Planning out your holiday shopping

Now’s the ideal time to scout out the consignment, resale and thrift shops in 090928your area. Not only is the traffic still bearable, and the resale treasures still in good supply (grab those cashmere gloves when you see them or they’ll be gone!) but you can plan ahead for holiday gift-shopping and develop your own “Holiday Treasures Map” for use in the coming weeks.

And keep the junior present-shoppers of your household in mind as you plot out your gift-buying trips. As one young mother wrote:

My children love to shop at this store for gifts for each other and can find more with less money. They really take their time and search out the perfect gifts! –as quoted on Momformation

While you’re scouting, keep in mind that you’ll probably find a holiday use for:

  • Candy dishes and unusual serving pieces, tins, baskets and the like (great when paired with your best culinary efforts!)
  • Candle sticks of all sorts: A collection can look great on your mantel, or even in your hearth as a blazing-fire substitute. Try gathering up faceted glass sticks or brass for that holiday gleam.
  • New-with-tags gifts. You’ll be surprised at what gets recycled in these shops, without ever having been used, from family games still in their shrink-wrap boxes to the latest best-sellers to guest towels and gag gifts. (They’re a lot funnier for $4.99 than $39.95!)

Remember to act now when you find the perfect gift. After all, the motto of these one-of-a-kind retail stores is:

Buy It Today, It May Not Be Here Tomorrow!



  1. 1
    saradesota Says:

    Yesterday, I decided to make sure each family member gets a “recycled” present (wrapped in newsprint and red twine!) I found a wine-cork trivet for my brother-in-law, the entertainer; a mirrored toiletries tray for my emerging-beauty niece; an angel ornament for my sister (she was one on Halloween!) and even a plexiglass hand for my brother, because who couldn’t always use a hand?

    Now all I have to do is hope they don’t follow me on the web and read this!

  2. 2

    I am doing 95% of my Christmas shopping at my own shop this year–it’s economical, it’s green, it supports my own cause, and–best of all–I have purchased some absolutely fantastic gifts for a fraction of the dreaded mall prices. What a deal!

    • 3
      Kate, gently-used good elf Says:

      Here that, folks? Better shop early and often, if you want to snatch the goodies out from under the shopkeeper’s nose! (Hey, it’s happened to me… customer finds a goodie in my OWN shop that somehow I didn’t grab up!)


    As a local owner operated business this really hit home with me! Hope it helps to inspire you in your christmas shopping and giving. Stephanie
    Christmas 2011 — Birth of a New Tradition
    As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods — merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!
    It’s time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
    Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?
    Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.
    Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.
    Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.
    There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
    How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?
    Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.
    My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.
    OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.
    Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.
    Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
    Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.
    You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine.
    ‘BUY LOCAL” wherever you live!!!
    THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.
    Send this to everyone on your mailing list — post it to discussion groups — throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city — send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn’t that what Christmas is about?

    • 5
      Kate, gently-used good elf Says:

      Great message, Stephanie and I hope it gets spread around.
      Just one thing the writer forgot: a gift of genuine concern not just for the trade imbalance, but for the planet. And that’s buying gently-used, whether it’s an outfit, a luxe accessory, a toy or book, a punch bowl or turkey platter. Not only do you save the earth’s resources almost 100%, but you put money right back into your community through the local shop, to the consignor, or to the cause of the charity running a non-profit resale shop.
      Wow. Can’t get better than that. And the amount you save on previously-loved items? Gravy on the mashed potatoes!

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