When your children scrabble desperately at the paper of their 15th Christmas present whilst trampling on the other 14 in a chocolate-fuelled frenzy, do you ever have a sinking suspicion that your heartfelt purchases were perhaps not worth the cost (both monetary and environmental)?
Perhaps the answer could be to buy second-hand? Not an original idea, I know, but we certainly haven’t managed to make this leap yet in our family. The key to squashing the taboo of giving a used gift is sure to find exceptionally good used gifts!
On reading ‘second-hand’, my mind automatically conjures musty pleated skirts and faded Fisher-Price toys with the batteries sellotaped into position. However, having given it some consideration, I’ve concluded that I’ve been looking (not very hard) in the wrong places.
Admittedly, shopping for second-hand stuff doesn’t lend itself to a technology-flooded wish list from your teenager, but perhaps some of your loved ones would appreciate an original art-deco ring, a well-loved first edition, or a child’s rocking horse that needs a new home?
If you’re thinking of giving it a go, and fancy perusing the best spots for second-hand Christmas shopping during your stay with us in Cornwall, this is your guide:
For thoughtfully collected second-hand books, including some interesting collectors' items (they do sell new books too).
Any Old Lights, Fowey
Not a cheap option, but for some extremely stylish and unique lights, most upcycled from old shipping lights, this is a great shop.
Olden Days, Dobwalls
Just up the road from Treworgey, and you’ll drive past it to visit Lostwithiel or Fowey. This place is mostly furniture but you might find an interesting dressing table mirror, ornament or lovely old jug and washbowl.
There are just too many lovely antiques and knick-knack shops in Lostwithiel to mention them individually. You can find beautiful and high quality books, clothes, jewellery, hats, kitchen and dining ware and more, all vintage or antique, so not to be found on the high street.
Time and Motion, Liskeard
For vintage and antique jewellery. Andy and I bought our wedding rings (second hand) from here. It’s only tiny and probably not worth going to Liskeard for especially, but if you’re passing it’s worth a look. They’ll also re-size rings for you and will probably then post them to you (I’ve not asked, but they’re usually very helpful). Pop into lovely Olive and Co café, just nearby, while you’re there.
Stax reclamation yard
If you have room in your car, there are all sorts of curiosities here. Particularly good for a practical friend or one building a house! You might find anything from a beautiful hand-made stool to a Victorian fireplace to a glass butterfly display case to antique bricks with an old Cornish maker stamped on them.
This little town has several stylish vintage shops and numerous charity shops, which aren’t so stylish but can be good for books and toys for little ones who will outgrow them in minutes. Get an excellent coffee at Relish Café.