Grandma's rock hard fruitcake... holiday sweatshirts weighed down with twenty-pounds of frolicking snowpersons in puff paint, ribbons and lace... ponies that bite...
The Christmas season brings with it the gift of family and friends-- and just a few less desirable elements, as well.
I mean, how many of you ever received something from a friend or relative that you just KNOW was sitting around their house for 20 years?
Since it really IS the thought that counts, then that thought probably shouldn't be, "Hey, this string-and-nail art at the back of the closet isn't doing me any good. If I dust it off, who can I pawn it off on?"...
So when I suggest it's possible to find great Christmas gifts for the people on your list at thrift stores, I'm not suggesting you grab the first big-eyed-child painting you see.
Unless you know a person who collects paintings of big-eyed children...
In which case, do they have pics? Because I'd really get a kick out of seeing their stuff.
No, the success of thrifting Christmas gifts, like any gifting, involve giving your recipients-- not what you WANT them to like-- but what they actually DO like or can use.
It's stating the obvious, I know, and I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here. But it still needs to be said...
It's the only thing that explains why one of my twenty-something friends received a desk blotter with a calendar dated from the PREVIOUS YEAR, and a copy of Tom Brokaw's biography.
Of course, the great thing about thrift stores is there's a variety of interesting and unique items-- from antique treasures to brand-spanking new-in-the-box stuff-- that make gifting simple, and really cost-effective.
And especially if you can keep a year-round eye out for things the folks on your gift list might enjoy to set aside-- well, you've made Christmas shopping even easier on yourself.
One kind lady, who's like a second mother to me, collects Imperial harvest grape milk glass. Recently at an antique mall she narrowly missed out on getting a milk glass punch bowl set with cups. So I think she'll be fairly tickled with this Imperial grape lidded candy dish, discovered at the Salvation Army. (And PS-- milkglass fans who haven't thrifted, you really might want to consider starting; there are a ton of really great pieces around, and SOMEONE needs to scoop them up and enjoy them.)
The lady I know who appreciates the milk glass also loves porcelain dolls. So a couple of visits to the Army and St. Vincent de Paul revealed these two little ladies, all decked out in their Christmas finery.
I also have a friend into vintage Western prints. She's always picking them up when the price is right at antiques stores. So when I spied this print at the thrift, it seemed like the perfect fit. I think it's from the 20s or 30s, and in its original frame.
And here-- what looks like some vintage framed art is actually a small dresser box.
I understand that around the Depression era, these boxes typically came filled with candy or other goodies, and when the goodies were gone, the box was still a part of the gift. I'm using the box in the same way here, to hold part of another friend's gift.
And this large Transformer, from this year's blockbuster film?..
At Toys R Us, I think this was running around $30. But at the Goodwill, it was just $5! This was a donation of new merchandise which appears to have come from Target. There's not a thing wrong with it, and I can guarantee it's going to go over better than a calendar blotter from a past year.
So how about you folks? Have you uncovered a great gift at a thrift store or garage sale you're excited to share this year? Or have you received the sort of gift that makes last year's blotter look like thoughtful insight?
Here's wishing you all a wonderful holiday and a happy new year, filled with the joy, camaraderie and spirit of the season which you'll always cherish.