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Ethical Gifts UK: Swapbox Is the Perfect Secret Santa Style Second Hand Gift Swap

Ethical Gifts UK: Swapbox Is the Perfect Secret Santa Style Second Hand Gift Swap

Nobody needs to miss out on the feel-good factor of giving at Christmas with this new gift swapping inititiave!

During Christmas 2022, we had a customer pop into our shop looking for some second hand gifts. They then told us all about this new second hand gift swap they were taking part in called Swapbox.

Naturally we were super intrigued by the idea of putting a smile of the face of a complete stranger at Christmas with a preloved gift. So we decided to go straight to the source and chat to the founder of Swapbox.

This is Swapbox: A New Secret Santa Style Second Hand Gift Swap

Meet Swapbox Founder Alix, thebootsalekid

Swapbox is a secondhand Christmas gift swap in the style of Secret Santa. It was thought up by Alix, thebootsalekid

How it works is that people volunteer to put their details forward about the kinds of things they like, hobbies, dietary requirements, as well as any shoe/dress sizes. 

People are then matched up with each other a la Secret Santa. 

Each swapper will get the info about the swapper they have been given. So they can start to plan out what gifts they may buy second-hand, or regift, or hand make. 

We like the key question to ask yourself which is "would you be happy to receive the box you put together."

Recommended spend is £10.

You might like: The Whys And Hows Of Offering Preloved Gifts

Why was your Nickname the Bootsale Kid? 


Alix - When I was little my mum didn’t have a lot of money, she was a single mum with myself and my older brother. To make money stretch she would buy our clothes and toys from boot sales. She used to joke that I was “the bootsale kid” as all my possessions were from there. 

It was never a derogatory name, it was always said with love and jest. 

So what Inspired Swapbox?

Years ago a magazine called “oh comely” ran a secret stranger letter/gift swap. ( I think they do still do it now) I always tried to take part and really enjoyed it. One year, I think it was during Covid, they didn’t run it and I missed it so decided to set up my own gift swap but aligned more with my love for secondhand gifts and sustainability. I tied it in with Christmas, like a big online Secret Santa and it’s grown from there! 

I set it all up through Instagram, asked my followers I’d they wanted to take part and to send me their details if they did. It’s grown from around 50 people in the first year to nearly 200 last year. 

What is the Number 1 Reason why you Love Shopping Second hand?

The excitement of not knowing what you will find! I love browsing when I don’t particularly have anything I’m looking for. Anyone can walk into a high street shop and buy something everyone else has, but finding an old vintage ornament or unusual poster feels amazing!

Best UK charity shops?

Gateshead second hand books online and in-store: placed on white shelving

I love my local sense charity shop, they always have lovely things in there like ornaments and clothes. I love Nansa charity shop in Norwich, and Emmaus charity shop in Norwich too. 

I use Vinted a lot to buy clothes for my little boy. 

Best Tips for Second-hand Gifts?

I’d say have an open mind, you could write a list of gift ideas but I often find when you go without having anything in mind that’s when you find more gems! 

There’s lots of secondhand items that still have tags on to be found if you’re more comfortable gifting things with tags on.

Give yourself more time to find things, and have fun! 

Thanks Alix! You can follow Alix, thebootsalekid on Instagram

Read More: What Is a Gift Economy and Where Can You Share Items Online in the UK?

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