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  • Southside

How to enjoy a frugal festive season

Tuesday, 5th December, 2017 6:00pm
How to enjoy a frugal festive season

Rachel Farrell with the various Christmas gifts she purchased at the Oxfam store. in Rathmines.

How to enjoy a frugal festive season

Rachel Farrell with the various Christmas gifts she purchased at the Oxfam store. in Rathmines.

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Rachel Farrell 

CHRISTMAS can be an expensive time of year with all the various gifts and parties to pay for, but Irish charity Oxfam Ireland is hoping to ease the pain for some this year with their budget-friendly gift options.

I am a fan of charity shops, so when Oxfam challenged me to do my Christmas shopping on a €30 budget in their Rathmines store I was happy to oblige.

Oxfam’s aim this year is to show that you can save money on gifts without forgoing on quality.

According to Mediacon, the average Irish shopper spent an average of €493 on presents in 2016.

For many, that amount just isn’t feasible when you consider the cost of nights out, Christmas dinner and work parties on top of that.

With €30 in my pocket and a list as long as my arm, I was pleasantly surprised with the selection in Oxfam’s Rathmines.

Among the second-hand clothes and DVDs was a wall full to the brim of brand new products solely dedicated to the festive season.

For the ethical shopper, Fairtrade brand Divine had a variety of chocolate boxes and bars to choose from.

For my mother, I chose a beautifully packaged dark amber and jasmine candle, which according to deputy store manager Anna, is one of the most popular items in the range.

For €7, it’s a steal compared to the price of Jo Malone and Yankee candles.

I also picked up a country music CD, brand new in the packaging, for just €2.50. Oxfam stock a wide range of CDs and DVDs, a lot of them unused.

I’m not one for sending Christmas cards but these ‘Christmas magic’ ones were too gorgeous to let go.

At €5, Anna mentions that the cards are the best-selling item in the store this year.

“We display everything next to the Christmas cards as they are the most popular,” she explained, and because people are browsing the cards, they sell “a lot more products” as a result.

For dad, I opted for a pair of Santa socks for €3 and a set of cards with different facts on each one for €5.

It was perfect - a total of €8 for a gift that’s the perfect size for the stocking on the mantelpiece.

My teenage sister is a bit harder to shop for, but I found a book she had on her list by popular author Zadie Smith for a mere €4.

Oxfam’s book collection rivals its media collection with a mix of classic and bestselling authors on the shelf.

As for the dreaded secret Santa present, I found a quirky DIY mulled wine set that looks like a bit of fun. The spices come packaged in a festive tartan bag, and with a cheap bottle of red wine, it could make a great gift for teachers or colleagues.

While some may overlook second-hand gift shopping, this is their loss as Oxfam Rathmines had a variety of both new and preloved gifts that anyone would be delighted to see under the tree.

Oxfam Ireland is located at 202-204 Rathmines Road Lower.

Rachel was delighted with the wide range of shopping options at the well-stocked Oxfam store in Rathmines. PHOTOS: DARREN KINSELLA

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