Christmas shopping doesn’t have to start and end at big-name retailers and department stores. You can save money and find the perfect gift by shopping second-hand! With an open mind and a sprinkle of creativity, you can find meaningful, memorable, thrifted gifts for the loved ones on your list.
Why Give Thrifted Gifts for Christmas?
Giving thrifted Christmas gifts is a nice way to celebrate the thoughtfulness and generosity of the season without overspending or getting swept away into typical holiday consumerism. When you shop at garage sales, thrift stores, community swaps, and our CTBIDS site, you can find special gifts with a personal touch that you just wouldn’t be able to get from a big box store.
Here are some great reasons to give thrifted gifts this Christmas:
- Finding them is fun and exciting, like a treasure hunt.
- Thrifted gifts are often better for the environment and encourage less waste from packaging and over-consumption.
- Thrifting often allows for more creativity. If you’re particularly crafty, a thrift store can be an amazing source of materials for your next upcycled furniture project or sewing venture.
- It’s a nice way to support local stores and your community, as well as downsizing families who are selling items on our CTBIDS site.
- Thrifted gifts are also a great way to save money. On our CTBIDS site, bidding starts at $1, so you don’t have to spend anything over your holiday shopping budget. Additionally, you can often get a higher quality item for a better price than you would if you were buying new.
Creating a Thrifted Gift List
Start with a list of people on your list who you think would appreciate a thoughtful, “pre-loved” gift. (Thrifted gifts won’t necessarily be for everyone. And if you're unsure who might like a thrifted gift and who might not, it’s okay to just ask.)
Then jot some ideas down on what you may want to get them, or their areas of interest (gardening, golf, old video games), or something you know they need (kitchenware or luggage).
The list doesn’t have to be too specific, which allows for creativity and inspiration to strike while you’re shopping. It should just be enough to give you an idea of what areas of the thrift store, garage sale, or bidding site to visit.
22 Thrifted Gift Ideas
Art supplies. Is there an artist on your list, or maybe some kids who can’t get enough of craft time? Big name art supply stores can charge a pretty penny. But there are many thrift stores that are starting to sell art supplies at a much more affordable price. (Source: https://sustainablykindliving.com/secondhand-gift-guide-101-of-the-best-thrifted-gift-ideas-to-spread-joy/ )
Artwork. If you know an art lover or someone who just moved into a place that could use some sprucing up, shopping for second-hand artwork can be a great way to find a gorgeous new centerpiece to fill that empty wall.
Bikes. Do you know anyone who just loves to cycle, or a grandchild who just outgrew the tricycle? You can find used bikes in great condition at a fraction of the cost of a new bike.
Board games. If you know a game lover or a family who hosts Game Night, thrifted board games are often a great gift and a steal. You may even find a unique or vintage board game. Make sure all the pieces are included, of course.
Books. Often this is a very cheap item at thrift stores, used book stores, and garage sales, which means you can stock up and give the kids or book lover in your life an entire box of books.
Candles or DIY teacup candle. If you’re into candle making, grab a tea cup or two and fill it with a beautiful, homemade candle. Or look for unused candles for someone who will appreciate the decor. (Inspiration: https://sammydvintage.com/vintage-style/gift-ideas/ )
Clothing accessories. Whether it’s a belt, scarf, purse, sunglasses, or even a designer handbag, these can be great options for many people on your list. If you have a daughter or granddaughter who’s into fashion, find a purse, clean it up a bit and fill it with items such as hair ties and lipstick. (Inspiration: https://www.faithfilledfoodformoms.com/best-diy-thrift-gift-ever-girl-purses/)
DIY upcycled gifts. Our bidding site and many thrift stores are full of furniture, wooden boxes, little sets of drawers, old jewelry boxes, and more. The upcycling possibilities are endless! (Ideas & inspiration: https://www.organizedclutter.net/2021/11/diy-christmas-gift-ideas-galore.html )
Fabric. Do you like to sew? Shop for fabric and old (clean-looking) clothes to make a quilt, personalized curtains, reusable shopping bags, or anything your recipient would appreciate.
Frames. Thrift stores and garage sales are bursting with frames, and the possibilities are endless with a little imagination. You can upcycle frames, fill them with pictures of the grandkids or preserve pressed flowers or anniversary cards. It’s such an affordable yet meaningful gift.
Home decor. Whether it’s side tables, lamps, mirrors, or storage bins, you can find some great options, especially for college students moving into a dorm or anyone moving into a new home.
Jewelry. You can often find some great hidden gems when looking for pre-loved jewelry. You can also turn older jewelry into various crafts and decor pieces, like these magnets (number 10 on this list: https://sammydvintage.com/vintage-style/gift-ideas/2/).
Kitchen tools. If there is a baker or aspiring chef on your list, you can find all kinds of kitchen tools, baking pans, and more at an unbeatable price. You can select a theme and put together items in that theme, such as silicone bakeware and utensils. If you find any kitchen appliances, make sure they work and are in good condition before you buy them.
Luggage. If you find a vintage piece, you can upcycle it into something new. You may also find new or barely used luggage that looks like it’s straight out of the department store, but with a better price tag.
Mugs and mason jars. These are abundant at any thrift store and you have endless options when it comes to filling them. Whether it’s cookie ingredients, hot cocoa and marshmallows, sand art, colored stones, flowers, holiday coffee, or homemade sugar scrubs, mugs and mason jars offer so many possibilities for a thoughtful gift.
Pots for plants. Look for a pot or two and add a plant yourself for the plant lover in your life. You may also find garden tools, gloves, and a pack of seeds to accessorize the gift.
Puzzles. You can find some great options for toddlers, children, or even adults who enjoy doing puzzles. Just try to verify that they have all the pieces!
Records and albums. If you know someone who is into the oldies, you can’t go wrong with records and albums. If you’re lucky, you may even find a vintage record player in good condition.
Sensory box. This can be a fun gift for grade-school age grandkids. You can paint the box, then add in pebbles, shells, or other items that they will enjoy exploring. (Inspiration: https://sheholdsdearly.com/thrifted-christmas-gift-ideas/)
Serving tray. Trays are easy to come by when you’re thrifting, and with a little creativity you can transform them into a work of art. You can make a chalkboard, a rustic serving tray, a jewelry tray, wall art, and more.
Sports equipment. This is great for the active grandkids or sports enthusiasts in your life! You might be surprised what items you can find that are still clean and in good condition.
Toys. There are often high quality, like-new toys hiding in the corners of the thrift shop or yard sale. Sometimes you can even find video game consoles, video games, and other lightly used tech items that are basically like new. With anything electronic, try to test it out before you buy.
Start your thrifted gift search on our CTBIDS site, where you can shop everything from vintage china sets to antique furniture and everything in between.