Free, Last Minute Gifts You Can Find in Your Home Because You’re Poor, the Supply Chain Is Broken and Capitalism Will Inevitably Crumble

What happens when you mix a global pandemic with inhumane working conditions, horrifyingly low salaries, climate change, a supply chain crisis and resource hoarding? You end up with a lot of people who are can’t afford to shop for holiday gifts, can’t access holiday gifts due to delayed shipping times, can’t fathom participating in capitalism any longer or all of the above. If you’re scrambling to shop for friends and family this holiday season, fear not — you probably have a bunch of stuff in your home that you can spruce up and give away without making a dent in your bank account.

Clothes That No Longer Fit

A pile of mismatched clothes
Bodies change. That’s a normal part of being a person. If last year’s high-waisted mom jeans no longer fit, give those jeans (or that shirt or those gently-used sports bras) to someone who can enjoy them. You’ll give your clothes a second life AND you’ll have more room in your closet for stuff you can actually wear.

Clothes You’ve Never Worn

A sequin jacket that is blue, green, pink and purple hangs on a hanger
We’ve all made this mistake at some point — you’re at a thrift store, it’s a Tuesday, you’re feeling frisky and you suddenly decide that despite your vast collection of hoodies and jeans, yes, you are a Bedazzled Blazer Person. But it wasn’t really you who bought that blazer. It was Frisky Tuesday You. And as soon as you hang that shimmering masterpiece of fashion in your closet, Frisky Tuesday You disappears, never to be seen again. Be real with yourself — you won’t be wearing that jazzy jacket anywhere. Give your Frisky Tuesday clothes to a friskier friend with louder style.

A Piece of Your 2020 Sourdough Starter

A covered mason jar containing a sourdough starter sits beside a sourdough baguette
If you were one of the many people who grew a sourdough starter last year and you’ve managed to keep it alive, congratulations — you have a free gift that keeps on giving! Plop a piece of your starter into a jar, write some maintenance and baking instructions on an index card and offer a yeasty little friend to the baker in your life.

Baked Goods

A stack of chocolate chip cookies on a cloth napkin
Even if you’ve never turned on an oven in your life, you probably have at least two types of flour and some vanilla extract hanging out in the back of your cupboard. You can’t explain how they got there, but never mind that — now is not the time to ask questions. Consult your recipient about their dietary needs and whip up some cookies or muffins. You don’t even have to be that good at baking! Just try not to burn your treats.

The Books You’ve Been Using as a Makeshift Nightstand

A misaligned stack of books in different sizes and colors
When a book becomes part of the tower that is your makeshift nightstand, it means: A). you read the book and don’t plan to read it again, B). you intended to read the book, but you haven’t gotten around to it in approximately eight years and now you are wracked with guilt or C). you just desperately need a nightstand. If thought about a particular nightstand book and answered A or B, then it’s time to give that book a new home. Scribble a note inside the cover and hand it over to someone who will crack it open.

One of Your Many, Many Mugs

An overhead image of mugs in various sizes and colors
My darling. My sweet baby angel. Someone has to tell you that you have too many emotional support mugs. You will simply never use that many mugs in one day, no matter how many tea-drinking guests stop by. Take a novelty mug from your collection and give it someone who actually needs more drinkware. Fill it with tea bags or coffee beans if you’re feeling fancy.

Cuttings from Your Houseplants

The hands of a person in a blue shirt examine the leaves of a small plant in a glass container. Some plant cuttings are on the table beside it.
If you, like many gays, have been progressively turning your home into a jungle, then you probably have some houseplants you can propagate. Take a cutting from a healthy plant and give it to someone who needs some greenery.

Stuff Your Exes Left Behind

A cardboard box contains a megaphone, a keyboard, a mirror and other items. Beside the box, there is a video game controller and a light blue boom box.
It’s been three years. The cookbook that your ex left in your apartment that one time has traveled across three states and made its way onto your bookshelf in a new apartment because you think that maybe, possibly there will be a time when your ex wants it back. Reader, she does not want it back, and this point, having that cookbook is bumming you out. Give that cookbook (or that sweatshirt or that decorative pillow or that scarf) to someone who won’t get misty-eyed and/or traumatized every time they see it.

Stuff Other People Gave You That You Absolutely Do Not Like

A person with long nails hands a present wrapped in brown paper with white polka dots and a red ribbon to a person with long nails that have been painted lavender.
Maybe your aunt keeps giving you makeup even though you haven’t touched an eye shadow palette since 2004. Or maybe the cousin you haven’t seen in years decided that you need a waffle iron you’ll absolutely never use. These are perfect last minute gifts for someone else! If sharing is caring, regifting is uplifting.

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Ro White

Ro White is a Chicago-based writer and sex educator. Follow Ro on Twitter.

Ro has written 105 articles for us.


  1. Someone has to tell you that you have too many emotional support mugs. You will simply never use that many mugs in one day, no matter how many tea-drinking guests stop by.

    Wow. I feel both seen and called out. And no, I will not be giving away any of my precious mugs this year. But I am giving baked goods.

  2. this makes me so whimpery and warm in the best way. as a triple taurus who has collected 2/3 of their wardrobe from friends and lovers, trust: people who love you want to wear you. have a taurus in your life who you’d like to bump up from strong acquaintance to consistent friend, or friend to lover? srsly just dump the whole pile on them. they will hold you in unreasonably high regard the rest of your life.

    …this is getting weird. thanks for the article, ro!

    • I absolutely love getting hand me downs- my best clothes are from a friend, who gives them to her sister and mom, who pass some along to me. It’s the best! I’ve said all I want for Christmas are their hand me downs.

  3. The gift shop at my local zoo sells plants. Every time I go there, on the plant stand is at least one patterned mug or soup cup with little succulents in it. I have three that I bought from the zoo, and one that I made myself with an oversized mug, and baby zebra plants.

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