Backstreet Christmas Day 1: Buying Secondhand


In a world where many aspects of our lives, and especially the holiday season, are increasingly commercialised, focused on consumption and the importance of buying rather than the importance of giving, I think it is more important than ever to consider what, where, and how we are buying things for the people that we love (or, y’know, are obligated to buy for). I’m all about shopping small and local where you can, and for the first day of Backstreet Brisbane’s annual 12 days of Christmas for 2019, I thought I’d suggest my favourite places to buy pre-loved gifts.

As well as the suggestions below, I’d add that it’s definitely worth checking out garage sales or Gumtree around your area if you’re looking for something in particular – I was able to buy my mum a beautiful Royal Doulton tree ornament a few years ago, because someone just happened to be selling their collection!

Fashion and Homewares

Check out my post about Brisbane’s best op-shop hot spots if you’re on the hunt for a unique gift – beautiful vintage china or glassware, interesting jewellery and accessories, and quirky fashion (and you can often find new-with-tags clothing for a much cheaper price – I recently bought a gorgeous Diana Ferrari dress that had never been worn for less than a quarter of the price on the tag!)

Op shops are also fantastic if you’re looking for a Secret Santa gift, or if you’re just generally trying to stick to a budget at this busy (and, let’s be real, expensive) time of the year.

I’d add to this list Empire Revival, formerly the Paddington Antique Centre – I could spend a whole day or more lost in their treasure trove!

Secondhand Books

My favourite secondhand bookstores around Brisbane

Archives Fine Books

40 Charlotte St, Brisbane City

Specialising in rare and unusual books, Archives’ claim to fame is that they have over 1 million books in their store. It’s a lovely place to be–creaky floors and the smell of musty pages–and you’re likely to find a truly unique gift. Prices for most of the books are $5-$20. Rare and unusual books are priced accordingly.

Bent Books

205 Boundary St, West End

A brightly-coloured gem in the heart of West End, piled high with tomes of all kind. It looks a little disorganised at first glance but everything is incredibly easy to find. Pricing is very reasonable and staff are super helpful.

Logical Unsanity 24 Hour Book Shed

3 Morgan Tce, Bardon

A bookstore that’s open 24 hours? Yesyesyes. Logical Unsanity is open every day and sells books for $1 and $2. If you’re needing to make room in anticipation of receiving lots of books for Christmas, they also buy books, or you can donate them to the Book Shed.

The Book Merchant Jenkins

19 Dornoch Tce, West End

Run by the team behind Logical Unsanity, a general antiquarian bookstore located inside a historic Church in West End. The Book Merchant Jenkins specialises in Sexuality, LGBTIQ+, Ethnopharmacology, Dance & Performance Art, and Contemporary Figurative & Surreal Art. They are open 7 days and ship worldwide.

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