Here’s something that will leave you more stunned than the Oxford Street Christmas lights: last year Britain spent a whopping £77.56 billion on shopping at Christmas, more than any other European country. Each household splurged an average of £473.83 on gifts, with the biggest individual spend on presents for children.
However, these healthy-sounding spending habits hide a more desperate reality: last year the charity National Debtline found that a third of us put Christmas on credit.
One way to bring down your festive budget, and avoid beginning the new year in the red, is to look at both gifting and buying your own children preloved clothes.
By joining the growing number of stylish second-handers you’ll find that lavish wearable gifts that would cost an arm and a leg - like a Stella McCartney top or a Ralph Lauren shirt - are well within your budget. And any mother would be delighted to receive a bounty of preloved clothes for their ever-growing infant from John Lewis, say, or JoJo Maman Bebe.
I came to understand the value of shopping like this after I became a mother myself. Top of my list of “Things They Don’t Tell You About Being a Parent” is that your child will end up with twice as many clothes as you, but will never wear half of them. There are all those perfect garments we buy that only get a few wears before suddenly becoming tight under the arms or short on the leg. Children, they just keep on growing! So often you can pick up preloved kids clothes that are in perfect condition.
Preloved children’s clothes not only cost a fraction of their High Street retail price but they are good for the environment too. Fashion is the fourth most polluting industry on the planet (after housing, transport and food), but the good news is, extending the life of a child’s t-shirt by just nine months will significantly reduce its carbon and water footprints: to make one kilo of cotton - the equivalent of a pair of jeans – manufacturers use 10,000-20,000 litres of water and produce 23.2 kilos of CO2e.
And then there’s the human cost... As an investigative filmmaker, I learned first-hand about the impact of cheap disposable fashion when I went undercover in Bangladesh for a film about children working in factories making clothes for the UK. Ever since, I’ve been passionate about extending the lives of the clothes we buy.
The good news is, it has never been easier to buy children’s nearly-new clothes:
• There are still lots of great charity shops on every high street; I would send fashion-conscious parents to Fara and Traid in particular.
It’s easier than ever to shop online at Ebay, Facebook parenting groups and my website, Loopster
• Don’t forget all those Mum-to-Mum markets and NCT sales
So, Happy Christmas shopping! And here’s to gifting our planet and our children a better future by buying preloved this year.
Blog by Jane Fellner
Founder of Loopster, second-hand kids’ clothing
Don’t miss out on nearly new kids’ clothes by following Loopster on