Thrifting for the Holidays

Let’s face it: The holidays can get expensive—there are gift exchanges, holiday parties, family get-togethers, forking over an arm and a leg plus your firstborn for gift wrap, and the spiked eggnog you’ll purchase to drown your holiday blues in at the end of it all.

It can be stressful, but doesn’t have to be.

I know there’s this stigma about thrift stores (supposedly dirty and gross, or something?) but there are so many brand-new or very gently used items there that would make excellent gifts, all for the fraction of what you’d pay at a big-box store. Thrifting for the holidays is a great way to save a little cash while giving your loved ones a unique, personal gift.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Have a bookworm friend? Pick out a few gently used books for her and make her a sweet bookmark! You could even tuck a coffee gift card into the pages, and I’m sure she’d be thrilled.

Have a caffeine addict friend? Look for a cute mug or teacup, and find her favorite tea/coffee to fill it with. Bonus points if you can find a matching teapot!

Need a white elephant exchange gift? Look no further than the shelves of Goodwill—you’re almost guaranteed to find something wacky. (I once contributed a backscratcher that had an alligator foot on the end. It was an instant hit.)

Have a friend who deserves a little pampering? Look for some never-been-used candles (they do exist!) and pick up some face masks or bath salts from Walmart. Nestle them all in a small basket (which you also thrifted, of course).

Have a beauty addict friend? Look for a stylish purse or makeup case, and fill it with a few inexpensive cosmetics from a big-box store.

Have a sentimental friend? Seek out a frame or two that seems their style, and fill them with pictures of the two of you. If you’re fortunate enough to stumble upon a shadow box, you could fill it with small tokens of your friendship for them to display in their house.

Have a friend with a green thumb? Look for a cute planter and fill it with packets of seeds, or plant her favorite flower in it. She’ll think you’re an extra special friend if you also manage to find gardening gloves and a mini watering can!

And don’t forget—there are SO many other things to be found if you keep your eyes peeled; you don’t have to limit yourself to little kits/baskets like I suggested above. Quirky trinkets and unique articles of clothing abound at the thrift store.

My sister loves shabby chic things, and almost any sort of shabby chic knickknack I find goes into my cart for her. Just make sure all parts work and that you can clean it up if it looks a little on the scuffed side.

Screw brand-new gifts—some of the best gifts I’ve received have come secondhand from someone who thought of me when they stumbled upon it. Wouldn’t you like to give someone that thrill of joy too?

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