Who shops for Christmas gifts at thrift stores?
While thrift store shopping doesn’t sound very glamorous, the state of the economy has left many hardcore Christmas fanatics with a budget that’s been cut in half. But craftier Christmas shoppers can celebrate more fruitful frugality by simply shopping around. Here are a few easy ways to incorporate thrift stores, flea markets, and Fall garage sales into your Christmas shopping.
Buying Christmas Gifts
You aren’t going to walk into a thrift store and simply find new-quality gifts. Sometimes this happens, but it’s rare. Usually new items are sold quickly and most of them are out of season (pool toys as stocking stuffers aren’t that popular). However, if crafts are your “thing,” and you’re planning to give homemade gifts this year, then you might be in luck when you go shopping before the holidays.
When you’re preparing a homemade gift, it’s usually made of several elements. For example, if you were making soap baskets, you need several different items to complete the basket, from the base to the stuffing to the containers. By shopping around and using a bit of ingenuity, you’ll cut the price of filler items in half. Don’t go to the local hobby shop-try the thrift stores first.
First, however, you must consider what it is you’re making. Come up with a few ideas. Think of your specialties. Are you better with food items? Soaps and scents? Handbags and sewing projects? Art, perhaps?
Come up with a short list of ideas for items you could make for your friends and family. You can decide on the same items for everyone, the same items for those of the same gender, or you can make a list of different gifts for different people. Once you have a list, think of what you need to make those items. Now put that list in your purse or wallet, because you’re going to need it.
You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find at thrift stores: great fabric in small amounts and large amounts for sewing gift blankets, making purses, etc. You might find everything from yarn, crocheting patterns, and buttons to beads, jewelry making kits, and doll stuffing. Keep an eye out for the small stuff, the embellishes, though. Items like twine or ribbon for gift baskets will cost you a few bucks at hobby and craft stores, but will usually be priced for around fifty cents at thrift stores.
Also, keep your mind open. When you’re shopping, you might get an idea for a completely different type of present based on the materials you find in the thrift store.
Buying Christmas Decorations
Thrift stores are usually full of old Christmas decorations. The reason? Some folks simply change out their Christmas theme every year and need to get rid of the old to make way for the new. Most of the items in thrift stores have only been used once. If that-consider the number of items bought new at discount after Christmas. These items are bought by eager shoppers, but when the next holiday rolls around, they might not have a use for them, so the items are then donated in new condition.
When buying Christmas decorations at a thrift store, you must first consider what your decorating theme or color scheme is going to be this holiday. Warning: cheap prices are tempting! Do not simply buy every newer-looking Christmas item in the thrift store just because it’s seventy-five cents. That’s not a great way to save money. And it’s probably how the items got there in the first place-people bought them without considering what their other holiday decorations looked like.
Look for items that can be put together. Go to the thrift store’s craft isle, as well as the holiday isle. The roll of ribbon on one side of the store could easily be used on a plain wreath on the other side of the store. Fake holly is abundant at thrift stores-check the fake plants before you buy, though. Look for missing leaves and berries. Make sure you have enough whole pieces to use in your decorating project.
You can even find Christmas trees at larger thrift stores. Some of them are sealed in their original boxes. But, beware-if you buy one that’s too sparse or cheap looking, you can’t return it. Christmas lights and light-up decorations are also available. Most thrift stores have an electronics section, so feel free to try these out before you buy.
Lastly, keep up with what you buy. You aren’t saving money if you buy three wreaths and you have two doors to decorate! Unless, of course, wreaths are what you’re giving out as presents for Christmas.