Ten holiday must-haves that you can thrift

by Catherine Sweeney, Creative Circle
December 6, 2015

Holiday shopping plus thrifting are a happy combination. These 10 thriftable items offer a little something for everyone, with five shopping finds and five Do-It-Yourself (DIY) gift projects. Stay tuned on our blog for more #GoodHolidays DIY projects. 

Shopping finds

1. Ornaments. Beyond the tree, glass ornaments add sparkle throughout your home. Look for boxed sets of same-color ornaments or ones with one-of-a-kind charm. Hang them on long ribbons in a window, or from the ceiling to create an eye-level centerpiece at your table. 

2. Décor. Explore Goodwill for every type of holiday decoration. Watch for artificial Christmas trees, decorative wreaths, holiday figurines, stocking holders, lights and much more.

3. Tableware. Create a festive mood with tableware. Holiday-themed ceramic plates and mugs are perfect for breakfast or a Christmas-cookie-making party.  Glass or crystal plates and dishes are beautiful with candles and flowers.  Watch for silver-plated items—candlesticks, coffee pots and more—they often just need some polishing to restore their original luster.

4. Sweaters. Warm up with a cozy sweater, or host an ugly sweater party and choose a garish one! (National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is December 18!) Look for vintage cashmere and wool sweaters—perfect gifts for loved ones, with quality that is hard to match today. Repurpose patterned sweaters for DIY gift items (more below).

5. Formal Wear. Check your local Goodwill for more options, from jewelry to gowns and menswear. Don’t forget—Glitter Sale leftovers will be circulating back into stores soon! Or, make a DIY holiday outfit, like this gorgeous tulle skirt (sewn around a matching thrifted skirt), as shown in the blog Along Abbey Road.

DIY gift Items

6. Containers for food gifts. People love homemade food gifts. With thrifting, you can make your gift even more special and personalized. Pick up a holiday patterned tin, or a basket to fill with goodies—stay tuned on our blog for an upcoming cookie tin DIY project and a cookie recipe!

7. Cake stand or jewelry stand. Whether your loved ones like sweets or sparkly stuff, you can DIY them one-of-a-kind gifts. Glue together candlesticks and china or glass plates to make a fabulous display for jewelry, or to present a holiday laver cake or cupcakes. For inspiration and how-to’s, see Style Me Pretty (jewelry) or Wandering Chopsticks (cake stand).

8. Reinvented sweaters. Make a skirt from a thrifted sweater, as shown in the blog It’s Always Autumn. You can easily make boot socks from thrifted sweater sleeves, as described by DIY blogger Becky Thompson.  Find even more sweater inspiration on the Eclectically Vintage blog.

9. Secret Stash Book. For a gift that’s inventive and little mysterious, create a secret stash book following the lead of blogger Miss Vicky Viola.  Although Miss Vicky’s post channels Halloween, imagine a secret compartment filled with colorfully-wrapped hard candies, tiny ornaments, or a cash gift. Find books at Goodwill, including many that you’ll want to leave intact and give as gifts.

10. Bookmarks with baubles. If you’re giving a book as a gift, why not add a DIY bookmark created just for your gift recipient. Purchase velvet ribbon, and shop Goodwill for vintage earrings or other baubles that you can attach. See the Country Living blog for visuals and how-to’s, based on the work of jewelry designer Andrea Singarella.

Happy holiday shopping and DIY!


Catherine Sweeney, APR is a professional writer and communicator affiliated with Creative Circle. She dedicates her Goodwill blog-writing in memory of her mom, an avid thrift-shopper and advocate for social change. 

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