Holiday shopping at the thrift and on a budget can be the most fun and rewarding experience you have shopping all year. It can be a challenge, but the reward is so much greater than walking into a department store and buying the same ole thing that everyone else is buying.
For the past month I have been crafting furiously and trying to get the right gifts for the right people. I’m not religious, and I’m not particularly materialistic, but I can’t help myself every year at this time - I just really love giving gifts.
Some people are easy to make things for - they like earrings - okay done, or they love photos - DONE, but others are more abstract. Take for instance my quandary this year - my “boss” Christi. She lives in Indiana and we work with each other remotely about 98% of the time. We’ve spent time together here and there, and we’ve cultivated a great relationship - but since I don’t see her in her own element very often, I have a very limited bag of tricks from which to pull when holidays comes around. Last year I made her an ornament for Christmas, and for her birthday I made her a necklace and earrings - so I’ve already used up my crafting card. This had me taking stock in the few other things that I know about her - she loves motorcycles, old things, the color orange, and tea.
I think it’s fair to say that I know absolutely nothing what so ever about motorcycles, so that’s an obvious pass. I do however, know lots about antiques, I love orange things, and I too am wild about tea. This gave me a starting point.
About a week ago I was in the Salvation Army looking for anything and everything for literally anyone on my list, and I saw this little box that said the word ‘tea’. Well hell, why not check it out? I pick it up, it’s $1.99 for two fancy little tea trays (Tea Forte, retails for $6.00.) I decide to get them and figure that I can eventually formulate a plan around this singular item.
Fast forward to five days later and I’m freaking out. I still only have this ridiculous little gift for someone that has done so much for me in the past year and it’s almost Christmas and oh my god what am I going to do!? I decide that if all else fails, I’ll go to Trader Joe’s and get her some pretty and fragrant teas and put together a sampler. On my way to TJ’s however, it dawned on me that the Goodwill is open on Sunday, and it may just pay off to pop in beforehand. So I do - and?
Right off the bat I see a little ceramic canister (Unsigned, $1.99) that will be perfect for assembling the sampler. I already have the plan in my head to put a smattering of teas in baggies and label them with homemade tags. As I continue down the ‘stuff’ aisles, I see this great looking copper tea kettle (Culinaire, $7.99.) It’s a bit on the pricey side, so I hold it and keep walking, but I don’t commit. Next I see a handcrafted and artist signed (Assisi, $1.99) beautiful orange dish. Score: it’s rustic, it’s vintage, it’s orange - it’s perfect. I’m now juggling the canister, the kettle, and the plate when I find the cherry for the top of my thrifty Sunday Sundae - a copper tea cup (Coppercraft Guild, $.99). Since I now have the copper cup to go with the kettle, I decide I can’t hate on the fact that it’s an outrageous $8, so I walk out of there with all four of the items, still spending under $15 total, including the trays from the 1st trip.
Happy as a hog, I head to TJ’s to scope out teas. Since the idea is for a sampler, I get some that I know I myself want to try. I pick out two that are in biodegradable ‘nylon’ type bags because a) they sound delicious, and b) they’ll be pretty laying on the tea trays after steeping. I decide in that moment to also use some of my own looseleaf teas at home, to save money and also make it more personal. Lastly, I decide to throw in some Chai, since I know she loves it and it’s only $2.99. Since I’m sharing the teas - this costs me practically nothing as far as the gift goes - both boxes were $3.99, with 15 bags so that’s about $.26/bag, and I gave her three of each, so that’s about $1.50. The looseleaf teas I included were bought in LA at a farmers’ market and I have no idea how much they were, so we’re calling that free. In total, I gave her four different looseleafs and two bagged teas and stuffed them all into the little ceramic jar and WA-LA! The perfect, thoughtful, cheap Christmas gift. When all set-&-done - I got all of this for less than $20.
And so too can you!
If you’re still struggling for gift ideas and you don’t want to spend much, I implore you to get out there, put aside all of your reservations and misgivings about thrifting, and prepare to be amazed.
Above all else - enjoy!
Cheers & Happy Holidays,