Thrifty Gifty Goodness

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?"...

Just sayin'.

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.


Rosemary said...

Hi Jenn,
Love your post today, as usual.
You got some great finds that I think you friends will love.
I haven't found anything like that for gifts. Most of my friends don't get the thrifting, flea marketing thing. They always wonder how my house looks so cute though.
Thanks for sharing your finds with us.
Have a very Merry Christmas!
I hope you get something great from Santa!

Carrie said...

Hello Jenn,
Those gifts are great, especially the dolls.
When time permits...
You are invited to visit the nativity scenes gallery posted Dec. 23 at Oak Rise Cottage blog. The collection includes over 50 countries from the various continents. Each nativity set expresses the story of Christ’s birth according to the perspective of the artist:
Hope to see you soon,

vintage sue said...

The last 2 years, my sister and I have pretty much only been buying for each other at thrift stores/antique shops. We actually enjoy these gifts so much more because they're HYSTERICAL and so often PERFECT and cost next to nothing.

Last year, for my dad (who is notoriously hard to buy for), I found an old fiction book based on the old TV show "The Big Valley." His best friend in high school was one of the stars, and his photo was prominent on the cover. He LOVED it!!!

BTW, Jenn, I wish I'd known about Bloggers Unite before the date passed, but I'll do my own version next week. Thanks for keeping it real!


ThriftShopRomantic said...

Ladies- thanks so much for stopping by!

Rosemary- having SEEN pics of your cute house, it's no wonder your guests are impressed-- you find the best stuff at flea markets. I guess I'm lucky to have some friends who "get" the thrifting thing. I have a few who don't, but a number of them do.

Carrie- I left you a little note over at OakRise Cottage. You have some lovely and artistic manger scenes. (My family's manger scene, while it's seen many years, is a bit odd-- I have no idea how it happened, but the figures aren't in proper proportion to each other-- which sort of takes away from the meaning! :-)

VintageSue- VERY cool-- sounds like you and I thrift with a similar sense of humor. It makes it really fun, doesn't it? Great find for your dad; dads can be tricky to buy for. I know just the sort of book you're meaning.

All of you, I hope you have terrific holidays! And thanks a bunch for popping by!


Kentucky Bound said...

Hi Jenn!
I came across this post while blog surfing (one of my favorite pasttimes second only to thrifting). I, for one, love to give and to receive thrifted treasures. I love imagining where these treasures have been and what marvelous stories they could tell. Thank you for sharing your wonderful thrifing wisdom. I'll definitely be back!

Rose Mary said...

Hi Jenn,
A late "Merry Christmas" to you~I didn't realize that you are on Blogger! Hope you had a great day with lots of food and fun!

You make the greatest finds at thrift and flea markets~after looking at yours I'm just itching to go shop!

Rose Mary

JesieBlogJourney said...

You have great picks. I shop in Pittsburgh too but mostly at TJMax or Marshall. If you do not mind, can you share some good thrift stores around the area? Thanks.

oldflowers4me said...

i was just passing by- and found your world- wow- you have some very fantastic things- merry christmas 2 you and your family- la la la love jo

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Jesie- No problem-- I'm happy to share my thrifting links! I've got Pittsburgh thrift store information and my reviews of them housed here:

You'll see in the navigation on the lefthand side, there's also info on antiques, architectural salvage and flea markets for the Western PA and Eastern Ohio areas. I'll see if I can send you a PM, just in case you don't see this note.

TJ Maxx and Marshalls are fun, too!

Frank said...

I was out Christmas shopping with my Aunt last week, and she said we needed to got to the supermarket. I thought it was a little weird, but I figured she just needed to get something for one of her holiday dishes. I, however, was mistaken.

I do love Thrift store gifts, and have given many in the past. My Aunt, though, stumbled upon another great gift idea that I will definitely use next year: lunch meat. I know many people that will appreciate a pound of chip-chopped ham, and that's what they'll be getting next year!

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Ah, Frank, I knew even before I checked out your blog you must be a fellow Pittsburgher! Few people outside the region embraced chipped ham in the same way. Chipped ham for gifting, though-- now THAT is original. Thanks for sharing-- I got a good chuckle. :)

Sher said...

Hi, Jenn! I'm loving those dolls! You have a finely trained eye! ;-)

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