Whether you are trying to do Christmas on a budget, a homemade Christmas, or a zero-waste holiday presents, you will find many clever thrift store Christmas gift ideas below to help you with your goals.
Thrift shopping is a great way to save money year-round. You can get children’s clothing cheaply, housewares, and even furniture. Just about anything you need for your home (besides food of course) can be bought at the thrift store. Did you ever consider doing your Christmas shopping there, though? For most people, giving used gifts is a social no-no; however, if you are crafty or just know where to look, you can get incredible thrift store gifts! Here is your guide to turning thrift store finds into Christmas Gifts
Thrift Store Christmas Gift Ideas
Mason Jars Gift Ideas
There really are so many things you can do with these thrift shop staples. You can make cookie and brownie mix in jars and tie them with a pretty ribbon and label. You could make some homemade sugar scrubs and place them in the jars as well. Here are 15 Gift in Jar Ideas.
Upcycle Old Sweaters
I have seen so many tutorials on how to use old sweaters and turn them into anything from mittens to hats. Many of these projects require very little sewing skill and they are so unique and fun! Teens might enjoy getting a new pair of boot liners like these from Scissortail Silk. Old sweaters can also be stuffed and sewn into pet beds for a great gift for our furry friends. Here are more ways to reuse old sweaters.
Update Clay Pots
Many thrift stores have clay or plastic pots from other people’s gardening time. Clean these up, paint them, and plant a houseplant in them for a truly wonderful and long-living gift. Here are directions for making a Tuscan DIY Embossed Terra Cotta Flower Pot or a Flower Pot with a Twine Rosette.
Make Candles in Teacups and Sugar Bowls
One great use for old teacups, especially the elegant vintage kind, is to make candles out of them. These make awesome gifts that are truly unique. Check out my tutorial on making Teacup Candles for inspiration. Here are directions for making a Sugar Bowl Candle.
Make a Quilt from Old Vintage T-shirts
Make a quilt with old t-shirts. One of my good friends has a quilt made from old T-shirts from her college days and still loves it. You can also use them to make infinity scarves. Here are more ways to use old t-shirts.
DIY Projects Using Old Jeans
High-waisted jeans are coming back into style and luckily the thrift store usually has plenty of them. You can create an awesome gift for a teen by covering the pockets with a fabric scrap with a cool design (think leopard print or something similar). Old jeans are also useful for making many other crafts such as purses, wallets, and so on. Here are 10 ways to use old jeans.
Upcycle Old Frames
These are a thrift store lover’s favorite find. You never know what you will get when you hunt through the frames and paintings section. You can turn these into framed chalkboards or paint them white and decoupage family photos onto one. Here is how to make a Dry Erase Calendar from a Vintage Frame.
Turn a Tray into a Chalkboard
Thrift stores are full of all kinds of trays and platters. These can be made into great things such as chalkboards, jewelry plates for rings and bangles and even bird feeders. Just about anyone on your list can be made something from a tray or platter. Here are directions for an Upcycled Serving Tray Chalkboard.
Creative Ideas for Old Games
You can use pieces from old games to make custom items for someone who loves that game. Glue a game piece to the top of a jar and fill it with candy. Or use game pieces to make custom jewelry. Here are directions for How to Make Wine Glass Marker with Scrabble Tiles.
Look Through the Old Books
I have found signed copies of classics while rummaging through the old books. I have found interesting out-of-print or first editions of classics that make a great gift on their own. Old books can be used in a variety of DIY projects. The pages can be used to make ornaments and as a background in scrap projects. You can also use the book to create a unique item such as this DIY Succulent Book Planter.
What are some of your favorite ways to use thrift store finds and create new things with them? Have you ever given a re-purposed thrift store find as a gift? I would love to hear your creative ideas!
Other Frugal Holiday Tips
Frugal Christmas Decorating Ideas
I always comb the books for gifts. Look at vases and flower pots, sheets as fabric for sewing projects. Baskets and tins for gift holders. Sometimes you can find brand new candles. Mugs can hold succulents. Tote bags are gift holders too. When my kids were little we found brand new toys a lot but also bought 2nd hand. Sometimes you can find unique jewelry for gifting too.
Cindy Liles says
I bought a dozen of the large Christmas mugs last year for a dollar at our local thrift. They each had different designs on them. I cleaned them up, put 2 packs of hot chocolate, a dipped candy cane, tiny doughnut snowmen and their gift cards in them. These went to my grandkids and neighbors(without gift cards).
Alea Milham says
What a fun idea! Thanks for sharing it with us!
I have brought all different wooden picture frames, painted them all one colour – antique white and put on my photos in them. The antique white frames.. with all different styles again a medium grey wall looks fantastic.
I use food tin cans n cover with fabric n decorate with ribbon, sequins n beads. Choose a tin that does not have a sharp edge. Cover edge with fabric tape.
Cut old greetings cards into gift tag shape. Pierce a hole n thread ribbon or recycled string. Same with paper carrier bags that Hv a nice pattern or colour.
I sell these for charity n they are a great success.
Often you can find things in thrift shops that look almost new – this is especially the case with board books, picture books, stuffed animals, baby toys, and baby clothes. My kids always get a few second-hand books at Christmas and for their birthday. I’ve also been known to give them second-hand clothes, especially dress-ups. If you’re looking for things to repurpose, don’t forget pillowcases and sheets! There’s a lot of fabric in those puppies and they can be used for everything. It’s especially easy to make a pillowcase apron – cut off one side, hem it up, make straps and a pocket out of parts of the other side, sew them on, and you have a very cute half-apron at a nominal cost and with nominal time.
I would stay away from stuffed animals or examine quite well bc of bed bugs
Wash on Hot water, and put in the drier on hot and you will be fine. Nothing can survive going through both wash and drier.
– someone who studies bugs
Better yet, put them through the dryer on hot for 20-30 minutes, first. Wet stuffed take longer to dry, and can have cool enough spots for bed bugs to survive. They are tiny, and don’t need much. Then you can wash and dry as normal. Bedbugs have little trouble surviving a wash cycle. (From my huspand, a board certified entomologist, and professional pest control specialist)
I like her tips, and I live in MT also.
I like using mod podge on wooden boxes. Also you can etch clear glass dishes or baking dishes for a personalized gift.
Alea Milham says
Great gift ideas! Thanks for sharing!
Modi Kwanza says
These would also be great for holidays where homemande/handmade gifts are the focus.