Letchworth Christmas Present Challenge – Second up, Secondhand!


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Ok so secondhand stuff might seem a strange suggestion for a Christmas present. Perhaps you are starting to pity my family (maybe you did already). But those of you who know Letchworth probably already know that we have quite a lot of shops here selling “pre-loved” goods. This is great for those who like to see things recycled rather than wasted, and those on a tight budget.

Would a secondhand present lead to tears into the turkey on Christmas morning? Well, when you look at the range and quality of the secondhand goods on offer in our town centre, I think buying secondhand is a viable option. Here are some of my favourites:

David’s Bookshop – Books, CDs and DVDs We know we are very lucky to have an independent bookshop, let alone one so firmly embedded in the local community (though perhaps these attributes are not unconnected). Davids’ website boasts over 15,000 secondhand and antiquarian books! Here are just 3 types I really rate: (1) Children’s books. Some are on the pavement, others by the children section itself. But my favourites are tucked in the room behind the service desk towards the back of the shop. I have bought several volumes in such beautiful condition that I’ve had to remind the staff that they are secondhand when they try to scan them at the till. Illustrated Alice in Wonderland or Peter Pan anyone? Brambly Hedge or the Flower Fairies? I have bought all of these and more in as-new condition for a fraction of the new price. (2) Folio Society Books. The Folio Society produces beautifully bound and often illustrated version of classic books. If my dear dad were still with us, these would be high on my list of ideas for him this year (though I know I’ve given him them in the past). Again 1st class condition at pocket-money prices (3) DVDs. At less than a night’s rental from Blockbuster down the road, what’s not to like? I have bought a selection of these for my husband this year. Saves him the trip out on a Saturday night and the hassle of working out what to get each time (basically, this way I get to choose.)

Funkydory – Children’s and Maternity Clothes, plus some toys Found this little gem yet? Tucked away down The Wynd (now a lovely parade of shops, well worth some browsing time), Funkydory sells pre-loved quality clothes and toys. Now the children are getting older, clothes are not quite the easy stocking filler they once were, but an item in their favourite colour, or with Peppa Pig, Bob the Builder [replace to suit] can still delight. This is THE place to look (yes it’s true, we don’t have too many other choices for children’s clothes, but this shop would still be popular if we did).

Other places to try for second-hand presents: The Lavender Room (high quality ladies’ clothes and accessories, plus beautiful handmade soaps) on the Wynd; Just-for-Me (dress agency upstairs) Leys Avenue, Junk and Disorderly (furniture and bric-a-brac) on the Wynd; The Greenhouse Community Market on Station Road plus of course the many charity shops on Eastcheap and Leys Avenue. I’m sure I’ve missed places. Can you give a personal recommendation or share your finds by leaving a comment below? That would be great.


Surely it’s not just the price that counts, is it? If you are yet to be convinced that buying secondhand at Christmas isn’t cheapskate, or are worried that your nearest and dearest might be, then I have something for you: Transition Town Letchworth is holding an Alternative Christmas ideas exchange tomorrow night (Tuesday 27th November). Join others as we think through the theory and practice of having a Christmas which is both happy and ethically fulfilling.

Thanks for reading and happy shopping!

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