Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Thrifted Christmas, Part I

With the passage of Christmas Day, it is safe now to share with you a few of the special thrifted treasures that I gave away as gifts. But before I begin, I must make a disclaimer: I do not give thrifted presents to those whom I feel (or know!) would not appreciate a secondhand gift. As I hope is clear by now, I do not thrift out of cheapness, but thoughtfulness and with great care, and hopefully those who receive these gifts understand this.

My sister and her husband were here to share Christmas with us this year, and that was the best gift of all. They have two dachshunds who did not make the journey, but who live large in the memories of my not-at-all-dog-loving children. Of course we had to give them a gift! This frame was just perfect because it has spots for two photos, one for each dog.

This little book was also given as a gift, but the recipient will remain anonymous in order to protect their privacy. Obviously, it was a fun little family joke and much hilarity ensued as we perused the table of contents, which included the likes of "Deja Poo" and "Hanging Chad."

Not long after I picked it up, a friend shared with me that she had found the same little book at a trendy Philly boutique. See, this alone is proof that you can find real gems at thrift shops! (And yes, in case you are concerned, I cleaned this book with bleach water before gifting never knows if the original owner put it to good use but I am always careful with cleaning my finds and took particular care with this one!)

My daughter received this cursive letter board, which I found in like-new condition at a stop on my road trip last month. She has been teaching herself cursive handwriting, and was very excited to have this to guide her self-study.

I also want to share a small gift that my daughter made for two very special people in her life. It is an apple cozy, made with thrifted red fleece and green felt. We found the instructions for making this adorable and useful gift in Family Fun magazine. You can find the directions here. I thought it was a cute little gift, perfect for her skill level, inexpensive and yet unique.

I did give other thrifty gifts this Christmas, but as I had meant to deliver them in person to friends in Philly and was unable to make the trip down at the last minute, I had to mail them. I will therefore wait until I am sure that the recipients have opened them before I share them here. So, instead of showing the rest of that loot, I will give you a taste of how other, past thrifted finds played a role in my wonderful holiday traditions and celebrations.

I collect vintage children's books, and I especially love to collect vintage Christmas stories to read with my children. Here are just a few I've found over the years:

Throughout December, I try to read one or two of these special Christmas books to my children at bedtime. Then I put them away, and they come out again the following year. It makes it kind of special, having books that are only available for a limited time. I had a wonderful plan to read one religious Christmas story and one Santa story each night, but I've had trouble finding more than a handful of religious Christmas stories that aren't just a re-telling of the Nativity. So, I keep looking, and in the meantime, we just enjoy what we have.

I also continue the tradition from my childhood of decorating loads of frosted sugar cookies and giving them to friends and neighbors. My children love to help, and we always use my huge collection of vintage cookie cutters. Most of them belonged to my mother, but I've been picking them up at thrift stores whenever I see them, too. My hope is that by the time my children leave the nest, I can give them their own set of cookie cutters so that they can carry on this tradition with their own families.

And finally, do you remember these dishes that I picked up at a church thrift shop on the North Shore?

Well, here they are, all cleaned up and ready for Christmas Night dinner. Joining them are beautiful goblets that I purchased in a Philly antique shop over ten years ago.

I hope you enjoyed this peek inside my thrifted Christmas. Does thrift play a role in your Christmas festivities, too? Please share your stories! I love being inspired by other people's wonderful ideas.


  1. Nice plates! Looks good!

    I thought you got those goblets at the now defunct crystal sale in Millville, NJ avec moi!

    1. Good memory, Oyster Girl! I got the champagne flutes with you, and the water goblets at a beautiful shop on Antique Row in Philly with Matt. The two styles work very well together, and love mixing old and new.