December 14, 2012

Thrifty gifts

Hello and TGIF to all folks looking forward to the weekend. 

I thought I'd write today about buying gifts in thrift shops. No doubt some people would think that equates to a miserly cheapskate of a giver, but that's really not always true. For one thing, those who don't shop in resale stores are probably not aware of how many items of all types are donated brand new, often still bearing a tag or in the original box. I've found all manner of linens, clothes, candles, decorative items and just about everything imaginable for a fraction of the cost in a retail store. Example: around October I got a Yankee candle with holiday sprig of berries on it with a sugar cookie fragrance for .90 cents. A couple of weeks ago I saw the same candle at the grocery store for $6.99. There was the S-shaped cat scratcher toy at a yard sale for $1.00 seen the following week at Target for $19.99. We refinished the ugly formica counter in the bathroom of our previous home with an unopened kit for that purpose bought and lugged home from Baton Rouge after a trip. People buy things and change their minds, they receive presents they don't  like, or have to move and discard large quantities of possessions because they can't lug everything in their current home to a new location. So, things are not necessarily old, worn, shabby or used at all.

Another aspect of thrift shopping for gifts is how well you know the person who's going to receive it. Collections are an obvious example. If your mother/aunt/best friend loves milk glass and you find a piece that's lovely she doesn't already own, will she care if it came from a thrift store or upscale antique emporium? If you know someone who loves civil war history and you find an old, intriguing book on the subject at a library sale will the location where you stumbled upon it matter? Probably not. Thus, it's my opinion that a thrifted gift isn't necessarily the sign of a stingy giver.

Some people use thrift store items as part of a theme gift or in a basket made specially for an individual. Very specific kinds of mugs, for example, or containers for candy, nuts or other treats are nice, but candles, coasters and other items are often available too. I like to find unusual ways to package gifts; some of the recent ones include an ornate cardboard purse that had soap and a scarf in it this summer and an envelope-shaped fabric bag that held the doily runner made for my friend's birthday in October.

I've been thinking about the subject lately because of the approach of Christmas. For my youngest granddaughter, a charm bracelet seemed like a good idea. Here is a picture of it:
It's actually from a regular store, but I switched and added charms to it. It came with a pair of binoculars which I changed out for the whistle. I took apart another that had three dangling from it to add  the skull on one end (this was around Halloween, which must have been an influence) and added the L for her initial. Doing this minor project was fun and led me to think about my own charm bracelet, given to me decades ago. It is gold, though, and after lo these many years, still had only two charms on it, a locket and a baby ring.* 
With the price of gold what it is, the chances of receiving more charms seemed remote. But, my thought continued, that really didn't matter. If the metal is gold or just gold colored, either is fine. Thus began a hunt for more things to put on it. Included are the face of an old watch, single earrings and a lot of miscellaneous. Now it includes an umbrella, a feather and heart, sunburst, religious medal, fleur de lis, red bicycle, as well as the locket and ring. Some of these weren't gold to start with, like the fleur de lis,but a paint job with nail polish took care of that problem. I love the way it's turned out and look forward to finding new tiny pieces to add in the future. 

Have you ever given things bought in thrift shops? Is that something you do routinely or would never consider in a million years?

Later, Michele
 *What's with rings for newborn infants, anyway? Why would anyone think that's a good idea?

1 comment:

Tricia said...

Great ideas for thrifty gifting! And you ARE the queen of clever and attractive gift presentation. Love the charm bracelet for L!