A Thrifted Christmas Gift Exchange

Hello, hello!

My “sisters who are friends” (or is it “friends who are sisters”?) and I had our first “Thrifted Gift Exchange” this Christmas.

There was my sister Camille and my good friend from high school, who was once also married to my brother for about 15 years, Colleen. It’s safe to say that the three of us know one another well, so, while a gift exchange involving only secondhand finds might not work in every situation, we felt we were familiar enough with each other’s tastes to give it a go.

When I told another friend we were doing this, she said that she would not find that fun and that she felt choosing thrift store items as gifts would be a hard thing to do. So, again, this might not work for everyone, however, we knew going into this that all of us love vintage things and have always been comfortable with used items.

We set a price limit of $10 per gift, each buying for two people. We all ended up going slightly over that, but not by much. There was remarkably great gift getting potential for a tenner at the thrift store!

I got my things for them at the Value Village at Lansdowne and Bloor. My time allotment for shopping only allowed for one visit to the store, so, as I passed through those entry doors, I had my fingers crossed that I’d get lucky and find the perfect items.

I began by putting everything I saw that might work into my cart. But, as I shopped, I realized that the job of finding secondhand things for these ladies was quite easy. I ended up with more options than I needed and retraced my steps, putting things back on the shelves.

Here’s what I found …

↑ For Colleen ↑

↑ A cozy thick cotton flannelette flat sheet that appeared to have seen little if any previous use. I use these myself as light blankets all the time, so I thought she’d like to have one, too. I’d washed and dried it before wrapping, so it was nice and fresh for her. She said she really likes it and plans to use it as a coverlet on her bed. ↑

↑ A silk scarf in her colours. In fact, it ended up going nicely with the outfit she was wearing so she wore it the whole evening. Also, a vintage pressed glass mug/stein, in perfect condition. ↑

For Camille …

↑ A printed cotton terrycloth towel from the 70s or so. This had never been used/washed before, so, to maintain the pristine crispness of its colours, I didn’t wash it before giving it. She was happy about that and plans to display it, rather than actually use it as a towel. ↑

↑ Camille uses a beautiful assortment of mismatched vintage dishes and already has a dinner plate in the same pattern as these three side plates. They are handpainted “Les Etoile” by Fransiscan, also known as “Atomic Starburst”. They’re quite collectible, but she’s going to go ahead and use them instead of saving them.

I should state that only one of the three was in perfect condition, another being completely intact but having a small hairline crack and the other having a tiny chip. They’re all in totally usable condition, though, and I pointed out the flaws to Camille but she doesn’t care. Personally, I don’t mind when vintage things are slightly flawed/used, so I don’t feel badly using them, instead of maintaining them in perfect shape, and I’m glad she feels the same way, too! I did back the cost of the less than perfect ones out of my total spend, to keep to the budget of about $10 per person. ↑

↑ Camille likes vintage Disney, so I thought she’d enjoy this 70s era Bambi book. I also included a couple of vintage Disney ornaments — one of Pinocchio and one of Dumbo — but didn’t get a dedicated shot of them. ↑

Fitting with the “nothing brand-new” notion, I wrapped the gifts using a roll of Hallmark wrapping which I’d previously found at the thrift store and some thick yarn, also thrifted.

↑ We all had a similar idea with the wrapping, with Colleen choosing to reuse previously used bags, and Camille repurposing some newspaper. ↑

I didn’t end up getting photos of the things exchanged by Camille and Colleen, except for this cool vintage tray with legs that fold, that Camille found for Colleen. There was also a vintage glass ornament, another old book, and a second pastel coloured ceramic planter (I got one, too, as seen below.)

↑ I’m so happy with the gifts I received ↑

↑ A gorgeous “Carnival Glass” dish that Colleen picked up at an antique market, in, what I think is called the Marigold colourway, (although it might also be Amethyst). Either way, I’m thrilled to have it and especially look forward to using it at Halloween. ↑

↑ I can’t wait to find the perfect spot to hang this songbird wall plaque, which I got from Camille. ↑

↑ And, no question, this lamb ceramic planter will be perfect with my Easter decor. ↑ Follow up: See it in action, in this post!

So, I’m glad to report that our “Thrifted Gift Exchange” ended up being a great success, which I foresee being repeated in the future!

I also found plenty of great vintage Christmas things at the thrift store over the past couple of months, so I’ll be back to share some of those treasures. In the meantime, I hope you’re having a happy holiday, if you’re celebrating.

Thanks for reading, xo loulou