2010-12-24

Late Thrift Thursday. Gifting the Thrift.

Matt's family was putting together a hamper for another family and it was my job to get hats and mittens for everyone. We got the mother a cashmere blend scarf/wrap and I belatedly thought it would be even nicer to add a brooch. But because I was being last minute (really?), I had little choice on the brooch and ended up paying $10 for some crap quality one at Zellers. Zellers, I am not slandering you; your brooch selection was merely weak. And it kinda killed me because Talize is just up the street and I could have thrifted a brooch that would have been much nicer and cheaper... but alas I was last minute (really).

But if I had time, would it have been ok to give a thrifted brooch in a Christmas hamper?

Growing up, getting second hand presents was normal. My parents are garage sale/flea market/antique store junkies and always gave us interesting finds and taught us to appreciate the history behind an object. Honestly, I usually really liked the gifts... though sometimes I was a little embarrassed about my weird family around some of my friends.

'What did you get for you birthday?'
'Some tools from the 1930's! What did you get?'
'Totally Hair Barbie! If you crank her arm she grows hair!'
'I know that...
(of course I knew that, I'd been sleeping with the Totally Hair Barbie cut out page from the Toys 'R Us catalogue under my pillow for weeks...)
...whatever. Let's go to the corner store and buy penny candies.'

For my birthday this year my oldest brother bought his place back unto my family tree. After several unkind comments about my shorts this summer, I pruned him off like unruly growth but after he found me a leather purse with horses!!!...

thriftgift3

Welcome back to the family Henk!

And speaking of family trees, I am obviously up on it with a Favourite Daughter tag (only daughter too...) because look what my parents just gave me!

thriftgift1

At 5'11, it is rare for me to feel diminutive but this gorgeous leather bag my Mama found at a garage sale is so large, I feel rather delicate. I thought maybe I could fit inside but that's not happening... I'm sure I could fit an Olsen twin in though... maybe both... and their coffee cups too.

thriftgift2

And while I have always received many thrifted gifts, I feel like in a pinch, I have given the equivalent of a cheap quality, $10 brooch far too often. In the next year I hope to put a concerted effort into planning ahead and giving the gift of thrift. Because what would you rather have... the $10 brooch or the $10 vintage Diane von Furstenberg dress I bought this week? Don't answer that, there's no way I am giving the dress away! Giving second hand gifts is becoming a bit of a trend for many good reasons but I am not going to do it to just to follow the trend... I am going to do it to step up and make my parents proud. I want my place on that family tree to be decorated with heart stickers and glitter!

Did you thrift gift this year?

29 comments :

Anonymous said...

Jen, I have thrifted gifts for quite sometime now. I grew up probably much like you - getting school clothes for a few yr's at the thrift stores when times were tough. Went thru that awkward stage for awhile when I didn't know it was cool. Now, I am so proud of it I LOVE it! My husband kids & only my bestest friends get those rare thrifted gifts from me & they know it is a treasure! Merry Christmas! :)
~ Sheri

Kitty said...

This year will be a big test for me. My mom shops the mall and has drawers and closets full of whatever is on the latest sales rack. But, months ago, she mentioned that she was having a hard time finding short dolman or batwing sleeve sweaters - her new favorite. She only had about four of them and we all know that is not enough to overflow a sweater drawer!

So I searched online and finally found a New Without Tags sweater in a great color for her on ebay. I used "Make an Offer" and got it even further reduced in price.

I know my mom would be offended if I gave her anything used - unlike me who would be thrilled with something very special like that. So it will be interested to see if "new" means unworn to her, or if it means "latest cheap thing the mall stores are pushing". We'll see how it goes on the 28th when we unwrap gifts!

Stella said...

Those two bags are gorgeousssss! Yes, I'm hissing. I totally speak Parselmouth. Anyway. The color is amazing.

And, I totally thrift gifts. I absolutely have no problems with receiving or giving thrifted gifts. My mom loves thrifted finds and so do most of my friends. Usually, if I can't thrift it, I try to make it. Last night, I stayed up until almost two making jewelry presents. Hurk.

Hope you have a merry Christmas!

Rachel said...

What awesome, beautiful bags! I love to receive unique gifts, too, whether new or thrifted. I think it would be ok to give a thrifted broach to a family you are donating to, it's great that you guys are donating. How will they know the difference. If they do know it's thrifted then they probably know vintage and have good taste, so that works out.

I did buy a thrifted gift this year, for my dad of all people (does eBay count as thrifting?). He's super hard to buy for b/c the only gifts he wants are hundreds of dollars, like a new Jeep topper. Anyway, found him an amazing vintage sterling and turquoise tie-tac on eBay. He loves sterling and loves turquoise, but I won't know if he will love the gift until tomorrow. I only paid $2.55 + shipping for it, from the pics I couldn't tell if it was quality and the description was lacking. Luckily when it arrived it was the real deal and in amazing condition. I'm so excited to see his face - if he doesn't love it I might just take it back and wear it on a blazer. So there, Dad.

Merry Christmas!

Artfully Awear said...

I'm so glad you posted about thrift gifting! It takes a little bit of planning ahead, but nearly ALWAYS pays off in the end--more presents for everyone! Merry Christmas!

Vi said...

I definitely didn't thrift this year, but after reading your post, I wish I had. The accumulation of gifts I gathered this year for family members has definitely decreased my funds - a good chunk of the paycheck. So that $10 DVF dress sounds like a pretty good buy right now compared to the amounts of money I spent to see as three second smile on family members' faces.

Modesty is Pretty said...

I think this is the first time I post but I've been following your blog for a long time and this has got to be the funniest post yet, you trying to get inside the bag hilarious! The Olsen twins and their cups? Genious! hahahaha Have a Merry Christmas!

Emma at Daily Clothes Fix said...

Those bags are wonderful. Merry Christmas.

briannelee said...

Merry Christmas!!!!

I love the large leather bag!

I wish more people gave me thrifted/antique presents.

Someone said...

I was a born in the "Mad Men" era and thrift gifts Were Not Done. But when I was about 7 I discovered garage sales in my neighborhood and have loved the secondary market ever since, at least when buying for me!

Fortunately my husband's family are also yard sale shoppers and appreciate such things, and I did thrift gift this year. I knitted an "infinity scarf" for MIL and then added a vintage silvertone Trifari maple leaf brooch. Trifari items were wonderful quality, the finish on this thang is truly impressive.

Happy New Year!

Katie, Interrobangs Anonymous said...

We're HUGE thrifters and yard salers in my family. Our favorite thing to do on Christmas is to wait until someone opens a present and go, "Alright, guess how much I paid for that." In other families it might be tacky, but we compete big time to outdo each other for having spent the least amount on presents.

Anonymous said...

I found two lovely paperweights at a thrift store. How might they be different from new?

Karolina said...

Merry Christmas!! I really enjoyed reading this. I also consider thrifted gifts as a wonderful idea. They are unique and had some history behind.
Wish you all the best.
xoxo
Karolina

Louise said...

I actually think there is nothing wrong at all with thrifted gifts. Sometimes you can just get better things thrifted than you ever would new. Also, as a lover of vintage style, I often expect to receive thrifted gifts too. I have to say, around 30% of the gifts I gave this year were second hand. Hope you had a great Christmas. x

Teni said...

I just got my mother a gorgeous stone and brass beaded necklace for not a lot of money at a second hand jewelry store. No other Christmas gift could have been more appreciated by her. I would definitely go the thrifted route whenever gifts are necessary.
Hope Christmas was great!

Laura said...

I don't think I would gift someone thrifted clothes unless I knew they would be cool with it. But I've given a few unique second-hand gifts, like a hand-embroidered linen tablecloth for my mother, and a glass sugar bowl for my father, Last year I went to a church rummage sale and scored a dollhouse with furniture and a pile of stocking stuffers. Kids' stuff, housewares, jewelry, and leather goods make such great second hand gifts.

Sheila said...

I actually DID give two thrifted items this year: a Zara sparkly cream tie-front cardi ($6) and a killer steel grey sequined motorcycle jacket ($40, but still), both to my fashionista-in-the-making 11 year old niece. She loved them and was none the wiser.

Terri said...

I'm part of a family that gives and happily receives thrifted gifts. They show more thoughtfulness...

Fashion Cappuccino said...

Sounds like you have such a cool family!! Especially what your brother gave you! To me, a thoughtful gift is the best! xoxoxooo

Linda said...

I did! It's your birthday present, which is now your Christmas present and at this rate may be next year's birthday present.

glamgalz@blogspot.com said...

Hey Jen,

I have been ur blog's follwer for quite some time and I absolutely love ur dressing sense...Is it ok if I feature u in my blog as someone who's style I adore ?please do reply

wardrobeexperience said...

wow - those bags are adorable. the on with the horses so awesome!

http://wardrobexperience.blogspot.com

knitwit said...

My husband thrifted me an adorable red dress this Christmas--too small, but still the best gift ever. I'd so much rather get something thrifted and unique than the junk that comes new from Wal Mart these days.
I'm not sure I've commented you before so I should mention that I love your blog. I visit frequently and you're really helping me to avoid the stay-at-home mom sweatpants-and-fleece trap.

my name is lauren. said...

i need to do this next year too.

i did a little bit of thrifting this year....found a cool lab beaker for my bro-in-law to use as a pencil cup on his desk and a cool pipe with a bearded fisherman on it. he's 23 and totally smokes a pipe. this is more of a decorative piece, but it was so "him" i had to get it. it's always fun finding the perfect gift at a fraction of the price :).

Mrs.M in MI said...

My Dutch family ONLY shops second hand for our gifts. We all love the game, and now that us kids are all grown it seems ridiculous to spend a lot of money.

This year, I got the BEST collection of vintage Presidential campaign buttons from my dad and a vintage Coach bag from my mom (she paid a dollar). I gave lots of designer clothes.

Deborah said...

What is that bag? I love it. Love it love it love it.

I'm so envious of that find.

Anna said...

Just reading this post now (after Christmas) but I really enjoyed it. I DID thrift many gifts this year. At first I felt weird about it, but I found my gifts to be more meaningful and personal than just picking up something from the mall. Also, you can afford to buy so much more for people when you thrift shop.
ps. just came across you blog and i'm loving it.

modernmom said...

My thrifted gifting:
My dear friends and neighbors gave me a beautiful book for my birthday (Nov 30th) from Cracker Barrel. They hated to give it to me b/c they had enjoyed looking at it so much, while waiting for my bday. Three days later, I found the SAME book at a local thrift store in a bin for $0.98. It was brand new, (still in Cracker Barrel) signed by the author, and unbroken binding. I picked that bad-boy right up, and wrapped it, along with a 75% off plate from Pottery Barn- total of a thoughtful gift? $5. They were thrilled!
(BTW, I have been lurking for a while, first comment. ;)
Debra
www.idreamofanthropologie.blogspot.com

poupee said...

5'11? Whoa, I'm 6'0 and looking at your pics I wouldn't put you past 5'8. Maybe it's coz you're not all legs like I am. Anywho, I like you even more :))