, not what I’m limited to by a small budget.

    1. I think it is rude and lazy. My sister in law gave my 13 year old a box of her old clothes. Some had holes in them. I spent a fair amount of money on her 3 kids and thought about each gift yet she does this. She doesn’t want for anything. She buys whatever she wants and buying clothes from any other store besides a boutique is beneath her. So my daughter and I are very upset and insulted.

  5. We are doing something very similar this year. My sister and I have three kids between us and when one cleans out the toys and clothes that have an older one has outgrown we over them to the others. Sometimes the items are saved for a special occasion (bday, start of school etc) sometimes we give right away. Saves money and keeps stuff out of the landfills.

    1. Do you have a “gift box” where you store hand-me-downs? I just sorted through mine last night to figure out what I had on hand for stocking stuffers.

      1. We each have a tub of “what’s next” for our kids. It has toys, clothes, books shoes…. It is also great to have this tub handy in case realize one morning that your child’s shoes or jacket no longer fit.

  6. My family and my husband’s family do this every year- we have the agreement that it’s okay to get any gift used. It’s so much fun because it allows us to give much bigger gifts at just a fraction of the cost. We all love it!

  7. I think it’s somewhat tacky. With hand me downs, you give those things to people who you want to have them….outside of a holiday. If you would normally pass items down anyway, why call it a gift?

  8. Not a thing in the world wrong with giving used gifts! Children just want something different to play with and they don’t know if it’s gently used or not. I’m the kind of adult that wouldn’t mind one bit getting some beautiful used clothes, jewelry, shoes or housewares items! As long as the items are in great shape then I’m all for it! I Do love garage sales and second hand stores and most of my clothing comes from there anyway! So YES it’s a Fabulous idea! Maybe instead of spending hundreds of dollars at Christmas time we could get caught up on some of our bills. 🙂

    1. You make a great point that kids really are just excited about having something new and it doesn’t matter if it is truly new or not.

  9. You know what? I don’t think it is tacky at all, depending on the recipient. Personally, I LOVE getting hand-me-down gifts. I grew up with my grandma & my mom shopping Church rummage sales for my Christmas gifts, and it continued into my adult years – as well as to my own children. I try to buy used for the kids gifts, like from a baby-resale shop or Goodwill. Sometimes, I find new stuff they would like.

    I just told my sister today that my boys could use some new (used) books for Christmas, we are getting bored with what we have & I DO borrow from the Library, but I like to have books around the house constantly too that is OK if the kids mess up on accident.

  10. When I give gifts each recipient usually has something used in their present. I like to do baskets for each of my family members. I’ll find baskets at thrift stores and fill them with handmade items, baked goods, inexpensive consumables and little special trinkets that can either be new or used. My kids also get a new book every Christmas and usually those are bought used.

  11. I love consignment shops and find great deals… and sometimes my friends who have older kids sell something I want and save for christmas… the kids dont know yet and they dont care cause its new to them 🙂

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