One of my favorite places to shop during the holiday season is the thrift stores. I can find holiday decorations at a super reasonable price, and buy stuff we need for parties such as platters and extra cups for guests who may be coming. Another reason I love the thrift stores at the holidays is I can find many gifts there. Yes, I do sometimes buy gifts at the thrift store for Christmas and no, it doesn't leave people wondering what's up with that. In fact, I think I have almost mastered the art of giving something used and making it feel like new, so I want to share my secrets with you!
12 Tips for Saving on Gifts by Shopping at a Thrift Store
Look for new items. This seems like a no-brainer, but many people don't even know that many thrift stores have brand new items in them that people either donated or they bought from a mass retailer like Target. Goodwill regularly partners with Target to buy ‘lots' of their clearance items and Value Village has their own line of small gifts they sell with anything from cozy socks to hats and gloves. I even found a brand new Little Tykes toy kitchen still in the box for $25 at my local Goodwill.
Look for vintage items. Many thrift stores have a vintage section where you can find antiques, one-of-a-kind items, vintage records, out-of-print books, and more. You may have someone on your list who would prefer a vintage gift instead of something new.
Buy baskets at thrift stores and fill them. There is no sense in buying expensive baskets for your gift baskets this year or even the cheap ones from a dollar store. Instead, go to your local thrift shop and search out unique ones there for putting together themed basket sets for others.
Buy craft supplies and make something. Thrift stores are overflowing with craft supplies, even if you don't see them in plain sight. For instance, if you are into sewing, go look at the home linen section and usually you can find vintage sheets and tablecloths that can be used as fabric or even a section with fabric scraps. You may even get lucky and find a section with yarn, too, if you are a knitter. I have bought ladies formal gowns and then cut them up to make dress up clothes for my kids.
Buy elegant dishes and jars. Platters, china, or even teacups can be used as a lovely way to package food gifts. You can make wine glass or tea cup candles. Stock up on mason jars for gifting homemade beauty products, too!
Look for inspiration while at the thrift store. A figurine might look modern and nice if you were to spray paint it a solid color and give it as part of a set.
Look for high-quality items. You would not believe the number of high-quality items I have found at thrift stores, some new with tags! I once found a Coach scarf at our local thrift store that I gifted as part of a set. Just make sure that if you are buying things like this, that they are genuine. Look up how to spot a fake on your phone while considering the purchase.
Clean items you give really well and make them look like new. Make sure that no matter what you give, clean up the items you buy well. It takes a bit of the ‘used' factor out and with some items like silver, it can make it actually look like new again!
Pair items together to make a nice gift set. Think about what the person you are gifting is really into. Do they like a certain author? Find books by that author and gift them as a set with a new teacup. If you can't find a whole set, buy partially used and add a few new items to it.
Look for nice picture frames. If you can find quality picture frames, you can remove the current picture and replace it with a picture of your kids for the grandparents, aunts, and uncles. You can also frame your kids' artwork. If the frame is in good shape, but is the wrong color, consider painting or staining it.
Make sure toys and other items have all the pieces. With toys and other items that have small parts, it is important that if you are going to gift them used, that you make sure all the pieces are there before giving. If you are unsure, look up the item online and see if you can find the listing of items that should be included. If a piece is missing, search eBay or the manufacturer's site to see if you can buy the missing piece. Do these searches in the thrift store on your smartphone.
If you buy electronics, make sure you test them before you buy the item. Most thrift stores have a strict policy on returning items like this. They may only give you a couple days to return, if at all. However, thrift stores usually have a test center where you can check to make sure electronic items work properly.