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Go to the local thrift shops
I started working on my Christmas Gift list early this year when I realized I would be able to accomplish my giving goals at the local thrift shops and save a TON of money. I enjoy stopping at Goodwill and Salvation Army’s Family Store, occasionally to try to catch the deal of the day, or sneak a valuable item off the shelf at a ridiculously low price. Sometimes I leave there feeling a little bit like a thief, and that’s all the thrill I need… This year’s gifts were inspired, valuable, and inexpensive.
#1 way to give better gift baskets
I started by looking around at things that were often in excess at the thrift shops. Baskets and other woven basket-like things were always marked less than $5 and would be a good vessel for the gifts of the season. I bought out every thrift shop of their best picnic baskets and decorative storage baskets, while I brainstormed of what I would put in them. Baskets go for $20-$75 depending on the contents, and most all gift sets from the store come in a cheap plastic or cardboard packaging that is not reusable, or cute. How much better the gift from me will be if the container it comes in can be reused or re-purposed for whatever the receiver desires.
Something else I noticed at thrift and consignment shops in my area, was the discounted items that were actually NEW! These items were sometimes expensive or no deal at all, others were the sparkling new occupant of a wicker basket, less the goodies I filled each basket with once it held the prized items.
The facial basket
I included makeup remover wipes, hair ties, wash cloths, hair wraps, pouches to organize the basket, and a few other spa items. The new but awesome item I included in this gift basket was an illuminated mirror I got for only $10.
This gift included 6 pouches, 4 types of cleansing cloths, 10 masks, hand sanitizer, bottled water, a couple hair masks, and a sunscreen moisturizer. Each of the masks costed me $2.50, and the rest of the stuff between 30 cents and $1 each. The pouches were from a set of matching pouches for $20, but I only used a few from the set, and a few from the dollar store. In hindsight, I would have bought more things online for this kit. See what I found:
The breakfast-in-bed basket
The next gift basket I made was a bed-in-breakfast kit. It had a foldable lap table I found at Goodwill, a journal, reading glasses I knew the receiver needed and what script, pancakes in a cup-mix, a new coffee cup, and an inspirational book to help the reader stay in bed and ponder.
The car emergency basket
I also made several car-care kits, which included many things from the dollar store, a blanket from goodwill, gloves, bottled water, phone car-charger, emergency chapstick, socks, wash cloth, air freshener, hand sanitizer, breath mints, first aid kit, flash light, toothbrush, floss, lotion and other toiletries.
Some were geared toward college students, preparing them for waiting on the side of the road in a car-trouble type emergency. Another was for a mom I know, with miniature saviors for mom. See about it here. Yet another was for my nephew who wouldn’t appreciate the wicker basket and has a small car, this one I put everything in a small dollar store pouch and attached a caribeaner.
This gift idea was well appreciated, and I can see a wide audience being interested in receiving this as a gift. Maybe include some novelties or things we never want to buy for ourselves.
My list of these which I included in my gift giving this year was:
- Cell phone battery packs
- Wireless chargers
- Car chargers
- Power converter for car use with 220V
- Car air purifier
- Car phone-mounts
- Bluetooth speakers
- Bluetooth headsets
- Ear buds
- Tech gloves
- Phone kick stands
- College team novelties
Great for gift exchanges
What I gained in experience thrift shopping this holiday season, I also gained in ideas for next year’s gifts. Putting together a kit or a gift basket can be an easy way to reach the minimum for a gift exchange but still give a quality gift. One item from a thrift store at a discounted price, then several small useful items to accessorize the main item, and maybe a reusable container, such as a basket or pouch.