7 Surprising Holiday Gifts You Can Find at Thrift Stores

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it might not feel like that when you check your banking account. GoBankingRates’ 2022 Holiday Spending Guide is already anticipating that many of us will be keeping a closer eye on our gift-buying budget this year…while also probably going over what we intended to spend on presents for our loved ones.

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There’s a helpful hack, however, that you can utilize to your advantage this holiday season: check off your list of presents at your local thrift store. Despite what you might think, there are a surprising amount of not just deals, but unique presents that you can cash in on without breaking your bank.

Check out the surprising holiday gifts that are safe bets to find at your thrift store.

Christmas Decorations

Need to deck the halls? Start by hitting up the thrift store in your neighborhood to get some of the best seasonal decorations for your friends, family or even yourself.

According to DontPayFull.com, “You can find Christmas balls or Christmas tree ornaments still in their original packaging at more than half the original price off — especially if you’ll do your shopping really close to Christmas. All the items that you can buy from fancy department stores for $150 can easily be bought from thrift stores at well under $50.”

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Books

Books are always in fashion, even as we continue to get pulled into our digital, non-physical media ways of reading novels, histories and biographies. The stories remain the same, evergreen for the next reader to feast their eyes upon, no matter how old the printed copy might be.

​​”From thrift stores, you can purchase old books — even first editions if you are lucky — and add them to the collections of people who are very important to you,” notes DontPayFull.com.

Jewelry

You don’t need to be a millionaire to purchase some beautiful accessories for your friends and family during the gift-giving season. All you need is an eagle eye and the willingness to search through the display cases at the thrift store in your neighborhood.

“Thrifting for jewelry is probably the easiest thing to thrift for. Your local thrift stores like a Savers or Value Village probably has plenty to choose from,” recommends The Curvy Fashionista.

This goes for designer-brand, luxury jewelry or even costume jewelry, for the DIY crafty and creative ones on your list. Bottom line: jewelry from thrift stores can be steals of a deal.

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Vinyl Records

Take a seat, Spotify and Apple Music! Classic vinyl records have made a comeback in a big way — it’s no longer just your grandpa’s way of listening to music.

“To make sure that you are getting vinyl records from bands that the recipient likes, ask him or her for recommendations,” suggests DontPayFull.com. 

While the genres and artists might not be categorized in the most easily findable way, it pays to dig as deep as possible in those record crates. You never know when you could find something rare.

Cashmere Sweaters

Nearly all thrift stores are packed floor to ceiling with a variety of used or donated clothing, but there is a diamond in the rough that can make you the champion of the holiday season: cashmere sweaters.

Take it from Max Wong of Wise Bread, who notes that upcycled or not, a cashmere sweater is still a cashmere sweater. But still, be cautious with your purchasing of these rare, thrift store gems.

“Be sure to check each sweater carefully for damage,” cautions Wong. “Most of the time, I can find sweaters in pristine condition with just a little hunting. Less-than-mint sweaters can usually be refreshed with a new dye job or by replacing the buttons.”

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Vases and Baskets

While flowers might not be in bloom during the holiday gift-buying season, it’s never too early to think about next spring and summer. What can you get your loved ones to make their flower decor pop? A vase, which thrift stores are typically full of.

“A beautiful $3 vase can turn a $7 bouquet you bought at the grocery store into a stunning host gift or housewarming gift,” Wong says.

If you can’t find a vase, there’s usually just as many, if not more, baskets that you can either gift as themselves or use to hold the items you are giving to a recipient.

Art

Art is all in the eye of the beholder. And thrift stores hold a lot of that art on their shelves. Some of it might not appeal to you, but you never know when you might be giving a loved one an ugly portrait that turns out to be worth pretty penny.

“In 2006 a South Carolina man purchased an oil painting for a measly $3 at his local thrift store. It turned out that his painting was an original Flemish Painting from 1650. The South Carolina man ended up auctioning off his $3 purchase for $190,000!” says Rescue Mission Alliance.

One pro-tip to keep in mind: whatever piece you end up purchasing, make sure it comes with a frame.

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