The minute that you see retail stores have a winter wonderland theme on their window displays, that’s as good a sign as any that you are late with your holiday shopping. If you still haven’t created a list of people to give presents to, you should get started on the task right away.
Aside from making and checking your list, you should also take your budget into consideration. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is relying on their credit cards for all their holiday purchases – and not distributing their gift-giving expenses throughout the year.
You won’t want to disappoint loved ones by skipping on your gift-giving obligations, but you don’t want to spend the better part of next year paying off all your debts, either. An excellent way to manage your expenses is to look for possible gift items for loved ones year-round. If you were unable to do so, you can simply manage your extra funds and know where to look for practical yet meaningful presents so you would not have to spend so much.
Why Buy from Thrift Stores
An example of how you can keep the gift-giving costs down is by shopping for the items you need from thrift stores. There are numerous benefits from doing so.
Buying from thrift stores let you support the local economy aside from helping you save money. There are even local thrift stores which support charitable organizations, so a percentage of every dollar you’ll spend will go towards a good cause. Most items from thrift stores are second hand or slightly used, so you can also reduce your carbon footprint by buying from them.
If there is no thrift store within your vicinity, all you have to do is go online. Aside from the usual suspects like eBay and Amazon where you can buy second hand goods, you can also check out the auction sites of Goodwill. Here, you will find a collection of custom jewelry, designer handbags, vintage household items, musical instruments, etc. Etsy.com is another site where you can get similar goods at discounted prices.
What are the Best Holiday Gifts from Thrift Stores?
Let’s say that you have already found your haven of low-priced goods from a brick-and-mortar or online thrift store. What are the actual items that you can buy from thrift stores which make for ideal holiday gifts? Take a look at the following list:
Records or Books
What better way is there to spread the holiday cheer than by adding items to the collections of those who you know are big bibliophiles or music buffs? From thrift stores, you can purchase old books – even first editions if you are lucky – and add them to the collection of the people who are very important to you.
You can check out titles from both online and brick-and-mortar stores. As for music records, you can also get them from thrift stores at a gem of a price. To make sure that you are getting vinyl records from bands that the recipient likes, ask him or her for recommendations if you are starting your own musical collection.
If you’re a bit late in putting up your Halloween and Christmas decorations, check out the really cheap stuff that you can buy from thrift stores. You can find Christmas balls or Christmas tree ornaments still in their original packaging at more than half the original price off – especially if you’ll do your shopping really close to Christmas. All the items that you can buy from fancy department stores for $150 can easily be bought from thrift stores at well under $50.
To sell their costume jewelry collection, thrift stores merely pack handfuls of random jewelry into small plastic bags for you to sort through. If you have a niece or a sister who loves to wear fancy and costume jewelry, you can simply pick up a bag of goodies for her. Or, you can look for individual pieces – some of which might need minor repairs or a bit of cleaning.
If you’re the crafty kind, you can even use the random jewelry collection yourself and recreate them into stunning, unique pieces. You won’t have to spend as much and you can rest assured that the recipient will surely appreciate your gift.
Yet another common item that you will see from thrift stores are huge collections of china. For your mom, why not spend some time putting together a shabby-chic group of mismatched yet still coordinated dinnerware for that vintage feel? If you have friends who love to cook and entertain, a set of vintage trays, plates, serving dishes, even cutleries can be given as holiday gifts.
A very common item sold in thrift stores is a framed poster or a random picture. Don’t mind the picture when buying but do look for unique, unusual frames which you can give to loved ones as a holiday gift. If you dislike the picture, you can simply remove it and repair or repaint the handmade wooden frame. These make for the perfect personalized gifts if you will insert a picture of your loved ones inside the frame.
Vases or gift baskets
Another item that you’ll find in abundance at thrift stores are vases and baskets. When going to your mom’s for Christmas dinner, buy her a beautiful vase from a thrift store which you can get for as low as $3. Fill it up with her favorite blooms and this makes for the perfect holiday gift.
For your sister-in-law who is a big movie buff, put together a basket of cheap DVDs, microwavable popcorn and candy. You can even turn baskets into beds for friends and family with pets simply by adding an old towel as a lining inside, then writing the name of the pet on the outside.
The holidays occur during the coldest months of the year, so knitted clothes or accessories make for the perfect gift. You can simply hand-knit these items yourself and give them as presents to loved ones. Or, you can check out whatever is available from thrift stores. You’ll be surprised at how many beautifully crafted blankets, mittens, hats, sweaters, afghans and table cloths you can find at very affordable prices.
Even if it’s not the holiday season, you can rely on thrift stores to provide you with a fresh collection of toys for the kids. Children would not care whether you are buying brand new or second hand toys for them. As long as the toys are clean, safe for kids and functional, you can buy them at really cheap rates from thrift stores.
Also, instead of buying your kid one big-ticket item, having a collection of smaller toys at cheaper prices will give you the best value for your money.
Up-cycled cashmere sweaters
If you live in a ritzy or big city, a brand new cashmere sweater will cost you practically a fortune when bought from a store. There are plenty of thrift shops which sell these luxurious garments at a lower price – and the items are just slightly used. If you’re lucky, you might even find one in pristine condition which does not need any cleaning at all.
Once you find a color and size that suits the recipient of your gift, you simply need to hand wash the garment with soap. A fabric conditioner which is specifically formulated for natural fibers is a great item to use. Otherwise, simply wash the cashmere sweater with mild baby shampoo. For ones where the color is already faded but the fiber quality is still good, all you need is a do-it-yourself dye job or you may have to sew on a few new buttons.
Non-thrift store gifts for the holidays that will still save you money
What about the items which you cannot get from thrift stores – but still make for the perfect holiday gift items? If you’re a high school kid who would like to give your parents something meaningful for the holidays, how about coupons which they can use whenever there are extra chores that they want you to do around the house?
If you’re a working mom who loves to bake or cook, you can simply whip up your speciality dishes and give them as gifts to loved ones during the holidays. Printed, framed pictures still make for the perfect gift despite the popularity of social networking sites like Instagram or Twitter. Gifts that you crafted or made yourself are also personalized and do not cost that much to make.
By simply using your imagination, you can come up with perfect gift items for your loved ones this coming holiday season. Whether it’s handmade, store bought or purchased from a thrift store, what is important is the thought behind the gift which is spreading the love and the holiday cheer. It would help a lot if you will wrap the gift item in beautiful packaging – even recycled ones will do – so that the present will even be more appreciated by the recipient.