How to do Christmas gifting on a budget

From Morning Report, 7:57 am on 16 December 2022
Christmas gift or present boxes wrapped in kraft paper with striped baker's twine string on textured stone background, copy space

Photo: 123RF

Christmas is expensive for many New Zealanders at the best of times, let alone with the rising cost of living, but finding thoughtful gifts that don't break the bank doesn't have to be hard.

Ethically Kate conscious consumer blog director Kate Hall had some tips for making Christmas gifting cheaper and maybe even enjoyable.

"Buying second-hand items - there are so many goodies at second-hand shops and that can be really fun, and that obviously costs less," she said.

"Doing things like DIY, making food, things like that are really cost-effective and don't take much time if you do it strategically."

So, Morning Report put that buy second-hand advice to the test at several op shops in the Wellington suburb of Newtown.

At the Vinnies store, sweet bargains are creating smiles all around. Store manager Imelba Robinson was polishing a Royal Albert Bone China teacup set when we visited.

Piles of china on a table.

Royal Albert Bone China teacup set at Vinnie’s Newtown. Photo: RNZ/Samuel Wat

The English antique that would normally cost thousands of dollars has been donated and is selling for just $25.

"Saucers and old things, people really love it, and I think it's special for them because it's very old and I don't think we have them now," she said.

It's not just about scoring a bargain - it's giving to charity and giving back to the community.

"A lot of people coming here say they're stressed at the moment, and the pressure of all the gifts and each family. Having us here, an op shop, makes them smile."

Down the road at the Opportunity for Animals store, pre-loved treasures are flying out the door. Manager Kirsty McKay said people love it.

A woman holding a blue dress.

Opportunity for Animals Newtown manager Kirsty McKay sifting through new additions to the store. Photo: RNZ/Samuel Wat

"There are lots of kids doing it, it's really sweet. They come in with so much money, and they have to buy all these presents. We have them every year, it's really cute. They come in, and they're just like, 'How much is this?' and 'How much is that?'"

They can afford it, she said, because of the ethos of her store.

"Anyone from any economical background can go out looking good. We're not going to put the prices up, we might put a few dollars on for a label, but it's not ethical to make it unachievable for so many people. You should be able to walk out of here looking and feeling good."

There's some stigma around second-hand items, but Hall says that doesn't have to be the case.

"There is more thought put into a second-hand or DIY gift than just grabbing something off the shelf. Generally, a second-hand gift may actually be an item that lasts longer. If it was made decades ago, usually it's made to last."

Made to last and hopefully gifts to remember.